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Why the White House is tempering its stance on Libya

  The Obama administration is tempering its tough talk on Libya with a dose of reality, explaining that even a no-fly zone over the country would require a military attack on Moammar Gadhafi‘s regime. The Pentagon made it clear that it didn’t want war. Statements Wednesday by Defense Secretary Robert Gates and Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton illustrated the administration’s effort to rein in “loose talk” about military options to force Gadhafi from power. It was an acknowledgement that, short of an unlikely military offensive by a U.S.-led coalition, the options for international action to stem the violence appeared
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Bernanke: GOP budget cuts would cost 200,000 jobs

Chairman Ben Bernanke said on Wednesday a Republican spending cut plan would not cause a big dent to U.S. economic growth, but could cost around 200,000 jobs over two years. That estimate is at odds with losses of as much as 700,000 cited by Democrats but also clashes with forecasts of job gains Republicans have pointed to. Bernanke said that a $60 billion cut along the lines being pursued by Republicans in the House of Representatives would likely trim growth by around two-tenths of a percentage point in the first year and one-tenth in the next year. “That would translate
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Army looks at changes in training regimen

Sit-ups don’t make a soldier, the Army has decided. So its 30-year-old fitness requirements are getting a battlefield-inspired makeover. Soon every soldier will have to run on a balance beam with two 30-pound canisters of ammunition, drag a sled weighted with 180 pounds of sandbags and vault over obstacles while carrying a rifle. Those were just some of the tests the Army unveiled Tuesday as it moves toward making its physical training look more like combat. Right now soldiers have to complete sit-ups, push-ups and a two-mile run twice a year within times that vary by age and gender. Lt.
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Obama wants sell off $15 billion in federal property

The Obama administration on Wednesday proposed a plan to save billions of taxpayer dollars by creating an independent board to speed up the sale of thousands of unneeded federal properties at home and abroad. President Barack Obama previewed the plan in his 2012 budget and State of the Union Address as part of his efforts to trim government waste and curb a budget deficit projected to reach $1.645 trillion this fiscal year. The board, made up of experts drawn from the private and public sector, would make recommendations to Congress on 14,000 properties already identified as excess to requirements. The
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Akaka joins growing list of retiring Senators

With a tiny campaign war chest and indications that powerful Democrats wouldn’t support a re-election bid, Sen. Daniel Akaka of Hawaii announced he would step down after his term expires next year. The 86-year-old Democrat — the only U.S. senator of Native Hawaiian or Chinese ancestry — became on Wednesday the seventh senator to recently decide against running in 2012. “It was a very difficult decision for me,” he said in a statement. “However, I feel that the end of this Congress is the right time for me to step aside.” Akaka, the third-oldest member of the Senate, previously said
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