Nation in brief: F-14 pilot heads Pacific Command

TUESDAY, OCT. 20, 2009

CAMP H.M. SMITH, Hawaii – A fighter pilot who headed the Navy in the Pacific and made a cameo appearance as a Tom Cruise foe in “Top Gun” has taken over as the top U.S. military commander in Asia and the Pacific.

Adm. Robert F. Willard assumed control of the U.S. Pacific Command on Monday.

The F-14 fighter pilot spent the last two years heading the U.S. Pacific Fleet. At the Pacific Command, he’ll lead all branches of the military in the Asia-Pacific, from California to the Indian Ocean, and will be in charge of some 325,000 personnel.

First-class postage won’t go up in ’10

WASHINGTON – The price of first-class stamps will not go up next year.

The Postal Service has been implementing rate increases annually in recent years. The rate went from 42 cents to 44 cents this year.

But Postmaster General John E. Potter said in an internal postal memorandum that there will be no rise in prices next year for products in which the agency dominates the market, such as first-class mail.

‘Apprentice’ could influence jury pool

CHICAGO – Prosecutors said Monday they are worried about what ousted Gov. Rod Blagojevich might say on Donald Trump’s “Celebrity Apprentice” TV show that could taint the jury pool for his federal corruption trial.

The show is likely to air just as jurors are being qualified for the trial, which is scheduled to start June 3, prosecutors told U.S. District Judge James B. Zagel.

Blagojevich has “repeatedly commented on the evidence” in TV and radio appearances since he was indicted on charges of scheming to trade or sell President Barack Obama’s former U.S. Senate seat, Assistant U.S. Attorney Reid Schar said.


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