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LEAD: Schools in flu-hit Osaka, Hyogo reopen after 1-week closure+

May 24, 2009 4:23 am | by The Associated Press | News | Comments

KOBE, May 25 (Kyodo) — (EDS: ADDING COMMENTS OF GOV'T SPOKESMAN, TEACHER, STUDENTS, UPDATING FIGURES, OTHER INFO)Schools in Osaka and Hyogo prefectures resumed classes Monday after closing for about a week, in line with Japan's new policy of relaxing restrictions in areas hit hard by a new strain...

Afghanistan's rebuilding looms as sequel to Iraq's, US

May 24, 2009 4:23 am | by RICHARD LARDNER - Associated Press Writer - Associated Press | News | Comments

WASHINGTON (AP) — The job of rebuilding Afghanistan is shaping up as an ominous sequel to the massive, mistake-riddled U.S. effort to get Iraq back on its feet.Since 2001, the U.S. has committed nearly $33 billion for reconstruction projects in Afghanistan. Yet as President Barack Obama sends more...

Fix is hard for Medicare, Social Security finances

May 24, 2009 4:23 am | by TOM RAUM - Associated Press Writer - Associated Press | News | Comments

WASHINGTON (AP) — There is no easy fix.Medicare and Social Security will go broke sooner rather than later because of the recession. With millions of baby boomers beginning to leave the work force, the cost of these popular benefit programs threatens to swamp the government in debt in the coming...

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Liberals ask how they lost gun, Guantanamo votes, US

May 24, 2009 4:18 am | by CHARLES BABINGTON - Associated Press Writer - Associated Press | News | Comments

WASHINGTON (AP) — Frustrated liberals are asking why a Democratic-controlled Congress and White House can't manage to close the Guantanamo prison or keep new gun-rights laws from passing.After all, President Barack Obama pledged to shut down the military detention center on Cuba for suspected...

THE INFLUENCE GAME: Health lobbyist has great sway

May 24, 2009 4:17 am | by ERICA WERNER - Associated Press Writer - Associated Press | News | Comments

WASHINGTON (AP) — If anyone could make or break President Barack Obama's health care agenda, it might be Karen Ignagni.The Democratic former union official and firefighter's daughter is also the unlikely face of the powerful health insurance industry as its top Washington lobbyist.Ignagni is such a...

Hearings on state budget set for this week, VT

May 24, 2009 4:12 am | by The Associated Press | News | Comments

MONTPELIER, Vt. (AP) — Vermont legislative leaders say they hope to have a better understanding of the potential impacts of Gov. Jim Douglas' budget proposals after two public hearings this week.Legislative committees will focus on Douglas' tax proposals and his use of the state education fund to...

Gore, others urge CEOs to back climate change deal

May 24, 2009 3:51 am | by JOHN HEILPRIN - Associated Press Writer - Associated Press | News | Comments

COPENHAGEN (AP) — Climate-change heavyweights U.N. chief Ban Ki-moon and Nobel prize winner Al Gore urged more than 500 business leaders on Sunday to lend their corporate muscle to reaching a global deal on reducing greenhouse gases.The CEOs of PepsiCo, Nestle, BP and other major world businesses...

Sankyo and Ranbaxy Announce Reconstitution of Ranbaxy Executive Leadership Pharmaceutical Writers/Business Editors

May 24, 2009 3:36 am | by The Associated Press | News | Comments

TOKYO & GURGAON, India-- (BUSINESS WIRE) — May 24, 2009-- Daiichi Sankyo Co., Ltd. and Ranbaxy Laboratories Limited today announced that Mr. Malvinder Mohan Singh has stepped down from the positions of Chairman, CEO and Managing Director of Ranbaxy with immediate effect.Mr. Atul Sobti, currently...

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Japan likely to be upgraded to 'controlled BSE risk' status+

May 24, 2009 3:26 am | by The Associated Press | News | Comments

TOKYO, May 24 (Kyodo) — The World Organization for Animal Health is expected to soon grant Japan status of controlled risk regarding its safeguard measures taken to eradicate mad cow disease in beef production, government sources said Sunday.The Japanese government will try to boost Japanese beef...

Fla. marks 30 years since death penalty's return, FL

May 24, 2009 3:05 am | by RON WORD - Associated Press Writer - Associated Press | News | Comments

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) — Three decades have past since Florida resumed executions when John Spenkelink was strapped into Old Sparky and electrocuted, the nation's first involuntary execution after a Supreme Court ban was lifted.Since then, the state has executed another 64 men and two women....

Footrace honors military personnel, IL

May 24, 2009 2:50 am | by The Associated Press | News | Comments

CHICAGO (AP) — Some 9,000 runners made an early start on the Memorial Day weekend by racing along Chicago's lakefront in a show of support for U.S. troops in Iraq and Afghanistan.Among those running Saturday morning in the footrace that started and ended at Soldier Field were White House chief of...

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Sri Lanka rejects full access to Tamil camps, 1st Ld-Writethru, AS

May 24, 2009 2:40 am | by ARTHUR MAX - Associated Press Writer - Associated Press | News | Comments

COLOMBO, Sri Lanka (AP) — Sri Lanka's president on Sunday rejected a call by the U.N. secretary-general to lift restrictions on aid delivery to overcrowded displacement camps, saying the army must first finish screening the hundreds of thousands of Tamil refugees.President Mahinda Rajapaksa's...

Facebook block ahead of Iran vote hampers youth

May 24, 2009 2:09 am | by ALI AKBAR DAREINI - Associated Press Writer - Associated Press | News | Comments

TEHRAN, Iran (AP) — Iran's decision to block access to Facebook — less than three weeks before nationwide elections — drew sharp criticism Sunday from a reformist opposition hoping to mobilize the youth vote and unseat President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.The decision, critics said, forces Iranians to...

Official: Myanmar had planned to release Suu Kyi, 8th Ld-Writethru, AS

May 24, 2009 1:58 am | by The Associated Press | News | Comments

YANGON, Myanmar (AP) — Myanmar considered releasing pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi from house arrest this week, but canceled the decision after an American stayed at her house in violation of the country's security law, a top police official said Tuesday.Suu Kyi was expected to testify...

Germany seeks better bids in battle for Opel, 2nd Ld-Writethru, EU

May 24, 2009 1:38 am | by GEIR MOULSON - Associated Press Writer - Associated Press | News | Comments

BERLIN (AP) — A battle over the future of troubled General Motors Corp.'s Opel unit is heating up as Germany prepares to decide which of three potential suitors it prefers to takeover the automaker.Germany's economy minister said in an interview published Sunday that all three bids have...

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