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Obama: political sacrifices needed for debt deal

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President Barack Obama said on Saturday political sacrifices will be needed by both Democrats and Republicans to break a budget impasse and avoid a looming debt default. Under pressure to reduce America’s 9.2 percent jobless rate, Obama used his weekly radio and Web address to vow to…

Defense Secretary Panetta says al Qaeda’s defeat ‘within reach’

KABUL (Reuters) – New U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta arrived in Afghanistan on Saturday, saying he believed the strategic defeat of al Qaeda was within reach if the United States could kill or capture up to 20 remaining leaders of the core group and its affiliates. Panetta, on his first…

Obama urges ‘balanced approach’ in deficit talks

US President Barack Obama urged Democrats and Republicans Saturday to take a “balanced approach” to deficit reduction ahead of a new round of key talks aimed at avoiding America’s default on its debt. “I believe we need a balanced approach,” Obama said in his weekly radio address. “That means taking…

US must do more to halt Mexico violence: UN official

The United States must do its part to halt weapons trafficking and drug use behind some of Mexico’s violence and insecurity, the top UN rights official said Friday. “I do call on the United States of America, indicated as the principal consumer of drugs and supplier of weapon of Mexico,…

Former US First Lady Betty Ford dies, aged 93

Former US First Lady Betty Ford died at the age of 93, drawing tributes for her inspiring role notably in helping treat drug and alcohol addicts at her California-based health center. The widow of president Gerald Ford, who died in 2006, was also hailed for campaigning for breast cancer awareness…

Drug Policy Alliance’s Ethan Nadelmann to Bill Maher: ‘Pot is the new gay’

On Friday night’s opening segment of Real Time with Bill Maher, guest Ethan Nadelmann –executive director of the Drug Policy Alliance– said that “the tide is turning” on marijuana legalization. During the discussion, Maher and Nadelmann drew comparisons between the rising support for drug reform and the ever-increasing public support…

Former first lady Betty Ford dead at 93

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – Betty Ford, the wife of the late President Gerald Ford and whose battles with addiction led to the founding of a famed drug and alcohol rehabilitation clinic bearing her name, died on Friday. Ford was 93. “I was deeply saddened this afternoon when I heard of…

US seeks to limit damage from Texas execution

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. government is working to limit the diplomatic fallout after Texas executed a Mexican national over Washington’s objections that it violated U.S. treaty obligations and put U.S. citizens abroad at risk. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was “quite disappointed” on Thursday after Texas went ahead with…

Groups sue to overturn ‘discriminatory’ Alabama immigration law

BIRMINGHAM, Ala (Reuters) – Civil rights groups on Friday filed a lawsuit challenging Alabama’s new immigration law, described as the toughest in the nation by both critics and supporters. The lawsuit says Alabama’s law will subject both citizens and non-citizens to “criminal penalties and incarceration for innocent daily activities, such…

Analysis: Budget-cutting could cripple recovery

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Two years removed from its worst recession since World War Two, the U.S. economy is still struggling to create jobs, and things could get even tougher if all the talk of belt-tightening in Washington becomes reality. Data on Friday showed hiring ground to a near halt…

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