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House panel delves into Muslims radicalization

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Muslim Americans must do more to combat Islamic radicalization as al Qaeda targets them to help carry out terrorism plots, a lawmaker said on Thursday as he convened hearings critics said unfairly singled out Muslims. Read the full story.
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Senate kills competing spending cut bills

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The Senate defeated a pair of spending-cut bills on Wednesday — a Republican plan for nearly $60 billion in reductions and a far smaller Democratic alternative — increasing pressure on both sides to cut a bipartisan deal. Read the full story.
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China welcomes Locke nomination for U.S. ambassador post

BEIJING (Reuters) – China Thursday presented open arms to U.S. President Barack Obama’s nomination of Commerce Secretary Gary Locke as the new ambassador to China, as the two countries try to strengthen their ties and nurture more mutual trust. Read the full story.
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Oil company CEO claims prices aren’t hurting economy

Exxon Mobil CEO Rex Tillerson said Wednesday he doesn’t think the recent jump in oil prices is hurting the U.S. economy — at least, not yet. The head of the world’s largest publicly traded oil company said that in 2008, when oil surged to near $150 per barrel, Americans didn’t change their driving and spending habits until gasoline prices topped $4 per gallon. Average gas prices peaked at $4.11 in July that year. “I don’t know if that tip-over is still at the same $4 level or not,” Tillerson told reporters at the New York Stock Exchange. “We’ll see.” Oil
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NPR head steps down after remarks about the right

NPR will forge ahead in the fight for federal money despite six months of bad PR — and without its chief executive. NPR’s president and CEO resigned Wednesday to limit the damage from hidden camera footage of a fellow executive deriding the tea party movement as “seriously racist.” Conservatives called the video proof that the network is biased and undeserving of federal funds. From the news organization’s perspective, the timing was exceptionally bad. The battle for funds will be the toughest yet, with Republicans in the new House majority looking to cut all federal funding of public radio and television.
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February Foreclosures hit three-year low

Foreclosure filings dropped to a 3-year low in February due to an ongoing backlog following last year’s halt in activity, according to a RealtyTrac report on Thursday. Notices of default, auctions and bank repossessions tumbled 13.9 percent from January to 225,101, the lowest since February 2008. Filings dropped 27 percent from February of last year, the biggest year-over-year drop since RealtyTrac started the report in 2005. Investigations into the foreclosure process prompted temporary halts from some servicers late last year. A bottleneck among lenders, servicers and attorneys as they refile paperwork that was improperly done means homes that would otherwise
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Back to the bargaining table in budget debacle

Their opening budget gambits history, lawmakers are returning to the bargaining table in search of a fiscal plan that cuts spending, as voters demanded in the last election, and could carry political value in the next one. The balance is particularly delicate for senators up for re-election next year. Some, mostly Democrats, bucked their parties in a pair of votes Wednesday that sank a slashing budget proposal passed by the House and killed a less onerous Senate alternative. The two versions were nearly $50 billion apart on how much spending should be cut over the next seven months. Neither stood
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Budget battle puts Social Security in play

In the midst of the budget crisis, an old debate has broken out with new force: Should Social Security be seen as part of the deficit that Washington needs to rein in? The White House is balking at calls to tackle Social Security’s financial problems now, before baby boomers swamp the system. But the massive retirement program, like the rest of the government, is running a deficit and has become part of the argument on Capitol Hill. The elderly and disabled don’t need to worry about losing their benefits or seeing them cut anytime soon. The Obama administration is correct
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