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Senate Democrats give up push for pre-election tax cut vote
Washington (CNN) - Senate Democrats will not vote on extending Bush-era tax cuts for families making less than $250,000 a year before the upcoming congressional elections, the spokesman for Majority Leader Harry Reid confirmed Thursday.
"We will come back in November [after the elections] and stay in session as long as it takes to get this done," said a statement from Reid's spokesman, Jim Manley.
The announcement followed reports by CNN, citing senior Democratic sources, that Senate Democrats would hold off for now on forcing a vote on the measure pushed by President Obama.
"The reality is, we will not pass what needs to be passed to change this either in the Senate or the House before the election," said Sen. Dick Durbin of Illinois, the second-ranking Democrat in the Senate.
Obama and other Democratic leaders have repeatedly expressed their desire to extend the 2001 and 2003 Bush tax cuts - currently slated to expire at the end of the year - only for families earning less than $250,000 and individuals earning less than $200,000.
Republicans have stood firm on supporting extensions of the tax breaks for all taxpayers, including the wealthiest Americans. FULL STORY
Police search for suspects in Nicaraguan diplomat's slaying
New York (CNN) - Investigators are still looking for suspects in the apparent homicide of a Nicaraguan diplomat found with his throat slashed in his New York apartment, police said.
Two knives were involved in the death of Cesar Mercado, the consul of Nicaragua in New York, police said late Thursday.
A 12-inch steak knife was found beside the blood-filled bathroom sink, New York Police Department Deputy Commissioner Paul Browne said. A second knife, a 4- to 6-inch paring knife, was found in the sink, Browne said.
Mercado, 34, was last seen alive Wednesday.
His body was found just inside the door of a small, sixth-floor studio apartment in the Bronx on Thursday by a driver who had arrived to take him to the United Nations. FULL STORY
U.N. delegates walk out during Iranian president's speech
United Nations (CNN) - Delegates from the United States and other nations walked out of the U.N. General Assembly on Thursday as Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad delivered a fiery speech that criticized Washington, capitalism and the world body itself.
Though incendiary statements from Ahmadinejad are nothing new, tension in the hall grew as the Iranian leader recounted various conspiracy theories about the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on New York and Washington.
"Some segments within the U.S. government orchestrated the attack," Ahmadinejad told the General Assembly. He followed with the claim that the attacks were aimed at reversing "the declining American economy and its scripts on the Middle East in order to save the Zionist regime. The majority of the American people, as well as most nations and politicians around the world, agree with this view."
That appeared to be the last straw for many of the diplomats. Representatives from the United States, Britain, Sweden, Australia, Belgium, Uruguay and Spain walked out while Ahmadinejad asserted that U.S. government was involved in the attacks or allowed them to happen as an excuse to go to war in Afghanistan and Iraq. FULL STORY
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