TransCanada Says It Will Reroute Keystone XL Pipeline

Nov 14, 2011

TransCanada announced today that it would reroute its planed Keystone XL Pipeline, which would carry crude oil from Canada to Texas. The company said the new route woud avoid the Sandhills area of Nebraska, which is home to an important aquifer.

The AP reports:

French President Nicolas Sarkozy has sent a friendly letter to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, the AFP, Reuters and Israeli news outlets are reporting.

Renoir's Perfect Lunch Is Not About The Food

Nov 14, 2011

Our friends over at Food & Think, a Smithsonian blog, had a nice little post not long ago about one of Pierre-Auguste Renoir's best loved paintings of a Paris café. "Luncheon of the Boating Party" is a jolly scene of men and women flirting and chatting over lunch. But if you look closely, it's hard to tell just what they're eating.

Phillips Collection Chief Curator Eliza Rathbone tells Food & Think:

The Supreme Court said Monday it will review President Obama's health care overhaul, setting up an election year legal showdown.

In an apparent effort to be as comprehensive as possible, the court certified four questions for review. First, and most important: Did Congress exceed its constitutional authority in requiring virtually all Americans to have basic health care coverage?

The MS-13 gang got its start among immigrants from El Salvador in the 1980s. Since then, the gang has built operations in 42 states, mostly out West and in the Northeastern United States, where members typically deal in drugs and weapons.

But in Fairfax County, Va., one of the wealthiest places in the country, authorities have brought five cases in the past year that focus on gang members who have pushed women, sometimes very young women, into prostitution.

American Eagle Fined $90K For Long Tarmac Delays

Nov 14, 2011

For the first time, the Department of Transportation has fined an airline for keeping passengers cooped up in a plane while it lounges on the tarmac for hours. Today, DOT announced it fined American Eagle, a regional affiliate of American Airlines, $900,000 for 15 planes that sat on a Chicago O'Hare International Airport runway for more than three hours.

The Wall Street Journal reports:

New Yorkers spent part of this fall pedaling demo versions of a new bike that may become as common as the city's yellow cabs. New York has chosen an Oregon company, Alta Planning & Design, to set up a fleet of 10,000 rental bikes. Alta Bike Share has gone from being a tiny startup to being a major player in an emerging field.

Alta Planning & Design founder Mia Birk likes to show off what's behind her office. It's Portland's only solar-powered bike-share station.

In a country where politicians shield themselves behind dark-tinted windows in sleek limousines, Roman paparazzi are having a field day with Italy's new premier-designate, Mario Monti, who actually walks down the street, without bodyguards.

But the longest sound bite reporters are likely to get from him is: "Isn't it a splendid day?"

Monti was chosen to replace the flamboyant Silvio Berlusconi, who was forced to step down over the country's worsening eurozone crisis.

King Abdullah of Jordan put more pressure on Syria's embattled President Bashar Assad to step down.

"I believe, if I were in his shoes, I would step down," King Abdullah told the BBC. "If Bashar has the interest of his country, he would step down, but he would also create an ability to reach out and start a new phase of Syrian political life."

As one GOP presidential candidate after another bounces up, and then down, in the polls, Mitt Romney has established himself as the slow and steady front-runner for most of the race.

Even if he's not thrilling the Republican Party's conservative wing, the former Massachusetts governor has managed to hover at or near the top. That's also true in the leadoff caucus state of Iowa, despite waging a low-key campaign.

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