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Senate Democrats struggle to pass background check bill and assault weapons ban

A US Senate panel approved legislation Thursday that makes gun trafficking a federal crime, but bills banning assault weapons and expanding background checks to nearly all gun buyers face a tougher battle. President Barack Obama applauded the vote by the Judiciary Committee in support of a bill that cracks down…

Supreme Court asked to weigh in on ‘gruesome’ anti-abortion displays

The US Supreme Court has been asked to weigh in on whether anti-abortion activists can display crude photographs of aborted fetuses during protests. The conservative Thomas More Society has petitioned the apex court to overturn an order by a Colorado court banning the display of “gruesome images of mutilated fetuses…

Android rises to top — in malware threats: survey

The Android operating system accounted for 79 percent of all malware infections on smartphones, and the threat is multiplying, a security firm said Thursday. Finland-based F-Secure said in a report that the free Google operating system, which has been gaining smartphone market share globally, has become the dominant platform targeted…

Dow continues upward surge as good economic data rolls in

Growing investor enthusiasm for equities in the wake of this week’s records pushed US markets higher again Thursday. The Dow Jones Industrial Average surged to an all-time peak for the third day in a row, adding 33.25 points (0.23 percent) at 14,329.49. The broad-based S&P 500 also moved higher, gaining…

Government-controlled Ally bank fails stress test

All but one of 18 top US banks passed tough stress tests aimed at seeing if the financial industry could weather a new deep crisis, the Federal Reserve announced Thursday. Government-controlled Ally, the rescued former finance arm of General Motors, was the only bank to fail the test of capital…

Obama won’t push Middle East peace initiative in Israel trip

President Barack Obama on Thursday signaled there would be no big Middle East peace initiative on the table when he arrives in Israel later this month for his first visit as US leader. Obama met American Jewish community leaders at the White House as he prepares for the trip, which…

Senator Carl Levin to retire in 2014

US Senator Carl Levin, a six-term Democrat and fierce advocate for military personnel and readiness, announced Thursday he will not seek re-election in 2014. The chairman of the powerful Senate Armed Services Committee said he would rather spend his final two years as a lawmaker unencumbered by “the distraction of…

Senate confirms John Brennan as next CIA director

The US Senate on Thursday confirmed counterterrorism expert John Brennan to be the next CIA director, filling a third crucial position on President Barack Obama’s national security team. The Senate voted 63-34 with several Republicans flocking to approve Brennan following a dramatic 13-hour filibuster the night before by Republican Rand…

Justice Department opens investigation into violation of deaf prisoner rights in Denver

By Susan Greene The federal Justice Department is investigating Denver for failing to provide sign-language interpreters for deaf prisoners. Investigators are seeking to determine whether Denver – which touts itself as “one of America’s most accessible cities” — is violating the Americans with Disabilities Act. In a November 20, 2012, letter…

Facebook announces transforming its news feeds

Facebook on Thursday began transforming the stream of updates from friends at home pages into a “personalized newspaper” with news ranging from the personal to the global. The News Feed on home pages at the leading social network was revamped to get rid of clutter and present “bright, beautiful” stories…

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