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Nation Digest

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

SOUTH CAROLINA

Governor Shortens His Hiking Vacation

South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford will cut short a secretive Appalachian Trail hike and return to work Wednesday after revelations he had been gone four days with no contact with his wife, staff or state leaders.

The Republican governor had not spoken with his staff since Thursday. He had left the state on what spokesman Joel Sawyer called a routine post-legislative vacation to unwind, but his absence left fellow state leaders scratching their heads. The lieutenant governor could not figure out where Sanford was and said he had not been put in charge.

The governor's absence drew criticism, with some questioning who was in charge of the state if he could not be reached.

Sawyer said he did not know exactly where Sanford was along the 2,200-mile Appalachian Trail and declined to discuss whether anyone was hiking with him. "He's an avid outdoorsman," Sawyer said. "Nobody's ever accused our governor of being conventional."

-- Associated Press

NEW YORK

Dueling Sessions Held In Tussle for Senate

Republicans and Democrats dueling for control of New York's Senate held simultaneous legislative sessions in their chamber Tuesday, exchanging jeers and catcalls.

It was the latest confrontation since Republicans tried to regain a majority with the help of two dissident Democrats, one of whom later flipped back to his own party. That left both sides deadlocked with 31 votes each.

Gov. David A. Paterson (D) had called a special session to break a two-week stalemate and get the Senate moving on issues with June 30 deadlines.

The brief session was marked by heckling and laughing. Democrats in control of the audiovisual system cut off microphone and camera feeds when Republicans spoke. Both sides said they did not have legislation from the governor's office, but Paterson aides said the bills had been provided to the Senate two hours earlier.

-- Associated Press

Cheney Signs Book Deal: Former vice president Richard B. Cheney has signed a book deal with a conservative imprint of Simon & Schuster and said he hopes readers of all ideologies will be interested in his story. The memoir by Cheney, 68, is expected to be published in spring 2011. The work will cover his long career in government, from chief of staff under President Gerald R. Ford to vice president under George W. Bush, from Vietnam and Watergate to the Persian Gulf War and the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. Financial terms were not disclosed.

Report Questions Aircraft's Abilities: A revolutionary tilt-rotor aircraft underperformed in Iraq and may fall short in Afghanistan, and the Pentagon should review whether to buy more, the Government Accountability Office said Tuesday in a report. A dozen Marine Corps models of the V-22 Osprey were deployed to Iraq, and the Marines want to take the aircraft to Afghanistan. It flies like a helicopter for takeoffs and landings, then swivels its rotors to gain the speed and range of a fixed-wing aircraft. After receiving the report, the chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform called for halting V-22 production.

-- From News Services

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