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Obama cracks down on labor breaches by contractors

Jul 31, 2014

By JOSH LEDERMAN, Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) — In an election-year rebuttal to Republicans, President Barack Obama will sign an executive order Thursday requiring federal contractors to give their workers more rights in labor disputes. The move comes one day after House GOP lawmakers voted to ...

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GOP: Lerner emails show bias against conservatives

Jul 31, 2014

By STEPHEN OHLEMACHER, Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) — Newly released emails show a former IRS official at the center of the agency's tea party controversy calling right-wing Republicans "crazies" and more.

The revelation is fueling GOP claims of a political conspiracy at the IRS to target ...

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Mississippi's Senate candidates to appear together

Jul 31, 2014

By EMILY WAGSTER PETTUS, Associated Press

PHILADELPHIA, Miss. (AP) — For a half-hour or so, Republican Sen. Thad Cochran will be in the same place and talk to the same crowd as Democratic rival Travis Childers. And it might just be the only time during this year's campaign that'll happen.

Such is ...

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Congress races to finish veterans, highway bills

Jul 31, 2014

By DONNA CASSATA, Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) — Congress is racing to wrap up legislation addressing chronic problems at the Veterans Affairs Department and a shortfall in highway money ahead of its five-week summer break. Deep divisions cast doubt on any resolution to the surge of immigrants ...

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Kansas congressman hit by farmers' backlash

Jul 31, 2014

By ROXANA HEGEMAN, Associated Press

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Eleven biofuel plants dot the vast expanse of western and central Kansas, where farm fields stretch to the horizon and corn and sorghum are the backbone of the rural economy.

So when the Republican congressman who represents the area ...

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First lady asks leaders to change gender attitudes

Jul 31, 2014

By STACY A. ANDERSON, Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) — Michelle Obama called on young African leaders to change traditional attitudes and beliefs that harm girls and women, adding that educating and making women financially literate is not enough.

"No country can ever truly flourish if it stifles ...

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Obama takes tougher line against Gaza casualties

Jul 30, 2014

By JULIE PACE, AP White House Correspondent

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Obama administration condemned the deadly shelling of a United Nations school in Gaza Wednesday, using tough, yet carefully worded language that reflects growing White House irritation with Israel and the mounting civilian casualties ...

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Powell maybe not told early about CIA techniques

Jul 30, 2014

By KEN DILANIAN and EILEEN SULLIVAN, Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) — A Senate report on the CIA's interrogation and detention practices after the 9/11 attacks concludes that the agency initially kept the secretary of state and some U.S. ambassadors in the dark about harsh techniques and secret ...

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Obama order to expand labor rights for contractors

Jul 30, 2014

By JOSH LEDERMAN, Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama is preparing to sign an executive order cracking down on labor violations by companies that contract with the federal government, the White House said Wednesday.

Obama's order will require companies seeking federal contracts ...

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Congress cooperates _ and fights _ as recess nears

Jul 30, 2014

By DAVID ESPO, AP Special Correspondent

WASHINGTON (AP) — Eager to begin a monthlong break, Congress leavened its customary heavy partisanship on Wednesday with a pinch of compromise, advancing legislation to repair the deeply troubled Department of Veterans Affairs and working to clear funds for ...

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GOP-led House approves lawsuit against Obama

Jul 30, 2014

By ALAN FRAM, Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) — A sharply divided House has approved a Republican plan to file an election-season federal lawsuit against President Barack Obama. The suit will contend that Obama has exceeded his constitutional powers in the way he has enforced the 2010 health care ...

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More senators seek military aid to Ukraine

Jul 30, 2014

By BRADLEY KLAPPER, Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) — Democratic senators joined their Republican colleagues Wednesday in calling for some U.S. military aid to Ukraine after receiving a closed-door briefing from senior Obama administration officials.

Sens. Carl Levin of Michigan, the Armed ...

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Terror threats at chemical plants underestimated

Jul 30, 2014

By HOPE YEN, Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) — The government is underestimating the threat of a chemical attack on America's densely populated cities and has failed to inspect virtually all of the chemical facilities that it considers particularly vulnerable to terrorists, congressional ...

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House approves VA health care overhaul

Jul 30, 2014

By MATTHEW DALY, Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) — The House overwhelmingly approved a landmark bill Wednesday to refurbish the Veterans Affairs Department and improve veterans' health care.

The 420-5 vote sends the bill to the Senate, where approval is expected by Friday.

The $16.3 billion measure ...

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US imposes travel ban on some Venezuelan officials

Jul 30, 2014

By HANNAH DREIER and BRADLEY KLAPPER, Associated Press

CARACAS, Venezuela (AP) — Amid escalating tensions with Venezuela, the U.S. State Department on Wednesday announced a travel ban for officials of the socialist government it said committed human rights abuses during a crackdown on opposition ...

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Senate reprieve for highly contested border bill

Jul 30, 2014

By ERICA WERNER, Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) — A bill to deal with the immigration surge on the U.S.-Mexico border won a temporary reprieve in the Senate Wednesday as lawmakers maneuvered to offer some response to the crisis before adjourning for the summer.

Senators voted 63-33 to advance the ...

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Text of Lois Lerner's email exchange

Jul 30, 2014

By The Associated Press

Former IRS official Lois Lerner had the following email exchange with a personal associate on Nov. 9, 2012. At the time, Lerner directed the IRS division that processed applications for tax-exempt status. She has since retired.

During the exchange, Lerner says she is ...

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Africa summit to proceed despite Ebola outbreak

Jul 30, 2014

WASHINGTON (AP) — The White House says there are no plans to change or cancel an upcoming summit of African leaders in the U.S. despite an Ebola outbreak in Liberia.

More than 40 African leaders are set to meet with President Barack Obama in Washington next week.

White House spokesman Eric ...

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Ex-IRS official called conservatives 'crazies

Jul 30, 2014

By STEPHEN OHLEMACHER, Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) — A former IRS official at the center of the agency's tea party controversy referred to some right-wing Republicans as "crazies" and more in emails released Wednesday. A key GOP lawmaker says the remarks show that Lois Lerner was biased against ...

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Air Force: Stowaway triggers security review

Jul 30, 2014

By ROBERT BURNS, AP National Security Writer

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Air Force's top civilian and uniformed leaders said Wednesday the failure to prevent a teenager from stowing away aboard a military cargo plane, apparently while on an airfield in the African nation of Mali, was a serious security ...

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