Twisters kill at least 54 people across the South

At least 54 people were killed and hundreds injured Tuesday and yesterday by dozens of tornadoes that plowed across Mississippi, Arkansas, Tennessee, Kentucky and Alabama. It was the nation’s deadliest barrage of twisters in almost 23 years.

President Bush gave assurances his administration stood ready to help. Teams from the Federal Emergency Management Agency were sent to the region and activated an emergency center in Georgia.

“Prayers can help and so can the government,” Bush said. “I do want the people in those states to know the American people are standing with them.”


Senate votes down $40 bil.-addition to stimulus bill

Senate Republicans blocked a move by Democrats on Wednesday to add more than $40 billion in checks for the elderly, disabled veterans and the unemployed to a bill to stimulate the economy.

The 58-41 vote fell just short of the 60 required to break a GOP filibuster and bring the Senate version of the stimulus bill closer to a final vote. The Senate measure was backed by Democrats and a handful of Republicans but was strongly opposed by GOP leaders and President Bush, who objected to the costly add-ons.

The vote left the $205 billion Senate stimulus bill in limbo.Republican leaders objected to add-ons such as a $14.5 billion unemployment extension for those whose benefits have run out, $1 billion in heating aid for the poor and tax breaks for renewable energy producers and coal companies.


Clinton lends $5 million to own campaign

Hillary Rodham Clinton loaned her campaign $5 million late last month as Barack Obama outraised and outspent her in the Democratic presidential race.

Clinton told reporters at her campaign headquarters in Arlington, Va., that she made the loan, adding, “I believe the campaign would have a great month fundraising in January. We intended to be competitive and we were.”

Obama, riding a wave of fundraising both from large donors and small Internet contributors, collected a stunning $32 million in January. Clinton campaign chairman Terry McAuliffe said the Clinton campaign raised only $13.5 million for the month. The $5 million was in addition to that amount, Wolfson said.


Taliban militants in Pakistan declare cease-fire

Taliban militants declared a cease-fire yesterday in fighting with Pakistani forces, and the government said it was preparing for peace talks with al-Qaida-linked extremists in the lawless tribal area near the border with Afghanistan.

Any deal that allows armed Islamic extremists to operate on Pakistani soil would run counter to U.S. demands for the government to crack down on militants.

A spokesman for Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan, a militant umbrella group, said the new cease-fire would include not only the tribal belt along the Afghan border but also the restive Swat region to the east where the army has also battled pro-Taliban fighters.

– Compiled from Daily wire reports

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