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Nation in brief: Farm bill might be held up for year

Fri., Nov. 16, 2007

The Senate farm bill may have to wait until after next year’s elections, Senate Agriculture Committee Chairman Tom Harkin said Thursday.

The $286 billion bill, which extends agriculture and nutrition programs, has been stalled for more than a week in the Senate, where Republicans and Democrats are bickering over how many amendments to the bill will be offered.

Harkin suggested Thursday that extending current farm law for one year is an option if a Democratic attempt to cut off debate fails today. That move requires the votes of 60 of the 100 senators.

Sensing an unbreakable Senate impasse, the top Republican on the House Agriculture Committee said Thursday that he would support extending the bill until Sept. 30, the end of the current budget year.

“The consequences of the Senate’s inaction are already impacting the planning decisions of our farmers and ranchers,” said GOP Rep. Bob Goodlatte of Virginia.

MacClenny, Fla.

Mystery beast doesn’t bite

Whether the mystery critter roaming northern Florida is an orangutan, a “baby Bigfoot” or something else, wildlife officials think it might have a bit of Homer Simpson in it.

After a bear hunter said an animal that could be an orangutan stole jelly doughnuts from him, a wildlife investigator has tried to use sweet treats to lure the creature into the open in Baker County.

There have been several sightings of what witnesses have described as a “big orange ball of fur,” though officials have yet to confirm it’s an orangutan, said Karen Parker, a spokeswoman for the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.

Fish and wildlife investigator Ken Holmes laid doughnuts at the base of a tree in hopes of catching the animal, but it eluded him.

Some residents think the animal is a spider monkey or even a squirrel. Holmes said he also got a call from a Bigfoot research group asking about it.

“I can’t confirm that it wasn’t Bigfoot,” he said. “That’s one possibility. It’s just not a possibility I’m exploring.”

Little Rock, Ark.

Clinton foundation raised $135 million

Former President Clinton’s nonprofit foundation raised more than $135 million last year as his wife ramped up her bid for the Democratic presidential nomination, according to tax forms filed with the Internal Revenue Service.

Donations to the William J. Clinton Foundation jumped by nearly 70 percent since 2005, when the nonprofit raised more than $80 million. Contributions to the library have tripled since 2003, the year before Clinton’s museum and archives opened in downtown Little Rock, Ark.

The nonprofit funds Clinton’s efforts on HIV/AIDS prevention and environmental policy as well as programs at his presidential library in Little Rock. The $165 million glass and steel library complex opened in November 2004.


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