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In brief: Supercommittee remains far apart

Washington – After weeks of negotiating in secrecy, the supercommittee on deficit reduction has allowed its proposals to spill into the open in a display of partisanship that shows how far apart Congress remains in striking a deal.

Republicans offered a $2.2 trillion package of steep spending cuts but gave no ground on their resistance to new taxes, congressional aides said Thursday. The proposal was a counter to the “grand bargain” that Democrats put on the table – up to $3 trillion in spending cuts and new taxes on wealthier households.

With less than a month remaining to reach an agreement, both sides dismissed the other’s offer as a non-starter. Rep. Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., the minority leader, said the GOP offer “doesn’t sound like anything that would even be in the league.”

Army Ranger was on 14th deployment

San Diego – A soldier who was killed in a bomb explosion last week in Afghanistan was on his 14th combat deployment – including four tours in Iraq and 10 in Afghanistan – making him the Army Ranger with the most deployments killed in action, the Army said Thursday.

Sgt. 1st Class Kristoffer Domeij enlisted several months before 9/11 and had served in hundreds of missions. He was killed with two other soldiers in a bomb explosion Saturday in Kandahar province.

Domeij was awarded two Bronze Stars for his service overseas and will be awarded a third Bronze Star posthumously, along with the Purple Heart.

Edwards faces trial on criminal charges

Chapel Hill, N.C. – Former presidential candidate John Edwards failed to persuade a federal judge in North Carolina to dismiss criminal charges that he used campaign donations to cover up an extramarital affair during his 2008 campaign.

U.S. District Court Judge Catherine Eagles ruled Thursday that a federal prosecution of Edwards can proceed. He is charged with violating campaign finance laws by secretly using more than $900,000 from two wealthy donors to hide the affair, which produced a daughter fathered by Edwards.

Edwards’ lawyers have argued that the charges are too vague and that Edwards’ actions did not constitute a crime. They say the donations were gifts, not campaign contributions.

Edwards’ defense team also accused a former U.S. attorney, a Republican, of bending campaign finance laws in a politically motivated prosecution against Edwards.


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