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POLL: MOST SEE DAMAGE IF DEBT LIMIT NOT RAISED

WASHINGTON (AP) -- An Associated Press-GfK poll says most Americans think jarring economic problems would erupt if lawmakers don't increase the government's debt limit.

But the survey also shows that people are torn over how or even whether to raise it. They lean slightly toward Republican demands that any boost be accompanied by federal spending cuts.

Fifty-three percent say if the debt limit is not extended and the U.S. defaults, there will be a major economic crisis. The rest say such a crisis would be somewhat likely or they largely dismiss the prospects of such damage.

Thirty-nine percent support GOP demands that deep spending cuts be attached to any debt ceiling increase. Thirty percent back President Barack Obama's insistence that the debt limit be raised now and budget cuts be debated later.

OBAMA TO CONFRONT OIL PIPELINE, CLIMATE CHANGE

WASHINGTON (AP) -- President Barack Obama's second-term energy agenda is taking shape and, despite the departure of key Cabinet officials, it looks a lot like the first: more reliance on renewable energy sources, such as wind and solar, and expanded production of oil and natural gas. Obama also is promising to address climate change, an issue he has acknowledged was sometimes overlooked during his first term.

"The president has been clear that tackling climate change and enhancing energy security will be among his top priorities in his second term," said Clark Stevens, a White House spokesman.

ALGERIA TV: 4 FOREIGNERS KILLED IN HOSTAGE RESCUE

ALGIERS, Algeria (AP) — Algerian state television says four foreigners — two Britons and two Filipinos — were killed in the operation by Algerian forces to liberate hostages held by militants in a remote natural gas complex. Citing a hospital, the report also said Thursday that 13 people were wounded, including seven foreigners.

MALI TOWNS MARKED BY FIGHTING, AIRSTRIKES

BAMAKO, Mali (AP) — French special forces inched closer to an al-Qaida-held town, fighting erupted in another center and army troops raced to protect a third, as the Islamic extremists controlling northern Mali ceded no ground Thursday, digging into the areas they already occupy and sending out scouts to widen their reach.

Banamba, a town just 90 miles (144 kilometers) from the capital, Bamako, was put on alert overnight and a contingent of roughly 100 Malian soldiers sped there on Thursday after a reported sighting of jihadists in the vicinity, the closest the extremists have come to the seat of government of this West African country, officials said.

RUSSIAN OFFICIAL REASSURES US ADOPTIVE PARENTS

MOSCOW (AP) — Russia's ombudsman for children's rights sought on Thursday to reassure American would-be adoptive parents that they will be allowed to take their children back to the United States. But some Americans with court rulings in their favor say they're still in legal limbo. A Russian law banning adoptions by U.S. citizens was rushed through parliament in December, and sped to President Vladimir Putin's desk in less than 10 days in retaliation over a U.S. law calling for sanctions on Russians identified as human-rights violators.

JUST SAY NEIGH: HORSEMEAT IN BURGERS HORRIFIES UK

LONDON (AP) — In Britain, a horse is a horse — not a main course. Tesco, the country's biggest supermarket chain, took out full-page newspaper ads Thursday to apologize for an unwanted ingredient in some of its hamburgers: horsemeat.



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