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U.S. Fed set to gingerly lift foot off stimulus pedal

WASHINGTON (AFP) – The Federal Reserve appears ready to ease off the stimulus pedal that is pumping life into the US economy at a key meeting that opens Tuesday, despite signs of slowing growth. Most economists expect the Federal Open Market Committee will signal the Fed’s $600 billion asset purchase…

U.S. plans set of graphic cigarette warning labels

WASHINGTON (AFP) – The US government on Tuesday unveiled a new set of cigarette warnings with graphic images of a lifeless body, a scarred mouth and a blackened lung in order to highlight the health risks of smoking. “Beginning September 2012, FDA will require larger, more prominent cigarette health warnings…

Ex China envoy Huntsman launches White House bid

WASHINGTON (AFP) – Former ambassador to China Jon Huntsman, launching his 2012 White House bid on Tuesday, urged voters to help him rewrite a grim narrative of US decline and sharply assailed President Barack Obama. “We’re not just choosing new leaders. We’re choosing whether we are to become yesterday’s story…

Obama to reveal size of Afghan troop drawdown Wednesday

WASHINGTON (AFP) – President Barack Obama will announce the size of his drawdown of US troops from Afghanistan on Wednesday, mapping out an endgame for a 10-year war that has exacted a fearsome human and financial toll. Two administration officials said Obama would reveal the fruit of his deliberations on…

Man robs bank so he can go to jail and get health care

Often, crimes are borne of desperation. However, most robberies aren’t motivated by a desperate need for health care. James Richard Verone, of Georgia, attempted to steal one dollar from a bank so that he would be arrested, taken to jail and — most importantly — provided with health care, the…

Keith Olbermann’s ‘Countdown’ returns: Special Comment

Keith Olbermann returned to the airwaves Monday night for the first time since January with the new incarnation of “Countdown,” on Current TV. “This is to be a newscast of contextualization, to be delivered with a viewpoint that the weakest citizen of this country is more important than the strongest…

No automatic right to lawyer in U.S. civil cases: court

WASHINGTON (AFP) – The US Supreme Court ruled Monday that states did not have an automatic duty to provide counsel in civil courts in the case of a divorced father who was jailed for failing to pay child support. By a majority 5-4 vote, the justices found that while the…

Obama ‘finalizing’ Afghan troop decision

WASHINGTON (AFP) – US President Barack Obama was finalizing his decision on the size of planned troop cuts in Afghanistan as expectations mounted Monday of a possible announcement within days. White House spokesman Jay Carney said Obama still had not definitively made up his mind on the size of a…

Planned Parenthood Indiana to stop seeing Medicaid patients

INDIANAPOLIS (Reuters) – Planned Parenthood of Indiana will stop seeing Medicaid patients after Monday because of an Indiana law that cut the provider’s funding. PPIN went to court last month to prevent Indiana from cutting funding to the state’s largest reproductive health care provider. U. S. District Judge Tanya Walton…

Wal-Mart gender discrimination decision could change rules for class action suits

The Supreme Court handed down a decision Monday morning that not only impacts the treatment of women within the Wal-Mart corporation, but could also change the rules of class action lawsuits, and give companies permission to look the other way from unfair practices, the National Women’s Law Center said. “We…

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