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Obama approval rockets to 60% as majority says he deserves reelection

A new poll by The Associated Press has found that a full 60 percent of Americans say they approve of the job President Barack Obama is doing — his highest rating in two years. Poll figures showed that the president has improved dramatically in the minds of most voters across…

Mississippi River crests near record at Memphis

MEMPHIS, Tennessee (Reuters) – The Mississippi River was cresting at Memphis on Tuesday just inches below the all-time record as the swollen wall of water moved south toward the Gulf of Mexico. The level of the largest river in North America may have reached its peak at 47.87 feet on…

New York’s Gov. Cuomo drives same-sex marriage debate

ALBANY, New York (Reuters) – In a push to legalize same-sex marriage, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has emerged as a closed-door strategist, allowing gay rights groups to own the public campaign and also the loss that could result if legislation fails this year. Cuomo, a Democrat in his first year in…

Sen. Kerry to travel to Pakistan in attempt to mend ties

WASHINGTON (AFP) – Amid tensions between the United States and Pakistan over the killing of Osama bin Laden, a top US senator said Tuesday he will visit Islamabad seeking to mend ties and answer troubling questions. US Senator John Kerry said he hoped to resolve some of the puzzles raised…

Mississippi execution uses sedative for first time

WASHINGTON (AFP) – Benny Joe Stevens, who was convicted of killing four people, including two children, has been executed by the state of Mississippi with a drug normally used to euthanize animals. Stevens, 52, was pronounced dead at 6:22 pm (23:22 GMT) at the state penitentiary in the town of…

Presbyterian Church to ordain openly gay and lesbian ministers

The Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) ratified an amendment to the church’s constitution Tuesday that removes a provision flatly prohibiting the ordination of openly gay men and women in same sex relationships. “Clearly what has changed is that persons in a same-gender relationship can be considered for ordination,” General Assembly Stated Clerk…

Court blocks Utah ‘show me your papers’ law

A federal district court in Salt Lake City blocked the implementation of Utah’s so-called “show me your papers” law which was scheduled to go into effect Tuesday. Like Arizona’s controversial immigrant law, the law passed by Utah earlier this year authorized law enforcement officials to demand proof of a person’s…

Chris Matthews: Bush was ‘wise ass rich kid’ about bin Laden

MSNBC host Chris Matthews said Tuesday that former President George W. Bush had a “wise ass” attitude about terrorist leader Osama bin Laden. “I’m not a Bush hater, but that was wise-ass behavior there,” he said. “Just wise-ass. I mean this is the rich kid acting like I don’t care…

Democratic senators propose ending tax breaks for big oil

WASHINGTON — Democrats in the US Senate on Tuesday proposed eliminating tax breaks for big oil firms and applying the expected $21 billion savings over 10 years to help reduce the deficit. “We all need to tighten our belts to help address the deficit, even the oil companies,” said Senator…

Sixty-five arrested during protest of California budget cuts

The California Highway Patrol arrested at least 65 protesters Monday evening at the California state Capitol after they refused to leave after the rotunda had closed. The protest in Sacramento was the first in a series of protests dubbed “State of Emergency” and planned by the California Teacher Association (CTA).…

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