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Liberal leadership race heats up

In the wake of Stephane Dion's pledge to step down as Liberal leader at the party convention to be held at the end of April, the campaign to replace him has begun. The first all-candidates forum was held last weekend amidst complaints from leadership hopeful Member of Parliament Bob Rae that reporters should be allowed in. Rae blamed fellow candidate Michael Ignatieff for the lack of media, refused to participate and left. The debate went on without him. The Liberal Party might have another debate in which journalists would be allowed to attend if all the candidates agree on the rules.

Space shuttle Endeavour docks

The space shuttle Endeavour safely docked with the international space station Sunday. While in space, Endeavour's crew of seven will double the living space aboard the international space station to make room for six instead of three. They will add an additional bathroom, sleeping space and a new fridge. The crew will also take part in four spacewalks, one of which involves repairing the mechanical joint that allows astronauts inside the station to position the station's solar panels. NASA engineers are confident that the shuttle went undamaged during launch after carefully examining video footage and believe that the mission will be a success.

Wildfires rage across California

Firefighters continue to fight three wildfires that broke out near Los Angeles on Saturday. The fires spread quickly due to dry conditions and heavy winds. California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger declared a state of emergency in the affected areas. About 9,000 hectares have burned, 50,000 people evacuated and more than 800 homes were destroyed as the wildfires reached inhabited areas. Firefighters hope to get the fires under control as winds calm down. Wildfires are a common occurrence in California in November, however, this year's have been particularly destructive.

New mandate in Iraq

The Iraqi cabinet approved a troop deal with the U.S. The deal was negotiated to replace the UN mandate that will expire in six weeks time. It will result in Iraqi authorities having greater say over American troops who are no longer allowed to perform raids on neighbouring countries like Iran. The deal also states American troops will scale back their operations in the Iraqi countryside with an withdrawal deadline of December 2011. The deal has not yet passed through the Iraqi parliament.

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