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Obama turns to roots as key year dawns

HONOLULU, Hawaii — US President Barack Obama opened a landmark year on Sunday by paying homage to his roots as he wraps up his vacation in his native Hawaii. Obama visited the graveyard of his grandfather, a World War II veteran, in the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific at…

Amnesty: By signing NDAA, Obama has given al Qaeda a ‘propaganda victory’

The human rights group Amnesty International blasted President Barack Obama for signing the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) into law on New Year’s Eve. The $662 billion defense spending bill contained highly controversial provisions regarding the military detention of terrorism suspects. While signing the bill, Obama issued a signing statement…

U.S. troop arrested for bringing explosives to Texas airport

A member of the U.S. military has been charged with trying to go through a security checkpoint with explosives at an airport in Texas Saturday morning. According to the Associated Press, 30-year-old Trey Scott Atwater was arrested at Midland International Airport for placing explosives in a military-grade wrapping. He was…

U.S. is top 2012 property investment pick

NEW YORK (Reuters) – The United States will remain the top choice of most global commercial real estate investors in 2012, but the country has lost ground to Brazil which ranked No. 2 this year, according to a survey released Sunday. While the United States offers the most stable and secure option in commercial…

Hollywood rings in New Year under arson alert

Los Angeles firefighters remained on arson alert Sunday after theHollywood district celebrated the New Year under the cloud of a string of some 40 deliberately-set fires. Seven new fires were reported overnight, including one in an underground parking lot near the heart of Tinsel Town’s tourist district, the LA Fire Department (LAFD) said.…

Ron Paul: Racist newsletters had ‘some very bad sentences’

Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul on Sunday admitted that racist and homophobic newsletters published in his name called into question his management style, but insisted there were only eight offensive sentences. “I wrote a lot of part of the letter,” Paul told ABC’s Jake Tapper. “And I’ve never said I…

White House hopeful Romney on top in final Iowa blitz

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney clung to a narrow lead in Iowa Sunday, two days before the heartland state casts the first votes of the 2012 election season. Romney’s massive campaign warchest and high-profile endorsements have fed his image as the candidate to beat in the state-by-state fight for the…

Washington to be first state to top $9 minimum wage

CHICAGO (Reuters) – Washington will be the first state to require a minimum wage of more than $9 an hour when it joins seven other states on Sunday in automatically adjusting salaries to keep up with inflation. More than a million low-wage U.S. workers will see their hourly pay go…

Voter photo ID, E-Verify laws to take effect in new year

WINSTON-SALEM, North Carolina (Reuters) – Laws that require voters to present photo identification at the polls, recognize same-sex civil unions and aim to restrict illegal immigration are among the state measures taking effect on New Year’s Day. Measures passed in 2011, which numbered nearly 40,000 across the country, often reflected…

Justice Roberts defends Thomas, Kagan on healthcare recusal issue

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Chief Justice John Roberts expressed confidence on Saturday in the decisions by his Supreme Court colleagues on when to recuse themselves, an issue that has emerged in the legal battle over President Barack Obama’s healthcare overhaul law. Some Democrats in Congress have called for Justice Clarence Thomas…

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