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Republicans prepare for ‘Obamacare’ showdown, with eye to 2014 elections

By David Morgan WASHINGTON (Reuters) – With the Obama administration poised for a huge public education campaign on healthcare reform, Republicans and their allies are mobilizing a counter-offensive including town hall meetings, protests and media promotions to dissuade uninsured Americans from obtaining health coverage. Party officials, political analysts and lobbyists…

Pope Francis warns Latin America against legalizing drugs

Pope Francis has warned Latin America against legalizing drugs, arguing in sharply-worded and highly political remarks that liberal policies under consideration in his home region will not reduce the problem. The Argentine-born pontiff delved into the hot topic on Wednesday after celebrating the first public mass of his week-long visit…

George H.W. Bush shaves head in support of child with cancer

Former US President George HW Bush shaved his head this week in solidarity with the young son of a member of his security detail who is suffering from leukemia. A photo released by Bush’s office shows two-year-old Patrick, who is undergoing leukemia treatment, and the elderly ex-president sporting bald heads…

Japanese women retake top spot for life expectancy

Japan’s women retook their place as the world’s longest-lived last year, edging out Hong Kongers as their life expectancy bounced back from the dip caused by the 2011 tsunami, officials said Thursday. Health ministry data showed girls born in Japan in 2012 could expect on average to live to 86.41,…

Church of England declares war on payday loans firm

Church of England leader Justin Welby has told a company offering short-term high-interest loans that the church wants to “compete” it out of existence by promoting not-for-profit credit unions. Welby, who as Archbishop of Canterbury is spiritual leader of the world’s 85 million Anglicans. He said in an interview published…

Illegal Pennsylvania same-sex marriage licenses show stir in ‘battleground states’

Two women were married in a religious ceremony Wednesday near Philadelphia after getting a same-sex license from Montgomery County officials…  …

Cyclist doping revelations a shock to no one

When the names of the cyclists whose retroactively tested blood samples had come up positive for EPO became known, there was a palpable and collective sense of nothing new. There were no surprises, no scandalous revelations, no intrigue, no ambiguity. The results merely confirmed what was either already known or…

Trayvon Martin’s father hopes something positive will result from his son’s death

By Deborah Zabarenko WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The racially charged shooting of Florida teenager Trayvon Martin was the focus of a congressional hearing on Wednesday, where Martin’s father vowed to find a way his son’s death could lead to positive changes for other black American men. “We won’t let this verdict…

Federal report: E-Verify errors could wrongly exclude Americans from jobs

Hundreds of thousands of immigrants who are legally entitled to work in America could be debarred from jobs as a result of errors in a federal database designed to weed out unauthorised individuals from the workforce, according to new government research. Reports published by the US Citizenship and Immigration Services…

New York media calls on Anthony Weiner to pull out of mayoral race

Anthony Weiner was under intense pressure to abandon his improbable run for mayor of New York on Wednesday as his rivals, and the city’s press, turned on him after the publication of a new, explicit self-taken picture. Three of Weiner’s fellow mayoral candidates called for him to quit after he…

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