President Barack Obama said Wednesday that congressional Republicans are pushing a radical plan to trim Medicare and Medicaid, ramping up the rhetoric as he and Congress approach crucial decisions on spending and the nation's debt. "I think it's fair to say that their vision is radical," Obama told a town hall gathering at the headquarters of Facebook, the huge social network company.
NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Relatives flew over Gulf of Mexico waters Wednesday where 11 oil rig workers died a year ago, residents gathered in prayer vigils onshore and President Barack Obama vowed to hold BP and others accountable for "the painful losses that they've caused." Even as somber remembrances marked the first anniversary of the worst offshore oil spill in American history, there were reminders that lengthy legal battles lay ahead. BP filed a lawsuit alleging negligence by the maker of the device that failed to stop the spill, while the manufacturer of the blowout preventer and rig owner filed their own claims.
MISRATA, Libya (AP) — Two Western photojournalists, including an Oscar-nominated film director, were killed Wednesday in the besieged city of Misrata while covering battles between rebels and Libyan government forces. Two others working alongside them were wounded. British-born Tim Hetherington, co-director of the documentary "Restrepo" about U.S. soldiers on an outpost in Afghanistan, was killed inside the only rebel-held city in western Libya, said his U.S.-based publicist, Johanna Ramos Boyer. The city has come under weeks of relentless shelling by government troops.
KADUNA, Nigeria (AP) — In the time it took to raise a machete or shout the name of a political party, neighbors again became enemies over politics split along religious lines in northern Nigeria. At least 70 people died this week after Muslim mobs targeted supporters of the oil-rich nation's ruling party, while retaliatory attacks by Christians followed with a startling speed. Those who survived almost uniformly said they did not know their attackers, though many looked away or quickly changed the subject as their homes lie in smoldered ruins. Others displayed incredible bravery, risking their own lives to rescue those of a different faith.
WASHINGTON (AP) — The Army private suspected of illegally passing U.S. government secrets to the WikiLeaks website was transferred Wednesday to an Army prison in Kansas from the Marine brig in Virginia where he has spent the past nine months. Pfc. Bradley Manning, suspected of having obtained the classified documents while serving as an Army intelligence analyst in Iraq, is awaiting a determination by the Army on whether he is mentally competent to stand trial.
TRENTON, N.J. (AP) — A former Rutgers University freshman who prosecutors said used a webcam to spy on his roommate's same-sex encounter was charged Wednesday with a hate crime and accused of deleting tweets and texts to cover up his tracks. Dharun Ravi, 19, was indicted in Middlesex County on 15 counts including bias intimidation and invasion of privacy in events that predated the suicide of 18-year-old Tyler Clementi, who in death started a national conversation on the perils of bullying.
LAS VEGAS (AP) — America's multibillion-dollar run at the online poker tables has been interrupted by what could be a killer hand: federal prosecutions of the three biggest websites. The government has blocked U.S. gamblers from logging on to the offshore sites, which are accused of tricking and bribing banks into processing billions of dollars in illegal profits. Now gamblers who dreamed of enormous prizes in Las Vegas, or even used online poker to make a living, can't access online bankrolls that in some cases reach six figures.
HELENA, Mont. (AP) — The family friend of Greg Mortenson who has stepped in to run the Central Asia Institute while the "Three Cups of Tea" co-author is hospitalized promised Wednesday "full transparency" into how the charity's finances are managed. Mortenson has been hospitalized in Bozeman and is awaiting surgery next week for a hole in his aortic ventricular wall. He checked into the hospital in the aftermath of reports by "60 Minutes" and author Jon Krakauer that Mortenson lied about events in several parts of his best-selling book and may have financially benefited from the Central Asia Institute.
WASHINGTON (AP) — Aircraft carrying the first lady or vice president will receive a higher level of scrutiny from air traffic controllers following an aborted landing of a plane carrying Michelle Obama this week, the Federal Aviation Administration said Wednesday. From now on flights carrying Mrs. Obama or Vice President Joe Biden will be handled by an air traffic supervisor rather than a controller, the agency said in a statement. The new rules apply to approaches and departures handled by a regional air traffic facility in Warrenton, Va., and takeoffs and landings at Andrews Air Force Base in Maryland where the presidential fleet is based.
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Lindsay Lohan is joining the big screen Gotti family as the wife of John Gotti Jr. in a biopic of one of New York's most infamous families. She called her casting in "Gotti: Three Generations" a huge honor and told The Associated Press on Wednesday that the film is an opportunity to prove herself as an actress again.