Pleading for unity in a newly divided government, President Barack Obama implored Democratic and Republican lawmakers to rally behind his vision of economic revival for an anxious nation, declaring in his State of the Union address Tuesday night: "We will move forward together or not at all." To a television audience in the millions, Obama addressed a Congress sobered by the assassination attempt against one if its own members, Rep. Gabrielle Giffords. Her seat sat empty, and many lawmakers of competing parties sat together in a show of civility. Yet differences were still evident, as when Democrats stood to applaud his comments on his health care law, while Republicans sat mute next to them.
WASHINGTON (AP) — The ledger did not appear to be adding up Tuesday night when President Barack Obama urged more spending on one hand and a spending freeze on the other. Obama spoke ambitiously of putting money into roads, research, education, efficient cars, high-speed rail and other initiatives in his State of the Union speech. He pointed to the transportation and construction projects of the last two years and proposed "we redouble these efforts." He coupled this with a call to "freeze annual domestic spending for the next five years."
WASHINGTON (AP) — The nation faces a crushing burden of debt and is on course for an economic disaster without dramatic action to wrestle the budget deficit under control, Republicans said while awaiting the president's State of the Union address. "Our nation is approaching a tipping point. We are at a moment, where if government's growth is left unchecked and unchallenged, America's best century will be considered our past century," said House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan, R-Wis., who was tapped to give the official GOP response to Obama's Tuesday night speech to Congress and the nation.
CAIRO (AP) — Egyptian police fired tear gas and rubber bullets and beat protesters to clear thousands of people from a central Cairo square Wednesday after the biggest demonstrations in years against President Hosni Mubarak's authoritarian rule. Two protesters and a police officer were killed in the nationwide demonstrations inspired by Tunisia's uprising, which also demanded a solution to Egypt's grinding poverty and were likely to fuel growing dissent in a presidential election year.
NEW YORK (AP) — The first, and possibly the last, Guantanamo detainee to have a U.S. civilian trial was sentenced to life in prison Tuesday for his role in the 1998 U.S. embassy bombings in Africa, a case that nearly unraveled when the defendant was convicted on just one of more than 280 counts. Ahmed Ghailani, who served as Osama bin Laden's cook and bodyguard after the bombings in Tanzania and Kenya, sought leniency, claiming he was tortured at a secret CIA detention site after his arrest in Pakistan seven years ago. But U.S. District Judge Lewis A. Kaplan imposed the maximum sentence, saying that whatever Ghailani suffered "pales in comparison to the suffering and the horror" caused by the nearly simultaneous attacks, which killed 224 people and injured thousands more.
CHICAGO (AP) — Illinois' highest court agreed Tuesday to decide whether Rahm Emanuel can run for Chicago mayor, and justices ordered election officials not to print any ballots without his name until they rule on the case. The action bought valuable time for the former White House chief of staff, who a day earlier was kicked off the ballot by an appeals court. The state Supreme Court said it would expedite the matter but gave no specific time frame.
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich called Tuesday for the elimination of the Environmental Protection Agency, which he wants to replace with a new organization that would work more closely with businesses and be more aggressive in using science and technology. In an interview with The Associated Press, Gingrich said the EPA was rarely innovative and focused only on issuing regulations and litigation.
MEXICO CITY (AP) — The Mexican government vowed Tuesday not to back down in its fight against La Familia drug cartel, despite mysterious banners proclaiming that the brutal gang has dissolved itself. Lawmakers and drug war experts expressed skepticism about the banners, saying the message could be a ploy to divert the focus of federal security forces away from the cartel, known for beheadings and bold attacks on police and soldiers.
SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — State lawmakers are debating whether to designate a semiautomatic pistol as the official gun of Utah, despite protests from people who believe it's inappropriate because of recent mass shootings. The bill to make the Browning M1911 the official gun breezed through a committee hearing this week and is scheduled to be debated by the full House as early as Wednesday.
NEW YORK (AP) — The audience for MTV's racy teen drama "Skins" plunged to 1.6 million Monday night, a drop-off of more than half from its premiere a week earlier, according to Nielsen Co. ratings. The viewer slump may signal a triumph for the Parents Television Council, a watchdog group that had blasted the series' content and accused MTV of aiming the show at underage viewers.