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White House praises Muslims: Get jump on House hearings

Muslim Americans are not part of the terrorism problem facing the U.S. — they are part of the solution, a top White House official said Sunday at a Washington-area mosque. Deputy National Security Adviser Denis McDonough set the Obama administration’s tone for discussions as tensions escalate before the first in a series of congressional hearings on Islamic radicalization. The hearings, chaired by New York Republican Peter King, will focus on the level of cooperation from the Muslim community to help law enforcement combat radicalization. The majority of the recent terror plots and attempts against the U.S. have involved people espousing
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Tough federal judge gets first-hand look at New York drug turf

The scene in a gritty Brooklyn neighborhood had the feel of a political campaign stop, except the stately man trailed by aides, a bodyguard and two news photographers wasn’t making speeches or working a crowd. Instead, longtime federal Judge Jack B. Weinstein — 6-foot-2 and looking fit — strolled mostly in silence on Friday around the Louis Armstrong Houses in Bedford-Stuyvesant — the same streets where authorities say armed thugs once terrorized residents with an “open-air drug bazaar.” Weinstein, who’s overseeing the case against the crack cocaine crew, had decided it was important to leave his chambers, don his dark
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Hiring increase could mean turning point in jobs crisis

Companies added more workers in February than in any month in almost a year — a turning point for the economy that finally pushed the unemployment rate below 9 percent. Economists say the stronger hiring should endure all year. The 222,000 jobs the private sector created more than offset layoffs by financially squeezed state and local governments. They slashed 30,000 jobs, the most since November. The unemployment rate sank to 8.9 percent, the lowest since April 2009. The rate has now fallen almost a full percentage point in just three months — the sharpest drop in a generation. Hiring last
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Obama asks for ‘common ground’ in budget debate

President Barack Obama is urging lawmakers to find common ground on a budget deal to avert a government shutdown and says he’s willing to agree to steeper cuts to get there. The president issued a call for compromise Saturday in his weekly radio and Internet address but without offering any specifics on how to bridge the $50 billion gulf that divides the White House and Democratic budget proposal from the much steeper cuts offered by Republicans. The competing plans are headed for test votes in the Senate in the coming week that neither is expected to survive but that will
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Walker sends out layoff notices in Wisconsin

Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker issued layoff warning notices on Friday to unions representing state workers as a battle intensified between Republican and Democratic lawmakers over union bargaining rights that has sparked protests and a national debate. “If the Senate Democrats come back to Wisconsin, these notices may be able to be rescinded and layoffs avoided,” Walker said in a statement. “This action is necessary due to the delay in passage of the budget repair bill.” The warning notices were sent to at least 13 unions including AFSCME, Association of State Prosecutors and Wisconsin Education Association Council. The notes do not
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