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After 40 years, most Americans oppose overturning abortion ruliing

Most Americans remain opposed to overturning the controversial Supreme Court decision in Roe v. Wade, which 40 years ago legalized abortion at least in the first three months of pregnancy, according to a poll released Wednesday. The poll by the Pew Research Center found that 63 percent of Americans believe that Roe v. Wade should not be completely overturned, compared to 29 percent who believe it should be. These opinions have changed little from surveys conducted in 2003 and 1992, Pew reported. Michael Dimock, director of the Pew Research Center for the People and the Press, said it is uncommon
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Obama faces tough shootout on gun control in Congress

President Barack Obama’s sweeping gun-control package faces an uncertain future on Capitol Hill, where majority House Republicans are rejecting his proposals while the president’s allies in the Democratic-controlled Senate are stopping well short of pledging immediate action. The fate of his plan could ultimately hinge on a handful of moderate Democratic senators. Although they are unlikely to endorse the president’s call for banning assault weapons, they might go along with other proposals, such as requiring universal background checks on gun purchases. Several of these senators responded warily after Obama unveiled his proposals Wednesday with the challenge that “Congress must act
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America riddled with deficient levees

Inspectors taking the first-ever inventory of flood control systems overseen by the federal government have found hundreds of structures at risk of failing and endangering people and property in 37 states. Levees deemed in unacceptable condition span the breadth of America. They are in every region, in cities and towns big and small: Washington, D.C., and Sacramento Calif., Cleveland and Dallas, Augusta, Ga., and Brookport, Ill. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has yet to issue ratings for a little more than 40 percent of the 2,487 structures, which protect about 10 million people. Of those it has rated, however,
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Senate panel schedules hearings with Clinton, Kerry

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton will testify before a Senate panel next Wednesday on the deadly Sept. 11 attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya, and the committee will hold a confirmation hearing on her successor the following day. Senate aides said the Foreign Relations Committee notified senators Wednesday night that Clinton would testify Jan. 23. The panel will hold a hearing on the nomination of Sen. John Kerry to be the next secretary of state on Jan. 24. Kerry is the chairman of the committee and will retain that title until his widely expected Senate confirmation. However,
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New poll: Majority of Americans want stricter gun control, assult weapon ban

Nearly six in 10 Americans want stricter gun laws in the aftermath of last month’s deadly school shooting in Connecticut, with majorities favoring a nationwide ban on military-style, rapid-fire weapons and limits on gun violence depicted in video games, movies and TV shows, according to a new Associated Press-GfK poll. A lopsided 84 per cent of adults would like to see the establishment of a federal standard for background checks for people buying guns at gun shows, the poll showed. Three-quarters of Americans said they reacted to the Connecticut massacre with deep anger, while 54 per cent said they felt
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Obama set to reveal new gun control initiatives

President Barack Obama’s broad effort to reduce gun violence will include proposed bans on military-style assault weapons and high-capacity ammunition magazines as well as more than a dozen executive orders aimed at circumventing congressional opposition to stricter gun control. Obama was to announce the measures Wednesday at a White House event that will bring together law enforcement officials, lawmakers and children who wrote the president about gun violence following last month’s shooting of 20 young students and six adults at an elementary school in Newtown, Conn. The broad package Obama will unveil will also include efforts to stop bullying and
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House approves $50.7 billion for superstorm aid

More than 10 weeks after Superstorm Sandy brutalized parts of the heavily populated Northeast, the House approved $50.7 billion in emergency relief for the victims Tuesday night as Republican leaders struggled to close out an episode that exposed painful party divisions inside Congress and out. The vote was 241-180, and officials said the Senate was likely to accept the measure early next week and send it to President Barack Obama for his signature. Democrats supported the aid in large numbers, while majority Republicans opposed it by a lopsided margin. “We are not crying wolf here,” said Rep. Chris Smith, R-N.J.,
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Ken Salazar will leave Interior Secretary job in March

Interior Secretary Ken Salazar will leave the Obama administration in March, an Obama administration official said Wednesday. Salazar has run the Interior Department throughout President Barack Obama’s first term. Before joining the Cabinet, he served as a senator from Colorado. Salazar began his tenure with a pledge to help reduce America’s dependence on foreign oil. He told his confirmation hearing he would seek to expand renewable energy on public lands and promote the “wise use” of traditional energy sources. He is the latest Cabinet secretary to leave the administration as Obama heads into his second term. Secretary of State Hillary
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For Obama, a second chance for a speech for the ages

Sixteen presidents before Barack Obama got a second chance at giving an inaugural address for the ages. Most didn’t make much of it. George Washington’s remarks the second time around were admirably succinct — only 135 words — but hardly qualify as an address. Thomas Jefferson, who laid out a masterful brief on democracy at his first oath-taking, spent much of his second complaining that the press was telling lies about him. Ulysses S. Grant also began his second term by grousing that he’d been slandered, although it’s unlikely those who had heard his first inaugural were expecting much better.
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Obama may bypass Congress, use executive action to impose gun control

Facing powerful opposition to sweeping gun regulations, President Barack Obama is weighing 19 steps that could be taken through executive action alone, congressional officials said. Those steps could include ordering stricter action against people who lie on gun sale background checks, striking limits on federal research into gun use, ordering tougher penalties against gun trafficking, and giving schools flexibility to use grant money to improve safety. Obama is expected to unveil his proposals as early as Wednesday, barely over a month since the massacre of 20 children and six adults at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., thrust the
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