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AROUND THE NATION

White House to seek increase in debt limit

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Obama administration says the government has nearly reached its borrowing limit -- again.

Treasury officials said Tuesday that the White House plans to request another $1.2 trillion in borrowing authority Friday because the government will be within $100 billion of its current limit by then.

In the past, such a request would be routinely approved by Congress. But this one follows a summer of intense partisan debate over the nation's record debt, a debate that continues despite a last-minute deal reached in August that averted a potential default.

The increase would boost the debt limit to $16.4 trillion. Congress and the Obama administration agreed to raise it to that level in three steps as part of the August deal.

Congress can reject the request, although Obama can veto their objection. If Congress doesn't act by Jan. 14, the increase will take place automatically.

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Obama, Clinton top list of most-admired

WASHINGTON -- President Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton were named the most-admired man and woman in the world in 2011, according to a Gallup survey of Americans.

Seventeen percent named Clinton, the top choice by 10 percentage points over Oprah Winfrey. Clinton, the former first lady, has been the most admired woman in the poll a record 16 times.

Sarah Palin was the choice of 4 percent, just behind first lady Michelle Obama. Last year, 12 percent identified Palin as the most-admired woman.

Obama was mentioned by 17 percent of those surveyed, well ahead of former Presidents George W. Bush (3 percent) and Bill Clinton (2 percent). GOP presidential hopeful Newt Gingrich was named by 1 percent, as was would-be candidate Donald Trump and Pope Benedict XVI.

Gallup's survey of 1,019 adults was conducted Dec. 15-18 and has a margin of error of 4 percentage points.

-- Los Angeles Times

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Sexual assaults up at military academies

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) -- The number of reported sexual assaults at the nation's three major military academies rose in the 2010-11 academic year from one year earlier, according to a Pentagon report Tuesday.

There were 65 reports of sexual assault at the U.S. Naval Academy, the U.S. Military Academy and the U.S. Air Force Academy. That was up from 41 reports in the prior academic year.

"This is a leadership issue, first and foremost, so I also expect us to lead with integrity and with energy to eliminate sexual assault and harassment from our culture," Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said.

The annual report was mandated in the 2007 John Warner National Defense Authorization Act.