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MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — China has lifted a ban on Minnesota poultry imports that was imposed last year following an outbreak of avian flu. A Minneapolis Star Tribune report says China had been the state's No. 2 international market before the ban was imposed last November. Mexico is No. 1. Steve Olson is the executive director of the Minnesota Turkey Growers Association and the state Chicken and Egg Association. He says this week's announcement is great news that makes Christmas a little merrier.
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — A Litchfield woman accused of trying to smother her infant son by pinching his nose shut has pleaded guilty to domestic assault by strangulation. Twenty-four-year-old Katie Elaine Lewis wiped away tears as she entered her plea Friday. She's scheduled to be sentenced Feb. 20. Defense attorney Michael Davis says he'll recommend a psychological evaluation for his client. He also says sentencing guidelines call for a stayed prison sentence of one year and one day.
WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama has scaled back his ambitions for a sweeping budget bargain with Republicans. Instead, he's calling for a limited measure sufficient to prevent the government from careening off the "fiscal cliff" in January by extending tax cuts for most taxpayers and forestalling a painful set of agency budget cuts. In a White House appearance Friday, Obama also called on Congress to extend jobless benefits for the long-term unemployed that would otherwise be cut off for 2 million people at the end of the year.
NEWTOWN, Conn. (AP) — Peter Leone was busy making deli sandwiches and working the register at his Newtown General Store when he got a phone call from Alaska. It was a woman who wanted to give him her credit card number. "She said, 'I'm paying for the next $500 of food that goes out your door,'" Leone said. "About a half hour later another gentleman called, I think from the West Coast, and he did the same thing for $2,000."
As the sun rose from time zone to time zone across the world on Friday, there was still no sign of the world's end — but that didn't stop those convinced that a 5,125-year Mayan calendar predicts the apocalypse from gathering at some of the world's purported survival hot spots. Many of the esoterically inclined expected a new age of consciousness — others wanted a party. But, in some places said to offer salvation from the end, fewer people showed up than officials had predicted — much to the disappointment of vendors hoping to sell souvenirs.
ATLANTA (AP) — As President Barack Obama urges tighter federal gun laws, state legislators around the country have responded to the Connecticut school shooting with a flurry of their own ideas that are likely to produce fights over gun control in their upcoming sessions. There is momentum in two strongly Democratic states to tighten already-strict gun laws, while some Republicans in four other states want to make it easier for teachers to have weapons in schools. One Republican governor, however, used his power this week to block the loosening of restrictions.
DENVER (AP) — Officials in Denver want people to know this is only a test. The city is testing new outdoor warning sirens on Friday, and they're well aware of all the talk about the Mayan calendar and time running out for the world's population. In announcing the drill, officials said they wanted to make sure that people knew that the wailing sirens didn't mean it was the end of the world.
A federal crackdown on illicit foreign supplies of human growth hormone has failed to stop rampant misuse, and instead has driven record sales of the drug by some of the world's biggest pharmaceutical companies, an Associated Press investigation shows. The crackdown, which began in 2006, reduced the illegal flow of unregulated supplies from China, India and Mexico. But since then, Big Pharma has been satisfying the steady desires of U.S. users and abusers, including many who take the drug in the false hope of delaying the effects of aging.
WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama on Friday will nominate Sen. John Kerry as his next secretary of state, a senior administration official said, making the first move in an overhaul of his national security team heading into a second term. If confirmed, Kerry would take the helm at the State Department from outgoing Secretary Hillary Rodham Clinton, who has long stated her intention to leave early next year. Kerry, a longtime Massachusetts senator, is expected to be easily approved for the Cabinet post by his Capitol Hill colleagues.
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — The Minneapolis home known as the Mary Tyler Moore house is on the market. The Victorian-style house with 9,500 square feet, seven bedrooms and nine bathrooms can be yours for $2.8 million. The exterior of the home in south Minneapolis was featured in the opening credits of the 1970s sitcom "The Mary Tyler Moore Show." Moore's character, Mary Richards, lived in an apartment in the house, although the interior bears little resemblance to the show's stage set. The Star Tribune says the single-family house has been extensively remodeled.