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Congress approves payroll tax cut extension - Friday, February 17, 2012
(Fox News) Congress has passed an extension of the payroll tax cut and long-term jobless benefits, handing to President Obama one of his election-year priorities despite widespread concerns about the bill's deficit implications. The Senate approved the bill Friday afternoon on a 60-36 vote. Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid was initially struggling to win enough support -- but shortly before the vote, Republicans allowed for the bill to pass with just a simple majority, abandoning the usual 60-vote hurdle for such bills.
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More work needed yet on elusive Greek bailout deal - Friday, February 17, 2012
(Reuters) - European leaders expressed optimism on Friday that Greece would secure a new rescue package worth 130 billion euros ($171 billion) though policymakers admitted urgent work was still needed to get its debt-cutting program back on track.
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US wants sanctions to hurt only Iran - Friday, February 17, 2012
(Reuters) - President Barack Obama hopes the toughest sanctions ever imposed on Iran will squeeze its oil exports - all without scaring markets, crimping growth, impoverishing ordinary Iranians or antagonizing allies.
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Greece closes in on bailout, lenders seek more oversight - Friday, February 17, 2012
(Reuters) - Greece appears to be closing in on a new international rescue package despite unresolved doubts among euro zone partners about how fast it will manage to bring its debt down.
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Al Qaeda moving into Syria - Friday, February 17, 2012
(Fox NEws)The nation's top intelligence adviser told Congress on Thursday that Al Qaeda "is extending its reach into Syria" -- possibly with Iran's help. In a rare public admission, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper said Al Qaeda and the Iranian regime have a "shotgun marriage, or marriage of convenience." More significantly, given the series of attacks this week linked to Iran, Clapper said Tehran appears to see Al Qaeda as an insurance policy -- a "surrogate or proxy" -- against future
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U.S. Says Iran’s Nuclear Claim Is ‘Hype’ - Thursday, February 16, 2012
(Bloomberg) The U.S. played down Iran’s claim of a “major” nuclear breakthrough as an exaggeration to bolster nationalism amid tighter sanctions rather than a step toward developing an atomic weapon. Iranian state-run Press TV said yesterday 3,000 “new- generation” Iranian-made centrifuges were installed at its main uranium enrichment site at Natanz, and domestically made fuel plates were loaded at a medical research reactor in Tehran. Iran won’t be intimidated by outside pressure and will pursue technological advances, the Iranian Students’ News Agency said.
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Karzai arrives in Pakistan for Peace Talks - Thursday, February 16, 2012
(Fox News) Afghan President Hamid Karzai is expected to press Pakistan during a visit that began Thursday on specific steps Islamabad can take to facilitate peace talks with the Afghan Taliban. Pakistan is seen as key to the peace process because of its historical ties with the Taliban and their feared ally, the Haqqani network. The leaders of both groups are believed to be based in Pakistan and in close touch with Pakistani intelligence officials.
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Europe Demands More Greek Budget Controls - Thursday, February 16, 2012
(Bloomberg) Europe’s creditor countries struggled to bridge divisions over a rescue of Greece, seeking more control over how future aid is spent as the clock ticked toward a possible default next month. Stocks and the euro fell. In a replay of the brinkmanship that marked the early stages of the Greek crisis two years ago, euro-area finance ministers extracted concessions from political leaders in Athens intended to pave the way for the endorsement of a 130 billion- euro ($171 billion) aid package next week.
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Stemming the tide of overtreatment in U.S. healthcare - Thursday, February 16, 2012
(Reuters) - A leading group of U.S. doctors is trying to tackle the costly problem of excessive medical testing, hoping to avoid more government intervention in how they practice.
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US and Afghan Government begin talks with Taliban - Thursday, February 16, 2012
(Fox News) The U.S. and Afghan governments have begun secret three-way talks with the Taliban, Afghan President Hamid Karzai told The Wall Street Journal, disclosing an important breakthrough in efforts to end the 10-year war. Mr. Karzai, whose government had protested being left out of recent talks between Washington and the insurgents, added he believes most Taliban are "definitively" interested in a peace settlement.
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