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Bickering intensifies as stances harden just hours before a government shutdown

WASHINGTON – The two key budget negotiators affirmed that a deal still had not been struck late Friday morning, as the bitter sparring between Senate Democrats and House Republicans escalated less than 14 hours before a shutdown. “When will the White House, when will Senate Democrats get serious about cutting…

‘U.S. Peace Index’ finds most violence in conservative southern states

Southern states are more violent than any region, according to a recently released crime index created with U.S. government statistics. The Institute for Economics and Peace said the index was their first U.S. Peace Index, and pulled from data compiled by compiled by the Bureau of Justice Statistics, the FBI,…

Wisconsin lobbyist’s son unexpectedly quits lavish government job

The son of a Wisconsin lobbyist whose firm heavily donated to Gov. Scott Walker (R) has unexpectedly quit his appointed post just days after media reports criticized the governor for picking him over candidates far more qualified for the lavishly paid state job. Brian Deschane, 27, was initially given a…

Rep. Slaughter: Republicans have come ‘to kill women’

Rep. Louise Slaughter is taking a hard line on Republican-led attacks on Planned Parenthood funding, which supports crucial medical screenings for millions of poor and middle class women nation-wide. Appearing at a pro-choice event earlier this week, she called out Republican freshmen in the House of Representatives, claiming that in…

World food prices dip for the first time in eight months

ROME (AFP) – World food prices fell for the first time in eight months in March after record highs largely due to oil prices, though the situation remains volatile, the UN’s food agency said on Thursday. The Food and Agriculture Organisation’s Food Price Index dropped to an average 230 points…

Budget negotiations break down over Planned Parenthood funding: aide

WASHINGTON – A late-night meeting in the White House between key budget negotiators failed to produce an accord, and it appears that the government may shut down Friday night over disagreements over funding for Planned Parenthood. “We’ve agreed on the amount of cuts, we’ve agreed on the EPA,” A Democratic…

U.S. combat troops may stay in Iraq beyond 2011, Gates admits

CAMP MAREZ, Iraq (AFP) – US Defence Secretary Robert Gates said Friday that American forces were prepared to stay in any role beyond a scheduled pullout late this year, but time was running out for Iraq to ask. Gates, who arrived in Baghdad late Wednesday on an unannounced visit, met…

Transplant funding restored in AZ

PHOENIX (Reuters) – Arizona has restored funding for some organ transplants that the state cut last year in a controversial move to help close a yawning budget deficit. Under a new budget signed by Arizona Republican Governor Jan Brewer late on Wednesday, the state will again provide coverage for pancreas,…

Wisconsin election worker’s find of uncounted ballots certain to draw scrutiny

Update: Dems cry foul as massive cache of votes was reportedly stored on a former Prosser aide’s personal computer Unofficial returns on Wednesday gave the union-backed challenger, JoAnne Kloppenburg, a narrow 204 vote statewide lead over Republican David Prosser. But late Thursday, the county clerk in Waukesha, a Republican stronghold, said that votes…

Budget negotiators differ by $6.5 billion

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Congressional negotiators on Friday differed by $6.5 billion in their efforts to agree on the size of spending cuts in budget talks aimed at avoiding a government shutdown, a Republican aide said. (Reporting by Andy Sullivan; Editing by Vicki Allen)…

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