TMCNet:  AP U.S. NewsBrief at 2:37 p.m. EDT

[October 14, 2011]

AP U.S. NewsBrief at 2:37 p.m. EDT

(Associated Press Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) Had plot worked, would US and Iran be at war?WASHINGTON (AP) _ Had Iran's alleged terror plot succeeded, American outrage would have translated into demands for immediate action far beyond what's under consideration. Yet it's doubtful it could have sparked an all-out U.S.-Iran war. Experts say a successful attack would likely prompt tougher U.S. sanctions and perhaps narrowly targeted military action. One possibility would be strikes against Iranian nuclear facilities, which the U.S. fears is aimed at producing atomic weapons.


A second Bush-era gun-smuggling probe emergesWASHINGTON (AP) _ A second Bush administration gun-trafficking investigation has surfaced using the same controversial tactic for which congressional Republicans have been criticizing the Obama administration. The tactic, called "gun walking," was used in the Obama administration's Operation Fast and Furious. The Justice Department's inspector general and Congress are now investigating.

Court blocks Ala. from checking student statusATLANTA (AP) _ A federal appeals court on Friday blocked a key part of Alabama's law that requires schools to check the immigration status of students, temporarily weakening what was considered the toughest immigration law in the nation. The 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals also blocked a part of the law that allows authorities to charge immigrants who do not carry documents proving their legal status. The three-judge panel let stand a provision that allows police to detain immigrants that are suspected of being in the country illegally.

Treasury officials: Never saw a loan like SolyndraWASHINGTON (AP) _ Two senior Treasury officials said Friday that they had never seen a loan restructuring similar to the Energy Department loan to a failed solar panel maker. The half-billion dollar loan to Solyndra Inc. was restructured so that private investors moved ahead of taxpayers for repayment on part of the loan in case of a default.

House votes to give states control over coal ashWASHINGTON (AP) _ House Republicans on Friday pushed through legislation that gives the states the power to regulate coal ash from power plants as if it were municipal garbage, pre-empting pending federal regulations that could be a lot tougher. The vote on coal ash disposal was the latest of several passed by the GOP-controlled House that would shift authority away from the Environmental Protection Agency and reduce federal regulations that Republicans say are burdensome, hamper economic growth and cost jobs.

Obama, Lee pitch trade deal in MichiganORION TOWNSHIP, Mich. (AP) _ President Barack Obama and South Korea's President Lee Myung-bak are promoting a new trade deal by visiting an auto plant in Michigan, a state battered by Asian car imports, in a rare joint appearance outside of Washington by a U.S. president and a visiting head of state. In choosing General Motors Co.'s Orion assembly plant for a post-state dinner tour Friday, the two leaders will draw attention to an aspect of a U.S.-South Korea trade agreement that had been among the most difficult to negotiate. Congress approved the deal Wednesday after negotiators overcame U.S. auto industry complaints that previous efforts at a deal failed to do enough to lift South Korea's barriers to U.S.-made cars.

Delay of NYC park cleanup heartens protestersNEW YORK (AP) _ The owners of a New York plaza where protesters have camped out for a month decided Friday to put off cleaning it, sending up cheers from demonstrators who feared the plan was merely a pretext to evict them and said the victory emboldened their movement. Protesters were already scrambling to scrub the park where they've been sleeping and eating for weeks when, under pressure from local officials, the owners of the park decided to call off their own cleanup.

Top GOP senator open to changes in military healthWASHINGTON (AP) _ The top Republican on the Senate Armed Services Committee is recommending that a special committee searching for ways to slash the deficit consider some of President Barack Obama's proposed changes to health and retirement benefits for the military. In a letter to the bipartisan panel, Arizona Sen. John McCain signaled he was open to cost-saving steps in military benefits, a move certain to send shock waves through Congress and among powerful groups of retired officers and veterans resistant to change.

Obama sends troops to aid Africa anti-insurgencyWASHINGTON (AP) _ President Obama is dispatching roughly 100 U.S. troops to central Africa to help battle the notorious Lord's Resistance Army. The rebel group is accused of a campaign of murder, rape and kidnapping that began 20 years ago.

AP sources: US offered Cuba swap for AmericanWASHINGTON (AP) _ The United States offered to let a convicted Cuban spy return home in exchange for the release of an imprisoned American, but Cuba rebuffed the offer, U.S. officials said. The U.S. also indicated it would be willing to address other Cuban grievances after Havana had released imprisoned contractor Alan Gross, according to the officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity because the sensitivity of the issue.

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