Obama calls for spending surge, buoyed by rising economy WASHINGTON (AP) - Declaring an end to "mindless austerity," President Barack Obama called for a surge in government spending Thursday, and asked Congress to throw out the sweeping budget cuts both parties agreed to four years ago when deficits were spiraling out of control. Obama's proposed $74 billion in added spending - about 7 percent - would be split about evenly between defense programs and the domestic side of the budget. Although he's sought before to reverse the "sequester" spending cuts, Obama's pitch in this year's budget comes with the added oomph of an improving economy and big recent declines in federal deficits.
Senate passes bill approving Keystone XL oil pipeline WASHINGTON (AP) - The Republican-controlled Senate on Thursday approved a bipartisan bill to construct the Keystone XL oil pipeline, defying a presidential veto threat and setting up the first of many battles with the White House over energy and the environment. The 62-36 vote advanced a top priority of the newly empowered GOP, and marked the first time the Senate passed a bill authorizing the pipeline, despite numerous attempts to force President Barack Obama's hand on the issue. Nine Democrats joined with 53 Republicans to back the measure.
10 Things to Know for Friday Your daily look at late-breaking news, upcoming events and the stories that will be talked about Friday: 1. OBAMA CALLS FOR SPENDING SURGE
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Families plead for lives of IS hostages as swap hopes fade TOKYO (AP) - A deadline of sunset Thursday for a possible prisoner swap purportedly set by the Islamic State group holding a Japanese journalist and a Jordanian military pilot passed with no sign of whether the two men were still alive. Japanese officials had no new progress to report Friday after a late night that ended with the Jordanian government saying it would only release an al-Qaida prisoner from death row if it got proof the airman was alive.
Gas blast wrecks Mexico children's hospital, killing 3 MEXICO CITY (AP) - Injured and bleeding, mothers grasping infants in their arms fled from a maternity hospital shattered by a powerful gas explosion Thursday, and rescuers began smashing sledgehammers through fallen concrete hunting for others who might be trapped. A nurse and a baby died in the blast and a second infant died Thursday night, Mexico City authorities said. More than 70 people were injured in the blast that collapsed about three-fourths of the hospital, but by late in the day rescuers determined no one was left trapped in the rubble.
Lawyer says Suge Knight was behind wheel in deadly crash COMPTON, Calif. (AP) - A lawyer for Marion "Suge" Knight says the Death Row Records founder was driving a vehicle that struck two men, killing one, in Compton, California. But James Blatt says Knight was trying to escape from a pair of attackers and that the man who died was a friend. Blatt says Thursday night that Knight will surrender to authorities, and he's confident Knight will be cleared of wrongdoing.
Some doctors won't see patients with anti-vaccine views LOS ANGELES (AP) - With California gripped by a measles outbreak, Dr. Charles Goodman posted a clear notice in his waiting room and on Facebook: His practice will no longer see children whose parents won't get them vaccinated. "Parents who choose not to give measles shots, they're not just putting their kids at risk, but they're also putting other kids at risk - especially kids in my waiting room," the Los Angeles pediatrician said.
APNewsBreak: Suspected terrorist brother of no-fly-list man ALEXANDRIA, Va. (AP) - The FBI on Thursday added a former taxi driver from northern Virginia to its list of most-wanted terrorists, saying he was a recruiter for the al-Shabab terror group in Somalia. An arrest warrant, originally issued in February, was unsealed Thursday in U.S. District Court in Alexandria for Liban Haji Mohamed, 29, a naturalized U.S. citizen born in Somalia.
Marshawn Lynch talks about why he doesn't talk to the media PHOENIX (AP) - Marshawn Lynch changed the script and fired back at his critics. After two days of giving only scripted answers, the Seattle Seahawks' star running back gave his most extensive comments of Super Bowl week, mostly telling reporters why he won't talk to them.