VIDEO: Today's Headline News from Associated Press

FOOD STAMPS AGAIN A VIVID SYMBOL IN POVERTY DEBATE

 

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Food stamps have figured in Americans' ideas about the poor for decades, from President Lyndon Johnson's vision of a Great Society to President Ronald Reagan's scorn for crooked "welfare queens" and President Bill Clinton's pledge to "end welfare as we know it."

 

Partisans tend to see what they want to see in the food stamp program: barely enough bread and milk to sustain hungry children, or chips and soda - maybe even steak and illicit beer - for cheaters and layabouts gaming the system.

 

Those differences were on display Thursday when the House voted to cut almost $4 billion a year, or 5 percent, from the roughly $80 billion-a-year program.

 

The House bill would tighten eligibility standards, allow states to impose new work requirements and permit drug testing for recipients, among other cuts to spending. A Senate bill would cut around one-tenth of the amount of the House bill, or $400 million a year.

 

Republicans argued that work requirements target the aid to the neediest people. Democrats said the swelling rolls - more than 47 million people are now using the food stamps, or 1 in 7 Americans - show that the program is working at a time of high unemployment and great need.

 

Click to look at the history and future of food stamps.

 

HUMAN TRAFFICKING CASE AGAINST SAUDI PRINCESS DISMISSED

 

SANTA ANA, Calif. (AP) -- A human-trafficking charge against a Saudi princess was abruptly dismissed Friday after prosecutors were unable to support claims by a Kenyan maid who said she had to escape from her employer's condominium after having her passport taken and being forced to work long hours for meager pay.

 

The announcement came during what had been expected to be the arraignment of Meshael Alayban, 42, on the felony charge punishable by up to 12 years in prison.

 

Orange County District Attorney Tony Rackauckas told the judge that investigators tried to corroborate the allegations but found the evidence did not support the claim.

 

An attorney had said the maid wanted to make a statement to the court but wasn't available until Monday. The judge told Rackauckas he could wait for the statement, but the district attorney moved to dismiss the case.

 

Alayban smiled when her attorney, Paul Meyer, said, "You are free."

 

She had been out on $5 million in bail posted by the Saudi Consulate.

 

Another attorney in the case, Jennifer Keller, thanked the district attorney for "being a man of integrity" on behalf of Alayban's family and the nation of Saudi Arabia.

 

UNSETTLED WIND POSTPONES RACE 14 OF AMERICA'S CUP

 

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) -- The attempt to modernize the stodgy old America's Cup is slowing the regatta's momentum and keeping a boatload of Kiwis holding on match point.

 

Trying to fit racing into a nice, neat two-hour TV window doesn't quite work in a sport that relies on wind and tides that keep their own schedule and don't always cooperate.

 

Race 14 was postponed Saturday because the wind hadn't settled in from the desired direction by the 2:40 p.m. cutoff time. That forced Emirates Team New Zealand and defending champion Oracle Team USA back to shore to await perhaps better conditions on Sunday.

 

Regatta director Iain Murray didn't want to send the high-performance, 72-foot catamarans into skewed conditions with so much at stake.

 

A front that drenched San Francisco with late-morning rain brought wind from the south. It never swung back to the west-southwest breeze the course is set up for.

 

The Kiwis have been sitting on match point since Wednesday, leading 8-3 and needing one more win to wrest the oldest trophy in international sports away from software tycoon Larry Ellison.

 

The stakes are high for Oracle Team USA, as well, since one more loss will see the America's Cup sail away from American shores for the third time since 1983. Docked two points in a cheating scandal, the well-funded powerhouse has won four of the last six races. Still, it needs six wins to keep the Auld Mug.

 

On Friday, Race 13 was abandoned due to a 40-minute time limit with the Kiwis well ahead on the fourth leg of the five-leg course in light wind. Oracle won the re-sail of Race 13 to stay alive for the second straight day.

 

Organizers will try again Sunday.

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