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House Democrats unveil budget plan with tax hikes, immigration reform

WASHINGTON - House Democrats unveiled their response to Paul Ryan's GOP budget on Monday, and it relies on a $1.5 trillion in higher taxes over the coming 10 years and the economic benefits of immigration reform to make the numbers work.

Obama announces education innovation grants as part of his go-it-alone strategy

BLADENSBURG, Md. - President Barack Obama on Monday announced more than $100 million in grants for two dozen schools across the country that are helping students gain work experience for what he called the "in-demand jobs of the future."

Gallup survey: Obama's health coverage expansion gaining momentum

WASHINGTON - A growing share of Americans got health insurance as sign-up season for President Barack Obama's health care law came to a close last month, a major survey released Monday has found. The Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index provides independent validation for White House claims that the law is expanding access, particularly for working people with no coverage on the job. But the improvement, while substantial, doesn't appear as large as some of the numbers claimed by the law's supporters.

Obama to launch executive actions on equal pay for women

By Jeff Mason WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Barack Obama will launch two new executive actions this week aimed at increasing transparency about women's pay in a continuing effort to ensure women are paid equally to their male counterparts for similar work, the White House said on Sunday.

U.S. lawmaker urges easing gun rules on bases after Fort Hood shooting

By Jon Herskovitz AUSTIN, Texas (Reuters) - U.S. lawmakers should look at arming commanders and easing restrictions for carrying weapons on military posts in the United States in the wake of a deadly shooting at the Fort Hood base in Texas, a prominent congressman said on Sunday.

Bill Gates wants China to encourage wealthy Chinese to be more giving

By Rachel Armstrong and Andrew Toh SINGAPORE (Reuters) - China should do more to encourage wealthy Chinese to donate to charitable causes and to make philanthropy a common practice in the world's most populous country, Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates said on Sunday. Gates, who runs the $38 billion Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, said he thought people in China would take cues from central leadership on donations and worthy causes.

Judge plans to strike Ohio same-sex marriage ban

By Jo Ingles COLUMBUS, Ohio (Reuters) - A federal judge said on Friday that Ohio's ban on recognizing the marriages of same-sex couples wed outside the state was unconstitutional and would be struck down later this month. "I intend to issue a written decision and order by April 14, striking down as unconstitutional under all circumstances Ohio's bans on recognizing legal same-sex marriages from other states," U.S. District Judge Timothy Black said in a statement released by his chambers in Cincinnati.

Former President George W. Bush's brush portrays world leaders

By Bill Trott WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Former U.S. President George W. Bush on Friday revealed a series of portraits of world leaders he painted in a new pursuit that he said has "opened my mind," even though it left him exposed to joking criticism from his mother. An exhibit titled "The Art of Leadership: A President's Personal Diplomacy" opens on Saturday at the George W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum in Dallas and was shown to reporters on Friday.

Former president Bush produces portraits of world leaders, including Harper

DALLAS - Former President George W. Bush is displaying his portraits of world leaders in the first exhibit of his work as an artist. The portraits include everyone from Prime Minister Stephen Harper to a grim-looking Russian President Vladimir Putin to a smiling likeness of the late Czech playwright and President Vaclav Havel. A spokesman for Harper said the prime minister was always on friendly terms with Bush.

Kerry to'evaluate' next steps in peace process with Obama

US Secretary of State John Kerry said Friday he would "evaluate" the next steps in the Middle East peace process with President Barack Obama, warning there are "limits" to Washington's time. "This is not open-ended," Kerry told a press conference in Rabat, adding that it was "reality check" time. jkb/bpz
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