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House votes due today on budget agreement PDF  | Print |  E-mail
Written by ANDREW TAYLOR, Associated Press   
Thursday, 12 December 2013 06:55

WASHINGTON (AP) — House Republicans are rallying behind a modest budget pact that promises to bring a temporary halt to budget brinkmanship in Washington and ease automatic budget cuts that would otherwise slam the Pentagon and domestic agencies for a second straight year.

At the same time, President Barack Obama and Senate Democrats are praising the measure negotiated with House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan, R-Wis., who morphed from an uncompromising small-government stalwart into a divided-Washington dealmaker in order to claim a partial victory on the budget.

The deal Ryan negotiated with Senate Budget Committee Chairwoman Patty Murray, D-Wash., would preserve the bulk of tough agency spending cuts the GOP won in a 2011 showdown with Obama, while greatly reducing the chances of a rerun of the politically debilitating partial government shutdown that the GOP stumbled into in October.

The measure, which was set for a vote Thursday, seemed sure to pass, despite unhappiness on the part of House Democrats cut out of the talks and also upset that it didn't contain a provision to renew jobless benefits for the long-term unemployed.

AP Exclusive: Feds shut 52 unsafe bus companies PDF  | Print |  E-mail
Written by JUSTIN PRITCHARD, Associated Press   
Thursday, 12 December 2013 06:28

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Federal bus safety regulators have shut down 52 companies in what they describe as a major nationwide crackdown on unsafe outfits, including lines whose drivers had suspended licenses or worked routes of more than 800 miles without rest.

The companies aren't just low-cost, fly-by-night carriers — some have transported school bands, Boy Scouts or senior citizens, according to Anne S. Ferro , administrator of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.

Overall, the motor coach industry carries about 700 million passengers a year in the U.S., roughly the same as domestic airlines.

Ex-cop acquitted in retrial over deadly Katrina shooting PDF  | Print |  E-mail
Written by KEVIN McGILL, Associated Press MICHAEL KUNZELMAN, Associated Press   
Thursday, 12 December 2013 06:22

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Three years ago, a jury heard lurid testimony about a burned body and a brazen cover-up before convicting a former New Orleans police officer of fatally shooting a man without justification in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.

But the officer, David Warren, was acquitted of the same charges Wednesday by a different panel of jurors who didn't hear any talk about what happened to 31-year-old Henry Glover's body or about falsified police reports on his shooting outside a strip mall less than a week after the 2005 storm.

Warren, 50, was serving a prison sentence of nearly 26 years when a federal appeals court threw out his 2010 convictions last year and ordered him a new trial. A three-judge panel from the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that Warren should have been tried separately from four other former officers who were charged in the alleged cover-up.

After the jury in his retrial delivered its verdict and he was reunited with his wife and five children, Warren told reporters he believes the outcome of the first trial would have been different if another officer hadn't burned Glover's body in a car.

Spurned by president, EU embraces Ukraine protest PDF  | Print |  E-mail
Written by RAF CASERT, Associated Press   
Thursday, 12 December 2013 06:20

BRUSSELS (AP) — Two weeks ago, the European Union's foreign policy chief was at a summit in Lithuania, wooing Ukraine's president with offers of preferential dealings with the world's largest trade bloc. This week, she stood in Kiev's Independence Square with protesters bent on ousting the same man.

The EU is seeking to bounce back after Ukraine rejected a deal with Europe in favor of a rival alliance with Russia. What had been a policy of courting President Viktor Yanukovych has become a more nuanced campaign to work both sides of the escalating dispute.

The images of Catherine Ashton clinging to the arm of Ukrainian opposition leader Arseniy Yatsenyuk were a stark illustration of how the EU sees a fresh opportunity in the demonstrations that have divided the former Soviet republic.

"The people of this great country deserve better," Ashton said Wednesday in Kiev.

But Ashton's gesture also belied the fact that in the geopolitical battle over the direction of Ukraine, the 28-nation EU has so far been outhustled, and outmuscled, by Moscow.

Group wants Fisher Price iPad seat recall PDF  | Print |  E-mail
Written by JENNIFER C. KERR, Associated Press   
Wednesday, 11 December 2013 07:34

WASHINGTON (AP) — Ahh, the first year of a baby's life — learning to sit up, crawl, even walk. But how about playtime in a baby seat with an iPad and some cool apps?

Fisher-Price is selling an infant seat with an attachment where parents can insert an iPad so baby can watch video content aimed at the youngest children — an idea that is being criticized by the Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood. The Boston-based advocacy group started an online petition campaign Tuesday, urging Fisher-Price to recall its Newborn-to-Toddler Apptivity Seat for iPads.

CCFC says it's not healthy for a baby's development and encourages parents to leave baby alone.

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