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The Nation In Brief

Clinton cranks up rhetoric against Obama


Hillary Rodham Clinton suggested Monday that Barack Obama has too little experience and perhaps too much ambition, pressing an increasingly aggressive campaign against her chief rival for the Democratic presidential nomination.

Both candidates were in Iowa, one month before the nation's leadoff caucuses with new polls showing Obama had whittled away her early lead and they were virtually tied among Democrats in the state.

"So you decide which makes more sense: Entrust our country to someone who is ready on day one ... or to put America in the hands of someone with little national or international experience, who started running for president the day he arrived in the U.S. Senate," Clinton said.

For the second day in a row, the New York senator and former first lady turned up the heat in her race with the Illinois senator.

Her rhetoric &

and countercharges from Obama &

underscored the tightness of a race in which polls show a dead heat between them, with former Sen. John Edwards of North Carolina also in strong contention. Many Iowa caucus goers say they still haven't made up their minds or could yet change them.

Chimp beats college kids in game


Think you're smarter than a fifth-grader? How about a 5-year-old chimp? Japanese researchers pitted young chimps against human adults in tests of short-term memory, and overall, the chimps won.

That challenges the belief of many people, including many scientists, that "humans are superior to chimpanzees in all cognitive functions," said researcher Tetsuro Matsuzawa of Kyoto University.

Matsuzawa, a pioneer in studying the mental abilities of chimps, said even he was surprised. He and colleague Sana Inoue report the results in Tuesday's issue of the journal Current Biology.

One memory test included three 5-year-old chimps who'd been taught the order of Arabic numerals — through 9, and a dozen human volunteers.

They saw nine numbers displayed on a computer screen. When they touched the first number, the other eight turned into white squares. The test was to touch all these squares in the order of the numbers that used to be there.

Results showed that the chimps, while no more accurate than the people, could do this faster.

Love Hewitt photos ridiculed on the Web


An angry Jennifer Love Hewitt is defending her curves after photos of her in a bikini were ridiculed on the Internet. "I've sat by in silence for a long time now about the way women's bodies are constantly scrutinized," the 28-year-old actress writes on her Web site.

"To set the record straight, I'm not upset for me, but for all the girls out there that are struggling with their body image."

The photos show Hewitt, with a bit of cellulite, on a Hawaii beach with her new fiance, Scottish actor Ross McCall.

Several sites posted the shots, along with some less-than-complimentary comments. TMZ.com, for example, said, "We know what you ate this summer, Love &


"A size 2 is not fat! Nor will it ever be," Hewitt responded in a post Thursday. "And being a size 0 doesn't make you beautiful."

GM, Chrysler down, Honda up


Automakers reported mixed U.S. sales results for November on Monday, with some new or more fuel-efficient models performing well despite consumer malaise over high gas prices and the weak economy.

But even with rising sales of small cars and crossovers, the industry is predicting things will get worse in 2008. General Motors Corp. said Monday it is cutting scheduled first-quarter production by 11 percent, while Ford Motor Co. said it would cut scheduled production by 7 percent. Ford's top U.S. sales analyst, George Pipas, said the automaker is predicting sales will be at their slowest pace in a decade in the first half of 2008.

"" The Associated Press

Shares of automakers fell. GM dropped $1.22, or 4 percent, to $28.61 in trading Monday, and Ford shares declined 26 cents, or 3.5 percent, to $7.25. Toyota shares fell $1.53, or 1.4 percent, to $110.92. Shares of Nissan declined 23 cents, or — percent, to $22.67, and Honda shares dropped 92 cents, or 2.7 percent, to $33.49.

GM, the biggest automaker by U.S. sales, said its November sales dropped 11 percent, hurt by falling demand for trucks as well as cuts in sales to low-profit rental car fleets, while Chrysler LLC said sales fell 2 percent. Ford and Toyota Motor Corp. both reported flat sales for the month. Honda Motor Co.'s sales were up 5 percent while Nissan Motor Co.'s sales rose 6 percent.

"Rising fuel prices and sliding home values delivered a one-two punch this month," Jim Lentz, executive vice president of Toyota's U.S. sales arm, said in a statement. "But the industry's not down for the count. Demand for fresh, more fuel-efficient products continues to show strength."