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In brief

Even Goofy gets Bieber fever Justin Bieber poses with Santa Goofy during a break while taping a performance segment for the ‘Disney Parks Christmas Day Parade’ TV special at the Magic Kingdom park at Walt Disney World in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. on Saturday.

AP PHOTO
SIOUX FALLS, S.D. McGovern is hospitalized

Former Democratic presidential candidate George McGovern was alert, comfortable and in stable condition at a South Dakota hospital Saturday after hitting his head during a fall, hospital officials said.

The 89-year-old former U.S. senator was taken by helicopter to a Sioux Falls hospital late Friday after falling outside Dakota Wesleyan University’s McGovern Library in Mitchell. A school official said McGovern hit his head on the pavement about two hours before he was scheduled to appear on a live C-SPAN interview at the library.

The statement said McGovern was in stable condition, though no other details were released.

The former South Dakota senator has lived in St. Augustine, Fla., since 2008 but also has a home in Mitchell.

McGovern was elected to his first of three terms in the Senate in 1962. Though he later lost the 1972 presidential race to Richard Nixon, he continued to distinguish himself during his political career and was a lifelong advocate for U.S. and world food programs.

CHICAGO Sentencing for ex-governor

As Rod Blagojevich steps before a sentencing judge, the impeached Illinois governor might do well to suppress the cocksure, perpetual campaigner in him and conjure up a lesser-known figure: The humble, contrite family man.

Whether he can pull that off at the hearing beginning Tuesday may play a role in determining the sentence imposed for his 18 convictions, including that Blagojevich sought to auction off the Senate seat Barack Obama was vacating to become president.

The former governor has never wavered in insisting on his innocence, from his celebrity turns on national television to his gabby days on the witness stand. But even a hint of obstinacy in court could anger Judge James Zagel and scuttle any hopes Blagojevich harbors of a lesser sentence.

CAIRO Victors reassure people

Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood, emerging as the biggest winner in the first round of parliamentary elections, sought Saturday to reassure Egyptians that it would not sacrifice personal freedoms in promoting Islamic law.

The deputy head of the Brotherhood’s new political party, Essam el-Erian, told The Associated Press in a telephone interview that the group is not interested in imposing Islamic values on Egypt, home to a sizable Christian minority and others who object to being subject to strict Islamic codes.

“We represent a moderate and fair party,” el-Erian said of his Freedom and Justice Party.

CARACAS, Venezuela Leaders form new bloc

Leaders from across Latin America and the Caribbean pledged closer ties to safeguard their economies from the world financial crisis as they formed a new bloc on Saturday including every nation in the hemisphere except the U.S. and Canada.

Several presidents stressed during the two-day summit that they hope to ride out turbulent times by boosting local industries and increasing trade within the region.

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