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F-16 fighters intercept pot-laden Cessna in Obama’s airspace

LOS ANGELES — Two F-16 fighters were scrambled Thursday to intercept a light aircraft over Los Angeles, during a visit by President Barack Obama for a fundraising trip, officials said. The military jets scrambled out of March Air Reserve Base in Riverside County, California, “to respond to a temporary flight…

Ron Paul could still win Maine caucus as GOP announces review

The Maine Republican Party announced Thursday it was reviewing votes from the presidential caucuses, which former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney won by less than 200 votes. “We have worked diligently to contact town chairmen throughout Maine to reconfirm the results of their individual caucuses,” Republican Chairman Charlie Webster said. “These…

Women’s advocacy group calls race-based abortion bill ‘a disgrace’

The National Partnership for Women & Families on Thursday condemned the House Judiciary Committee after it passed a bill to ban sex-based or race-based abortions. Rep. Trent Franks (R-AZ) introduced the Susan B. Anthony and Frederick Douglass Prenatal Nondiscrimination (PRENDA) Act to the U.S. House in December. The legislation could…

Computer scientists find hackers can easily track cell phone user’s location

The ability to track the location of a cell phone user without the user’s knowledge is far too easy, computer scientists at the University of Minnesota’s College of Science and Engineering have discovered. University of Minnesota computer science Ph.D. student Denis Foo Kune, working with associate professors Nick Hopper and…

New Jersey passes marriage equality bill

The New Jersey Assembly on Thursday passed legislation to that would allow same sex couples to marry despite a veto threat from Republican Gov. Chris Christie. “The ‘freedom to marry’ belongs to all Americans regardless of race, creed or sexual orientation,” Assemblyman Reed Gusciora (D) said. “In a society based…

Bernie Sanders: I’m more of a deficit hawk than many Republicans

Independent Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont on Thursday told Republicans on the Senate Budget Committee they were hypocritical for vowing to reduce the federal deficit while supporting wars overseas and tax breaks for wealthy Americans. The committee was holding a hearing on the President’s 2013 budget with Treasury Secretary Geithner.…

Hezbollah denies role in Israel diplomat attacks

BEIRUT — Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah on Thursday denied his Lebanese militant party had any role in a series of attacks on Israeli diplomats. “Regarding the explosions that took place in India, Georgia and Thailand, I can tell you categorically that Hezbollah has nothing to do” with them, he said…

Dow surges to highest level since 2008 on solid U.S. data

NEW YORK — US stocks surged higher Thursday helped by buoyant data on new jobless claims and housing starts, with the Dow reaching its highest level since May 2008. Positive signs for the US economy poured in, with the weekly report of new claims for unemployment benefits falling to their…

U.S. hits Iran ministry for ties to Syria crackdown

WASHINGTON — The United States hit Iran’s intelligence ministry with sanctions Thursday, claiming it had supported Syria’s crackdown on dissidents, fueled repression at home and aided Al-Qaeda. The US Treasury Department said Iran’s Ministry of Intelligence and Security supported the Syrian regime as it “continues to commit human rights abuses”…

Key U.S. Republican seeks ‘punitive action’ on Egypt

WASHINGTON — A top Republican lawmaker called for “punitive action” Thursday against Egyptian officials for the crackdown on US democracy advocates. Representative Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, who chairs the House Foreign Affairs Committee, singled out Egypt’s Minister of International Cooperation Fayza Abul Naga. “The Egyptian government’s actions cannot be taken lightly and…

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