4:16pm

Mon December 19, 2011
Newt Gingrich

To Win Over Iowans, Gingrich Aims At Judges

In the final leg of the campaign in Iowa, the Republican presidential candidates are talking about judges. No one has made them a bigger issue than Newt Gingrich.

Overhauling the judiciary has become one of his key proposals on the stump.

Conservatives have used "activist judges" as a battle cry for many election cycles now. But in Iowa, the issue has special resonance since the judiciary became a potent political issue two years ago.

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4:12pm

Mon December 19, 2011
North Korea In Transition

North Korea's Likely Leader: Young And Untested

Originally published on Mon December 19, 2011 5:10 pm

Kim Jong Un, who is expected to become North Korea's next leader, claps after inspecting the construction site of a power station. This undated photo was released by the Korean Central News Agency on Nov. 4, 2010.
AP

North Korea has yet to formally name its new leader, and it may take a while before it does. But there's a clear favorite. Kim Jong Un was anointed back in 2009 to succeed his father, Kim Jong Il, the country's longtime leader, whose death was announced on Monday.

If Kim does follow his father and grandfather as ruler of the secretive nation, he will face huge challenges. He's not yet 30 years old, and yet would be running a society that inherently favors leaders seen as experienced and wise, rather than young and untested.

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3:38pm

Mon December 19, 2011
The Commonwealth

Coal Severance Funding to Benefit Union College

Gov. Steve Beshear Monday announced $1.5 million in multi-county coal severance funding to benefit Union College’s Nursing and Health Sciences Program. The funds will help renovate the former Knox County Hospital to serve as a new facility for Union College’s academic nursing and health science programs. Union College will now use the rehabilitated facility as a center for academic programs including physics, chemistry, biology, health and human performance instruction and general classroom and lab space.

3:27pm

Mon December 19, 2011
State Capitol

Protesters Visit Beshear and Bring Coal

Governor Steve Beshear got an early Christmas gift from anti-mountaintop removal activists today. Protesters spent several hours in the governor’s office waiting for a chance to present him with lumps of coal. The protest was an extension of a weekly event that’s been going on since February, but this time it had a holiday twist. Lexington teacher Martin Mudd dressed up as Santa Claus, and says he brought gifts for the governor.

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3:24pm

Mon December 19, 2011
The Commonwealth

Lawmakers Hope to Toughen Sex Trafficking Laws

As preparations continue for February’s Super Bowl in Indianapolis, state lawmakers will try to move quickly on legislation that would impose tougher penalties for human trafficking. Governor Mitch Daniels says he’ll support any measure that severely punishes anyone who promotes teenage prostitution during Super Bowl festivities or any other time.

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3:23pm

Mon December 19, 2011
The Salt

To Party Like A Rock Star, They Suggest Buying Their Booze

Originally published on Thu January 5, 2012 5:40 pm

At the national release of "AC/DC The Wine" in Melbourne, varieties included Back in Black Shiraz, Highway to Hell Cabernet Sauvignon and You Shook Me All Night Long Moscato.
William West AFP/Getty Images

The year 2011, it seems, was a good one for celebrity booze. The famous fellows who launched their own labels this year weren't your run-of-the-mill rappers touting trendy liquors or champagnes, though. (I'm looking at you, Diddy.) Instead, several aging rockers, a professional athlete, and an actor decided the time had come to hawk wine, spirits or beer.

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3:20pm

Mon December 19, 2011
The Commonwealth

Injured State Trooper Receives Award

State Sen. Julian Carroll, left, and KSP Commissioner Rodney Brewer, right, present the award to Glen Franklin, center.

Gov. Steve Beshear joined Kentucky State Police in honoring Trooper Stewart (Glen) Franklin with the Guthrie Crowe Award. This award is bestowed upon officers who have sustained a severe wound or injury while serving in the line of duty. The honor stems from a 1972 incident in Franklin County when Trooper Franklin was involved in an undercover arrest of a bootlegger. During the arrest, Trooper Franklin was shot at close range with a .22 caliber revolver causing permanent paralysis to his lower extremities.

3:17pm

Mon December 19, 2011
Education

Kentucky Hopes to Share Education Grant

The Kentucky Department of Education (KDE) expects to hear this week whether the state will be awarded a Race to the Top consolation grant. KDE learned last week that it will not receive any of the $500 million of federal funding for early childhood education. Kentucky is now one of seven states, which have failed to win a grant in the first two phases that will potentially share some of the $200 million available in phase three, said Lisa Gross, spokeswoman with the Kentucky Department of Education.

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3:10pm

Mon December 19, 2011
North Korea In Transition

U.S. Treads Cautiously With North Korean Transition

Originally published on Mon December 19, 2011 8:19 pm

North Korean residents line up to receive food rations at a Red Cross distribution center in Tongsin, North Korea, in 1997. Discussions over U.S. food aid to the reclusive country were to take place Monday. "You could, in a very real sense, see the needs for food assistance," said an official with Mercy Corps, after a September 2011 visit to the country.
Lasse Norgaard AP

The changing of the guard in North Korea poses clear risks for the United States.

Kim Jong Il's son Kim Jong Un is the likely successor. But he's still in his 20s and has had little time to prepare to take over the country. Analysts say that because he's weak, he won't be in any position to get back to nuclear disarmament talks and make concessions.

Kim Jong Un may also be tempted to take provocative actions to establish his leadership credentials, and the Obama administration has to take all this into account as it decides on next steps.

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3:08pm

Mon December 19, 2011
The Commonwealth

Proposed Immigration Law Concerns Businesses

Proposed state legislation is being characterized by some as potentially forcing businesses to "police" illegal immigration. The legislation, proposed by state Rep. Stan Lee, R-Lexington, would essentially require businesses to use the federal E-Verify computer check system to see if employees are legally in the country. As a consequence of hiring illegal immigrants, a business could lose its license to operate in the state for up to six months.

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