National

Economy as birth control? Fewer born in U.S. again

Atlanta ? The economy may well be the best form of birth control.U.S. births dropped for the third straight year — especially for young mothers — and experts think money worries are the reason.A federal report released Thursday showed declines in the birth rate for all races and most age ...

Now what? Few tangible effects of Wall St. protests

New York ? Everywhere, it seems, people want to weigh in about the Occupy Wall Street protests around the country, from CEOs and politicians to your next-door neighbor. So far the talk has translated into little action.Two months into the movement, with police dismantling the encampments one by ...

Newt Gingrich defends big contracts with Freddie Mac

URBANDALE, IOWA ? Rising in polls and receiving greater scrutiny, Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich found himself on the defensive Wednesday over huge payments he received over the past decade from the mortgage giant Freddie Mac.Gingrich, who now is near the top in polling on the ...

Study: Women more likely to have broken hearts

Orlando, Fla. ? A woman’s heart breaks more easily than a man’s.Females are seven to nine times more likely to suffer “broken heart syndrome,” when sudden or prolonged stress like an emotional breakup or death causes overwhelming heart failure or heart attack-like symptoms, the first ...

Millionaires lobby Congress for higher taxes on rich

Washington ? Lobbyists for a day, a band of millionaires stormed Capitol Hill on Wednesday to urge Congress to tax them more.They had a little trouble getting in. It turns out there are procedures, even for the really rich.But once inside, their message was embraced by liberals and tolerated by ...

Crackdowns reach epicenter of Wall Street protests

New York ? Crackdowns against the Occupy Wall Street encampments across the country reached the epicenter of the movement Tuesday, when police rousted protesters from a Manhattan park and a judge ruled that their free speech rights do not extend to pitching a tent and setting up camp for months ...

U.S. Postal Service moves closer to default as losses mount to $5.1B

Washington ? The U.S. Postal Service said Tuesday it has lost $5.1 billion in the past year, pushing it closer to imminent default on a multibillion-dollar payment and to future bankruptcy as the weak economy and increased Internet use drive down mail volume.The financial losses for the year ...

Congress pushes back on healthier school lunches

Washington ? Who needs leafy greens and carrots when pizza and french fries will do?In an effort many 9-year-olds will cheer, Congress wants pizza and french fries to stay on school lunch lines and is fighting the Obama administration’s efforts to take unhealthy foods out of schools.The final ...

Supercommittee: Boehner endorses tax plan

House Speaker John Boehner publicly blessed a Republican deficit-reduction plan Tuesday that would raise $300 billion in additional tax revenue while overhauling the IRS code, bucking opposition by some GOP presidential hopefuls and colleagues wary of violating a longstanding point of party ...

Rules lag as factory dust explosions kill workers

Nashville, Tenn. ? When an accumulation of sugar dust ignited and blew up the Imperial Sugar plant in Port Wentworth, Ga., in 2008, killing 14 and injuring dozens, the state responded by issuing emergency regulations on combustible dust. No Georgia workers have been killed by exploding dust ...

Supreme Court to review health care overhaul

Washington ? The Supreme Court on Monday promised an extraordinarily thorough springtime review of President Barack Obama’s historic health care overhaul — more than five hours of argument, unprecedented in modern times — in time for a likely ruling affecting millions of Americans just ...

Study finds patients shun free heart drugs

Orlando, Fla. ? Give people free prescription drugs, and many of them still won’t bother to take their medicine.Doctors were stunned to see that happen in a major study involving heart attack survivors. The patients were offered well-established drugs to prevent a recurrence of heart trouble, ...

House GOP leader says deficit deal likely

Washington ? Sidestepping controversy, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., declined to take sides Monday on a proposal for higher tax revenues backed by fellow Republicans on Congress’ supercommittee yet expressed confidence the panel would agree on a deficit-reduction plan of at least ...

Gov.: Penn St. assistant failed ‘moral obligation’

Harrisburg, Pa ? The Penn State football coach who told a grand jury that he saw another coach molest a child failed to meet “a moral obligation” to intervene, Pennsylvania’s governor said Sunday, adding that he expects more victims to come forward.The coach who testified, Mike McQueary, ...

European crisis weighs down U.S. companies

New York ? The tremors from Europe’s financial upheaval have reached U.S. shores, rattling consumers and companies.The consequences have been limited so far. Yet the United States and Europe are so closely linked that any slowdown across the Atlantic is felt here. U.S. makers of cars, solar ...

U.S. senator warns of layaway’s cost

Albany, N.Y. ? The return of layaway plans this holiday shopping season is raising concern that the break from credit cards might actually cost consumers far more.For example, a rock ‘n’ roll Elmo doll that requires a $5 layaway fee and a 10 percent down payment for a month can equal a ...

Charity gave Sandusky access to vulnerable kids

State College, Pa. ? Over the past 30 years, politicians, sports stars and community leaders heaped praise on Jerry Sandusky and the charity he founded for troubled youngsters, The Second Mile. It was a model program, and the acclaimed football coach was its driving force.Now, prosecutors say ...

Romney’s political shifts stir criticism

Boston ? When he was running for Massachusetts governor in 2002, Mitt Romney’s campaign courted voters at a Boston Gay Pride weekend by handing out fliers proclaiming “All citizens deserve equal rights, regardless of sexual preference.”Just a year later, Romney emerged as a leading voice ...

Storm highlights decades of repeat issues

Hartford, Conn. ? A storm hits Connecticut and causes hundreds of thousands to lose power. Utility companies take a week or longer to restore it. Public outrage leads to state investigations. Officials order service improvements.It’s a cycle that repeats itself in the Land of Steady Habits. ...

Aging Americans stay home with aid of ‘villages’

Washington ? Weaver Shepperson has been blind for nearly 50 years. He’s lived alone since his wife died in 1999 and needs transportation several times a month to visit his doctors.Yet he doesn’t plan to move out of the rowhouse in Washington’s historic Capitol Hill neighborhood where ...