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Judge dismisses suit accusing SeaWorld of enslaving whales

(Reuters) – A federal judge on Wednesday threw out an animal rights group’s lawsuit accusing SeaWorld of enslaving captive killer whales, ruling that orcas had no standing to seek the same constitutional rights as people. People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, or PETA, had accused the chain of aquatic…

U.S. plays down cuts to diplomatic mission in Iraq

WASHINGTON — The United States played down Wednesday plans to reduce its diplomatic footprint in Iraq, saying it would keep most programs open and denying a report that it would cut staff by 50 percent. The New York Times, quoting unnamed officials, said the United States, in the wake of…

Poll: Voters back Obama as commander-in-chief

WASHINGTON — US President Barack Obama has overwhelming support from American voters for his use of drone strikes against terror suspects and his planned troop drawdown in Afghanistan, a poll found Wednesday. Obama, who signed off on the US special forces raid which killed Osama bin Laden last year, also…

Cantor slammed for ‘neutering’ the STOCK Act

House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) faced criticism on Wednesday for introducing a version of the STOCK Act which many said had severely weakened the legislation. “Rep. Cantor has opposed the STOCK Act from the start and his bill reflects that,” said Melanie Sloan, Executive Director of Citizens for Responsibility…

Washington State lawmakers approve same sex marriage bill

The Washington House of Representatives on Wednesday joined the state Senate in passing legislation to legalize same sex marriage. The bill has the support of Democratic Governor Chris Gregoire, who is expected to sign it into law, making Washington the seventh state to legalize same-sex marriage. “Yes, this story was…

More than 130,000 urge hospital to transplant kidney for undocumented immigrant

Thousands and thousand of people have signed a petition urging the UC San Francisco Medical Center to perform a kidney transplant for an undocumented immigrant. Jesus Navarro, a 35-year-old Oakland resident and father, was denied the kidney transplant he needs to live because of his immigration status, even though he…

Study: Nearly half of Obama campaign funds from small donations

A campaign finance study published Wednesday reveals a pretty big difference between the campaigns of President Barack Obama and likely Republican challenger Mitt Romney: namely, 48 percent of Obama’s money came from small donations. That’s not the case for the former Massachusetts governor, who’s far and away the favorite candidate…

Afghan forces will be ‘good enough’ to take over: U.S.

WASHINGTON — Afghan forces will be “good enough” to take over their country’s security by the end of 2014, even though only a small number of them now operate independently from NATO-led troops, a top US general said Wednesday. Lieutenant General Curtis Scaparrotti, deputy commander of US forces and the…

Top U.S. general to visit Egypt amid row over NGOs

WASHINGTON — The US military’s top general plans to fly to Egypt this week as the United States presses Cairo to lift criminal charges against American pro-democracy activists, officials said Wednesday. General Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, “is scheduled to travel to Egypt later this week,”…

Republicans claim Obama attacking religion

WASHINGTON — US Republicans on Wednesday escalated their election-year attacks on President Barack Obama in a feud over health insurance coverage of birth control, accusing him of a “systematic” assault on religion. Republican House Speaker John Boehner charged a new rule that most employers — including church-affiliated entities — must…

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