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Minnesota laying groundwork for gray wolf hunt

MINNEAPOLIS (Reuters) – Minnesota officials on Thursday outlined plans to permit a hunting season for the gray wolf this year following its removal from federal endangered species protections, prompting opponents of the plan to consider a court challenge. Minnesota is home to the largest population of gray wolves in the…

BP must pay part of rig owner’s eventual Gulf costs

CHICAGO — British oil giant BP must cover some of the eventual claims against rig owner Transocean arising from the Gulf of Mexico oil spill, a US judge has ruled, with any bill set to run into billions of dollars. The mixed ruling found BP must indemnify the Swiss drilling…

Obama admits mistakes ‘every hour’

LAS VEGAS, Nevada — US President Barack Obama admitted Thursday he second-guesses himself all the time and makes frequent mistakes but that experience had made him a better leader. Obama defended his economic policies vigorously in an interview with ABC News and argued that America would have been much worse…

U.S. striving to prevent WikiLeaks repeat: spy chief

WASHINGTON — The United States is taking “serious and noticeable” measures to prevent another breach of classified files like the massive WikiLeaks document dump, the nation’s spy chief said Thursday. James Clapper, director of national intelligence, said changes were being implemented over the next five years that would create a…

Obama courts swing voters as polls tick up

LAS VEGAS, Nevada — Boosted by rising poll numbers, US President Barack Obama courted swing-state voters Thursday, after offering a disdainful critique of his potential Republican general election foes. Obama, driving home the theme of his State of the Union speech — a call for a fair economy to restore…

U.S. plans to cut troops, invest in future

WASHINGTON — The Pentagon on Thursday proposed taking some 100,000 troops off active duty as the debt-ridden United States winds down a decade of war, but vowed new investments to exert power in Asia and the Middle East. With pressure mounting to balance the US books, President Barack Obama’s administration…

GOP lawmaker: Virtually impossible to get AIDS through heterosexual sex

Tennessee state Sen. Stacey Campfield (R) falsely claimed on Thursday that it was nearly impossible for someone to contract AIDS through heterosexual contact. “Most people realize that AIDS came from the homosexual community,” he told Michelangelo Signorile, who hosts a radio program on SiriusXM OutQ. “It was one guy screwing…

Same sex marriage will be on 2012 ballot in Maine again

Activists in Maine said Thursday that the re-legalization of same sex marriage would be put to a statewide vote in 2012. “Marriage is going to be decided at the ballot box,” Betsy Smith, Executive Director of Equality Maine, told Think Progress. “We feel very comfortable about winning, it’s the reason…

Wyden backs amendment to overturn Citizens United ruling

Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR) announced on Thursday that he was supporting a proposed constitutional amendment that would overturn the Supreme Court’s controversial ruling in Citizens United v. the Federal Elections Commission. “Americans deserve to know the true interests behind the political ads they see and the campaigns of the candidates…

Republicans fail to stop debt ceiling increase

WASHINGTON — The Democratic-led Senate on Thursday saw off a Republican bid to stop the US debt ceiling being raised, ensuring that the Obama administration has no repeat of last year’s borrowing stand off. The Republican motion was defeated with 52 voting against to 44 in favor, with government debt…

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