Nation, World Briefs: Americans willing to wait for tax cuts, AP poll finds

WASHINGTON — People want the tax cuts promised during the presidential campaign, but may be willing to wait while President-elect Obama takes on the larger issue of fixing the economy. Eighty percent say trimming personal tax rates should be a goal when the new president takes office in January, but only 36 percent say the cuts should a very top priority, according to a new Associated Press-GfK poll. That was less than half the 84 percent who cited improving the economy as a No. 1 goal, and the 80 percent who said creating jobs should be a paramount task.

Georgia: Runoff for Senate seat

A runoff that could help give Democrats a filibuster-proof majority in the U.S. Senate has beleaguered Georgia party members giddy at the prospect of ousting a GOP senator who just a few months ago seemed invincible. Republican Sen. Saxby Chambliss was expected to cruise to a second term in GOP-friendly Georgia. Instead, he’s been forced into a bitter Dec. 2 runoff with Democrat and former state lawmaker Jim Martin after neither won more than 50 percent of the vote on Election Day.

Montana: ICBM site deficiencies

Air Force officials said Wednesday that a recent nuclear inspection found deficiencies in a unit responsible for 150 ICBMs in Montana, but added that there was no threat to public safety. The inspection of the 341st Missile Wing at Malmstrom Air Force Base, near Great Falls, evaluated the unit’s readiness to execute nuclear operations and found “deficiencies in several areas,” the Air Force said. An Air Force Space Command spokeswoman said Wednesday that further details of problems could not be disclosed.

Connecticut: Same-sex marriages

Same-sex couples exchanged vows Wednesday for the first time in Connecticut amid cheers and tears of joy, while gay activists planned protests across the country over the vote that took away their right to marry in California. The Connecticut Supreme Court ruled 4-3 on Oct. 10 that same-sex couples have the right to wed rather than accept a 2005 civil union law designed to give them the same rights as married couples. A lower-court judge entered a final order permitting same-sex marriage Wednesday morning. Massachusetts is the only other state that allows gay marriages.

Nebraska: Florida boy abandoned

An 11-year-old Florida boy was abandoned at a Nebraska hospital Wednesday, just days before lawmakers meet to change the much-criticized “safe haven” law. The boy is the 31st child abandoned since the law took effect in July. It was intended to protect unwanted newborns from being abandoned but doesn’t set any age limit. The director of children and family services for the Department of Health and Human Services, said the boy’s father left him at Boys Town National Research Hospital on Wednesday afternoon.

Mexico: Deadly crash an accident

U.S. investigators have found no evidence of foul play in a mysterious plane crash that killed Mexico’s second-most powerful official, the American ambassador said Wednesday. U.S. National Transportation and Safety Board experts said that, so far, nothing in the flight data recorder, cockpit recorder or other evidence indicates that “sabotage or criminal activity caused the crash,” he said. “The preliminary evidence indicates the crash was a tragic accident,” he said.

Iran: Long-range missile tested

Iran said it successfully test-fired a new long range surface-to-surface missile on Wednesday — one that could easily strike Israel and as far away as southeastern Europe with greater precision than earlier models. The Sajjil is a solid fuel high-speed missile with a range of about 1,200 miles, the defense minister said. Solid-fuel missiles are more accurate than the liquid fuel missiles of similar range. U.S. military and intelligence agencies observed the missile test through “national assets,” a reference to classified imagery satellites and other kinds of sensors.

Germany: No AIDS after treatment

An American man who suffered from AIDS appears to have been cured of the disease 20 months after receiving a targeted bone marrow transplant normally used to fight leukemia, his doctors said Wednesday. While researchers — and the doctors themselves — caution that the case might be no more than a fluke, others say it may inspire a greater interest in gene therapy to fight the disease that claims 2 million lives each year. The virus has infected 33 million people worldwide. “We waited every day for a bad reading,” his doctor said. It has not come.

Britain: Shortage of sperm donors

Britain is facing a sperm donor shortage after reversing confidentiality laws and limiting the number of women who can use sperm from one donor, fertility experts warned Wednesday. Britain in 2005 changed the law protecting anonymous sperm donors and allowed children to learn the identity of donor fathers — one reason, fertility experts say, there are fewer donors now. “The only countries that seem to have enough sperm are those that pay — like the U.S. and Spain — or the countries that retain anonymity,” said a member of the British Fertility Society that warned of the shortage in the British Medical Journal.

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