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In the Nation


President and family begin vacation

President Obama confessed in his year-end news conference that he was "eager to skip town." He did just that this weekend, jetting to his birthplace of Hawaii for his annual surfside respite.

The president, smiling and visibly relaxed, stepped off Air Force One and onto a warm and breezy Honolulu tarmac shortly before midnight Friday. He was accompanied by his wife, Michelle; their daughters, Malia and Sasha; his mother-in-law, Marian Robinson; and the family dogs, Bo and Sunny.

The presidential motorcade ferried the Obamas across Oahu to the neighborhood of Kailua, where they again have rented a private home for a 17-day vacation. As always, events may intervene, but aides say the president is looking forward to rest and relaxation. Obama plans to gather with extended family and friends - and perfect his golf game. - Washington Post


Gay marriage ruling

A day after a judge's surprise ruling overturned Utah's same-sex marriage ban, at least one county clerk intended to open early Saturday to issue licenses. About 40 minutes north of Salt Lake City, 300 or so people showed up at the Weber County Clerk's Office on Saturday afternoon but were turned away without marriage licenses. Clerk Ricky Hatch apologized and said that county officials had told him that opening for special circumstances may violate constitutional guarantees of equal protection. - AP

Investigator killed

An Illinois sheriff's investigator was fatally shot while trying to break up an armed robbery outside a family Christmas party, authorities said Saturday. Cuauhtemoc Estrada, 50, died Friday night outside a VFW hall in Bellwood, about 13 miles from downtown Chicago. Estrada, a former Marine, had been with the Cook County Sheriff's Office department for more than 20 years. - AP