**Balance of Power Remains Unchanged in US Congress**
While a few congressional seats changed hands in U.S. elections Tuesday, the balance of power in Congress remains the same, with Democrats in control of the Senate, and Republicans keeping their majority in the House of Representatives.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said now that the election is over, it is time to put politics aside and find solutions and compromise to the problems facing the country.
Speaking to reporters on Capitol Hill Wednesday, House Speaker John Boehner congratulated President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden on their reelection victory. But he warned that urgent action is needed with the country's looming "fiscal cliff" -- $600 billion in automatic tax increases and spending cuts that are set to take effect January 1.
Boehner said the American people, who have elected Republicans to lead the House, have spoken and given politicians a mandate to work together.
In the Senate, Democrats took a number of key Senate races and will keep their slim majority. They will have 53 seats, while Republicans will have 45 seats. Independents will have two spots in the 100-member chamber.
With nearly all the House races called, projections indicate little will change in the 435-seat chamber. Republicans have 233 seats, while Democrats so far have won 192. Boehner will retain his post.
Polls have shown many Americans have been frustrated by what they see as rampant politicking and animosity, while seeing little improvement in their day-to-day lives. But their views of lawmakers appeared to improve in the weeks preceding Tuesday's election.
*Assad Vows to Remain in Syria*
Syrian President Bashar al-Assad says he will not leave his country, and warned against foreign military intervention in Syria.
In an interview with Russia Today television, Mr. Assad said intervention would have a "domino effect" with implications for the rest of the world.
He also said he is "not a puppet" and would live and die in Syria.
Russia Today posted the excerpts from an interview with Mr. Assad on its website Thursday. It did not say when the conversation took place, but that it would broadcast the full interview on Friday.
British Prime Minister David Cameron suggested earlier this week that Mr. Assad could be allowed safe passage out of Syria if that would guarantee an end to the country's civil war.
Syrian opposition members are holding talks Thursday in Qatar on a plan to create a broader, more unified council of rebels and political figures pushing to oust Mr. Assad.
The proposed group would later choose a temporary government for Syria and coordinate with the revolt's military wing. The plan would give about a third of the seats to members of the Syrian National Council, the main opposition group in exile.
Ahead of the Thursday meeting, the SNC elected its own 40-person leadership body, but officials said more members would likely be added because no women were selected.