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WASHINGTON: New appointee to NLRB

Efforts by labor unions to expand employee organizing may gain after President Barack Obama, rejecting objections from Republicans and business groups, appointed Craig Becker to the National Labor Relations Board. Becker, a lawyer and Democrat who represented the AFL-CIO and the Service Employees International Union, was chosen using executive powers to bypass confirmation by the Senate, which had blocked a vote. Becker, opposed by groups led by the National Association of Manufacturers, will be named along with lawyer Mark Pearce, a Democrat, providing a quorum to clear a long case backlog.


TENNESSEE: "Skinhead" pleads guilty

A man authorities say is a white supremacist pleaded guilty Monday to plotting to kill then-presidential candidate Barack Obama and dozens of other black people in 2008. Daniel Cowart, 21, of Bells, Tenn., pleaded to eight of 10 counts in an indictment accusing him of conspiracy, threatening a presidential candidate and various federal firearms violations. He faces 12 to 18 years in prison, but a judge could choose a longer sentence. Co-defendant Paul Schlesselman, 19, of Helena-West Helena, Ark., pleaded guilty in January and will be sentenced April 15. The two have been described as skinheads who planned a cross-country robbing and killing spree that would end with an attack on Obama.


NEW YORK: Sarkozys cozy at Columbia

With a lectern flown in from France and his fingers firmly entwined with those of his smiling wife, French President Nicolas Sarkozy made a splash Monday even before he opened his mouth for a no-holds-barred speech at Columbia University. Amid reports of strains in their marriage, Sarkozy and Carla Bruni-Sarkozy made every effort to appear the happy couple. Sarkozy welcomed America to the club of states that "don't turn their back on the sick and the poor," referring to the health care overhaul signed by President Barack Obama last week.

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