Workers at the Illinois Capitol building wasted little time Thursday night changing the face of state government, shortly after Gov. Pat Quinn replaced the ousted Rod Blagojevich. The Illinois Senate voted unanimously on Thursday to remove Blagojevich from office. After the vote, the “welcome” sign with Blagojevich’s face, which visitors saw as they entered the Capitol in Springfield, was quickly brought down. Workers also removed the former governor’s official state picture positioned atop a state outline and a silhouette of Abraham Lincoln. CNN
The economy shrank at a 3.8 percent pace at the end of 2008, the worst showing in a quarter-century. Although the initial result was better than economists expected — economists had forecast a 5.4 percent decline — the figure is likely to be revised even lower in the months ahead and some believe the economy is contracting in the current quarter at an even faster pace.
Exxon Mobil has reported a profit of $45.2 billion for 2008, breaking its own record for full-year earnings by a public U.S. company. The previous record for annual profit was $40.6 billion, which Exxon Mobil set in 2007. Fourth-quarter profits, however, tumbled 33 percent, which isn’t a surprise considering oil’s swift 60 percent plunge in the final three months of the year.
For the first time on Tuesday — $155,000 and a disgraced Korean scientist later — the Ottos of Boca Raton, Fla., met what they hope is the yellow Labrador retriever they had lived with for 11 years. The 10-week-old puppy, aptly named Sir Lancelot Encore, is a genetic clone created in South Korea by a California biotech company from the DNA of the couple’s beloved dog Sir Lancelot, who died last year. The first successful mammal cloned from adult cells was Dolly the sheep in 1996. Scientists have since cloned a growing number of animals, from cats to cows, opening doors that have allowed for the production of life-saving human pharmaceuticals and the creation of dependably hearty livestock. But pet owners have found that while the clone may look like their favorite cat or dog, it does not act like the original. ABC News
Mount Redoubt, the Alaskan volcano expected to erupt at any time, is getting a bit more edgy.
The Alaska Volcano Observatory said in a statement Friday “volcanic tremor” has increased in “amplitude.” The activity on the 10,197-foot peak is “more energetic than that of the previous several days. However, it is still less vigorous than that observed last weekend,” the observatory said. Peter Cervelli, a research geophysicist with the observatory, told CNN that “every indication is that we’re heading toward an eruption.” CNN