The bulging Mississippi River rolled into the fertile Mississippi Delta on Tuesday, threatening to swamp antebellum mansions, wash away shotgun shacks, and destroy fields of cotton, rice and corn in a flood of historic proportions. The river took aim at one of the most poverty-stricken parts of the country after cresting before daybreak at Memphis, Tenn., just inches short of the record set in 1937. Some low-lying neighborhoods were inundated, but the city's high levees protected much of the rest of Memphis.
EL PASO, Texas (AP) — In search of Hispanic votes and a long-shot immigration overhaul, President Barack Obama on Tuesday stood at the U.S.-Mexico border for the first time since winning the White House and declared it more secure than ever. He mocked Republican lawmakers for blocking immigration over border security alone, saying they won't be happy until they get a moat with alligators along the border. "They'll never be satisfied," he said.
BAGHDAD (AP) — A week after the death of Osama bin Laden, his longtime deputy is considered the front-runner to succeed the iconic al-Qaida founder. But uprisings in the Middle East and changing dynamics within the group could point to another scenario: a decision not to appoint anyone at all to replace the world's most-wanted terrorist. Replacing bin Laden, who founded al-Qaida more than two decades ago and masterminded 9/11, may be no easy task. Analysts say the choice will likely depend on how the terror organization views its goals and priorities in the post-bin Laden age.
WASHINGTON (AP) — The battle over whether tax increases can be used to cut the nation's debt flared Tuesday as the Senate's Democratic budget writer floated a possible millionaire's surtax to help cut projected deficits over the next decade. But Republican leaders flatly said no to tax increases. Democratic officials said Senate Budget Committee Chairman Kent Conrad, D-N.D., raised the idea of an extra tax on the wealthiest taxpayers and the Senate's Democratic leader, Harry Reid, D-Nev., called for an end to tax subsidies for oil and gas companies. House Speaker John Boehner and Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell both staked out seemingly unyielding positions against tax increases
RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — A federal appeals panel dominated by appointees of President Barack Obama heard arguments Tuesday in two Virginia lawsuits challenging his health care overhaul. The three-judge panel of the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals vigorously questioned lawyers on both sides, but the most spirited exchanges focused on the central issue in both cases: whether the law's requirement that individuals buy insurance is constitutional. Federal judges in Virginia split on that question in the lawsuits, one filed by Virginia Attorney General Kenneth Cuccinelli and the other by Liberty University.
NEW YORK (AP) — After decades of debate, the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) on Tuesday struck down a barrier to ordaining gays, ratifying a proposal that removes the celibacy requirement for unmarried clergy, in the latest mainline Protestant move toward accepting gay relationships. The change was endorsed last year by the Presbyterian national assembly, but required approval by a majority of the denomination's 173 presbyteries, or regional church bodies.
INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Planned Parenthood has asked a federal judge to stop Indiana from becoming the first state to cut off all funding to the agency. U.S. District Judge Tanya Walton Pratt is expected to rule Wednesday on the request filed by Planned Parenthood of Indiana shortly after Gov. Mitch Daniels signed the bill into law Tuesday.
SOUDERTON, Pa. (AP) — A 9-year-old girl who disappeared while playing outside her suburban apartment complex was raped, choked and murdered by a neighbor who claimed he had a "whiteout" and just "snapped," authorities said Tuesday. Police found the body of Skyler Kauffman in a trash bin behind her apartment in Souderton about five hours after her mother reported her missing Monday evening. A 24-year-old neighbor, James Lee Troutman, was charged Tuesday with murder, kidnapping, rape and other offenses.
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Lady Gaga is turning to an unusual method to cultivate her fan base: The pop icon is releasing songs from her new album on a section of the popular online game "FarmVille" before they can be heard anywhere else. The singer, known for her outrageous styles and hits such as "Poker Face" and "Bad Romance," will allow singles from "Born This Way" (due out May 23) to be heard within a specially-created farm, called "GagaVille," in the game. Players will have to complete tasks to hear one exclusive new track per day streamed online from May 17 to 19. Starting on May 20, players will be also able to unlock additional songs that aren't exclusive.
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Undeterred by the slap on the wrist a jury gave Barry Bonds, U.S. investigators are forging ahead in a separate drug-related case against another superstar athlete — Lance Armstrong. In France, where Armstrong became famous by winning the Tour de France seven straight times, officials received a request from U.S. authorities last month for help gathering evidence about the cyclist and other members of his former U.S. Postal team.