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AP News in Brief at 8:58 p.m. EDT

Republican-led House passes abortion bill

The Republican-led House yesterday passed a far-reaching anti-abortion bill that conservatives saw as a milestone in their 40-year campaign against legalized abortion and Democrats characterized as yet another example of a GOP war on women.

The legislation, sparked by the murder conviction of a Philadelphia late-term abortion provider, would restrict almost all abortions to the first 20 weeks after conception, defying laws in most states that allow abortions up to when the fetus becomes viable, usually considered to be around 24 weeks.

It mirrors 20-week abortion ban laws passed by some states and lays further groundwork for the ongoing legal battle that abortion foes hope will eventually result in forcing the Supreme Court to reconsider the 1973 Supreme Court decision, Roe v. Wade, that made abortion legal.

Officials: Wall Street bomb plot thwarted

The United States foiled a plot to bomb the New York Stock Exchange because of the sweeping surveillance programs at the heart of a debate over national security and personal privacy, officials said yesterday at a rare open hearing on intelligence led by lawmakers sympathetic to the spying.

Army Gen. Keith Alexander, director of the National Security Agency, said the two recently disclosed programs – one that gathers U.S. phone records and another that is designed to track the use of U.S.-based Internet servers by foreigners with possible links to terrorism – are critical. But details about them were not closely held within the secretive agency. Alexander said after the hearing that most of the documents accessed by Edward Snowden, a 29-year-old former systems analyst on contract to the NSA, were on a web forum available to many NSA employees.

Push to limit food stamp use revived

The mayors of New York, Los Angeles, Chicago and 15 other cities are reviving a push against letting food stamps be used to buy soda and other sugary drinks.

In a letter to congressional leaders yesterday, the mayors said it’s “time to test and evaluate approaches limiting” the use of the subsidies for sugar-laden beverages, in the interest of fighting obesity and related diseases.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture, which runs the food stamp program, declined to comment on the letter.

The Associated Press

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