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On his way out, Mississippi governor Barbour pardons murderers

STARKVILLE, Mississippi (Reuters) – Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour pardoned four convicted murderers who worked at the Governor’s Mansion, releasing them from prison in the final days of his term in office, state officials said on Monday. In all, Barbour pardoned four men convicted of murder and another convicted of burglary…

Marine said ‘shoot first, ask later’ in Iraq civilian slayings

CAMP PENDLETON, California — A US Marine ordered his men to “shoot first and ask questions later,” triggering one of the Iraq war’s most controversial episodes which killed 24 civilians in 2005, a court heard. Staff Sergeant Frank Wuterich overreacted in orders he gave his squad after seeing the mangled…

Romney under fire over private equity firm Bain Capital

Mitt Romney faced blistering new attacks from his rivals for the Republican presidential nomination over jobs lost at firms bought by his hugely rich venture capital company. On track to win New Hampshire’s first-in-the-nation primary on Tuesday by a wide margin, the former Massachusetts governor found himself justifying what he…

South Carolina woman calls Perry ‘homophobic’ and ‘racist’

Texas Gov. Rick Perry was greeted at a restaurant in Anderson, South Carolina with a tremendously-backhanded compliment. A young woman who posed for a photo with Perry on Monday told him it was “good to see someone as homophobic and racist as you,” according to Politico. Perry’s response? He smiled…

Indiana House Democrats end boycott of right-to-work bill

INDIANAPOLIS (Reuters) – Democrats in the Indiana state House of Representatives on Monday ended a three-day boycott blocking Republican-backed right-to-work legislation that opponents view as an assault on unions. House Democratic leader Pat Bauer said the three-day boycott by most Democrats last week gave them a chance to circulate information…

Obama still determined to close Guantanamo prison

WASHINGTON — The White House insisted Monday that President Barack Obama was determined to close Guantanamo Bay, despite failing to do so by the war on terror camp’s 10th anniversary this week. Obama declared within a few hours of taking office in January 2009 that he would shutter the camp…

U.S. stocks rise ahead of earnings kickoff

NEW YORK — US stocks managed modest gains Monday as Wall Street awaited the unofficial kickoff of the fourth-quarter earnings season, which came shortly after the closing bell. After slipping into negative territory in early trade, the Dow Jones Industrial Average finished the session up 32.77 points (0.26 percent) to…

GM takes aim at youth market with zippy little cars

DETROIT, Michigan — General Motors took aim at the youth market Monday, showing off sporty new designs for their smallest, entry-level cars at the Detroit auto show. “At Chevrolet we believe we can capture the hearts and minds of these new consumers and become one of the brands, across all…

Poll finds record-high number of independents in 2011

Forty percent of Americans now identify themselves as independents, the largest percentage in at least 60 years, according to Gallup. Previously, the highest percentage of independents occurred in 1995 and 2007, when 39 percent of Americans identified themselves as not being aligned with any major political party. “Increased independent identification…

U.S. health experts seek more study on ‘fracking’

WASHINGTON — A group of US medical professionals called Monday for a halt to a type of drilling for natural gas called “fracking” in populated areas until more is known about its health impacts. “When it comes to hydrofracking, our guiding principle for public policy should be the same as…

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