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Nation and world briefs for April 10

Paycheck fairness measure blocked

WASHINGTON — With sought-after women voters at stake, Senate Republicans blocked election-year legislation Wednesday aimed at ensuring female workers receive equal pay for doing the same work as men.

A campaign for the Paycheck Fairness Act, orchestrated by the Democratic-controlled Senate and the White House, did little to motivate Republicans in a mid-term election year when both parties are seeking women voters.

Republican senators blocked the bill on a party-line filibuster, 53-44.

Prosecution of Lerner sought

WASHINGTON — A congressional committee asked the Department of Justice on Wednesday to prosecute a former tax official who’s alleged to have improperly targeted conservative political organizations.

On a party-line vote, the House Ways and Means Committee asked the Justice Department to review evidence uncovered by lawmakers to determine whether Lois Lerner, the former director of the exempt organizations division of the Internal Revenue Service, violated criminal statutes.

The panel’s GOP majority alleged Lerner influenced lower-level IRS officials to deny requests from conservative groups for tax-exempt status.

Target expands natural, organic selection

Target Corp. said this week it will partner with 17 existing brands to expand its line of natural, organic and sustainable products. The “Made to Matter: Hand-picked by Target” collection will feature about 120 products from brands as diverse as Burt’s Bees, Evol, Horizon Organic, Method, Seventh Generation and Kashi.

Netanyahu halts Palestinian ties

JERUSALEM — Relations between Israeli and Palestinian leaders continued a downward spiral Wednesday with a new Israeli directive to its ministers to halt cooperation with their Palestinian counterparts.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu ordered government ministries to stop high-level communications with corresponding Palestinians, halting assorted economic and civilian cooperation efforts.

2 car bombs explode in Homs

BEIRUT — A pair of car bombs exploded Wednesday in a busy residential district in the central Syrian city of Homs, killing at least 25 civilians and wounding more than 100, Syria’s official media reported.

The state news agency blamed the attacks on “terrorists,” the government’s standard description of rebels fighting to oust the government of President Bashar Assad.

A pro-opposition group, the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, also reported the two attacks.


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