Top Stories: Worldwide

The following are the day's top general news stories:

1. Ex-Obama Chief Emanuel Can Run for Chicago Mayor, Top Illinois Court Says 2. Fannie, Freddie Candidate for Overseer Joseph Smith Said to Withdraw Name 3. Hong Kong Is World's Most Expensive Place to Buy Home on Property Shortage 4. Pet-Name Passwords May Fade as U.S. Explores Fingerprints for Security 5. Presidential Campaign Ads Will Run in Primary States During NFL's Pro Bowl

1. Ex-Obama Chief Emanuel Can Run for Chicago Mayor, Top Illinois Court Says

Rahm Emanuel, President Barack Obama´s former chief of staff, can remain on the ballot for Chicago´s Feb. 22 mayoral election, the Illinois Supreme Court ruled unanimously. Emanuel, a Democrat, satisfies candidate residency requirements, Illinois´s highest court said today, reversing a Jan. 24 appeals-court ruling that would have excluded the former Chicago congressman from the ballot. Early voting in the third- largest U.S. city begins Jan. 31. "This is a situation in which, not only did the candidate testify that his intent was not to abandon his Chicago residence, his acts fully support and confirm that intent," the high court said. Emanuel, 51, is bidding to succeed six-term incumbent Mayor Richard M. Daley, who is retiring. Emanuel stepped down from his White House post in October to return to the city he served as a U.S. representative from 2003 to 2009.

2. Fannie, Freddie Candidate for Overseer Joseph Smith Said to Withdraw Name

North Carolina Banking Commissioner Joseph A. Smith Jr. has withdrawn from consideration to be the top regulator for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, according to a White House statement. President Barack Obama nominated Smith in November to lead the Federal Housing Finance Agency. Smith failed to win U.S. Senate confirmation after objections from Republicans. White House officials released a statement today saying that while Smith was "highly qualified" to oversee the two government-controlled mortgage companies, "Unfortunately, there is not a clear path to confirmation for his nomination at this point in time and Mr. Smith has asked not to be renominated." Smith didn´t immediately respond to a request for comment.

3. Hong Kong Is World's Most Expensive Place to Buy Home on Property Shortage

Hong Kong is the world´s most expensive place to buy a home because of a shortage of properties on the market, according to a study of the top four cities by Savills Plc. Hong Kong is 55 percent more expensive than London, based on an index published today by the property broker that compares the U.K. capital with the other cities. Moscow is 7.4 percent more expensive than London and New York is 15 percent cheaper. Home prices in Hong Kong have been driven higher by record- low borrowing costs, a lack of new supply and an influx of Chinese buyers, Savills said. They have jumped more than 55 percent since the beginning of 2009, according to an index compiled by Centaline Property Agency Ltd., Hong Kong´s biggest closely held broker. "Prices will continue to rise over the next year to 18 months," said Simon Smith, the Hong Kong-based head of Asian real estate research, at a presentation in London yesterday.

4. Pet-Name Passwords May Fade as U.S. Explores Fingerprints for Security

The convenience promised by the Internet often evaporates when you log in every morning. First comes the user name and password needed to boot up your smartphone or computer. Next, a different password to access your e-mail. Want a book at Amazon.com? Another password (what was your first pet´s name again?) and often your credit- card information and address. Buying boots at Zappos.com, reserving a plane ticket, or checking your bank balance after all that spending? Get ready with password after password. The U.S. Commerce Department is spearheading an online security system to eliminate the password maze and perhaps boost e-commerce, Bloomberg Businessweek reports in its Jan. 31 edition. The plan calls for a single sign-in each time a computer or phone is turned on, using a device such as a digital token, a smartcard or a fingerprint reader. Once logged in, users would have access to any website that has signed up for the program. "You are your password in this system," says John Clippinger, co-director of the Law Lab at Harvard´s Berkman Center for Internet & Society and an advocate of the plan. "It will be far more efficient and you´ll control it much more."

5. Presidential Campaign Ads Will Run in Primary States During NFL's Pro Bowl

It´s never too early for campaigning in Iowa and New Hampshire, the two states that traditionally kickoff the U.S. presidential primary season. A group of students trying to encourage Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels to enter the 2012 Republican field says it has purchased television advertising time on a station in Des Moines, Iowa, during this weekend´s Pro Bowl game. The ad, to run on a Fox affiliate, will be the "first televised ad for the 2012 election cycle," Students for Daniels Political Action Committee said in a news release. Max Eden, who is listed as the group´s national director in an e-mailed news release, said in an interview that the organization, started last year, is based at Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut, and has chapters on 37 college campuses nationwide.

-0- Jan/28/2011 00:35 GMT

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