Putting on the brakes after two years of big spending increases, President Barack Obama unveiled a $3.7 trillion budget plan Monday that would freeze or reduce some safety-net programs for the nation's poor but turn aside Republican demands for more drastic cuts to shrink the government to where it was before he took office. The 10-year blueprint makes "tough choices and sacrifices," Obama said in his official budget message. Yet the plan, which sets the stage for this week's nasty congressional fight over cuts in the budget year that's already more than one-third over, steers clear of deeply controversial long-term problem areas such as Social Security and Medicare.
DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — The possible heirs of Egypt's uprising took to the streets Monday in different corners of the Middle East: Iran's beleaguered opposition stormed back to central Tehran and came under a tear gas attack by police. Demonstrators faced rubber bullets and birdshot to demand more freedoms in the relative wealth of Bahrain. And protesters pressed for the ouster of the ruler in poverty-drained Yemen. The protests — all with critical interests for Washington — offer an important lesson about how groups across Middle East are absorbing the message from Cairo and tailoring it to their own aspirations.
QUITO, Ecuador (AP) — An Ecuadorean judge ruled Monday in an epic environmental case that Chevron Corp. was responsible for oil drilling contamination in a wide swath of Ecuador's northern jungle and ordered the oil giant to pay $8.6 billion in damages and cleanup costs. The amount was far below the $27.3 billion recommended by a court-appointed expert.
NEW ORLEANS (AP) — President Barack Obama vowed during a White House speech last June that the $20 billion he helped coax out of BP for an oil spill compensation fund would take care of victims "as quickly, as fairly and as transparently as possible." Eight months later, that's not how things look to many people along the Gulf Coast.
DETROIT (AP) — Less than two years after entering bankruptcy, General Motors will extend millions of dollars in bonuses to most of its 48,000 hourly workers as a reward for the company's rapid turnaround after it was rescued by the government. The payments, disclosed Monday in company documents, are similar to bonuses announced last week for white-collar employees. The bonuses to 76,000 American workers will probably total more than $400 million — an amount that suggests executives have increasing confidence in the automaker's comeback.
CHICAGO (AP) — Eat more fiber and you just may live longer. That's the message from the largest study of its kind to find a link between high-fiber diets and lower risks of death not only from heart disease, but from infectious and respiratory illnesses as well.
WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama's budget proposal resurrects a series of tax increases on certain corporations and the wealthy that were largely ignored by Congress when Democrats controlled both chambers. Republicans, who now control the House, are signaling they will be even less receptive. The plan unveiled Monday includes tax increases for oil, gas and coal producers, investment managers and U.S.-based multinational corporations. The plan would allow Bush-era tax cuts to expire at the end of 2012 for individuals making more than $200,000 and married couples making more than $250,000. Wealthy taxpayers would have their itemized deductions limited starting in 2012, including deductions for mortgage interest, charitable contributions and state and local taxes.
LAS VEGAS (AP) — Eriess Davis didn't want a traditional wedding. No conservative music and rows of unfamiliar guests. She wanted A Little White Chapel, in glitzy Las Vegas. Wearing a mini-dress, Davis marched with her boyfriend, clad in black jeans, through a set of gold elevator doors and into a waiting room where they could buy garters, memory books and bride and groom baseball caps.
NEW YORK (AP) — In the "Jeopardy!" battle of man vs. machine, man and machine were neck-and-neck on Monday. Human player Brad Rutter and the supercomputer named Watson ended an initial round tied at $5,000. The other challenger, human Ken Jennings, was far behind with $2,000.
MILWAUKEE (AP) — One of the men featured in a Visa credit card television commercial for having never missed a Super Bowl has died. He was 79. Bob Cook had been to 44 straight Super Bowls but couldn't make to Texas to watch his beloved Green Bay Packers defeat the Pittsburgh Steelers on Feb. 6. Instead, Cook viewed the game from his hospital bed with his wife, who decorated his room with green and gold lights.