From Reuters.com

Go ahead, make his day: Best of the week

Maybe it’s the recession, but groceries were a big hit with readers this week. The smackdown king of popularity, however, was no doubt President Obama and his healthcare law, stories for which dominated our most-read figures. Here are the week’s most popular tales.

obama1. Obama dares Republicans to seek healthcare repeal

“Go ahead, punk. Make my day.” While President Obama surely doesn’t carry a Magnum 45 like Dirty Harry did, he certainly talks as tough. Speaking to university students after signing his landmark healthcare legislation into law, the president taunted the Republicans to go ahead and try to repeal the new law. “If they want that fight, we can have it,” he proclaimed. Do you feel lucky, punk? Do you?

walmart2. Wal-Mart to slash grocery prices

Are you feeling pretty hungry as this recession rolls on? Is your stomach in need of filling? Don’t worry! Help is on the way. Wal-Mart, your friendly neighborhood big box behemoth is slashing prices on groceries. That’s right, slashing prices! Hurry on down! But wait, there’s more. Buy one full bag of groceries and get another bag free! That’s right, free! (Ok, I made that last bit up.)

3. Massive storm hits Perth, Australia

Crikey, mate. That’s a lot of rain! This video was by far the most popular of the week. The storm that seemed to come out of nowhere dropped hail the size of big ice-cubes, blew over trees and shattered car windshields. But I think the real reason it was so popular was the yellow-raincoat-wearing scooter rider.

The day ahead: Thursday

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When U.S. retail chains report November sales, investors will learn whether they have gone far enough to protect profits against a weak start to the holiday shopping season.

Highlights:

*  President Barack Obama holds a forum on job creation with U.S. business leaders to devise ways to combat double-digit unemployment.

The day ahead: Friday

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JC Penney reports quarterly results, with investors primed for the department store operator to beat estimates as its rivals Macy’s and Kohl’s did earlier in the week.

Other highlights:

*  Barack Obama makes his first trip to Asia as president, leaving behind a host of domestic problems on a visit that recognizes the region’s economic and diplomatic importance to the United States.

The day ahead: Friday

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IPOs remain in the spotlight with Wynn Macau’s debut in Hong Kong. In the U.S., President Obama rallies support for a financial products watchdog.

*  President Barack Obama will seek to rally support for his proposal to create a watchdog agency that would protect consumers from risky financial products.

Reuters.com changes to better service you, our audience

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The global economic crisis is the biggest story in modern times and a record audience is turning to Reuters for information you can trust. I share with you some changes we’ve brought to Reuters.com and Reuters.co.uk to help you understand the financial turmoil and benefit from the expertise of our 2,550 journalists around the globe. You’ll notice more headlines from our financial correspondents and more video interviews with business newsmakers. We’ve added a new Economy section, increased our coverage of regulation and will soon relaunch our small business and environment pages.

Our Great Debate section has added more financial commentary from our growing team of Reuters columnists, with technology expert Eric Auchard among the writers joining James Saft, John Kemp and Bernd Debusmann. We also offer more graphics for better insight into the financial markets. And we continue to add specialist blogs, with Hedge Hub providing a place for readers to discuss the hedge fund industry with journalists such as Laurence Fletcher.

Inside the Tent: Is North Carolina in play?

No way, says North Carolina Sen. Richard Burr.  “But I understand why (Democrats) say it’s in play,” he tells Inside the Tent contributor John Steward. “If you eliminate Virginia and North Carolina, it’s hard for Barack Obama to get to 270 (electoral votes).”

Inside the Tent has more than 40 delegates and other attendees in Denver and St. Paul, equipped with video cameras to capture the conventions from the ground up. Steward is not a Reuters employee and any opinions expressed are his own.

Inside the Tent: Reactions to Obama’s big speech

Barack Obama‘s acceptance speech in Denver — although quickly overshadowed by John McCain‘s surprise vice president choice and the looming presence of Hurricane Gustav — drew heavy praise from the Democratic faithful last week. The most common response was a single word: “Awesome.”

The following video was made by Kelly Nuxoll of Huffington Post’s Off the Bus, a partner in the Reuters Inside the Tent project.

Inside the Tent: Gold star mom

Kristine Fallstone, whose son was killed in an Army training exercise after he spent a year in Iraq, talks to Inside the Tent contributor Kathleen Miller about her support for Barack Obama and her evangelical Christian faith.

Inside the Tent has more than 40 delegates and other attendees in Denver and St. Paul, equipped with video cameras to capture the conventions from the ground up. Miller is not a Reuters employee and any opinions expressed are her own.

Inside the Tent: Moving the agenda forward

What goes on behind the scenes and away from the spotlight at the Democratic National Convention? The following video is from Gina McCauley, a contributor to Reuters Inside the Tent.

Inside the Tent has more than 40 delegates and other attendees in Denver and St. Paul, equipped with video cameras to capture the conventions from the ground up. Mccauley is not a Reuters employee and any opinions expressed are her own.

Inside the Tent: “I am so proud of her”

Dilia Schack, a Hillary Clinton delegate for New York, talks to Reuters Inside the Tent contributor Beth Marlowe about the senator’s efforts to convince supporters to back Barack Obama.

Clinton offered a rousing plea for Democratic unity on Tuesday evening, promising to work for Obama and challenging her supporters to bury their grudges and rally behind his White House bid.

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