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President Barack Obama waves during his arrival on Air Force One at Philadelphia International Airport, Thursday, Jan. 29, 2015, in Philadelphia. Obama traveled to Philadelphia and speak at the House Democratic Issues Conference. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

Obama looks for 7% boost in budget plan

Thursday, January 29, 2015

WASHINGTON — Declaring an end to “mindless austerity,” President Barack Obama called for a surge in government spending Thursday, and asked Congress to throw out the sweeping budget cuts both parties agreed to four years ago when deficits were spiraling out of control. Obama’s proposed $74 billion in added spending — about 7 percent — would be split about evenly …

Senate OKs Keystone bill; veto looms

Thursday, January 29, 2015

WASHINGTON — After three weeks and nearly 50 amendment votes, the Senate on Thursday approved legislation to expedite construction of the Keystone XL pipeline. Passage secured not only a top Republican policy victory, but a political success for new Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who made Keystone his priority. The issue also became the first test of his promise to return the Senate …

Gas blast wrecks Mexican hospital

Thursday, January 29, 2015

MEXICO CITY — Injured and bleeding, mothers carrying infants fled from a maternity hospital shattered by a powerful gas explosion Thursday, and rescuers swung sledgehammers to break through fallen concrete hunting for others who might be trapped. At least two people were killed and 73 injured, Mexico City officials said. The known dead …

WHO adopts reforms after bungling Ebola

Sunday, January 25, 2015

GENEVA — The World Health Organization has proposed reforms that could overhaul its structure after botching the response to the biggest-ever Ebola outbreak, a sluggish performance that experts say cost thousands of lives. On Sunday, several dozen of …

After dove debacle, Vatican makes balloons peace symbol

Sunday, January 25, 2015

VATICAN CITY — Dove lovers, rejoice. Balloons, not doves, were released as a gesture of peace Sunday in St. Peter’s Square, a year after an attack by a seagull and a crow on the symbolic birds sparked protests …

Keystone XL amendments had senators doing the unusual: voting

Sunday, January 25, 2015

WASHINGTON — Something unusual happened in Congress last week: Senators voted — not just once or twice, but more than 20 times, right up until midnight Thursday. In contrast to the recent years of gridlock and paralysis, senators took vote after politically tough vote as they worked their …

Keystone Q&A: Debate is no longer limited to oil

Sunday, January 25, 2015

WASHINGTON — Congress wasted no time this year getting back into the debate over the Keystone XL pipeline, despite last voting on approving the project in November. Now with firm control of the House and Senate, Republicans are eager to contrast their energy policy with that of President …

Earth Talk: Flame retardants can be toxic, especially for kids

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Dear EarthTalk: What is being done to get toxic flame retardants out of children’s furniture and other products? — Mary Sweetland, Seminole, Florida Putting flame retardants in furniture seemed like a good idea back in the 1970s to …

Vanderbilt gang-rape defense says school warped judgment

Friday, January 23, 2015

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Prosecutors spent more than a week showing jurors photo and videos taken by Vanderbilt football players as they joined in a dorm-room sex assault. In response, the former players’ lawyers have sought to put the …

Bid to win presidential library splits Chicagoans

Friday, January 23, 2015

CHICAGO — Chicago’s rush to secure space in a public park for Barack Obama’s presidential library has unleashed a tussle typical of the president’s hometown — loud, contentious and full of suspicions about backroom deals and personal politics …

Magnets used to plant drugs under cars from Mexico

Friday, January 23, 2015

SAN DIEGO — Drug smugglers are turning “trusted travelers” into unwitting mules by placing containers with powerful magnets under their cars in Mexico and then recovering the illegal cargo far from the view of border authorities in the …

Study: Toolmaking earlier among human ancestors

Friday, January 23, 2015

Our ape-like ancestors may have stopped dragging their knuckles and started making tools a half million years earlier than previously thought, according to a new study. The study, published online Thursday in the journal Science, suggests that the art of tool making may not be exclusive to the …

House OKs abortion bill as protesters swarm DC

Thursday, January 22, 2015

WASHINGTON — With thousands of abortion protesters swarming the city in their annual March for Life, Republicans muscled broadened abortion restrictions through the House on Thursday after a GOP rebellion forced leaders into an awkward retreat on an …