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Front Page: Tornadoes, American Airlines, Petraeus Day Two, Nepal

  • Several tornadoes ripped through West Texas and Oklahoma last night. Winds of up to 70 mph and heavy rains left one dead, at least five houses destroyed, and 3,500 without power. Flooding caused the Oklahoma Department of Transportation to close five highways in the state, while Arkansas also saw flash flooding.
  • American Airlines has canceled 900 additional flights today as it continues to perform safety inspections on certain jets. It's the third consecutive day of cancellations for American Airlines, who also canceled 1,094 flights on Wednesday and 460 flights the day before.
  • General Petraeus, the top American commander in Iraq, remained consistent in his second day of testimony before Congress with his recommendation to suspend troop reductions in Iraq. The recommendation shows that Iraqi forces remain unprepared to take over the mission of securing their own nation. Some questioning Petraeus became frustrated as he steadfastly declined to specify what conditions would need to be present on the ground before he would endorse withdrawals to take the number of American troops far below the 140,000 set to remain there after July. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid expressed his frustration saying, “based on everything we have heard, we can reach only one conclusion: With 160,000 courageous American troops serving in Iraq, President Bush has an exit strategy for just one man — himself — on Jan. 20, 2009.”
  • Voters in Nepal have cast ballots in historic elections, the first since 1999. At question is an assembly that is expected to rewrite Nepal's constitution and abolish its monarchy. Polling was mostly peaceful, although one person was killed in election-related violence. Results are expected over the next 10 days.
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