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US-NEWS Summary

Oct 1, 2011, 9:54 p.m.

Delayed free trade deals may go to Congress soon

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Barack Obama may send to Congress as early as Monday three long-stalled free trade agreements with South Korea, Panama and Colombia, a senior administration official said Saturday. The agreements have been awaiting congressional approval for more than four years.

Exclusive: Democrats push tax hikes first in deficit talks

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Democrats want tax hikes to be the first item negotiated in "super committee" deficit-reduction talks, trying to force Republicans to confront an issue at the heart of this year's budget fights, sources told Reuters. The tough stance by Democratic members of the powerful 12-member congressional panel reflects the party's wariness that Republicans might try to sideline the issue of revenue increases in the negotiations.

U.S. issues travel alert after Awlaki death

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The State Department issued a worldwide travel alert on Saturday warning of the possibility of anti-American attacks in response to the killing of two top al Qaeda members. The warning came a day after U.S. officials said Anwar al-Awlaki, identified as "chief of external operations" for al Qaeda's Yemen branch, was killed in an attack by missiles fired from multiple CIA drones in Yemen.

Obama criticizes Republican rivals in speech to gays

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Barack Obama criticized Republican presidential candidates on Saturday for not defending a gay American soldier who was booed by the crowd at a Republican debate last week. "We don't believe in standing silent when that happens," Obama said in the keynote address at the annual convention of the Human Rights Campaign, the largest U.S. gay lobby group.

State job cuts on table at Greek loan talks

ATHENS (Reuters) - Greece hopes to clinch a deal with its EU and IMF lenders on how to meet a promise to lay off state workers -- a key condition to free up urgently needed bailout aid -- by Sunday, senior government officials said. Without the release of an 8 billion euro ($10.7 billion) tranche of an EU bailout, massively indebted Greece could run out of money to pay state wage bills within weeks.

More than 700 arrested in Wall Street protest

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Police reopened the Brooklyn Bridge Saturday evening after more than 700 anti-Wall Street protesters were arrested for blocking traffic lanes and attempting an unauthorized march across the span. The arrests took place when a large group of marchers, participating in a second week of protests by the Occupy Wall Street movement, broke off from others on the bridge's pedestrian walkway and headed across the Brooklyn-bound lanes.

NATO captures senior Haqqani commander in Afghanistan

KABUL (Reuters) - NATO-led forces said on Saturday that they had captured the senior commander for the Haqqani network in Afghanistan, Haji Mali Khan, during an operation in eastern Paktia province earlier in the week. Khan is "the uncle of Siraj and Badruddin Haqqani ... one of the highest ranking members of the Haqqani network and a revered elder of the Haqqani clan," the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) said in a statement.

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