Low poll numbers plague both Bush and Congress

WASHINGTON — The Democratic-controlled Congress and President Bush seem locked in a competition for public unfavorability, according to a new Associated Press-Ipsos poll. The survey shows Bush’s approval ratings at 35 percent, and Congress’ even lower, 25 percent. Only 27 percent of those polled said the country is headed in the right direction, and 39 percent said they support the Iraq war, with 58 percent opposed. Of the 74 percent of those expressing congressional disapproval, 22 percent said lawmakers generally aren’t doing their jobs.

Edwards pulling out of Nevada

Presidential hopeful John Edwards is moving staff out of Nevada to focus on other early voting states as he deals with limited resources and uncertainty about the Western state’s prominence in deciding the Democratic nomination. The Edwards campaign said Wednesday that the Nevada staffers were being relocated to New Hampshire, South Carolina and in particular Iowa, where he is hoping a victory will propel him to the nomination. The campaign would not disclose how many staffers were being moved and neither would Edwards.

Shuttle repair decision delayed

Astronauts will prepare to fix the space shuttle Endeavour’s damaged thermal tiles in a spacewalk Saturday, but NASA officials said they will not decide whether the repairs are necessary until today. The seven-member crew is not in danger, and multiple analyses show that the shuttle can withstand the extreme heat of re-entry despite a gouge in a pair of thermal tiles on its belly, officials have said. The damage was caused during the Aug. 8 takeoff by falling debris, probably foam insulation or ice from the external fuel tank.

HPV shot best before infection

The HPV vaccine prevents infection with human papillomavirus, but it doesn’t provide any benefit to women who have already been exposed to the common, sexually transmitted infection, according to new research. The study, published in Wednesday’s edition of the Journal of the American Medical Association, is important because it underscores that, to be effective, vaccination should occur before girls become sexually active.

Texas: Spys lack in minorities

U.S. spy agencies need to recruit more racial and ethnic minorities, especially first-generation Americans whose language skills and cultural backgrounds could help fill critical gaps in knowledge and analysis, two top intelligence officials said in El Paso. Despite efforts in the past six years to diversify the work force, only 14 percent of those in the CIA’s officer corps are minorities, said Jose Rodriguez, director of the CIA’s National Clandestine Service, the agency’s foreign espionage unit.

Rapist-killer’s death goes quietly

A prisoner who had threatened to harm corrections officers before his execution was put to death in Huntsville on Wednesday for the rape and fatal shooting of a woman during a break-in at her home nearly 10 years ago. In a brief final statement, a quiet Kenneth Parr expressed love to his family. “I just want to tell my family I love y’all, man,” he said. He mentioned two brothers by name and said, “Keep your head up, y’all. I’m ready.” Prison officials said that despite Parr’s threats of violence, he was calm throughout his last day.

New York: No charges for soldier

A soldier who admitted paying someone $500 to shoot him in the leg so he could avoid another tour of duty in Iraq won’t face felony charges, though his wife and the gunman were indicted by a grand jury. “I was hoping for the best, but preparing myself for the worst,” said Army Pvt. Jonathan Aponte, 21. “I went into the grand jury and told the truth, and I think they had sympathy for me.” Aponte was shot July 9, the day he was scheduled to return to duty.

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