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Jan. 6, 2013 at 10:15 PM   |   Comments

Obamas back in Washington

KAILUA, Hawaii, Jan. 6 (UPI) -- The first family was back in Washington Sunday after bidding aloha to Hawaii where President Obama's vacation was interrupted by the fiscal cliff negotiations.

Obama and his family wrapped up their winter getaway Saturday night by dining with unidentified family friends at the local steakhouse Buzz's near Kailua Beach Park. They left about 8:30 p.m. local time and headed to Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam for the flight home aboard Air Force One.

The Obama daughters boarded the plane while their parents worked the crowd on hand before walking across the tarmac hand-in-hand to join them. The president put his arm around the first lady's waist as they walked up the stairs, then turned to wave goodbye.

Malia, carrying a bright green backpack, and Sasha were the first ones off the plane when it touched down on the mainland. The president was sporting a white shirt, blue blazer and black pants when he disembarked.

The first family then jumped on Marine One for the helicopter ride to the White House, arriving at 11:30 a.m. EST.

Obama placed his arm around his smiling older daughter as they headed toward the residence. Michelle Obama had her arm around Sasha as they followed.

The president and first lady waved to the pool reporter but he didn't respond when asked "How was the trip?"

Obama had no public events on his daily planner Sunday but he did sign into law a bill that temporarily increases the Federal Emergency Management Agency's borrowing authority for carrying out the National Flood Insurance Program.

On Monday, it's back to his usual routine, with a closed briefing in the Oval Office in the morning.


Market fire kills six in China

SHANGHAI, Jan. 6 (UPI) -- A fire erupted Sunday in a wholesale farm produce market in Shanghai's Pudong district, killing at least six and injuring more than 10 people, authorities said.

The fire broke out about 8:30 p.m. and it took firefighters until early Monday to bring it under control, Xinhua News Agency reported.

The report quoted a doctor at Shanghai's Changhai Hospital that three of those injured had suffered serious burns.

Rescuers continued their search for any other victims.

There was no immediate report on the cause of the blaze.


Report: Boehner avoided coup attempt

WASHINGTON, Jan. 6 (UPI) -- An 11th-hour Republican political coup plot against U.S. House Speaker John Boehner was bigger than previously thought, Roll Call reported Sunday.

The Washington publication said it learned that the effort by a band of conservative House members was abandoned just a half-hour before last week's floor vote to re-elect the Ohio congressman to the top leadership post when they came up one vote shy of their 25-member goal.

While only 17 votes were needed to force a second ballot they hoped would lead to others joining them, the mutineers backed off when one unidentified member jumped ship, Roll Call said.

"There was an effort to get to a particular number," a Republican member who voted for Boehner but knew of the effort to overthrow him told the publication.

The rebel group's plan was to put forth a collection of names rather than a single person to avoid potential speaker candidates being pegged as instigators.

Roll Call said its sources said two senior Republicans the plotters hoped would emerge as leaders, Majority Leader Eric Cantor of Virginia and Financial Services Chairman Jeb Hensarling of Texas, had earlier refused to join in.

About half of the group either voted against Boehner or abstained, and Boehner, who has struggled to maintain cohesion among the various wings of his party through difficult budget negotiations, was re-elected.


President Nixon's 100th birthday marked

YORBA LINDA, Calif., Jan. 6 (UPI) -- A crowd gathered in California Sunday for an early tribute marking the 100th birthday of the late President Richard Nixon.

Among the speakers at the 37th president's library was former Nixon White House aide Bruce Herschensohn.

"I believe no president, no world leader, perhaps no person, other than President Nixon had the tremendous genius of looking at the world in a very unique way with a tremendous vision that is unexcelled," Herschensohn said.

Herschensohn said that was a "passion and a talent" he had never seen before, and noted even the political opposition respected.

One of Nixon's daughters, Tricia Nixon Cox, U.S. Rep. Ed Royce, R-Calif., Maj. Gen. Melvin Spiese and Adm. Dixon Smith also were on hand for the ceremony at Nixon's birthplace in Yorba Linda, which included the laying of a wreath, a fighter jet flyover, a 21-gun salute and music by a Marine Corps band.

Nixon, who was born Jan. 9, 1913, and died April 22, 1994, served as president from 1969 to 1974 when he became the only U.S. president to resign while in office as a result of the Watergate scandal. He also was remembered for accomplishments, including easing Cold War relations with China and the Soviet Union.

On Wednesday, the commemoration of Nixon's centennial birthday will move to The Mayflower Hotel in Washington, D.C., where former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, Cox, her sister Julie Nixon Eisenhower, Republican presidential adviser and commentator Pat Buchanan and conservative political commentator Ben Stein will speak.

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