Recently in National News Category

Supreme Court to hear same-sex marriage case

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The Supreme Court agreed to hear challenges to federal and state laws concerning the definition of marriage.

Reuters reported that the court will hear a case against the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) which is "a federal law that denies married same-sex couples the federal benefits heterosexual couples receive." It also will hear a challenge to California's Proposition 8, a ban on gay marriage.

The New York Times reported that the cases would be argued in March.

Currently, nine states and the District of Columbia have laws that allow same-sex unions. Three -- Washington, Maryland and Maine -- just approved it in November.

Chiefs player commits suicide

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NFL linebacker Jovan Belcher died Saturday morning, NFL.com confirmed. The Kansas City Chiefs linebacker reportedly died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

The Kansas City Star also reported that Belcher shot and killed his girlfriend before shooting himself, and that team personnel tried to stop Belcher from "committing additional actions of violence."

The Chiefs issued a statement which was released on the Star's website. It said: "We can confirm that there was an incident at Arrowhead earlier this morning. We are cooperating with authorities in their investigation."

Belcher was in his fourth season with the team.

Hostess Brands to close

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Hostess Brands, the company that makes Twinkies and Wonder Bread is set to close, which will cause around 18,500 workers to become unemployed, CNN reported.

The reason for the shut down is a bakers strike.

"Bakery operations have been suspended at all plants. Delivery of products will continue and and Hostess Brands retail stores will remain open for several days in order to sell already-baked products," the company said in a statement on its website.

The statement also said that the company would "focus on selling its assets to the highest bidders."

Loughner sentenced for life

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Jared Loughner, the man who shot former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, was sentenced to to seven life terms and 140 years in prison Thursday, CNN reported.

Loughner opened fire at a Tucson, Ariz. meet-and-greet event Jan. 8, 2011 and killed six. Giffords was seriously wounded.

The Los Angeles Times reported that it was the first time Giffords and Loughner had been face-to-face.

The paper also reported that Loughner didn't speak at the sentencing.


Dreamliner debuts in U.S. Sunday

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The Boeing 787 Dreamliner made its long awaited debut in the U.S. on Sunday morning, CNN reported.

The United Airlines flight left from Houston's Bush Intercontinental Airport after a ribbon cutting ceremony, and arrived at Chicago's O'Hare International Airport, where it was met with a water cannon salute, the Chicago Sun Times reported.

Both Boeing and United Airlines are headquartered in Chicago, making it a logical destination for United's first commercial Dreamliner flight.

The Chicago Tribune reported that United Airlines CEO Jeff Smisek was aboard the flight, and it was the first time he had flown on a Dreamliner.

Apple introduces iPad Mini

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Apple introduced the iPad Mini at an Oct. 23 event in San Jose, Calif. The new iPad will be 53% lighter than the regular one.

The New York Times reported that the device will be 7.9 inches diagonally and will compete with Google, Barnes & Noble and Amazon, all of which have similarly-sized tablets of their own.

According to the Washington Post, many other tablets that are the same size cost consumers about $199. Apple's new iPad will start at 16 GB and will cost $329.

The Washington Post also reported that Apple picked the dimensions of the iPad Mini to "fit the ratio of the larger iPad so that developers could scale their apps to fit well on the iPad Mini.

Former senator Arlen Specter dead at 82

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Arlen Specter, a former U.S. senator died Sunday, the New York Times reported. Specter was 82.

His son Shanin told the Associated Press that he died because of complications from non-Hodgkin lymphoma at his Philadelphia home.

Specter served as a Pennslyvania senator from for 30 years from 1981-2011. He was known as a political moderate, but was an elected Republican. In 2010, he switched parties but lost in the Democratic primary for senator.

During his early political career, Specter worked on the Warren Commission investigating John F. Kennedy's assassination. He then served as a District Attorney of Philadelphia from 1966-1974 before unsuccessfully running for senator and governor. Specter won a Senate seat in 1981 and would become the longest-serving senator in state history.

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