Gridlock in the Senate, progress in the House WASHINGTON (AP) - A budget agreement between key Republicans and Democrats. Even President Barack Obama was on board. All without anyone threatening to repeal this or shut down that. Gridlock, however briefly, took an early holiday in the bitterly polarized, Republican-run House.
10 Things to See: A week of top AP photos Here's your look at highlights from the weekly AP photo report, a gallery featuring a mix of front-page photography, the odd image you might have missed and lasting moments our editors think you should see. This week's collection includes long lines of South Africans waiting for buses to take them to view Nelson Mandela lying in state, a mother and her children displaced by fighting in Central African Republic and Egyptian women who were put on trial for protesting in support of ousted President Mohammed Morsi.
Many optimistic despite Mandela's passing PRETORIA, South Africa (AP) - Nelson Mandela is gone, but many mourners waiting patiently for a chance to see Mandela for a last time on Thursday said they retain high hopes about South Africa's future. If the heady optimism of the days when South Africa's peaceful transformation to an all-race democracy in the 1994 elections has been diminished by time and economic challenges, many still believe the years ahead can be fruitful, with growing opportunity. Still, there is fear that Mandela's passing might open a door to unrest, clashes and possibly worse. And there are serious concerns about youth unemployment, crime and persistent poverty.
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Interpreter at Mandela event: I was hallucinating JOHANNESBURG (AP) - The man accused of faking sign interpretation while standing alongside world leaders like U.S. President Barack Obama at Nelson Mandela's memorial service said Thursday he hallucinated that angels were entering the stadium, has schizophrenia and has been violent in the past. Thamsanqa Jantjie said in a 45-minute interview with The Associated Press that his hallucinations began while he was interpreting and that he tried not to panic because there were "armed policemen around me." He added that he was once hospitalized in a mental health facility for more than one and a half years.
Federal data show health disparities among states JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - Residents in some parts of the U.S. are gaining health care insurance at a significantly greater rate than others through the new online insurance marketplaces now operating in every state. The discrepancy may trace back to the political leanings of their elected leaders.
Mild 2013 cuts Arctic a break, warming woes remain WASHINGTON (AP) - The rapid melting in the Arctic eased up this year. But the government says global warming is still dramatically altering the top of the world, reducing the number of reindeer and shrinking snow and ice, while increasing certain fish and extending the growing season. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration issued its report card for the Arctic on Thursday, portraying 2013 as moderate compared with the roasting 2012.
Putin defends Russian conservative values MOSCOW (AP) - President Vladimir Putin cast Russia Thursday as a defender of conservative values against the "genderless and infertile" Western tolerance that he said equates good and evil. Putin's state-of-the nation address also contained a strong warning to those abroad who he claimed were seeking a military edge over Russia - a clear nod at the U.S. effort to develop long range non-nuclear weapons that Russia sees as a threat to its nuclear deterrent.
Aviation schools prepare for boom in drone jobs GRAND FORKS, N.D. (AP) - Two student pilots are seated shoulder to shoulder before a bank of video monitors, maneuvering an unmanned aircraft by keyboard and mouse as the drone descends toward a virtual runway in a suburban landscape. Aaron Gabrielson and Andrew Regenhard, aviation students at the University of North Dakota and self-proclaimed video-game junkies, could just as well be sitting on a couch playing Xbox. But instead of tapping their fingers on a controller, they're learning to fly the plane and use onboard equipment that includes a camera with a zoom lens.
Kerry back to Mideast to push peace talks RAMALLAH, West Bank (AP) - Continuing a furious pace of shuttle diplomacy aimed at securing an elusive Israeli-Palestinian peace deal by spring, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry arrived in the Middle East on Thursday on his ninth trip of the year. In closed-door talks with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Thursday and Friday, Kerry will be following up on elements of a West Bank security plan, ideas which he unveiled on his most recent visit to the region just last week, and other points of potential progress. Kerry's latest visit comes amid Palestinian unhappiness with the security plan and few, if any, tangible signs of progress.
'12 Years,' 'Hustle' lead Globes nominations The harrowing historical epic "12 Years a Slave" and the con-artist caper "American Hustle" led the 71st annual Golden Globes with seven nominations each, setting up two very different films as Academy Awards front-runners. One outlandish and farcical, the other grimly accurate, "American Hustle" and "12 Years a Slave" dominated the Golden Globes on Thursday, when the Hollywood Foreign Press Association announced its nominees from Beverly Hills, Calif.