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As the clock counts down to the new year, another clock will continue ticking, counting the days, hours, minutes and seconds since May 23, 2013, the day President Barack Obama promised to free all those prisoners at the U.S. base at Guantanamo Bay who have been cleared for release.

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The U.S. is caught up in three wars, a budget crisis and high unemployment. So what are Republican politicians working on? Cutting long-standing environmental regulations and shifting the burden of oversight from the federal to the state level.

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Perhaps shoring himself up for campaign 2012, President Obama announced Monday that he would give individual states the choice to opt out of his health care plan if they can come up with a viable alternative -- but regardless, they'll have to wait until 2017.

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In retaliation against California's tuition hikes and education budget cuts, students from across the state kicked off a "Day of Action and Strike in Defense of Public Education" on Thursday with assemblies, walkouts and teach-ins. The action was part of a national protest.

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According to a consortium of anti-smoking organizations, U.S. state governments are raking in more money than ever from tobacco companies but aren't spending as much as they had in recent years on preventing their constituents from starting to light up or on helping them quit.

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A Taliban attack Sunday morning on Pakistan's army headquarters has pressed Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to warn about the waning authority of the Pakistani state in the face of violence by "extremists." Security forces were later able to defeat the attackers and free 40 hostages.

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As if delivering the tagline of his latest movie, California's governor announced to the state Legislature Tuesday that the "day of reckoning is here." But Democrats are fighting Arnold Schwarzenegger's plan to cut funding for schools, the poor and sick children while refusing to raise taxes.

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