Analysis: For once, gridlock takes a seat WASHINGTON (AP) - Sit down, gridlock. After years on the bench, compromise is taking a turn in Congress, however briefly, in the form of a budget deal that is modest in size yet marks a major step away from brinkmanship.
Health care sign-ups pick up but may not close gap WASHINGTON (AP) - With time running short, the nation's health care rolls still aren't filling up fast enough. New sign-up numbers Wednesday showed progress for President Barack Obama's health care law, but not enough to guarantee that Americans who want and need coverage by Jan. 1 will be able to get it. Crunch time is now, as people face a Dec. 23 deadline to sign up if they are to have coverage by New Year's.
Pope Francis is Time's Person of the Year NEW YORK (AP) - Time magazine selected Pope Francis as its Person of the Year on Wednesday, saying the Catholic Church's new leader has changed the perception of the 2,000-year-old institution in an extraordinary way in a short time. The pope beat out NSA leaker Edward Snowden for the distinction, which the newsmagazine has been giving each year since 1927.
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Key support for budget deal; deficits would rise WASHINGTON (AP) - A newly minted budget deal to avert future government shutdowns gained important ground Wednesday among House Republicans who are more accustomed to brinkmanship than compromise, even though it would nudge federal deficits higher three years in a row. There was grumbling from opposite ends of the political spectrum - conservatives complaining about spending levels and liberal Democrats unhappy there would be no extension of an expiring program of benefits for the long-term unemployed.
Black and white, thousands bid farewell to Mandela PRETORIA, South Africa (AP) - Black and white, old and young, South Africans by the thousands paid final tribute Wednesday to their beloved Nelson Mandela. In silence or murmuring, they filed past the coffin. Some glanced back, as if clinging to the sight, a moment in history. One man raised his fist, the potent gesture of the struggle against white rule that Mandela led from prison. A woman fainted on the steps, and was helped into a wheelchair.
Pilot who crashed at SFO worried about landing WASHINGTON (AP) - The pilot of the jet that crash-landed at San Francisco's airport last summer worried privately before takeoff about handling the Boeing 777, especially because runway construction meant he would have to land without any help from a common type of guidance system. And neither the trainee nor an instructor pilot in the cockpit said anything when the first officer raised concerns four times about the plane's rapid descent.
Ukrainian leader offers talks, protesters say no KIEV, Ukraine (AP) - Opposition leaders in Ukraine rejected President Viktor Yanukovych's offer of talks Wednesday, saying they will not sit down with him until he fires his government and releases all arrested demonstrators. That stance reflected their growing confidence after the abrupt withdrawal of riot police from parts of Ukraine's capital early Wednesday raised protesters' hopes that weeks of demonstrations have eroded police support for Yanukovych and his government.
Prosecutor: no domestic charges against Zimmerman MIAMI (AP) - George Zimmerman will not face domestic violence charges because his girlfriend did not wish to pursue the case and there was scant evidence of a crime, a state prosecutor said Wednesday. Samantha Scheibe's decision not to cooperate and the lack of other corroborating evidence would have made the case difficult to prove, State Attorney Phil Archer in Seminole County said in a statement.
FDA takes steps to phase out antibiotics in meat WASHINGTON (AP) - Citing a potential threat to public health, the Food and Drug Administration is taking steps toward phasing out the use of some antibiotics in animals processed for meat. Many cattle, hog and poultry producers give their animals antibiotics regularly to ensure that they are healthy and to make the animals grow faster. Now, the agency has announced that it will ask pharmaceutical companies to voluntarily stop labeling drugs important for treating human infection as acceptable for that growth promotion in animals.
Interpreter for deaf at Mandela event called fake JOHANNESBURG (AP) - As one world leader after another paid homage to Nelson Mandela at a memorial service, the man standing at arm's length from them appeared to interpret their words in sign language. But advocates for the deaf say he was a faker. The incident, which outraged deaf people and sign-language interpreters watching the service broadcast around the globe, raised questions of how the unidentified man managed to crash a supposedly secure event attended by scores of heads of state, including President Barack Obama.