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House passes farm bill, crop subsidies preserved
Written by MARY CLARE JALONICK, Associated Press   
Wednesday, 29 January 2014 12:09

WASHINGTON (AP) — The House has passed an almost $100 billion-a-year, compromise farm bill that would make small cuts to food stamps and continue generous subsidies for the nation's farmers.

The vote was 251-166. The five-year bill now goes to the Senate, which is expected to send it to the president's desk.

The measure had solid backing from the House GOP leadership, even though it makes smaller cuts to food stamps than they would have liked. The bill would cut about $800 million a year from the $80 billion-a-year program, or around 1 percent. The House had sought a 5 percent cut.

The legislation would continue to heavily subsidize major crops while eliminating some subsidies and shifting them toward more politically defensible insurance programs.

 
Cruise ship due in New Jersey port after illness outbreak
Written by Associated Press   
Wednesday, 29 January 2014 11:00

BAYONNE, N.J. (AP) — A cruise ship on which hundreds of passengers and crew members fell ill is due back in the New Jersey port it departed from last week.

Royal Caribbean says the Explorer of the Seas is scheduled to dock at 2 p.m. Wednesday in Bayonne.

The ship had to cut short a 10-day cruise after more than 600 passengers and crew members experienced vomiting and diarrhea.

The cruise line says most guests who fell ill are now up and about as the ship heads to port.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention boarded the ship during its U.S. Virgin Islands port call but has not confirmed the cause of the outbreak. The ship's doctors said the symptoms were consistent with norovirus.

The ship left Bayonne on Jan. 21.


Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

 
GOP response - big dreams for everyone
Written by DONNA CASSATA, Associated Press   
Wednesday, 29 January 2014 07:32

WASHINGTON (AP) — Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers on Tuesday offered a kinder, gentler vision of Republicans who are determined to empower Americans, not the government, and close the gap "between where you are and where you want to be."

Tapped to deliver the GOP response to President Barack Obama's State of the Union address, McMorris Rodgers touched on the daily routines of average Americans that overshadow Washington, from kissing children goodnight to preparing for a doctor's visit, and complained that Obama's policies are making life harder.

The highest-ranking Republican woman in Congress said the GOP believes "in a government that trusts people and doesn't limit where you finish because of where you started. That is what we stand for — for an America that is every bit as compassionate as it is exceptional. Our plan is one that dreams big for everyone and turns its back on no one."

Noteworthy for a member of the Republican leadership, McMorris Rodgers expressed support for changing the nation's immigration system, though she made no mention of what to do about the estimated 11 million immigrants living in the United States illegally.

Read more...
 
17 California communities could run out of water
Written by Associated Press   
Wednesday, 29 January 2014 10:36

SAN JOSE, Calif. (AP) — California officials say 17 rural communities in the drought-stricken state are in danger of running out of water within 60 to 120 days.

The San Jose Mercury News reported Tuesday (http://bit.ly/LmgFL2 ) that the threatened water systems serve from 39 to 11,000 residents.

They range from the tiny Lompico County Water District in Santa Cruz County to districts that serve the cities of Healdsburg and Cloverdale in Sonoma County.

The newspaper says most of the affected water districts have so few customers they can't charge enough to pay for backup water supplies or repair failing equipment.

Officials will discuss solutions like trucking water in or digging more wells.

The state health department compiled the list after surveying the more than 3,000 water agencies last week. The list will be updated weekly.

___

Information from: San Jose (Calif.) Mercury News, http://www.mercurynews.com


Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

 
Norway lawmakers nominate Snowden for Nobel
Written by Associated Press   
Wednesday, 29 January 2014 07:27

STAVANGER, Norway (AP) — Two Norwegian lawmakers say they have jointly nominated former NSA contractor Edward Snowden for the 2014 Nobel Peace Prize.

Socialist lawmakers Baard Vegard Solhjell, a former environment minister, and Snorre Valen said Wednesday the public debate and policy changes "in the wake of Snowden's whistleblowing has contributed to a more stable and peaceful world order."

Being nominated just means Snowden will be one of scores of names that the Nobel committee will consider for the prestigious award.

The five-member panel won't confirm who's been nominated but those who submit nominations sometimes make them public.

Nominators, including members of national parliaments and governments, university professors and previous laureates, must enter their submissions by Feb. 1.

The prize committee members can add their own candidates at their first meeting after that deadline.


Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

 
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