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Obamas paid $453,770 taxes on $1.7 million income

Posted April 18, 2011, at 10:32 p.m.
Last modified April 20, 2011, at 12:57 p.m.

WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama and his wife, Michelle, reported income of $1.728 million for last year, much of it from the sale of the president’s pre-presidency books. They paid federal taxes totaling $453,770 after receiving a $12,334 refund.

The Obamas paid their taxes at lowered Bush-era rates, even as he campaigns to end them for households with adjusted gross incomes above $250,000 — a category into which the first family clearly fits.

Joining the flocks of Americans filing their taxes near the end of the federal filing period, the Obamas made withholding and other payments to the Internal Revenue Service last year totaling $466,104. That was an overpayment, so they got their refund. The president and first lady reported donating $245,075 — about 14.2 percent of their adjusted gross income — to 36 different charities.

The largest single gift was a contribution of $131,075 to the Fisher House Foundation, a charity that offers a scholarship fund for children of soldiers who die or are disabled.

The Obamas’ adjusted gross income for 2010 of $1.728 million was well below the $5.5 million they reported for the year before, both totals mostly driven by royalties from books written earlier by Obama. They included his 1995 memoir “Dreams From My Father” and his 2006 political book, “The Audacity of Hope.”

The White House released the returns on the day that federal tax returns are due this year, although Obama signed his 1040 form last Tuesday. Michelle Obama signed the tax return on Wednesday.

Nigerian leader wins presidential poll amid riots

ABUJA, Nigeria — Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan won the oil-rich country’s election Monday as riots swept across the Muslim north and left buildings ablaze and people hiding in their homes, highlighting the religious and ethnic tensions still dividing Africa’s most populous nation.

The violence cut across 13 states, hundreds wounded. Heavy gunfire echoed through cities, as shouting crowds burned tires and threw stones at security forces. Many were feared dead, though federal officials declined to offer any figures for fear of further stoking tensions.

In a televised address to the nation late Monday, Jonathan called on Nigerians to “quickly move away from partisan battlegrounds and find a national common ground.”

“Nobody’s political ambition is worth the blood of any Nigerian,” he said, hours after police said an angry mob in Katsina state engineered a prison break.

While Christians and Muslims have shared the same soil in the nation for centuries, the election result showing the Christian president’s more than 10 million vote lead over Muslim candidate Muhammadu Buhari spread accusations of rigging in a nation long accustomed to ballot box stuffing.

Jonathan took office last year only after the country’s elected Muslim president died from a lengthy illness before his term ended, and many in the north still believe the ruling party should have put up a Muslim candidate instead in this year’s election.

Military mutiny spreads in Burkina Faso

OUAGADOUGOU, Burkina Faso — Students burned down the ruling party headquarters and the prime minister’s house in a central city on Monday and a soldiers’ mutiny spread to several corners of Burkina Faso, posing a grave challenge to a president who seized power in a bloody coup 24 years ago.

President Blaise Compaore had announced Friday he was dissolving his government and naming a new army chief and a new head of presidential security. But the steps have failed to stem the discontent that is sweeping over this impoverished, landlocked nation in West Africa that seems inspired at least in part by revolts in Arab nations.

Late on Monday, the government announced a new Prime Minster, Luc Adolphe Tiao, a close and longtime ally of the president who is the country’s current ambassador to France.

The mutiny began Thursday night in Compaore’s presidential compound in Ouagadougou, the capital, when members of the presidential guard began firing into the air, demanding unpaid housing allowances. By Monday, soldiers in several cities north, south, east and west of the capital had joined in. Calm returned to the capital after soldiers there got paid.

 

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