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ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — Minnesota's legal battle over the collapsed Interstate 35W bridge has ended with an $8.9 million settlement involving a California design firm. A Minnesota Department of Transportation spokeswoman says a final check from Jacobs Engineering Group Inc. arrived Tuesday. It wasn't immediately clear when the deal was struck; a company official didn't immediately return a call. The Associated Press learned of the settlement through a disclosure of pending cases the state makes ahead of bond sales.
UNITED NATIONS (AP) — The U.N. General Assembly on Tuesday voted overwhelmingly to condemn the U.S. commercial, economic and financial embargo against Cuba for the 21st year in a row. The final tally Tuesday was 188-3, with Israel and Palau joining the United States. The Marshall Islands and Micronesia both abstained. Last year's tally for the symbolic measure was almost identical, 186-2, with three abstentions.
WASHINGTON (AP) — Labor leaders said Tuesday that President Barack Obama remains committed to preserving tax cuts for middle class families and ensuring the wealthy pay more in taxes, outlining plans for a public campaign to pressure Republican lawmakers. The heads of several labor unions and Democratic-leaning interest groups emerged from an hour-long meeting with Obama saying they were united with the president on how to avert the so-called "fiscal cliff" and prevent more financial hardships next year.
CLEVELAND (AP) — A woman caught on camera driving on a sidewalk to pass a Cleveland school bus that was unloading children stood in the cold Tuesday at an intersection holding a sign warning people about idiots. A Cleveland Municipal Court judge ordered 32-year-old Shena Hardin to serve the highly public sentence for one hour Tuesday and Wednesday for the Sept. 11 citation. She arrived bundled up against the 34-degree cold, puffing a cigarette and wearing head phones as passing vehicles honked.
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Not one voter cast a ballot in one Minneapolis precinct on Election Day. That's because the only living species in Ward 10, Precinct 3B, is of the aquatic variety. A newly redistricted precinct map shows 3B is located entirely in the eastern half of Lake Calhoun — the biggest lake in Minneapolis. City Clerk Casey Carl says the watery precinct is the "unintentional result of a programming error" made in drawing new ward boundary lines.
WASHINGTON (AP) — A senior U.S. official says Defense Secretary Leon Panetta has demoted the former head of U.S. Africa Command who was accused of spending thousands of dollars on lavish travel and other unauthorized expenses. The official says Panetta stripped Gen. William "Kip" Ward of a star, which means that he will now retire as a three-star lieutenant general despite some arguments against the demotion. Ward will also repay the government $82,000. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because the official wasn't authorized to discuss a personnel matter.
WASHINGTON (AP) — Everyone who pays income tax — and some who don't —will feel it. So will doctors who accept Medicare, people who get unemployment aid, defense contractors, air traffic controllers, national park rangers and companies that do research and development. The package of tax increases and spending cuts known as the "fiscal cliff" takes effect in January unless Congress passes a budget deal by then. The economy would be hit so hard that it would likely sink into recession in the first half of 2013, economists say.
WASHINGTON (AP) — The sex scandal that led to CIA Director David Petraeus' downfall widened Tuesday with word the top U.S. commander in Afghanistan is under investigation for thousands of alleged "inappropriate communications" with another woman involved in the case.
AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — Lance Armstrong has cut formal ties with his cancer-fighting charity to avoid further damage brought by doping charges and being stripped of his seven Tour de France titles. Armstrong resigned from the board of directors for Livestrong on Nov. 4. He had resigned Oct. 17 as chairman from the charity he founded but had kept a seat on the board.
NEW YORK (AP) — The puppeteer who performs as Elmo on "Sesame Street" is taking a leave of absence from the iconic kids' show in the wake of allegations that he had a relationship with a 16-year-old boy. Puppeteer Kevin Clash has denied the charges, which, according to Sesame Workshop, were first made in June by the accuser, who by then was 23.