Mideast envoy Mitchell resigns

WASHINGTON — His two-year mission unfulfilled, former Sen. George Mitchell announced his resignation Friday as the Obama administration's special envoy to the Mideast at a time of turmoil in the region and after fruitless attempts at rekindling Israeli-Palestinian peace talks.

President Obama, accepting the resignation, called Mitchell "a tireless advocate for peace."

Mitchell's resignation comes at a critical time for the Middle East, which is embroiled in uprisings, and the Israeli-Palestinian peace process, which has been moribund since last September.

David Hale, Mitchell's deputy, will serve as acting envoy, Obama said in a statement.

Computer glitch halts immigration lottery

WASHINGTON — State Department officials said Friday that a computer error is forcing them to scrap the results of an annual worldwide lottery for U.S. immigrant visas, meaning that tens of thousands of people who thought they were one step closer to legally moving to the United States are out of luck, at least for now.

More than 14 million applicants entered a lottery last fall for one of 50,000 visas distributed as part of the annual Diversity Visa Lottery.

David Donahue, deputy assistant secretary of state for visa services, said Friday that the glitch prompted the computer program to unfairly select people who submitted applications in the first two days of the 30-day application process, which ended Nov. 3.