VIDEO: Today's Headline News from Associated Press
OBAMA SEEKS BUDGET DEAL, PROPOSES CUTS TO SOCIAL SECURITY
WASHINGTON (AP) -- President Barack Obama's proposed budget will call for reductions in the growth of Social Security and other benefit programs while still insisting on more taxes from the wealthy in a renewed attempt to strike a broad deficit-cutting deal with Republicans.
The proposal aims for a compromise on the fiscal 2014 budget by combining the president's demand for higher taxes with GOP insistence on reductions in entitlement programs. But the plan was already encountering negative reviews from top Republicans for its insistence on revenue and from liberals and labor for its effect on the social safety net.
Obama would reduce the federal government deficit by $1.8 trillion over 10 years, according to a summary from the Obama administration provided Friday. The president's budget, the first of his second term, incorporates elements from his last offer to House Speaker John Boehner in December. Congressional Republicans rejected that proposal because of its demand for more than a $1 trillion in tax revenue.
"It's not the president's ideal approach to our budget challenges, but it is a serious compromise proposition that demonstrates that he wants to get things done, that he believes we ought to do the business of the American people," said White House press secretary Jay Carney.
JUDGE MAKING MORNING-AFTER PILL AVAILABLE TO ALL
WASHINGTON (AP) -- The morning-after pill might become as easy to buy as aspirin.
In a scathing rebuke accusing the Obama administration of letting election-year politics trump science, a federal judge ruled Friday that women of any age should be able to buy emergency contraception without a doctor's prescription.
Today, women can do that only if they prove at the pharmacy that they're 17 or older; everyone else must see a doctor first. U.S. District Judge Edward Korman of New York blasted the government's decision on age limits as "arbitrary, capricious and unreasonable," and ordered an end to the restrictions within 30 days.
The Justice Department was evaluating whether to appeal, and spokeswoman Allison Price said there would be a prompt decision.
TAX HAVEN DATA LEAK NAMES NAMES, RAISES QUESTIONS
ARIS (AP) -- It's a data leak involving tens of thousands of offshore bank accounts, naming dozens of prominent figures around the world. And new details are being released by the day - raising the prospect that accounts based on promises of secrecy and tax shelter could someday offer neither.
Among those named include a top campaign official in France, the ex-wife of pardoned oil trader Marc Rich, Azerbaijan's ruling family, the daughter of Imelda Marcos and the late Baron Elie de Rothschild. The widespread use of offshore accounts among the wealthy is widely known - even Mitt Romney acknowledged stashing some of his millions in investments in the Cayman Islands.
But this week's leak, orchestrated by a Washington-based group called the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, appeared to be the broadest in what has been a steady stream of information emerging about hidden money in recent years amid a wave of anger targeting the super-rich in an age of austerity.
The leak allegedly involved records from 10 tax havens, where the world's wealthy have long stashed funds. It uncovered a shadow network of empty holding companies and names essentially rented out to fill out boards of non-existent corporations, including a British couple listed as active in more than 2,000 entities, according to The Guardian newspaper, which participated in the global undertaking.
The project started with the receipt of a hard drive by an Australian journalist, Gerard Ryle, who took the data with him when he joined the consortium, according to the project's website. The group, a project of the Washington-based Center for Public Integrity, has said the hard drive arrived in the mail.
"We know the data is valid. We know who originally produced the data and we've done massive crosschecks to make sure what we're getting is accurate and isn't corrupted," said Michael Hudson, a senior editor on the project.
Rudolf Elmer, who once ran the Caribbean operations of the Swiss bank Julius Baer and turned whistleblower after he was dismissed in 2002, told The Associated Press that he considers the data to be authentic.