World and Nation

Shorts (left)

Libya names an engineer as new prime minister

TRIPOLI, Libya — Libya’s provisional leaders named an engineer as the new prime minister Monday, taking the first step toward assembling a new transitional government after the killing of Moammar Gadhafi and the formal end to the uprising that ended his nearly 42 years in power.

Libya’s National Transitional Council said Monday that its members voted to name as prime minister Abdel Rahim el-Keeb, whom officials described as an electronics engineer and Gadhafi critic who spent most of his career abroad. For the purposes of Libyan politics, however, Keeb is considered a resident of the western city of Tripoli, the capital, offering regional balance to the interim president, Mustafa Abdel-Jalil, who is from the east.

Keeb did not play any conspicuous role in the revolt against Gadhafi, but leaders of the revolt from Tripoli, the Western mountains and the coastal city of Misrata cheered his selection. He succeeds Mahmoud Jibril, who announced his resignation after the capture of Tripoli.

—David D. Kirkpatrick, The New York Times

Supreme Court to hear cases on bad advice on plea deals

WASHINGTON — Anthony Cooper shot a woman in Detroit in 2003 and then received laughably bad legal advice. Because all four of his bullets had struck the victim below her waist, his lawyer said, Cooper could not be convicted of assault with intent to murder.

Based on that advice, Cooper rejected a plea bargain that called for a sentence of four to seven years. Later he was convicted, and he is serving 15 to 30 years.

At least Cooper heard about his plea offer. Galin E. Frye’s lawyer never told him that prosecutors in Missouri were willing to let him plead guilty to a misdemeanor and serve 90 days in prison for driving without a license. When Frye did plead guilty after the offer expired, a judge sentenced him to three years.

On Monday, the Supreme Court will hear arguments in the two cases, which ask how principles concerning bad legal work at trial should apply to plea bargains. The question is of surpassing importance, since a large majority of criminal cases are settled at the plea stage.

—Adam Liptak, The New York Times

Blu-ray a bright spot for home entertainment industry

LOS ANGELES — Hollywood’s troubled home entertainment business is moving in an unaccustomed direction: up.

On Monday, the Digital Entertainment Group, which monitors consumer spending for home entertainment in the United States, is expected to report a 5 percent increase in industrywide revenue for the third quarter, to roughly $3.9 billion from about $3.7 billion a year earlier. It is the first quarterly uptick since the beginning of 2008.

In part, the increase reflects a surge in Blu-ray sales, which are expected to reach $1.23 billion for the first three quarters, up from about $1 billion for the same period a year earlier. That puts them on a par with video store rentals, which have been falling, and on-demand revenue, which has grown more slowly.

The overall gain is modest, but welcome in a business in which piracy, economic weakness and digital competition have steadily eroded what was once Hollywood’s core source of income — the rental and sale of DVDs.

“It’s extremely encouraging,” said Ronald J. Sanders, the president of Warner Home Video. “I would say things have stabilized.”

—Michael Cieply, The New York Times