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Senate rejects budgets by Obama, Republicans

WASHINGTON — The US Senate unanimously rejected President Barack Obama’s proposed 2013 budget Wednesday and shot down a series of Republican alternatives, assuring a prolonged election-year fiscal battle. The Democratic-controlled chamber has not adopted in three years a budget resolution, which lays out spending and revenue targets for the year…

Watchdog blasts ‘excessive’ policing at G20 Toronto summit

OTTAWA — Canadian police used “excessive force,” ignored civil rights and made “unlawful” mass arrests in cracking down on unruly protests at a G20 summit in Toronto two years ago, a watchdog said Wednesday. Gerry McNeilly, head of the Office of the Independent Police Review Director, in a scathing 300-page…

Google searches get smarter

SAN FRANCISCO — Google on Wednesday began making its search engine smarter in a major upgrade that looks beyond query words to figure out what people are actually seeking online. “Knowledge Graph” technology built to recognize people, places or things signified by keywords took its fledgling steps in the United…

Intel leaks like al Qaeda plot endanger lives: FBI chief

WASHINGTON — The FBI has launched a probe into leaks about a plot to blow up a US airliner, the agency’s chief Robert Mueller said Wednesday, warning such tip-offs endanger lives and may harm ties with allies. Mueller told US lawmakers he was hoping for any fallout from the leaks…

JPMorgan hit with shareholders lawsuit over loss

NEW YORK — US fund manager Saratoga Capital Management, filed a class-action lawsuit against JPMorgan Chase Wednesday after the nation’s largest bank lost more than $2 billion in derivatives trading. The suit accuses the bank; Jamie Dimon, chief executive and chairman; and Douglas Braunstein, chief financial officer, of fraudulently hiding…

Forbes names Jennifer Lopez ‘most powerful’ star

NEW YORK — Jennifer Lopez is the world’s most powerful celebrity, according to Forbes magazine Wednesday in a rankings based on a combination of earnings, press coverage and Internet presence. Lopez headed the 100-strong list, up from 50th last year, while her American Idol colleague Ryan Seacrest was 29th. Lady…

D.C. to allow turbaned Sikh police

WASHINGTON — Washington’s police chief on Wednesday gave the green light for turbaned Sikhs to serve as officers, making the capital the first major US city to accommodate the religion’s articles of faith. The police department said that 4,000 officers have gone through cultural training to sensitize them to the…

Fed sees sharp U.S. budget cuts as ‘sizable risk’

WASHINGTON — The Federal Reserve sees a quick, sharp tightening of US spending as a “sizable risk” to the economy, minutes from a recent top-level policy meeting revealed Wednesday. “Several” members of the Fed’s interest rate-setting panel have expressed fears that uncertainty about dramatic budget cuts could curb business hiring…

Obama warns opponents over debt ceiling showdown

WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama warned Republican foes Wednesday he would not let Congress hold the US economy “hostage” with a debt-ceiling row like the one that nearly paralyzed Washington last year. Obama hosted House Speaker John Boehner and other top lawmakers for a White House lunch where much of…

Skechers to pay $40 million for toned butt claims

LOS ANGELES — US shoemaker Skechers is to pay $40 million to settle claims that it deceived consumers by suggesting its sports shoes could help tone their butts and lose weight, officials said Wednesday. In an agreement similar to one last year against Reebok, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) said…

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