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Sept. 11 mastermind loses appeal to delay Monday hearing

WASHINGTON — The self-proclaimed mastermind of the September 11 terror attacks has lost an appeal citing rats and mold as a reason to delay his court appearance on Monday, a defense lawyer said. Judge James Pohl’s decision was still sealed Thursday, three days before the hearing in question, but lawyer…

Obama rips into ‘latest’ version of Romney

MIAMI — US President Barack Obama quipped Thursday that Mitt Romney must be “severely kidding” if he thought Americans would fall for his sudden “makeover” designed to hide extreme conservatism. Obama, shocked into action by poll numbers driven down by his sleepy debate performance last week, ripped into his Republican…

French artist memorializes civil rights struggle with D.C. mural

WASHINGTON — French photographer JR, who specializes in giant installations in public places, celebrated the US civil rights movement Thursday with his first installation in Washington. He took over an unused building a block off U Street in the US capital to create a mural based on an iconic image…

Romney asks Rev. Billy Graham to pray for him

MONTREAT, North Carolina — US presidential hopeful Mitt Romney met with Reverend Billy Graham on Thursday and asked the world-renowned evangelist to pray for him in the final weeks of the campaign. “I’ll do all I can to help you,” said Graham, 93. The Christian leader and his son Franklin…

Beard sparks legal debate in Fort Hood shooting case

FORT BELVOIR, Virginia — Lawyers argued in a US military court Thursday over whether the soldier accused of the Fort Hood massacre can keep his beard despite objections from the judge overseeing his court-martial. A government attorney insisted Major Nidal Hasan, charged with the November 2009 shooting spree, had to…

Obama campaign draws condemnation from GOP over Benghazi attack

The Obama campaign was facing intense criticism from conservatives on Thursday after a senior official said the deadly attack on the US consulate in Benghazi was only an issue because Mitt Romney was exploiting the deaths for political gain. The president’s deputy campaign manager, Stephanie Cutter, told CNN attention was…

HPV vaccination does not lead to increased sex in girls: study

Adolescent girls are not more likely to engage in sexual activity after receiving a human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccination, according to a new study. Last year, a Catholic school in Canada made headlines when it banned free HPV vaccinations for girls on orders from Bishop Frederick Henry. The bishop said giving…

Obama retains edge but Romney closing gap in fresh swing-state polls

Mitt Romney has closed the gap on Barack Obama in the national polls, increasing pressure on Joe Biden to put in a strong performance in Thursday’s vice-presidential debate with his Republican counterpart Paul Ryan in Kentucky. A slew of new polls showed that while Obama retains a slight advantage, he…

Oil prices climb on persistent Middle East tensions

NEW YORK — Global oil prices climbed Thursday on the back of geopolitical jitters surrounding Syria, but a rise in US inventories moderated the price gains in US trade. In New York, the main contract, WTI light sweet crude for delivery in November, rose to $92.07 a barrel, up 82…

U.S. says nuclear disarmament deal with Russia not dead yet

ABOARD AIR FORCE ONE — The United States urged a reluctant Russia on Thursday to engage in talks to extend a program that has helped disarm thousands of ex-Soviet nuclear warheads and missiles. Russian officials said this week that they had notified Washington that the Nunn-Lugar program, due to expire…

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