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Obama nominates Panetta to head Pentagon, Petraeus to head CIA

WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama on Thursday formally nominated Leon Panetta as his new secretary of defense and David Petraeus, who commands the international force in Afghanistan, as Panetta’s successor at the CIA. Obama had first said he planned to nominate Panetta and Petraeus on April 28, just days before…

Andrew Breitbart blames Glenn Beck for Shirley Sherrod scandal

Echoing claims he made on MSNBC in April, conservative blogger Andrew Breitbart blamed Fox News host Glenn Beck for a clip that portrayed U.S. Department of Agriculture state director Shirley Sherrod as racist. Breitbart accused Beck of taking the video of Sherrod and cutting it up into 15 second pieces…

Strauss-Kahn’s lawyers threaten to ‘undermine’ maid’s credibility

NEW YORK – Defense lawyers for Dominique Strauss-Kahn say they have information which could “gravely undermine” the credibility of the New York hotel maid accusing the former IMF chief of trying to rape her. The threat appeared in a long letter from attorneys William Taylor and Benjamin Brafman to Manhattan…

232 still missing after tornado in Joplin, Missouri

JOPLIN, Missouri (AFP) – Officials Thursday said 232 people were still missing four days after a tornado tore through a Missouri town, and had only managed to identify one of the 125 bodies found in the storm’s wake. Some of the missing from Sunday’s disaster in Joplin may be among…

NYPD officers cleared of rape and burglary charges

After seven days of deliberation, a jury acquitted two New York City police officers of felony charges of rape, burglary and falsifying business records for the alleged assault on a drunken 27-year-old woman they helped escort home. Although cleared of the felony charges, the Courthouse News Service reported that the two…

Senate votes to extend controversial provisions of PATRIOT Act

WASHINGTON — The US Senate voted 72 to 23 Thursday to extend controversial counter-terrorism search and surveillance powers at the heart of the Patriot Act adopted after the September 11, 2001 attacks. In a procedural move, US lawmakers voted to end debate on the subject which would allow them to pass…

House approves $690 billion defense budget

WASHINGTON — The US House of Representatives passed a $690 billion Pentagon budget Thursday that bars American ground forces in Libya and limits the Obama administration’s powers on handling Guantanamo detainees. Lawmakers voted 322-96 in favor of the budget plan which met the Defense Department’s request for $119 billion to…

Tim Pawlenty opposes medical marijuana: I stand with law enforcement

Republican presidential candidate Tim Pawlenty said Wednesday he was opposed to legalizing the use of marijuana for medical purposes during a speech at the CATO Institute, a libertarian think tank founded by Edward H. Crane and Charles Koch. “I stood with law enforcement on this issue,” Pawlenty said after being…

Palin to launch bus tour this weekend as 2012 speculation grows

WASHINGTON – It remains unclear whether she’ll run, but a series of recent moves by Sarah Palin has fueled speculation over whether the former Republican vice presidential nominee will jump into the 2012 presidential race. The move that is generating the most buzz is Palin’s plan to launch a bus…

Justice Department ‘almost certain’ to reopen John Ensign case

(Reuters) – It was one of the most high-profile investigations of a senator in years: John Ensign of Nevada had conducted an affair with his campaign treasurer, Cynthia Hampton, the wife of his closest friend and chief of staff. His family later paid $96,000 to the couple, and suspicions arose…

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