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Republicans go after unions in states

Republicans who swept into power in state capitols this year with promises to cut spending and bolster the business climate now are beginning to usher in a new era of labor relations that could result in the largest reduction of power in decades for public employee unions. But as massive public protests and legislative boycotts in Wisconsin this week have shown, the Republican charge can be fraught with risk and unpredictable turns as politicians try to transform campaign ideas into action. The question GOP governors and lawmakers are now facing is exactly how far they can go without encountering a
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Is the book about to close on Borders?

Borders Group Inc filed for bankruptcy protection and said it would close about one-third of its bookstores, after years of shriveling sales that made it impossible to manage its crushing debt load. The long-expected Chapter 11 filing will give the second-largest U.S. bookstore chain a chance to try to fix its finances and overhaul its business in an attempt to survive the growing popularity of online bookbuying and digital formats. But the chain still faces questions about its longer-term survival in the face of competition from larger rival Barnes & Noble Inc and discounters such as Wal-Mart Stores Inc and
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State workers: ‘Hey, don’t blame us’

When a New Jersey family with an autistic child walks into the state office seeking help, Norlande Perpignan is often the first person they see. A clerk making $41,082 a year at the Division of Developmental Disabilities, Perpignan, 40, is also on the front lines of a national debate about public spending, taxes and a fiscal crisis facing local governments. With the sluggish economy constricting tax revenue, many states, counties and local governments are fiscally distressed, adding unprecedented volatility to the traditionally safe, $2.8 trillion municipal bond market. New Jersey Governor Chris Christie has called the state’s long-term pension obligations
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Why are credit card rates going up?

Credit card interest rates are climbing. It’s just not clear exactly why. A study released Tuesday suggests that today’s higher rates are mainly a reflection of the struggling economy. That’s contrary to the credit card industry’s refrain that tighter regulations have forced banks to pass costs along to consumers. The average credit card rate rose to 13.44 percent at the end of last year, from 12.75 percent on the eve of the Great Recession, according to data from the Federal Reserve. Most cards have variable interest rates, however, meaning their rates rise and fall with the prime rate. The study
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Source of Iraq’s WMDs: ‘I made the whole thing up

From January 2000 to September 2001, an Iraqi ex-pat named Rafid Ahmed Alwan detailed Sadaam Hussein‘s efforts to construct biological weapons of mass destruction in conversations with German intelligence (BND). This information was passed on to the CIA which, despite the skepticism voiced by Alwan’s BND handlers and never having interviewed Alwan directly, relayed the intelligence provided by the man codenamed Curveball to the Bush administration in the months leading up to the war in Iraq. This testimony made up the backbone of then-Secretary of State Colin Powell‘s March 2003 speech at the United Nations citing “eyewitness accounts” of Iraq’s
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Libya joins the protest bandwagon

Hundreds of Libyan protesters took to the streets Wednesday in the country’s second largest city to demand the government’s ouster in the first sign that the region’s unrest has spread to the Arab nation in North Africa. Witnesses say protesters in the port city of Benghazi chanted slogans demanding the resignation of Prime Minister Baghdadi al-Mahmoudi. The crowds, however, did not appear to direct their anger at Moammar Gadhafi, who has ruled the nation for more than 40 years. As in the uprisings that toppled longtime autocratic rulers in Egypt and Tunisia — on opposite sides of Libya — Libyan
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