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Chatter: Xi Jinping takes the reins in China

Xi Jinping leads a row of men in black to power at Beijing's Great Hall of the People, three dead from rockets fired by Hamas into southern Israel, and the eurozone sinks back into recession.
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Graphic. (Antler Agency/GlobalPost)
                           
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Need to know:

And now for the results of China's "election"... Xi Jinping wins!

OK, so Nate Silver wasn't needed for this one: it was obvious for years that Xi would replace Hu Jintao as Chinese president.

But this morning Xi led the new Politburo Standing Committee across the stage at Beijing's Great Hall of the People, a walk that signified his official ascension to Chinese Communist Party leader. The 59-year-old Xi also took the military's top post, and will formally become president in March 2013.

Most of the new committee, reduced in size from nine to seven, are seen as politically conservative, with perceived reformers shut out of power. As expected, Li Keqiang followed Xi onto the stage — meaning he will succeed Premier Wen Jiabao.

In a speech, Xi addressed the issue of corruption (*cough* Bo Xilai), and praised the "bravery and wisdom" of the Chinese people.

The Party faces great challenges but will work to meet "expectations of both history and the people," he said. "The people's desire for a better life is what we shall fight for."

Want to know:

Three people have been killed by rockets fired from Gaza into southern Israel, amid escalating cross-border violence following Israel's assassination of a Hamas leader Wednesday

The deaths in the town of Kiryat Malachi mark the first Israeli fatalities since the Hamas military leader was killed in an air strike. The Palestinian death toll is at 13, mainly militants but also children, following an intensive overnight Israeli campaign targeting militants in Gaza.

David Yifrach, a neighbor of those killed in Kiryat Malachi, told GlobalPost's correspondent Noga Tarnopolsky his family fled to "safe rooms" after hearing rocket fire.

"I heard the alarm and took my kids behind three or four walls," he said. "The building shook! My wife and baby started to cry."

Follow GlobalPost's live blog for the latest breaking news on the situation.

Dull but important:

The eurozone has sunk back into a recession, the second since 2009, according to the latest official statistics. 

With the region's debt crisis continuing to hurt demand, economic output in the 17-nation bloc contracted by 0.1 percent between July and September, after shrinking 0.2 percent in the previous three months, according to Eurostat.

The news was slightly better for Germany: the bloc's largest economy saw moderate growth despite being affected by the eurozone debt crisis, mainly thanks to foreign demand.

Just because:

Sheesh, this Petraeus thing just keeps on going. Around the world people are following the sex scandal that led to General David Petraeus' resignation as CIA director. 

Latest is that both women involved in the mess have lost their security clearance to military facilities. This includes Petraeus' ex-mistress Paula Broadwell — who had a high government security clearance issued through the Army, leading to questions about how much access she had to classified information.

Jill Kelley's pass at the Florida air force base where she organized social events has also been frozen.

Petraeus stepped down from the CIA on Friday. The affair emerged after Broadwell sent anonymous threatening emails to Kelley, a family friend of Petraeus, whom Broadwell allegedly perceived as a romantic rival.

Strange but true:

Is the end nigh for the humble Twinkie?

Twinkie-maker Hostess Brands Inc. has said it will seek to close its operations and liquidate assets if striking bakers do not return to work by 5 p.m. today.

The saddest part of this story is that if the company closes, 18,000 workers will lose their jobs. And the lights could be turned off as soon as November 20, just two days before Thanksgiving.

Hostess filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in January, and will seek permission from a bankruptcy court judge to shut down if workers don’t return by the deadline.

More bad news: while some claim the Twinkie — that ladyfinger-shaped, cream-filled, calorific sponge cake snack — has an indefinite shelf life, and that Twinkies and cockroaches alone would survive nuclear destruction, according to Hostess they actually only last for 25 days.

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatches/globalpost-blogs/chatter/chatter-xi-jinping-takes-the-reins-china