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Obama calls latest job losses astounding

Updated: 03/06/2009 - COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) -- Calling the latest job losses astounding, President Barack Obama promised on Friday to get Americans back to work. Obama spoke at the graduation ceremony for 25 police recruits who owe their jobs to the $787 billion economic recovery bill he signed into law less than three weeks ago. In a 12-minute speech, the president noted that 651,000 U.S. jobs were lost last month, bringing to "an astounding 4.4 million" the number lost in the current recession. The Columbus police recruits were about to join those ranks, he said, "a future that millions of Americans still face right now." "Well, that is not a future I accept for the United States of America," Obama said. That's why he signed the stimulus bill that Congress passed last month with minuscule help from Republicans, he said. Obama noted the many critics of the package, but he said government leaders have a responsibility to act for future generations. The United States has met every challenge with bold action and big ideas, he said, and "that's what fueled a shared and lasting prosperity." Meanwhile Friday, the Labor Department said it was making more than $3.5 billion available to states for education, training and re-employment services. The Columbus police recruits are part of a class of 27 who were laid off in January by Mayor Michael Coleman, a Democrat, before they could even start walking the beat. Coleman blamed city budget problems at the time. But Coleman announced last week that the Justice Department had informed the city that it would get $1.25 million in stimulus money to pay the officers' salaries through the end of the year. Two of the recruits chose not to return. When he signed the bill on Feb. 17, Obama cited saving the Ohio police recruit class as one use for stimulus money. Obama has been highlighting programs to be funded by the legislation, along with the jobs he says are being saved or created by those dollars. He has practically staked his presidency on his promise that the stimulus package will save or create 3.5 million jobs within the next two years. The latest economic news was a fresh reminder for the Obama administration of the nation's grim financial outlook. The government said Friday the nation's unemployment rate jumped to 8.1 percent in February, the highest since late 1983. Over a three-month period, nearly 2 million jobs have been cut. The trip was Obama's first to Ohio as president. He won the state in the November election. --- Associated Press writers Devlin Barrett and Matt Apuzzo in Washington and Andrew Welsh-Huggins in Columbus, Ohio, contributed to this report.

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Congress passes stopgap bill to avoid shutdown

Updated: 03/06/2009 - With a $410 billion catchall spending bill stalled in the Senate and a midnight deadline looming, Congress rushed through stopgap legislation Friday to keep the government running for another five days.

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Prosecutors indicate Madoff plea may be in works

Updated: 03/06/2009 - Prosecutors filed a motion Friday indicating that Bernard Madoff may be ready to plead guilty to charges that he carried out one of the biggest financial frauds in history.

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1st Sustainment Brigade Opens New Headquarters

Updated: 03/06/2009 - The completion of a $65 million project will be celebrated March 9 as the 1st Sustainment Brigade, 1st Infantry Division, officially opens its new headquarters building on Custer Hill.

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Whole Foods, FTC Agree On Wild Oats Settlement

Updated: 03/06/2009 - Whole Foods Market says it will sell 13 stores to resolve the Federal Trade Commission's challenge against the grocer over its purchase of Wild Oats Markets.

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Jobless Rates Bolt To 8.1 Percent

Updated: 03/06/2009 - The nation's unemployment rate bolted to 8.1 percent in February, the highest since late 1983, as cost-cutting employers slashed 651,000 jobs amid a deepening recession.

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Gupta Withdraws From Surgeon General Search

Updated: 03/06/2009 - Gupta, 39, a neurosurgeon with star appeal, was seen as President Barack Obama's first pick for the job. He would have brought instant recognition to the office of surgeon general, a post that has lacked visibility since the days of C. Everett Koop during Ronald Reagan's presidency.

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Obama: Every Voice Must Be Heard On Health Reform

Updated: 03/06/2009 - President Barack Obama pumped health care allies and skeptics alike for ways to overhaul the nation's costly and frustrating system Thursday and heard only applause and agreement when he told them there's "a clear consensus that the need for health care reform is here and now."

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Horses First Domesticated 5,000 Years Ago

Updated: 03/06/2009 - Medieval knights, the warriors of Saladin, Roy Rogers and fans lining racetracks around the world all owe a debt to the Botai culture, residents of Central Asia who domesticated horses more than 5,000 years ago.

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Hunt On For Ohio Gunman Who Killed 4 Kids, Woman

Updated: 03/06/2009 - Police were searching early Friday for a man suspected in the slayings of four children and his wife in what authorities were calling one of the city's most horrific shootings in years.

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Calif. High Court Weighs Gay Marriage Ban

Updated: 03/06/2009 - The mood was somber among gay rights supporters after a bruising, three-hour hearing before the justices of California's highest court, who expressed considerable skepticism at the idea of overturning the state's voter-approved ban on same-sex marriage.

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Ex-NY Gov. Spitzer Makes D.C. Real Estate Deal

Updated: 03/06/2009 - Disgraced former Gov. Eliot Spitzer is working as a commercial real estate investor and has bought an office building just a block from the site of the infamous encounter with a high-class prostitute that led to his downfall.

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Oil Rises Above $44 Despite Grim US Corporate News

Updated: 03/06/2009 - Oil prices rose above $44 a barrel Friday on investor optimism that falling U.S. gasoline costs amid the worst recession in decades may increase demand for crude.

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H&R Block Posts Profit in Fiscal 3rd Quarter

Updated: 03/06/2009 - Kansas City based H&R Block Inc. said Friday its third-quarter profits surged as it prepared more tax returns in the early season and saw smaller losses from discontinued operations.

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Jobless Rate Is Expected To Jump To 7.9 Percent

Updated: 03/06/2009 - The Labor Department will release a report today that is expected to show the unemployment rate rising to 7.9 percent and a loss of 648,000 jobs in February, making it an especially cruel month for America's workers.

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Stock Futures Fall Ahead of Feb. Jobs Report

Updated: 03/06/2009 - Traders weren't taking any chances Friday, sending stock futures lower ahead of what's likely to be another unnerving reading on the job market. Ahead of the market's opening, Dow futures fell 41 points, or 0.62 percent, to 6,590.

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Boeing Union Rejects Contract; No Strike Authorized

Updated: 03/05/2009 - Members of the Society of Professional Engineering Employees in Aerospace voted 180-84 to reject a contract offer from Boeing. But they also voted 140-118, with six absententions, against a strike.

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Barbara Bush Joking as She Recovers from Surgery

Updated: 03/05/2009 - Dr. Gerald Lawrie told reporters in Houston that Mrs. Bush is expected to be released from the intensive care unit on Saturday. She'll then be hospitalized another week for observation.

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