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Birth control debate exposes divide between bishops and Catholics

(Reuters) – The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops is a powerful institution, at least on paper. But a recent debate over contraception coverage has exposed a deep divide between the 271 active bishops and the rank-and-file U.S. Catholics who are supposed to follow their moral authority. It also has raised…

Warren: Birth control battle ‘why people really hate politics’

Harvard law professor Elizabeth Warren, who is running for the U.S. Senate in Massachusetts, appeared on MSNBC’s The Rachel Maddow Show to discuss the current battle over insurance plans that cover contraception. In response to a White House proposal, Sen. Roy Blunt (R-MO) has proposed a rule that would allow…

China’s Xi woos U.S. heartland as Romney attacks

DES MOINES, Iowa — China’s leader-in-waiting Xi Jinping reached out to heartland America Thursday with billions of dollars in farm deals, as Republican Mitt Romney slammed the “prosperous tyranny” of Beijing. China’s vice president, who is expected to lead the rising Asian power for a decade starting next year, hopped…

Air marshals to be reorganized amid internal problems

WASHINGTON — The Federal Air Marshal Service is being reorganized to avoid the kinds of personnel problems described in a recent government report, witnesses at a congressional hearing said Thursday. The service is a branch of the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) that oversees security on airline flights, and includes undercover…

F-16 fighters intercept pot-laden Cessna in Obama’s airspace

LOS ANGELES — Two F-16 fighters were scrambled Thursday to intercept a light aircraft over Los Angeles, during a visit by President Barack Obama for a fundraising trip, officials said. The military jets scrambled out of March Air Reserve Base in Riverside County, California, “to respond to a temporary flight…

Ron Paul could still win Maine caucus as GOP announces review

The Maine Republican Party announced Thursday it was reviewing votes from the presidential caucuses, which former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney won by less than 200 votes. “We have worked diligently to contact town chairmen throughout Maine to reconfirm the results of their individual caucuses,” Republican Chairman Charlie Webster said. “These…

Women’s advocacy group calls race-based abortion bill ‘a disgrace’

The National Partnership for Women & Families on Thursday condemned the House Judiciary Committee after it passed a bill to ban sex-based or race-based abortions. Rep. Trent Franks (R-AZ) introduced the Susan B. Anthony and Frederick Douglass Prenatal Nondiscrimination (PRENDA) Act to the U.S. House in December. The legislation could…

New Jersey passes marriage equality bill

The New Jersey Assembly on Thursday passed legislation to that would allow same sex couples to marry despite a veto threat from Republican Gov. Chris Christie. “The ‘freedom to marry’ belongs to all Americans regardless of race, creed or sexual orientation,” Assemblyman Reed Gusciora (D) said. “In a society based…

Dow surges to highest level since 2008 on solid U.S. data

NEW YORK — US stocks surged higher Thursday helped by buoyant data on new jobless claims and housing starts, with the Dow reaching its highest level since May 2008. Positive signs for the US economy poured in, with the weekly report of new claims for unemployment benefits falling to their…

U.S. hits Iran ministry for ties to Syria crackdown

WASHINGTON — The United States hit Iran’s intelligence ministry with sanctions Thursday, claiming it had supported Syria’s crackdown on dissidents, fueled repression at home and aided Al-Qaeda. The US Treasury Department said Iran’s Ministry of Intelligence and Security supported the Syrian regime as it “continues to commit human rights abuses”…

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