WASHINGTON (AP) _ The Supreme Court on Thursday upheld virtually all of President Barack Obama's historic health care overhaul, including the hotly debated core requirement that nearly every American have health insurance. The 5-4 decision meant the huge overhaul, still taking effect, could proceed and pick up momentum over the next several years, affecting the way that countless Americans receive and pay for their personal medical care.
CHICAGO (AP) _ The mother of two disabled teens called Thursday's Supreme Court ruling on the health care law wonderful because it bars insurance companies from setting lifetime limits for medical expenses _ a big help to her family. But a retiree on Medicare called it a "sad day" and worries that the law's new rules coming in 2015 will interfere with treatments doctors can provide.
WASHINGTON (AP) _ President Barack Obama cast the Supreme Court's election-year vindication of his sweeping federal health care law as a victory for the American people. His Republican rival Mitt Romney vowed to repeal it on his first day in office if he wins the November election. The high court's ruling Thursday to uphold the overhaul put an end to what had been one of the biggest unknowns in the presidential race.
WASHINGTON (AP) _ With the National Rifle Administration demanding a "yes" vote and African-American lawmakers vowing to walk out of the chamber, the House moved Thursday toward holding Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt of Congress in a document dispute related to a bungled gun-tracking operation. Republicans had the votes to make Eric Holder the first sitting attorney general to be held in contempt. They cited Holder's refusal to meet Republican demands to hand over _ without any preconditions _ documents that could explain why the Obama administration initially denied that a risky "gun-walking" investigative tactic was used in Operation Fast and Furious, which allowed hundreds of guns to be smuggled from Arizona to Mexico.
BEIRUT (AP) _ Turkey deployed anti-aircraft guns, rocket launchers and other weapons along its border with Syria on Thursday, a military buildup that came as world powers showed new urgency to resolve the crisis before it ignites the region. A bomb exploded in central Damascus near a busy market and the country's main justice complex, wounding at least three people, damaging cars in a parking lot and sending a black cloud rising above the Syrian capital. It was not clear who was behind the bombing.
WASHINGTON (AP) _ Some Democrats in tough races are returning their invitations to the Democratic National Convention with a note attached: Thanks, but no thanks. Sen. Claire McCaskill of Missouri is the highest-profile Democrat to announce she'll skip the September shindig in Charlotte, N.C. At least 11 Democratic incumbents and front-running challengers will be no-shows, according to a count by The Associated Press.
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (AP) _ Colorado Springs officials said Thursday that hundreds of homes have been destroyed by a raging wildfire that has encroached on the state's second-largest city and threatened the U.S. Air Force Academy. Mayor Steve Bach said a more accurate account will be available later in the day of the damage from a blaze that has burned out of control for much of the week and forced more than 30,000 evacuees to frantically pack up belongings and flee.
From above, the destruction wrought by a raging Colorado wildfire becomes painfully clear: Rows and rows of homes _ hundreds in all _ reduced to smoldering ashes. Amid the devastation, there are hopeful signs: More than 120 soldiers using heavy equipment helped stop flames from advancing on the U.S. Air Force Academy and cooler weather could help slow the fire's spread. The cause of the blaze remains unknown and local authorities said Thursday that conditions are too dangerous for any such investigation to begin.
LOS ANGELES (AP) _ Scientists reported Thursday on the strongest sign yet that Saturn's giant moon may have a salty ocean beneath its chilly surface. If confirmed, it would catapult Titan into an elite class of solar system moons harboring water, an essential ingredient for life.
BEIJING (AP) _ Pottery fragments found in a south China cave have been confirmed to be 20,000 years old, making them the oldest known pottery in the world, archaeologists say. The findings, which will appear in the journal Science on Friday, add to recent efforts that have dated pottery piles in east Asia to more than 15,000 years ago, refuting conventional theories that the invention of pottery correlates to the period about 10,000 years ago when humans moved from being hunter-gathers to farmers.