Militants press effort to topple government
Somali militants linked to al-Qaida briefly asserted control over Mogadishu's most strategic road Saturday, escalating their efforts to overthrow the U.S.-backed transitional government in a region where Islamic radicalism is gaining strength. Never have the radical al-Shabab militiamen attacked so near Somalia's halls of power as they have last week, bringing them closer to their desire to create a Talibanlike Islamic emirate to export jihad abroad.
Obamas wrap up 10-day vacation
President Barack Obama wrapped up a 10-day vacation Saturday that was blissfully free of the news emergencies that have interrupted some of his past getaways. Grim economic reports cast an inescapable shadow over the first family's stay in Martha's Vineyard, and tough tasks on Iraq and the Middle East await the president in Washington after a stop in New Orleans today on the fifth anniversary of Hurricane Katrina. But during his vacation, the president never once had to shed his leisure wear to step in front of the podium and address a national emergency or matter of state. On his first extended presidential vacation, last August's Martha's Vineyard trip, Sen. Edward M. Kennedy's death required Obama to leave for the funeral. Also last year, Obama renominated Ben Bernanke as Federal Reserve chairman.
MOUNT AIRY, N.C.
Goober's suit is enshrined
Goober's suit came Friday to the foothills town that inspired television's Mayberry and was instantly enshrined in a museum. Don't laugh — actor George Lindsey's costume attracted overflow crowds at the Andy Griffith Museum, both a shrine to the namesake favorite son and part of a Mayberry renaissance powering the economy in Mount Airy, population 10,800. As Surry County's textile and furniture manufacturing base withered from foreign competition over the last two decades, tourism has come to replace it. Mount Airy's quaint downtown 100 miles north of Charlotte, N.C., has grown into a Mayberry theme park based on the rural hamlet in The Andy Griffith Show, a No. 1 show on CBS from 1960 to 1968.
Senate race set for Byrd's old seat
Popular Gov. Joe Manchin won the Democratic nomination on Saturday and will face Republican primary winner and wealthy businessman John Raese in the race to fill the Senate seat vacated by the late Robert C. Byrd. Raese defeated a crowded field of Republicans and becomes part of the GOP quest to dismantle the Democratic Senate majority as high unemployment and the slow economic recovery take a toll. In Louisiana, Republican Sen. David Vitter will face Democratic Rep. Charlie Melancon in a Senate race in November.