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NATIONAL BRIEFS


WASHINGTON: Blocking stateside trials

The Senate is expected to consider a provision this week that would block the Obama administration from bringing Guantánamo Bay detainees to the United States for trial, including the self-proclaimed mastermind of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, Khalid Sheik Mohammed. On Wednesday the House approved the nine-month ban on transfers of Guantánamo inmates, drawing fierce opposition from Attorney General Eric Holder. The provision went to the Senate, which is likely to take it up this week.


Obama at holiday benefit

President Barack Obama helped ring in the holidays Sunday night with musical stars Mariah Carey, Annie Lennox and Maxwell at the annual "Christmas in Washington" concert. The festivities, hosted by comedian Ellen DeGeneres, took place at the National Building Museum and benefited the Children's National Medical Center. Obama talked about the story of Jesus' birth. "The story and message speak to us today. We are called to love each other as we love ourselves," he said. He cited the tough circumstances for many these holidays. "We pray for our troops. We remember those who are out of work and struggling to get by," he said, urging people to show "charity, passion and goodwill."


THE NORTHWEST: Rains bring on mudslides

As winter pelted the Midwest, record rainfall triggered mudslides Sunday and threatened severe flooding of western Washington rivers. Rain had eased in much of southwest Washington and northwest Oregon, but the downpour continued from Seattle north. Near-record flooding was feared in rural areas on the north and south Forks of the Stillaguamish River northeast of Everett.


NATIONWIDE: Hackers pierce Gawker site

Gawker Media Inc. is urging subscribers to change their passwords because someone has hacked into the company's user database. Gawker, which runs a series of irreverent blogs on media and technology, said on its website Sunday that the commenting passwords used on the sites were encrypted, but simple ones could be vulnerable to attacks by hackers.

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