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Obama prods GOP on payroll tax

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama accepted a move by Senate Democrats to scale back his Social Security payroll tax cut extension on Monday, then prodded Republicans to support it despite a requirement for the very wealthy to pay more taxes. Obama also called on lawmakers to renew a program of extended unemployment benefits due to expire on Dec. 31. He said the checks, which kick in after six months ...

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Belgium secures government after record

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - Belgium finally secured a government on Monday after record-long talks to form a coalition that promises the most profound state reform in decades and a commitment to restore the country's finances. The new six-party coalition has a mammoth 180-page deal to enact having already lost a year and a half of a four-year term. The government must satisfy demands of the Dutch-speaking Flemish ...

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Afghanistan’s allies pledge to stay for long haul

BONN (Reuters) - Foreign governments pledged on Monday to support Afghanistan long after allied troops go home, with or without a political settlement with insurgents once seen as the best way to prevent a new civil war. At a conference of more than 80 countries but boycotted by Pakistan, they said even after most foreign combat troops leave in 2014, the Afghan government will not be allowed to meet the fat ...

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Syria agrees to Arab League call for observers, but with conditions

(CNN) -- Syria agreed Monday to Arab League demands that it allow observers into the country, but on the condition that the group immediately drop sanctions and agree to amendments that league officials have previously rejected. The league's deadline for Syria to respond to its demands to admit observers or face additional sanctions expired at midnight Sunday. Foreign Minister Walid al-Moallem sent a letter ...

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Iran releases students who stormed British Embassy

TEHRAN, Iran (AP) — Iran has released 11 hardline protesters detained for storming the British Embassy and diplomatic compounds in Tehran this week, the semi-official Fars news agency said Thursday. Fars said 11 people, described as students, were set free late on Wednesday, a day after they were arrested for storming and ransacking the embassy and British diplomatic compounds in Tehran. There was no immedi ...

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