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U.S. zoos step up elephant safety rules

WASHINGTON — The US zoo association has issued tougher safety guidelines on elephants that include a requirement for all institutions to provide barriers that separate handlers from the animals. The guidelines, believed to be among the most stringent in the world, won praise from animal rights activists, although the zoo…

Sen. Scott Brown aide caught using Twitter ‘sock puppet’ to mock opponent

Republican Senator Scott Brown of Massachusetts has a so-called “sock puppet” Twitter account that has been impersonating and mocking his Democratic challenger, Alan Khazei, for nearly a month. A “sock puppet” is an online persona used for deceptive purposes. “I promise to devote all my time in office to making…

Cheney kept secret resignation letter as vice president

WASHINGTON — Dick Cheney kept a secret resignation letter in a safe while he was vice president in case his shaky health suddenly deteriorated, he said in an interview released Wednesday. Cheney, who has a long history of heart problems, said that he signed the letter two months after entering…

Senator Sanders: I’ll be damned if they’re going to cut Social Security

During a United Steelworkers convention in Las Vegas, Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) lashed out at those who had proposed rolling back Social Security benefits. “There has been too much discussion in this country — not just from Republicans, but from Democrats alike — that we should be making cuts in…

U.S. arrests ‘Jewish Indiana Jones’ in Torah scam

NEW YORK — A self-styled “Jewish Indiana Jones” was arrested Wednesday for the unholy business of cheating Jews through a charity purporting to recover Torah scrolls lost in the Holocaust, US law enforcement said. Menachem Youlus, 50, allegedly defrauded the charity Save a Torah and its donors of hundreds of…

Teachers’ rap song blasts Education secretary for ‘pimping’ charter schools

A rap song created by a duo calling themselves “Two Teachers and a Microphone” slaps down U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan for failing to acknowledge poverty and inequality, and accuses him of “pimping out Pearson and private charters.” The $4.35 billion Race to the Top competitive grant program initiated…

Romney stands firm in refusal to sign pro-life pledge

When Texas governor and Republican presidential candidate Rick Perry signed the Susan B. Anthony List’s anti-abortion pledge Wednesday, the pro-life group claimed a significant victory: they’ve gotten virtually all GOP candidates to vow to appoint only pro-life cabinet members and high-level administration personnel, as well as to promote anti-abortion legislation.…

Ron Paul: I’d get rid of the federal income tax

Congressman Ron Paul (R-TX) told KHOU 11 News on Wednesday that he would like to eliminate the federal income tax because it encourages the “bureaucrats and politicians” to spend too much money. “You can’t get rid of the income tax unless you’d get rid of all the spending,” the 2012…

CBO: Budget deal cuts U.S. deficit in half over next decade

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – A sweeping U.S. budget deal has brightened the country’s fiscal outlook but unemployment will remain high over the near term, nonpartisan congressional forecasters said on Wednesday. The report by the Congressional Budget Office is likely to add fuel to the debate over jobs and the economy that…

US wants UN to free $1.5 billion of Libya aid

UNITED NATIONS — The United States called an urgent meeting of the UN Security Council on Wednesday to press for an easing of Libya sanctions so that it can send $1.5 billion of humanitarian aid. The 15-member council will meet from 3:00 pm (1900 GMT) to discuss a proposed US…

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