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As the fighting continues in Gaza, Barack Obama is choosing a team to deal with the Middle East, including Iran. Today he repeated his campaign pledge to rely on diplomacy. Will that mean a new approach to Arabs and Muslims or are his likely advisors committed to Israeli interests above all? Also, 2008 saw historic job losses, and Governor Rod Blagojevich may stand trial before the Illinois State Senate on charges of abusing his powers.

Banner image: Palestinian reporters rush for safety following an Israeli air strike on a building housing several media offices in Gaza City on January 9, 2009. Photo: Mohammed Abed/AFP/Getty Images



Frances Anderton
Gary Scott
Christian Bordal

Making News Unemployment Jumps over the Moon 6 MIN

The government reported today that 2.6 million Americans lost their jobs during 2008, more than in any single year since World War II. President-elect Obama says that's further evidence of how much the nation needs his stimulus program. He was asked about concerns from some economists and some Democrats in Washington that his plan is not big enough. David Goldman is a staff writer for CNNMoney.com.

David Goldman, Staff Writer, CNNMoney.com

Main Topic Barack Obama, the Middle East and Iran 36 MIN, 43 SEC

Israel and Hamas have rebuffed peace overtures, and the fighting in Gaza goes on, with President-elect Obama in the midst of choosing his foreign policy team. Israel says Iran is behind Hamas' rocket fire, and Obama today called Iran a "genuine threat" to America's national security.  But he also repeated his campaign pledge to rely on diplomacy in the region, adding that "my national security team is a reflection of that practical, pragmatic approach to foreign policy." We hear about his most likely advisors.  Will they open up to Arab and Muslim interests or continue the hard-line, pro-Israel line of the Bush Administration? 

Ceci Connolly, National Health Policy Reporter, Washington Post
Trita Parsi, National Iranian American Council (@tparsi)
Daniel Levy, European Council on Foreign Relations (@ecfr)
Robert Malley, International Crisis Group (@Rob_Malley)
David Makovsky, Washington Institute for Near East Policy

Myths, Illusions and Peace

David Makovsky and Dennis Ross

Reporter's Notebook Blagojevich Is Impeached 5 MIN, 45 SEC

Rod Blagojevich is accused of trying to sell the appointment to Barack Obama's US Senate seat, but he hasn't been formally charged, let alone convicted.  Nonetheless, the state's House of Representatives impeached him today by a vote of 114 to one. The Illinois Governor says he won't step down, and that means he's likely to be tried by the State Senate.  John Chase reports for the Chicago Tribune.

John Chase, Chicago Tribune


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