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Jobless rate falls in 36 states

WASHINGTON — Unemployment fell in 36 states last month, the US Labor Department said Tuesday, with 2012 election battleground states South Carolina, Michigan and Minnesota seeing significant drops in joblessness. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that Michigan and Minnesota — key targets for President Barack Obama’s re-election campaign —…

Oregon becomes latest state to halt executions

LOS ANGELES — The governor of Oregon announced a halt to executions in the northwestern US state, the latest to drop capital punishment as a penal option. Governor John Kitzhaber issued a temporary reprieve for a prisoner due to die next month, and said he would allow no more executions…

At GOP debate, Santorum claims Africa is a ‘country’

Former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum became the latest Republican presidential candidate to misspeak about Africa Tuesday. During CNN’s debate on foreign policy, Santorum said that “Africa was a country,” instead of a continent. Former Bush Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz, who now serves as a scholar for the American Enterprise Institute,…

Santorum: ‘Absolutely’ Muslims should be profiled

At least two Republican presidential candidates at Tuesday night’s foreign policy debate agreed that the Transportation Security Administration could do a better job if they began profiling Muslims. CNN’s Wolf Blitzer noted that former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum had advocated profiling in the past. “Just to be precise, is it…

Merck fined $950 mn over painkiller marketing

WASHINGTON — Pharmaceutical giant Merck will pay nearly $1 billion to resolve criminal and civil charges for wrongfully marketing its former hit painkiller Vioxx, the US Department of Justice said. Merck agreed to plead guilty to breaking the Food Drug and Cosmetic Act after it promoted Vioxx for rheumatoid arthritis…

Man gets 315 years prison for child porn crimes

WASHINGTON — A man in the midwestern US state of Indiana was sentenced to 315 years behind bars for producing and distributing child pornography, the Justice Department said Tuesday. David Bostic, 25, “committed heinous acts of sexual abuse against the most vulnerable in our society,” said Assistant Attorney General Lanny…

U.S. government sues over Utah immigration law

WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama’s administration Tuesday challenged a new immigration law by Utah, the third such law it has taken on, arguing it is unconstitutional and undercuts federal immigration authority, the Justice Department said. Federal prosecutors said in a complaint filed in Utah that the law, called H.B. 497,…

‘Occupy’ marchers from New York reach D.C.

WASHINGTON — Weary but determined Occupy Wall Street protesters entered Washington in the rain Tuesday at the end of a 13-day march from New York that they hoped would inspire others to hit the road. Carrying a US flag and an orange “people before profit” poster, they strolled in the…

Obama camp slams Romney ‘dishonesty’

WASHINGTON — The White House accused Republican Mitt Romney’s camp of blatant dishonesty Tuesday after he savaged President Barack Obama’s jobs record in a testy preview of a possible 2012 election showdown. The row erupted after the Romney camp’s first television advertisement ripped an Obama quote out of context, making…

State senator calls for independent probe of UC Davis pepper-spraying incident

California state Sen. Leland Yee (D) on Monday called for an independent investigation of the pepper-spraying incident that occurred at the University of California-Davis on Friday. Two campus police officers hit a group of “Occupy” protesters who had locked arms and refused to move directly in the face with a…

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