AP Top News at 4:45 p.m. EDT

November 2, 2010
Josie Hart-Genter, 33, of Denver, votes at the Mi Casa Resource Center in Denver, Colo., on Tuesday, Nov. 2, 2010. (AP Photo/Chris Schneider)
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Josie Hart-Genter, 33, of Denver, votes at the Mi Casa Resource Center in Denver, Colo., on Tuesday, Nov. 2, 2010.

Confident of major gains, Republicans challenged the Democrats' grip on power in Congress on Tuesday in midterm elections shadowed by recession and stirred by the rebellion of tea party conservatives. All 435 seats in the House were on the ballot, plus 37 in the Senate. An additional 37 governors' races gave Republicans ample opportunity for further gains halfway through President Barack Obama's term.

WASHINGTON (AP) — Even with voting already under way, President Barack Obama furiously worked the phones to urban-format radio stations Tuesday, arguing that his agenda would be "all at risk" if Republicans trampled Democrats. "We need to keep moving forward, that's why I need folks to vote today," Obama told listeners to KPWR in Los Angeles.

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — California voters decided Tuesday whether to make their state the first to legalize recreational marijuana, drawing worldwide attention atop the 160 ballot measures in 37 states that also included divisive proposals to slash taxes and ban abortion. The California proposal — titled the Regulate, Control and Tax Cannabis Act — would allow adults 21 and over to possess up to an ounce of pot, consume it in nonpublic places as long as no children were present and grow it in small private plots.

BAGHDAD (AP) — Rapid-fire bombings and mortar strikes in mostly Shiite neighborhoods of Baghdad killed 76 people and wounded nearly 200 on Tuesday, calling into question the ability of Iraqi security forces to protect the capital. The blasts — at least 13 separate attacks — came just two days after gunmen in Baghdad held a Christian congregation hostage in a siege that ended with 58 people dead. Tuesday morning, hundreds of Christians gathered at a downtown church to mourn their lost brethren.

BERLIN (AP) — German police disarmed a mail bomb Tuesday that was sent from Greece to German Chancellor Angela Merkel's office , hours after similar small bombs exploded outside the Russian and Swiss embassies in Athens in attacks blamed on far-left Greek extremists. Greek police destroyed five more suspected bombs in Athens, and two local men have been charged with mailing bombs. Among them were two parcels police destroyed late Tuesday in the cargo area of Athens International Airport. Flights were not affected. Police said the packages were addressed the European Union's highest court in Luxembourg and the Europol law enforcement agency in the Netherlands.

RAFAH, Gaza Strip (AP) — Israel's easing of its Gaza blockade has accomplished something Israeli bombing raids and an underground steel wall could not: It has devastated the Hamas-ruled territory's once thriving smuggling industry. Now that most consumer goods can again reach Gaza through Israel — after three years of tight border closures — many of the hundreds of smuggling tunnels that once served as the Palestinian territory's lifeline have simply shut down.

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Supreme Court on Tuesday expressed sympathy for a California law that aims to keep children from buying ultra-violent video games in which players maim, kill or sexually assault images of people. But justices seemed closely split on whether the restrictions are constitutional.

MADRID (AP) — A 10-year-old girl has given birth in southern Spain and authorities are evaluating whether to let her and her family retain custody of the baby, an official said Tuesday. The baby was born last week in the city of Jerez de la Frontera, said Micaela Navarro, the Andalusia region's social affairs minister. Navarro told reporters the father of the baby is also a minor, and both the mother and the baby were in good health. Her department declined to give details, including the sex of the baby, but said authorities do not consider this a case of rape and that no criminal investigation is under way.

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. (AP) — Randy Quaid and his wife remained in Canada on Tuesday and missed a mandatory arraignment, but their attorney says he may have proof they weren't illegally squatting at a California home where they were recently arrested. The Quaids are seeking asylum in Canada, saying they fear a group they've dubbed the "Hollywood star whackers." Randy Quaid's attorney said the actor was required to remain there until a Nov. 8 immigration hearing.

ASHBURN, Va. (AP) — On Day 3 of the Washington Redskins' attempt to explain the benching of Donovan McNabb, the head coach's son gave it a try. He was doing a decent job — until he threw in a new wrinkle that only added to the confusion. Offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan said Tuesday that McNabb was told in advance of the possibility of getting pulled from the game if coaches felt the veteran quarterback was struggling.