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[September 23, 2009]
AP Political NewsBrief at 5:12 p.m. EDT
(Associated Press Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) Russian leader open to new Iran nukes sanctionsNEW YORK (AP) _ Giving some ground on a top priority of President Barack Obama, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev said Wednesday that sanctions are rarely productive but he opened the door to tougher ones to halt Iran's suspected nuclear weapons program. "In some cases, sanctions are inevitable," the Russian leader said after he and Obama held talks on the sidelines of the U.N. General Assembly meetings.
Obama to world: Don't expect America to fix it allUNITED NATIONS (AP) _ President Barack Obama challenged world leaders Wednesday to shoulder more of the globe's critical burdens, promising a newly cooperative partner in America but sternly warning they can no longer castigate the U.S. as a go-it-alone bully while still demanding it cure all ills. "Those who used to chastise America for acting alone in the world cannot now stand by and wait for America to solve the world's problems alone," said Obama in put-up-or-shut-up comments before a packed U.N. General Assembly hall. "Now is the time for all of us to take our share of responsibility for a global response to global challenges." AP source: Census worker hanged with 'fed' on bodyWASHINGTON (AP) _ The FBI is investigating the hanging death of a U.S. Census worker near a Kentucky cemetery. A law enforcement official says the word "fed" was scrawled on his chest. The body of Bill Sparkman, a 51-year-old Census field worker and occasional teacher, was found Sept. 12 in the Daniel Boone National Forest in rural southeast Kentucky.
Iran and US talk past each other on nuclear issueNEW YORK (AP) _ At a key moment in the conflict over Iran's nuclear ambitions, Tehran is speaking more softly, echoing President Barack Obama's call for eliminating nuclear weapons. But it's showing no sign of slowing what the U.S. calls a clandestine march to nuclear arms. In his address to the U.N. General Assembly on Wednesday, Obama stuck to his two-pronged approach to Iran _ acknowledging its right to the peaceful use of nuclear energy while warning of unspecified penalties if it veers onto the weapons path.
Proposal would limit scope of new oversight agencyWASHINGTON (AP) _ Ceding ground amid growing business opposition, the Obama administration on Wednesday signaled a willingness to exempt retailers, real estate brokers, lawyers, auto dealers, cable companies and accountants from oversight of its proposed Consumer Financial Protection Agency. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner told Congress that he supports a plan by Democratic Rep. Barney Frank that would narrow the purview of the new consumer watchdog. His remarks all but guarantee that lawmakers will move ahead with financial reform legislation less ambitious than the plan that President Barack Obama outlined in June.
IRS severs ties with ACORN over scandalWASHINGTON (AP) _ The IRS says it is severing ties with ACORN, the community activist group involved in a scandal after employees were caught on video giving advice to a couple posing as a prostitute and pimp. The Internal Revenue Service said Wednesday it would no longer include ACORN in its volunteer tax assistance program. The program offered free tax advice to about 3 million low- and moderate-income tax filers this spring.
Stimulus money for wildfires going to DC parksWASHINGTON (AP) _ Nearly $3 million in stimulus money targeted for fighting wildfires is being spent to restore public parks and watersheds in the nation's capital, which has no national forests. The Forest Service has directed that $2.8 million in "Wildland Fire Management" funds, approved under the economic stimulus law, go to groups that will create "green jobs" in the District of Columbia. The projects are intended to restore public parks and watersheds in the city and highlight the value of urban parks, including a park 2 miles north of the White House that once was plagued by crime.
Commander to send troop request for AfghanistanWASHINGTON (AP) _ The Pentagon said Wednesday that a request for new troops from the U.S. commander in Afghanistan may have to be revised amid growing uncertainty inside the Obama administration over whether to escalate the American commitment to the eight-year war. Pentagon press secretary Geoff Morrell said the troop request from U.S. and NATO commander Gen. Stanley McChrystal will be delivered by the week's end.
Democrats trying to sell health plan to seniorsWASHINGTON (AP) _ The White House and Democrats are laboring to attract skeptical seniors to their drive to reshape the nation's health care system, leading some to press the behemoth but reluctant AARP to be more aggressive about backing them. Polls show people age 65 and up _ the only age group that preferred Republican presidential candidate John McCain last November _ have also had the most negative views about President Barack Obama's attempt to overhaul health care. Among that age group, six in 10 disapprove of the job Obama is doing on health care and about the same number oppose the plans being considered in Congress, according to an Associated Press-GfK poll earlier this month.
Union: Regional airlines pressuring pilotsWASHINGTON (AP) _ The regional airline that operated a plane that crashed and killed 50 people in upstate New York has been pushing pilots to fly even if they say they are too sick or too tired, a union official told Congress on Wednesday. John Prather, president of the Air Line Pilots Association, said regional airlines are continuing practices that jeopardize safety even in the wake of the Feb. 12 crash of Continental Connection Flight 3407. Revelations about the conduct of the pilots in that crash prompted widespread criticism of the training, pay and working conditions of pilots at smaller carriers.
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