GOP, Obama line up behind modest budget deal WASHINGTON (AP) - Top Republicans and President Barack Obama are lining up behind a modest but hard-won bipartisan budget agreement that seeks to replace a portion of tough spending cuts facing the Pentagon and domestic agencies. The deal to ease those cuts for two years is aimed less at chipping away at the nation's $17 trillion national debt than it is at trying to help a dysfunctional Capitol stop lurching from crisis to crisis. It would set the stage for action in January on a $1 trillion-plus spending bill for the budget year that began in October.
Mandela ceremony interpreter called a 'fake' JOHANNESBURG (AP) - A man who provided sign language interpretation on stage for Nelson Mandela's memorial service, attended by scores of heads of state, was a "fake," the national director of the Deaf Federation of South Africa said on Tuesday. Asked about the claim by The Associated Press, South Africa's government said it was preparing a statement.
Ukraine police stand down after protest grows KIEV, Ukraine (AP) - Ukrainian police on Wednesday pulled back as protesters claimed victory after an overnight face-off in which authorities removed barricades and tents and scuffled with demonstrators occupying Kiev's main square. Squadrons of police in helmets and bearing metal shields converged at about 1 a.m. on Independence Square, but thousands of protesters put up fierce resistance for hours, shoving back at police lines to keep them away from key sites.
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World leaders bow, pray at Nelson Mandela's casket PRETORIA, South Africa (AP) - World leaders bowed and prayed Wednesday before the flag-draped casket containing the body of Nelson Mandela, having a final look at the anti-apartheid icon in the amphitheater where he was sworn in 19 years earlier as South Africa's first black president. Some made the sign of the cross, others simply spent a few moments gazing at Mandela's face through a glass plane atop the coffin at the Union Buildings in South Africa's capital, Pretoria. Leaders like Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe, South African President Jacob Zuma and others passed by the casket in two lines. Four junior naval officers in white uniforms kept watch. Celebrities like singer Bono of the band U2 also paid their respects. So did F.W. de Klerk, the last president of white rule who shared a Nobel Peace Prize with Mandela for ending the apartheid era.
Behind eulogies, US deeply conflicted on Mandela WASHINGTON (AP) - The Nelson Mandela eulogized to the world by President Barack Obama as "a giant of history" and the "last great liberator of the 20th century" seemed a different person from the one the United States held at arm's length, to put it diplomatically, for much of his life and career. Even as presidents from John F. Kennedy to Bill Clinton denounced apartheid as a racist, untenable system, successive American administrations from the 1960s had friendly ties with South African governments and viewed Mandela with suspicion, if not outright hostility, through the prism of the Cold War.
AP-GfK poll: Low approval of Congress, Obama WASHINGTON (AP) - Heading into a congressional election year, Americans hold Congress in strikingly low regard, and nearly two-thirds say they would like to see their House member replaced, a new poll finds. Even though Americans are feeling somewhat better about the economy - and their personal finances - elected officials in Washington aren't benefiting from the improved mood, the Associated Press-GfK poll found.
Sebelius asks for investigation of flawed website WASHINGTON (AP) - President Barack Obama's top health official is asking for an investigation into the administration's botched rollout of HealthCare.gov. The website was supposed to have been the online portal to insurance coverage under the new health care law, but technical problems turned it into a frustrating bottleneck for millions of consumers. It's working better now after two months of repairs.
NTSB to review Asiana crash at hearing Wednesday WASHINGTON (AP) - The National Transportation Safety Board is holding a hearing Wednesday to try to learn why so many things went wrong when an Asiana Airlines Boeing 777 crash-landed at San Francisco International Airport in July, leaving three people dead and more than 150 injured. An Asiana chief pilot is slated to testify on what the airline teaches about automated systems and visual approach procedures. That's a focus for the safety board, which has questioned whether the three men in the cockpit were overly reliant on electronic systems.
GM CEO known for approachability, effectiveness DETROIT (AP) - Kettering University President Robert McMahan was traveling in China a few months ago when he bumped into one of the university's board members at an airport in Shanghai. Mary Barra, the busy global product development chief at General Motors Co., might have just said hello and turned back to her phone. Instead, she had a long discussion with McMahan's teenage son about his education and his efforts to learn Mandarin.