European leaders agree to use bailout fund to recapitalize struggling banks, to help Spain
BRUSSELS (AP) -- European leaders have agreed to use the continent's permanent bailout fund to recapitalize struggling banks, and agreed to the idea of a tighter union in the long term.
The bank decision at overnight meetings in Brussels on Friday was aimed at helping Spain, which sought a €100 billion rescue to help its troubled banks and is facing rising borrowing costs.
EU President Herman Van Rompuy called it a "breakthrough that banks can be recapitalized directly."
He said leaders of the 17-nation eurozone also agreed to a joint banking supervisory body.
He said the leaders of the full 27-member European Union agreed to a general long-term plan for a tighter budgetary and political union.
Supreme Court upholds Obama health care overhaul by 5-4 vote, approving insurance requirement
WASHINGTON (AP) -- Obamacare lives.
America's historic health care overhaul, derided by Republicans as intrusive, costly "Obamacare," narrowly survived an election-year battle at the Supreme Court Thursday with the improbable help of conservative Chief Justice John Roberts.
The 5-4 ruling now makes it certain that major health care changes will move ahead, touching virtually every American's life. And Democrats, who have learned to accept if not love the GOP label for the law, heartily praised the decision.
But the ruling also gave Republicans unexpected ammunition to energize supporters for the fall campaign against President Barack Obama, the bill's champion -- and for next year's vigorous efforts to repeal the law as a new federal tax
Roberts' vote, along with those of the court's four liberal justices, preserved the largest expansion of the nation's social safety net in more than 45 years, including the hotly debated core requirement that nearly everyone have health insurance or pay a penalty. The aim is to extend coverage to more than 30 million people who now are uninsured
Obama casts high court health care ruling as victory for people, Romney vows anew to repeal it
WASHINGTON (AP) -- Battling fiercely for the White House, President Barack Obama and Republican rival Mitt Romney implored voters to see the Supreme Court's health care ruling in different ways Thursday, with Obama appealing for people to move on with him and his challenger promising to rip up the law.
"Today's decision was a victory for people all over this country whose lives will be more secure," Obama declared after a divided high court upheld the law, including a requirement that people carry health insurance. "It's time for us to move forward."
Romney did just the opposite, pinning the court's decision to the election and asking voters to render their own ruling.
"If we want to get rid of Obamacare," he said, "we're going to have replace President Obama."
Democrats and Republicans immediately launched fundraising appeals off the court's decision, underscoring the campaign ramifications of a judicial decision that is supposed to be devoid of politics. It was conservative Chief Justice John Roberts who cast the defining vote, upending the traditional lines of political attack and surprising many in the White House.
Roberts, the ultimate judicial umpire, delivers a home run for the president on health care
WASHINGTON (AP) -- As a junior senator, Barack Obama voted against John Roberts' nomination to the Supreme Court, fearing he would favor the powerful over the weak.
Now it is Roberts who has saved the signature achievement of Obama's presidency, the health care overhaul, in a ruling that challenges critics' assertions that the chief justice is nothing more than a conservative ideologue.
Roberts had pledged at his 2005 confirmation hearing to act as a judicial umpire, calling balls and strikes without taking sides. On Thursday, he threw conservatives a curveball.
In a 5-4 ruling upholding the health care law, Roberts wrote for the majority that it's not the court's job to decide whether Obama's plan "embodies sound policies. That judgment is entrusted to the nation's elected leaders."
After all the speculation that the Republican-leaning court would strike down the law, Roberts' opinion startled even Paul Clement, the lawyer who had made the case against the law in oral arguments before the high court in March.
Republican-run House, in historic vote, holds attorney general Eric Holder in contempt
WASHINGTON (AP) -- Attorney General Eric Holder on Thursday became the first Cabinet member held in contempt of Congress, a rebuke pushed by Republicans seeking to unearth the facts behind a bungled gun-tracking operation and dismissed by most Democrats as a political stunt.
The vote was 255-67, with more than 100 Democrats boycotting.
African-American lawmakers led the walkout as members filed up the aisle and out of the chamber to protest the action against Holder, who is the nation's first black attorney general. Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi of California joined the boycott, saying Republicans had gone "over the edge" in their partisanship.
Seventeen Democrats voted with Republicans in favor of the contempt vote, while two Republicans -- Reps. Scott Rigell of Virginia and Steven LaTourette of Ohio -- joined other Democrats in voting against it.
The National Rifle Association pressed hard for the contempt resolution, leaning on members of both parties who want to stay in the NRA's good graces.
Mayor: Colorado Springs fire destroys estimated 346 homes; most destructive in state history
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (AP) -- A raging Colorado wildfire that forced tens of thousands to flee destroyed an estimated 346 homes this week, making it the most destructive fire in the state's history, officials said Thursday.
From above, the destruction becomes painfully clear: Rows and rows of houses were reduced to smoldering ashes even as some homes just feet away survived largely intact.
On one street, all but three houses had burned to their foundations, said Ryan Schneider, whose home is still standing in a neighborhood where 51 others were destroyed.
"I was real happy at first. My wife was happy," he said. "The emotion of seeing the other homes, though, was instant sadness."
The aerial photos showing the scope of one of the worst fires to hit the American West in decades did little to help ease the concerns of many residents who still did not know the fate of homes.
Family: Body of missing 4-year-old boy is found buried at his house in central Michigan
MOUNT PLEASANT, Mich. (AP) -- The body of a 4-year-old boy missing for a week was found buried Thursday at his home, a family spokesman said.
Carnel Chamberlain's body was found under a wood porch or deck at the home on the reservation of the Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe, 70 miles north of Lansing, Kevin Chamberlain said.
Chamberlain, the tribe's former chief, said he had no details about what led investigators back to the house after many days of searching woods, ponds and the tribe's wastewater treatment areas.
The body "had to be in a grave. We had looked underneath before and didn't see anything," he said.
Carnel disappeared June 21 while in the care of his mother's boyfriend.
Pottery 20,000 years old found in a Chinese cave, posing new possibilities in human history
BEIJING (AP) -- Pottery fragments found in a south China cave have been confirmed to be 20,000 years old, making them the oldest known pottery in the world, archaeologists say.
The findings, which will appear in the journal Science on Friday, add to recent efforts that have dated pottery piles in east Asia to more than 15,000 years ago, refuting conventional theories that the invention of pottery correlates to the period about 10,000 years ago when humans moved from being hunter-gathers to farmers.
The research by a team of Chinese and American scientists also pushes the emergence of pottery back to the last ice age, which might provide new explanations for the creation of pottery, said Gideon Shelach, chair of the Louis Frieberg Center for East Asian Studies at The Hebrew University in Israel.
"The focus of research has to change," Shelach, who is not involved in the research project in China, said by telephone.
In an accompanying Science article, Shelach wrote that such research efforts "are fundamental for a better understanding of socio-economic change (25,000 to 19,000 years ago) and the development that led to the emergency of sedentary agricultural societies."
Top Cats: Hornets pick Kentucky's Davis with No. 1 pick in NBA draft; Kidd-Gilchrist is No. 2
NEWARK, N.J. (AP) -- Best in the country and No. 1 and 2 in the NBA draft. The celebration goes on for Kentucky's kids.
The Wildcats became the first school to have the top two picks and tied a record with six players taken overall Thursday night.
After the New Orleans Hornets made the long-expected selection of forward Anthony Davis with the first pick, Charlotte followed by taking fellow freshman Michael Kidd-Gilchrist.
"It's crazy," Davis said. "Michael is a great player. We have two down and four more to go. Hopefully, all of them will go in the first round."
They didn't, the only disappointment for the Wildcats. They settled for four in the first round and a tie with North Carolina, which won the race to four picks -- all in the top 17 selections.
End it like Beckham: Soccer star cut from Britain's Olympic team
LONDON (AP) -- Bending free kicks. Hollywood looks. National hero.
David Beckham -- Britain's most famous sportsman -- seemed destined to be a headliner at the London Olympics.
Not on the soccer field.
The former England captain failed to make the British Olympic team, a surprise snub for a local lad who helped secure the games for his city and worked tirelessly to promote them.
"Naturally, I am very disappointed," Beckham said Thursday after being notified that he hadn't been selected for the final 18-man squad. "But there will be no bigger supporter of the team than me."