So how are those efforts to close Gitmo going?

Throughout his first term, many of President Obama's disappointed supporters charged that his administration had never really followed through on efforts to implement his January 2009 executive order closing the detention center at Guantanamo Bay. Whether due to congressional resistance or the difficulty of finding countries to take in detainees, the issue seemed to have faded as a priority. But in the last month of his presidential campaign, Obama surprised many by insisting to Jon Stewart that closing Gitmo was still on his agenda: 

“I still want to close Guantanamo,” Obama said in an interview for “The Daily Show with Jon Stewart,” according to a media pool report. “We haven’t been able to get that through Congress.”

“One of the things we have to do is put a legal architecture in place, and we need Congressional help to do that,” Obama said, adding that “any President’s reined in in terms of some of the decisions we’re making.”

So what's happened since then?

On January 4, he put aside a threatened veto and signed a Defense Authorization bill putting severe restrictions on his ability to relocate detainees out of Guantanamo.

And yesterday, as the trial of alleged 9/11 plotter Khalid Sheikh Mohammed resumes at Guantanamo, it was announced that Daniel Fried, the veteran diplomat who had been working on the thankless task of repatriating detainees, was reassigned by the State Department and is now being replaced.

The opening days of Obama's second term have brought developments on long dormant issues including gun control, women in the military, immigration reform, and at least a rhetorical nod to climate change. But there don't seem to be many indications so far that the administration is putting Gitmo back on the table.


Finance minister: Zimbabwe has $217 left in the bank

Though economic conditions have improved in Zimbabwe since the days of 231 million percent inflation, this week brought some pretty disturbing news

After paying public workers' salaries last week, the balance in cash-strapped Zimbabwe's government public account stood at just $217, Finance Minister Tendai Biti said Tuesday.

"Last week when we paid civil servants there was $217 (left) in government coffers," Biti told journalists in the capital Harare, claiming some of them had healthier bank balances than the state.

"The government finances are in paralysis state at the present moment. We are failing to meet our targets."

It's hard to think of a public servant than a less enviable job than Biti's, but despite this week's news, he deserves some credit for a pretty remarkable turnaround. The inflation that made the country world famous is now under control, thanks to his decision to abolish the country's currency. And there's been GDP growth every year since he came into office following a decade of contraction. 

Nonetheless, the state's cash flow problem is made more dire by the international sanctions on Robert Mugabe's government -- Biti is allied with the opposition Movement for Democratic Change -- which may make it harder to borrow the funds need to keep the state operating. The constitutional referendum and elections scheduled for this year, which are estimated to cost at least $104 million, will also not help.