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GQ: Hockey star ‘more powerful’ than GOP Congress chiefs

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Alex Ovechkin is in and Senate Minority leader Mitch McConnell is out, or so says GQ’s newest edition of “The 50 Most Powerful People in D.C.”

The magazine snubbed both McConnell and the other top GOP member of Congress: House Minority Leader  U.S. Rep. John Boehner, while including his subordinate, Republican House Whip and Virginia Congressman U.S. Rep. Eric Cantor of Virginia (ranked #23).

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President Obama, First Lady Michelle Obama and Vice President Biden are excluded from the competition. A team of  seven GQ staffers wrote and reported the 2009 version of the list, which gives top billing to Obama’s Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel.

The magazine describes Emanuel as “More, much more, than just the gatekeeper to the president.”

“He knows procedure, he’s ruthlessly pragmatic about what is politically achievable, and he knows how and when to twist arms and call in the many favors he’s owed,” the list says.

Speaker of the House Rep. Nancy Pelosi was the highest-ranked woman on the list, coming in at #8: “Even though her approval ratings have plummeted to 19 percent, Pelosi ably corralled her majority on health care (which moved swiftly through three House committees) and cap and trade,” GQ noted.

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GQ reporter Raha Naddaf told Politico the magazine began with a list of about 200 names,  after collecting input from journalists, congressmen, lobbyists, think tankers and others to compile the biennial list of “the men and women who truly have clout–in a city where a lot of people think they do.”  The reporters say they tried to ensure people wielding all different kinds of power made the cut.

Some members of Congress even scored a spot for their willingness to buck their party: Both Democratic Sen. Ben Nelson of Nebraska and Republican Sen. Olympia Snowe of Maine share 22nd place.

“He’s a pro-life Democrat who voted for Bush’s $1.3 trillion tax cuts, wavered on the stimulus bill, and is playing hardball on health care. She’s a pro-choice Republican who supported the stimulus plan, blamed her colleagues for losing Arlen Specter to the other side, and is the only GOPer on the Finance Committee willing to negotiate on health care. Their status as unpredictable votes means one thing: They have leverage.”

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Others earned the limelight because of hot policy issues. Montana’s Democratic Sen. Max Baucus jumps from oblivion in the 2007 list to fourth place this year.  “Health care? Cap and trade? Light rail? All roads lead through Baucus,” GQ notes.

Even with Democrats controlling the White House and both chambers of Congress, not all Republicans were shunned. Besides Cantor, Oklahoma Republican Sen. Tom Coburn made his first appearance on the list at #28, and former Veep Dick Cheney earned the number 9 slot despite holding no elected office.

“The party is in search of a leader, and something tells us the Dark Lord will be casting his shadow for some time to come,” GQ says of Cheney.

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Hockey player Ovechkin, the star of the Washington Capitals, barely made the cut at #48 — the magazine noted he, along with the Pope and French President Nicolas Sarkozy, have received the keys to Washington from D.C. Mayor Adrian Fenty. Ovechkin still came in 10 slots down from Reggie Love (aka #38 and Obama’s “body man,” the guy who keeps hand sanitizer in his pockets for the President).

Nonetheless, both men snagged spots that could easily have gone to the Boehner and McConnell,  two highest-ranking GOP members of Congress.

Boehner spokesman Michael Steel told POLITICO he wasn’t losing any sleep over it. “GQ’s prejudice against brightly-colored golf sweaters is well known, and it seems to have affected their judgment in this situation,” Steel said.

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Not just Franco: Settling on a final resting place for deceased controversial leaders presents challenges

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Settling on a final resting place for deceased controversial leaders, such as Spain's dictator Francisco Franco whose remains the government wants moved from a state mausoleum, has been troublesome for many countries.

Ahead of a court ruling on Franco's case Tuesday, here are some examples:

- Soviet Union: Joseph Stalin -

On his death in 1953, Stalin was buried in the Moscow mausoleum of his predecessor, Vladimir Lenin.

Eight years later a process of "de-Stalinisation" was launched to dismantle the dictator's personality cult. His remains were quietly transferred to a more modest resting place near the Kremlin, which still attracts diehard communists.

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20,000 apply for chance to ‘vent anger’ at Hong Kong leader

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Hong Kong's embattled leader said Tuesday more than 20,000 people have applied to take part in a dialogue session with her and "vent their anger" at the government after three months of huge pro-democracy protests.

It is the government's first attempt to reach out to the protestors since millions took to the streets in the biggest challenge to China's rule since the city's handover from Britain in 1997.

Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam said Thursday's meeting would be an opportunity for people to have their voices heard but some protesters said they were not interested as their demands are already clear.

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USA mystified by ’15 Donald Trumps’ jibe at Rugby World Cup

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USA coach Gary Gold said he was mystified by a comment from England's Eddie Jones that the Eagles would play like "15 Donald Trumps" when they meet at the Rugby World Cup.

"I've absolutely no idea what he means by that," Gold said, ahead of Thursday's game in Kobe.

"We're just a team that's really got to focus on our own processes at the moment. We've got to worry about what we do when we get onto the rugby field.

"At this stage, with all due respect, we're not a good enough rugby team to be making comments or answers to questions like that. I don't know what it means."

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