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In brief: Obama picks new envoy to Russia

WASHINGTON – President Barack Obama plans to nominate his top Russia adviser as the next U.S. ambassador to that country, a man who helped the administration’s work to “reset” the two countries’ relationship.

A senior administration official on Sunday confirmed the choice of Michael McFaul. That would be a departure from standard practice because McFaul is not a career diplomat.

The administration official spoke on condition of anonymity to speak ahead of a formal announcement. The choice was first reported by the New York Times.

McFaul is considered one of the nation’s foremost experts on U.S.-Russia relations and has become a trusted policy adviser as the president has sought to ease long-standing tensions with Russia. Among the recent moves to begin the relationship anew is the signing of the New START treaty to reduce strategic warheads.

McFaul, a fellow at Stanford University’s Hoover Institution and a political science professor, would replace U.S. Ambassador John Beyrle.

Next aircraft carrier will honor JFK

NEWPORT NEWS, Va. – Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus says the nation’s next aircraft carrier will be named the John F. Kennedy.

Mabus announced the honor Sunday in memory of the 35th president. The nuclear-powered ship will be built at Newport News Shipbuilding in Virginia.

Mabus said the naming of the next Gerald R. Ford-class carrier in Kennedy’s honor pays tribute to the late president’s service in the Navy. As commander of PT 109, Kennedy led his crew to safety after his ship was struck and split in half by an enemy ship in the Pacific.

This will be the second aircraft carrier named after Kennedy. The USS John F. Kennedy was decommissioned in 2007.

Former Texas Gov. Clements, 94, dies

AUSTIN, Texas – Former Texas Gov. Bill Clements, who in 1979 became the state’s first Republican elected governor since Reconstruction, has died at 94, his family said.

Clements, whose belief that state government should operate like a big business helped change the face of Texas politics, died Sunday after what his family said was a brief stay at a Dallas-area hospital.

Clements served two terms as governor despite losing his first re-election bid.


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