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Rachel Maddow on the sequester: This goose is cooked

On her show Thursday night, MSNBC host Rachel Maddow doubted that President Barack Obama and Republicans would be able to reach a last-minute deal to avert across-the-board budget cuts. The $85 billion worth of indiscriminate spending cuts was implemented as a part of a political deal to raise the federal…

United States braces for job-killing budget cuts

The United States was braced for $85 billion in budget cuts due to hit Friday in a self-inflicted wound brought on by deep ideological antipathy between President Barack Obama and Republicans. The cuts, which could cost a million jobs, will slice public services and threaten an economy that is already…

Scientists spot birth of giant planet

Astronomers using a powerful telescope in southern Chile said Thursday they have captured the first direct image of a protoplanet forming around another star, still embedded in thick gas and dust. An international team of researchers said the disc of gas and dust surrounding the young star HD 100546, located…

White House urges Supreme Court to strike down Proposition 8

US President Barack Obama’s administration threw its weight behind gay marriage, urging the Supreme Court to strike down California’s ban on same-sex unions. The court is set to examine the issue on March 26, when it will study the constitutionality of California’s Proposition 8, a measure approved by a 2008…

Progressive Democrat and conservative Republican team up against ‘too big to fail’ banks

Sens. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) and David Vitter (R-LA) on Thursday denounced “too big to fail” financial institutions and vowed to push legislation to break up the “megabanks.” “Today, our economy is being threatened by multi-trillion dollar financial institutions,” Brown said on the Senate floor. “Wall Street megabanks that are so…

Clint Eastwood urges Supreme Court to end California’s ban on same-sex marriage

Oscar-winning director Clint Eastwood has joined more than 100 conservatives in urging the U.S. Supreme Court to strike down California’s ban on same-sex marriage, according to MSNBC. Former Utah governor Jon Huntsman and Libertarian presidential candidate Gary Johnson were also among those who signed the amici curiae, or “friends of…

New York Catholics hold special Mass to pray for Benedict

As Pope Benedict XVI was officially stepping down on Thursday in Rome, several hundred faithful paid homage to him and prayed for his successor at Saint Patrick’s Cathedral in New York. The special Mass, held under the gaze of a large, specially-installed portrait of the retiring pontiff, was led by…

NFL to investigate improper questions about sexual orientation

Questions by team representatives regarding sexual orientation to collegiate players hoping for a multi-million-dollar National Football League career have prompted an investigation by the league. An NFL statement on its website said the league would look into reports that prospects were asked improper questions at the NFL Scouting Combine, four…

Democratic and Republican bills to replace sequester cuts fail in the Senate

Two competing bills aimed at averting huge spending cuts failed Thursday in the US Senate, including a Republican effort that would have ceded authority to the White House to implement the reductions. Both bills fell short of the 60 votes needed to advance, virtually assuring that the $85 billion in…

SpaceX prepares for third trip to the International Space Station

As US firm SpaceX prepares for its third launch to the space station Friday, NASA said there was nothing “particularly challenging” about a mission that a few months ago was unprecedented. Liftoff is set for 10:10 am local time (1510 GMT) in Cape Canaveral, Florida, to launch the unmanned Dragon…

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