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In the Nation

Gore and Obama to discuss climate

CHICAGO - Former Vice President Al Gore will meet today in Chicago with President-elect Barack Obama before Gore heads to Poland, where delegates from about 190 countries are gathered to debate a new global climate-change treaty.

Gore, Obama and Vice President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr. will discuss energy and climate change and how to use policies in those areas to boost the economy, Obama's transition office said. They plan to make a statement afterward.

Gore, a Nobel Peace Prize winner for raising awareness about global warming, has said in the past that he could be most effective influencing the climate debate as a private citizen and is not interested in taking an administration post.

- Bloomberg News

Got a second? Now, you do

WASHINGTON - With a brutal economic slowdown, 2008 may feel as if it will never end. Now the world's timekeepers are making it even longer by adding a leap second to the last day of the year.

Earth itself is slowing down, requiring timekeepers to add an extra second to atomic clocks to keep in sync with Earth's slightly slowing rotation. So an extra second will be tacked on to Dec. 31 after 6:59:59 p.m. and before 7 p.m. EST.

The extra second will make 2008 - already long with an extra day on Feb. 29 - the longest year since 1992.

The decision was made by an international consortium of timekeepers, whose American arm announced it yesterday. World commerce and digital technology depend on accurate, to-the-second timekeeping, said Geoff Chester, spokesman for the U.S. Naval Observatory, responsible for one-third of the world's atomic clocks.

- AP

U.S. use of transit posts steep rise

NEW YORK - Ridership on U.S. mass-transit systems rose the most in 25 years in the third quarter as record gas prices led more people to use buses, subways and trains, the American Public Transportation Association said yesterday.

More than 10.3 billion trips were taken on mass transit in 2007, the highest number in half a century, and the trend has continued this year. Ridership rose 3.4 percent in the first quarter of 2008 from a year earlier, 5.2 percent in the second quarter, and 6.5 percent in the third, the Washington-based trade group said.

Gas prices have dropped significantly since the end of the third quarter, yet Bill Millar, the association's president, said he expected transit use to rise in the fourth quarter.

- Bloomberg News


Rep. Vito Fossella

(R., N.Y.) was sentenced in Alexandria, Va., yesterday to five days in jail for drunken driving. Fossella's lawyers said they would appeal. His May 1 arrest led to revelations he had fathered a child through an extramarital affair, and he chose not to seek reelection.

A military fighter jet

preparing to land at a Marine base crashed yesterday in a densely populated San Diego neighborhood, killing three people on the ground and destroying two houses, officials said. The pilot ejected safely.

Ten people were hurt

yesterday after an Amtrak train bound from St. Louis to Chicago hit a tractor-trailer in southern Illinois and derailed.