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Obama asks Congress for limited extension of Bush tax cuts

Susan Walsh | AP
Susan Walsh | AP
President Barack Obama speaks in the East Room of the White House in Washington on Monday, July 9, 2012.
By From wire service reports

WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama on Monday urged Congress to extend for one year Bush-era tax cuts for anyone earning less than $250,000 — a plan that reinforces already sharply drawn battle lines between Democrats and Republicans, who want all the cuts to continue.

Obama, speaking at the White House, acknowledged he’s in for a fight.

“What’s holding us back from meeting these challenges, it’s not a lack of plans, it’s a lack of ideas,” the president said. “It is a stalemate in this town, in Washington, between two very different views about which direction we should go in as a country.”

And, Obama noted, “Nowhere is that stalemate more pronounced than on the issue of taxes.”

He insisted the nation has “tried it their way. It didn’t work.” Republicans hotly dispute that notion, noting the economy grew for more than six years after the initial Bush cuts in 2001.

But Obama insisted the public is “with me on this,” and that ending the cuts would be a “big blow to working families.”

The two parties do agree on keeping the cuts for those earning less than $250,000, he said, so “we should be able to come together and get this done.”

Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, and congressional Republicans didn’t seem eager to compromise. The Republican-dominated House of Representatives is expected to vote later this month on extending all the cuts by one year. But the Democratic-led Senate is likely to balk.

Romney’s camp Monday was adamant the cuts should continue for everyone.

6 US troops among dozens killed in Afghanistan

KABUL — A series of fresh attacks across Afghanistan in the past two days killed dozens of people, including six U.S. troops, officials said.

The American service members lost their lives when a roadside bomb hit their vehicle Sunday in Wardak province, which lies just west of Kabul and has recently become one of the country’s most dangerous areas. The Taliban asserted responsibility for the attack, one of the bloodiest incidents in months for U.S. troops.

Also Sunday, 23 Afghan civilians were killed by multiple blasts in Arghistan district of southern Kandahar.

In another attack, five Afghan police officers were killed by remote-control bomb in Bamian province, regarded as the most secure part of Afghanistan, a spokesman for the Interior Ministry said.

There were three separate attacks in the city of Kandahar on Monday, by 14 attackers. Three police officers and six civilians were killed when the police headquarters and a local market were targeted. The assailants were also killed.

A top Afghan prosecutor, Mohammed Ali Ahmadi, was fatally shot by gunmen in a separate attack in restive southern Ghazni, officials said.

Also Monday, U.S. and Afghan officials condemned what NATO forces called the “Taliban’s public execution of a woman” outside Kabul. In a video circulating throughout the capital, a man is shown firing his weapon at a woman accused of adultery.

Egypt’s president, military leaders head for confrontation

CAIRO — Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi and his allies refused to back down on their call to the re-instate the disbanded Islamist-dominated Parliament on Monday, ignoring a veiled threat from the military and a rebuke from the country’s highest court and ordering lawmakers to take their seats Tuesday at noon.

The deadline marked the second day of escalating tensions in the standoff between the newly elected Morsi, a member of the long-banned Muslim Brotherhood, and the vestiges of the former Mubarak regime, which still control Egypt’s military and judiciary.

No extra troops were in evidence around the still-quiet Parliament Building and the streets were calm except for Cairo’s chronic horn blowing. Police in regular uniforms manned the gates and sat in groups on surrounding sidewalks.

A week into his term, Morsi has quickly brought to a head the central dispute between the factions, the abrupt dismissal of the first post-revolution parliament by the then-ruling military council and the Supreme Constitutional Court.

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