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Congress leaders spar, Boehner rejects tax vote

WASHINGTON — US congressional leaders foreshadowed an election-year tax battle Thursday as House Speaker John Boehner nixed a Democrat proposal to vote on extending tax cuts for Americans earning under $1 million per year. Under a proposal laid out last week in a letter to Boehner, Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi…

Brazil lawmakers red-faced over mystery underwear

RIO DE JANEIRO, Brazil — Mystery underwear found during a parliamentary session earlier this month is causing a lot of red faces in the Brazilian Congress, a report said Thursday. The red and white panties, described by O Globo daily as “rather large” and “not a G-string,” were inadvertently dropped…

Pelosi: Constitutionality of health care reform ‘ironclad’

WASHINGTON — Top congressional Democrat Nancy Pelosi said Thursday she was confident that US President Barack Obama’s health care reform would be upheld by the Supreme Court, saying the law’s constitutionality was “ironclad.” A decision from the high court is due in June, and legal experts have been scrupulously studying…

JPMorgan boss to testify to Congress twice in June

WASHINGTON — JPMorgan Chase’s embattled chief executive Jamie Dimon will be hauled before US lawmakers twice in June to explain the bank’s recent huge trading losses, congressional officials said Thursday. The US Senate Banking Committee said it postponed an appearance by Dimon from June 7 to June 13 to accommodate…

Families caught in foreclosure crisis unite in national campaign

A national campaign representing more than 50,000 families caught up in America’s foreclosure crisis has been launched, with the aim of making mortgage relief a key issue in battleground states during the 2012 election. The Home Defenders League, launched on Thursday, plans to be active in 17 states across the…

Public sector cuts dragging down U.S.’s already fragile economic recovery

For the last 24 years James Estep has worked in public education. He has never seen anything like this. The superintendent of Pennsylvania’s Mifflin county school district is wrestling with a multimillion deficit that last year led to him cutting 83 jobs – a fifth of his workforce – and…

In offices, men have more cooties than women, study says

A new study shows that men’s offices are more contaminated with oral, nasal, skin and intestinal bacteria than women’s offices. And it’s likely their larger size and unhygienic ways are the reason. Studies… [Work colleagues arguing, via Shutterstock.com.]…

Our galaxy to hit another in four billion years: NASA

WASHINGTON — Our galaxy is on a collision course with its nearest neighbor, Andromeda, and the head-on crash is expected in four billion years, the US space agency NASA said on Thursday. Astronomers have long theorized that a clash of these galaxy titans was on the way, though it was…

Final test version of Windows 8 released

SAN FRANCISCO — Microsoft on Thursday released the final test version of its next-generation Windows software crafted to power devices ranging from tablets to desktop computers. “We’re thrilled to be at this milestone with the Windows 8 Release Preview,” said Windows and Windows Live division president Steven Sinofsky. The nearly…

Twitter usage soars in U.S.: survey

WASHINGTON — One out of seven Americans who go online use Twitter and eight percent do it every day, a survey showed Thursday. The survey by the Pew Research Center found the number of Twitter users has doubled in the past two years to 15 percent of online adults. It…

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