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California lawmakers aim to tighten handgun restrictions

By Sharon Bernstein SACRAMENTO, California (Reuters) - A bill banning the sale of single-shot handguns that can be modified into semi-automatic weapons advanced in the California legislature on Thursday as lawmakers sought to close what the bill's supporters say is a loophole in the state's gun safety laws. Gun control advocates say thousands of weapons are sold in California each year without a required safety feature that indicates when a bullet is in the chamber, endangering children and others who may be shot accidentally.

Rebellious Nevada rancher's racist remarks dim Republican support

By Jennifer Dobner and Steve Gorman (Reuters) - Two Republican senators who voiced support for a Nevada cattleman in his showdown with federal agents over grazing rights on public land condemned recent remarks by the rebellious rancher musing about whether African-Americans would be "better off as slaves."

U.S. top court upholds Michigan ban on college affirmative action

By Lawrence Hurley WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday further undermined the use of racial preferences in higher education by upholding a voter-approved Michigan law that banned the practice in decisions on which students to admit to state universities.

Supreme Court hears challenge to ban on 'false' campaign speech

By Joan Biskupic WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. Supreme Court justices across the ideological spectrum voiced doubts on Tuesday about a state law that prohibits false statements during a political campaign. The Ohio law allows candidates and other citizens to file a complaint for allegedly false slogans, prompting a state election commission hearing and public scrutiny of advocacy groups' or individuals' claims in the middle of a campaign.

Conservative Koch-backed group uses soft touch in recruiting U.S. Hispanics

By Andy Sullivan ORLANDO, Florida (Reuters) - The conservative advocacy groups backed by the billionaire brothers Charles and David Koch are known mostly for spending millions of dollars to pelt Democratic candidates with negative television ads.

Obama on mission to quiet Asia skeptics

Five years after refashioning US foreign policy to emphasize Asia, President Barack Obama will face questions over his strategy's content and staying power in the region this week. Obama will counter the impression that events, including carnage in Syria and the East-West showdown over Ukraine have dragged his administration's attention elsewhere.

Pipeline delay gives boost to Obama's political base

By Jeff Mason and Steve Holland WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The latest delay to a final decision on the Keystone XL oil pipeline will reinforce a White House strategy to energize President Barack Obama's liberal-leaning base before fall elections in which Democrats risk losing control of the U.S. Senate.

Pipeline delay gives boost to Obama's political base

By Jeff Mason and Steve Holland WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The latest delay to a final decision on the Keystone XL oil pipeline will reinforce a White House strategy to energize President Barack Obama's liberal-leaning base before fall elections in which Democrats risk losing control of the U.S. Senate.

Racist online forums linked to deadly hate crimes: rights group report

By Barbara Liston ORLANDO, Florida (Reuters) - A white supremacist charged with killing three people near two Jewish community facilities in suburban Kansas City this week posted more than 12,000 messages on a racist website which carries the slogan "No Jews, Just Right," according to a leading organization that tracks hate groups.

Obama argues healthcare law is working, rejects Republican criticism

By Steve Holland WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Barack Obama mounted a vigorous effort on Thursday to show his signature healthcare law is working and dismissed Republican critics who are using flaws in Obamacare to campaign for ousting Democrats from the U.S. Congress in November. Appearing in the White House briefing room days before leaving the national stage for a week-long trip to Asia, Obama used a news conference to make the case that the Affordable Care Act had mended nicely from its disastrous October rollout.
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