Obama wins, as expected
WASHINGTON -- President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden will serve another term in the White House. Although that may seem like old news, a joint session of Congress confirmed the Democratic ticket's victory Friday, tallying the ballots from the Electoral College to officially declare Mr. Obama the winner with 332 electoral votes to Mitt Romney's 206 votes.
Capping off a week that started with an 11th-hour resolution to the fiscal impasse by the departing Congress, the session offered a moment of tradition as the new Congress, fresh from the swearing-in ceremonies Thursday, fulfilled the constitutionally mandated practice of certifying the presidential election results.
Mississippi seen navigable
ST. LOUIS -- The drought-depleted Mississippi River will remain safe for barge traffic at least for the next week and possibly until Jan. 26, as the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers makes progress in removing submerged rocks.
Mike Petersen, a Corps spokesman, said water levels near the so-called rock pinnacles at Thebes in southern Illinois will remain above 10 feet through Thursday. Expedited work to remove the obstacles will add an additional two feet of depth to the channel by Friday, he said Thursday.
Retired Rep. wants interim job
WASHINGTON -- Financial executives and Capitol Hill colleagues who thought they had seen the last of sharp-tongued Rep. Barney Frank holding court from atop a congressional dais might face him again soon -- if only for a short while.
The outspoken Massachusetts Democrat, whose 16 terms in the House officially ended this week, said Friday he wanted to be the interim replacement for Sen. John F. Kerry, D-Mass.
President Barack Obama has nominated Mr. Kerry to succeed Hillary Rodham Clinton as secretary of state. If Mr. Kerry is confirmed, as expected, Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick, a Democrat, would appoint someone to hold the seat until a special election could be held a few months later.
Senator pleads to DUI
ALEXANDRIA, Va. -- U.S. Sen. Michael Crapo pleaded guilty Friday to a charge of driving while intoxicated and then apologized for his actions and asked forgiveness from his constituents.
The Idaho Republican said nothing during a brief appearance in Alexandria General District Court, where he pleaded guilty to the misdemeanor and was ordered to pay a $250 fine and complete an alcohol safety program. He also agreed to a 12-month suspension of his driver's license.
The sentence is typical for first-time drunken-driving offenders in Virginia.
Pilot arrested at Minn. airport
MINNEAPOLIS -- An American Eagle pilot was suspended after failing a blood-alcohol test as he prepared to fly on Friday from Minneapolis to New York City, authorities said.
Police at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport said officers and a Transportation Security Administration agent smelled alcohol as they passed the pilot waiting to get on an elevator. The pilot was conducting preflight checks at about 6 a.m. when police boarded the aircraft, airport spokesman Patrick Hogan said.
Officers made him take a breath test and arrested him on suspicion of being under the influence of alcohol, Mr. Hogan said. Passengers had not yet boarded the flight to New York's LaGuardia Airport, he said.
Mr. Hogan said airport police will wait until blood tests are processed before deciding whether to file charges against the pilot, whom police identified as 48-year-old Kolbjorn Jarle Kristiansen. He was released to airline employees several hours after his arrest.