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Supreme Court to Decide Same-Sex Marriage

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The Supreme Court will hear cases challenging California and federal law limiting the rights of same-sex couples, the San Francisco Chronicle reported.

The Justices granted hearings Friday to supporters of Proposition 8, California's controversial law that defined marriage as the union of a man and a woman, as well the 1996 federal law, the Defense of Marriage Act.

The law withholds federal recognition and spousal benefits, including Social Security survivor payments and tax filing.

In February, the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled against Prop. 8, declaring it unconstitutional.

The decision to take both cases suggests the justices are ready to tackle the issue fully, the Wall Street Journal suggested.

Jim DeMint Resigns Senate Seat

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South Carolinian Senator Jim DeMint, a leading Republican and founding member of the Senate Tea Party Caucus, announced his resignation Thursday, The Hill reported.

DeMint's decision to leave the Senate shocked Washington insiders, who have seen DeMint as a influential conservative leader in Congress.

DeMint is leaving to become president of The Heritage Foundation, a conservative research group.

"I'm leaving the Senate now, but I'm not leaving the fight. I've decided to join The Heritage Foundation at a time when the conservative movement needs strong leadership in the battle of ideas," DeMint said in a statement.

His resignation comes as Tea Party members of Congress face fierce pressure to make compromises.

The job change will offer "substantial" financial benefits to DeMint. While his 2010 net worth was $65,000, among the lowest for Senate members, the current Heritage president earned over $1 million in 2010, according to the New York Times.

South Carolinian Governor Nikki Haley will now appoint a successor who will run to maintain the seat in a 2014 special election.

Chiefs' Player Involved in Apparent Murder-Suicide

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A Kansas City Chiefs linebacker committed suicide early Saturday morning at the team's Arrowhead Stadium, CNN reported.

Jovan Belcher, 25, shot himself that morning, Kansas City police confirmed. The shooting occurred after Belcher allegedly killed his girlfriend at home shortly beforehand.

He and the woman he killed left behind a 3-month-old daughter.

Kansas City, Missouri police received a call at approximately 7:50 a.m. alerting them to a shooting. When police arrived outside the home, a woman came out and told them that a younger woman had been shot by her boyfriend several times. The woman was identified as 22-year-old Kasandra Perkins.

After shooting Perkins, Belcher then drove to the team's facilities. He apparently killed himself in the parking lot of the complex, in front of coach Romeo Crennel and GM Scott Pioli, according to Sports Illustrated.

The Chiefs released a statement saying: "We can confirm that there was an incident at Arrowhead earlier this morning. We are cooperating with authorities in their investigation.''

Hostess to Close

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Hostess Brands, creator of well-known baked goods like Twinkies and Wonder Bread, announced Friday it is closing, CNN reported.

Hostess is asking a federal bankruptcy court for permission to close, citing a strike by bakers as the cause. Nearly 18,500 Hostess employees will lose their jobs as the company closes operations, which include 33 bakeries, 565 distribution centers and 570 outlet stores.

"We deeply regret the necessity of today's decision, but we do not have the financial resources to weather an extended nationwide strike," said CEO Gregory Rayburn in a statement.

Hostess had reached a deal with the Teamsters union, but The Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers International Union, a smaller union that represents about 5,000 Hostess employees, refused to agree to concessions, Fox News reported.

Hostess assets will be sold off, so the expectation is that some of its more popular products may remain available.

Hostess filed for bankruptcy earlier this year, its second bankruptcy claim since 2004.

BP to Pay $4.5 Billion in Oil Spill Settlement

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BP has accepted criminal responsibility for the Deepwater Horizon oil spill of 2010, which killed 11 workers, the Wall Street Journal reported.

Two and a half years ago, a BP drilling rig exploded in the Gulf of Mexico, causing the worst offshore oil spill in U.S. history. The spill damaged the important seafood and tourism industries and resulted in billions of dollars in lost revenue.

Under the agreement, BP will plead guilty to 11 felony counts of "seaman's manslaughter" related to the deaths on the oil rig and admits its workers were negligent. BP will pay $4.5 billion in fines and restitution.

The company will also plead guilty to a felony count of obstruction of Congress due to the false information it gave about the rate oil was leaking from the rig.

BP will still face fines related to local federal regulations and the Clean Water Act, as well as penalties related to civil and private claims, Barrons reported.

Under the Clean Water Act, BP could face a $5.4 billion fine and as much as $21 billion for gross negligence.

Scammers Create Fake Charities for Sandy Victims

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Internet scammers have found new targets recently--Americans looking to donate to victims of Superstorm Sandy.

More than 1,000 Internet domain sites including the words "Sandy" or "relief" were registered as the storm approached, CNN reported.

"We have no idea who these people are," Johannes Ulrich, president of SANS Security told CNN from his home in Jacksonville, Florida. "And what we notice is that they do register hundreds of these domains, in part, trying to trick people who go to these domains and then donate the money."

One website urged people to donate and linked any potential donors to a Pay Pal account, traced to an individual in North Carolina. The site was not registered with the secretary of state's office in North Carolina.

According to the Daily Record, Twitter and Facebook posts are being used by scammers who claim to be storm victims and ask for money.

Apple and Red Cross have joined to offer a safe system for donating, in order to help avoid online scams. Consumers can donate through their iTunes account.

Seventy percent of Americans donate money without checking where their money goes, according to Art Taylor, president of the Better Business Bureau's Wise Giving Alliance.

The FBI took time earlier in the week to issue a public warning about scam artists in the time of devastating storms.

Petraeus Resigns Over Extramarital Affair

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David Petraeus, director of the CIA and decorated four-star general, resigned Friday over an extramarital affair, NBC News reported.

Petraeus told President Obama about the affair and offered his resignation during a Thursday meeting. Obama accepted the resignation Friday.

Petraeus disclosed the affair to the CIA work force in a letter Friday afternoon.

The affair, with Petraeus biographer Paula Broadwell, was discovered by the FBI. Broadwell is under investigation for improperly trying to access Petraeus's email and potentially gaining access to classified information.

Officials in the White House were unaware of the affair until this week, the New York Times reported.

"Dave's decision to step down represents the loss of one of our nation's most respected public servants." James R. Clapper, the director of national intelligence, said in a statement.

Sandy's Death Toll at 50

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At least 50 deaths related to Superstorm Sandy have been reported as of Tuesday night, and more than 8 million customers are without power, ABC News reported.

The storm hit land near Atlantic City, New Jersey Monday night and caused major damage in states like New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Connecticut, Maryland, North Carolina and West Virginia.

President Obama issued disaster declarations for both New York and New Jersey, which means federal aid will be offered to the affected areas.

According to CNN, recovery efforts are already underway. Two of New York's major airports are set to reopen in limited capacity on Wednesday

Recovery efforts were starting to take hold Tuesday night. The number of electric customers shivering without power fell to just under 6.9 million, down from nearly 8 million reported earlier in the day across 15 states and the District of Columbia. Two of the New York area's major airports, John F. Kennedy and Newark Liberty, were slated to reopen Wednesday with limited service.

Nonetheless, thousands are displaced and waiting in shelters for news about whether their homes have survived.

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Hurricane Sandy is now expected to hit the United States Monday, with residents of North Carolina, Virginia and Maryland already experiencing pelting rains, high winds, and evacuations, CNN reported Sunday.

Forecasters warn that Sandy will likely collide with a cold front from the West to create a "superstore" that could last for days. The National Hurricane Center is warning of a "life-threatening storm surge" in addition to sustained winds of over 70 mph.

As of 11 p.m. Sunday, Sandy hasn't begun veering toward the U.S., but the National Hurricane Center said it should happen in the next few hours.

The superstorm could endanger over 50 million people, with the New York area getting the worst of it.

"The time for preparing and talking is about over," FEMA's Craig Fugate said. "People need to be acting now."

New York, Philadelphia, Washington and Baltimore moved to shut down their subways, buses and trains and have said schools will be closed Monday, CBS News reported.

New York's Michael Bloomberg and New Jersey's Chris Christie are warning residents to evacuate immediately.

East Coast Readies for Hurricane Sandy

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Hurricane Sandy is expected to reach the East Coast by Tuesday, with the East Coast making its preparations for the storm, according to CBS News.

Hurricane Sandy has already caused at least 40 deaths in the Caribbean, as well as significant damages.

As of late Saturday morning, tropical storm winds had already reached the North Carolina coast.

Travel along the East Coast may be disrupted due to the storm, which is expected to cause massive flooding and widespread power outages along the East Coast, CNN reported.

Flights throughout the East have been cancelled, and even New York's round-the-clock metro system could see service temporarily suspended.

Beach towns have already begun evacuations and several governors have declared states of emergency.

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