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Stopgap Homeland Security spending bill fails in US House

Stopgap Homeland Security spending bill fails in House hours before partial shutdown
The Associated Press

WASHINGTON - The U.S. House has rejected a stopgap spending bill for the Homeland Security Department with just hours to go before a midnight deadline to fund the agency or see it begin to partially shut down.

The surprise 224-203 defeat of the legislation was a major embarrassment for House Republican leaders. Next steps were not immediately clear.

Some conservatives opposed the bill because it left out provisions to block executive actions President Barack Obama took on immigration, which Republicans have vowed to overturn.

Oil boom's end threatens pain for much of Latin America

Economic pain spreads to Colombian town that rode Latin America's oil boom
Jacobo G. Garcia, The Associated Press

PUERTO GAITAN, Colombia - Soaring oil prices the past decade transformed this rural backwater into Colombia's richest city as nearby fields pumped black gold, drawing new businesses, international pop stars and vanity art projects such as the biblical-themed arch that towers over these sweltering grasslands.

Now, crashing crude prices have the 45,000 residents of Puerto Gaitan bracing for a big fall, or already packing their bags. Many are questioning how the windfall was spent.

Japan's PM reshuffles Cabinet to win tax support

Japan's leader reshuffles Cabinet to win opposition support for tax hike proposal
Malcolm Foster, The Associated Press

TOKYO - Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda replaced five members of his Cabinet on Friday in a bid to win more co-operation from the opposition to raise the sales tax and rein in the country's bulging fiscal deficit.

Two of the removed ministers had been censured by the opposition for making comments that were deemed inappropriate. Twelve posts were unchanged, including finance and foreign minister.

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