National briefs (1/27/13)

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Sen. Harkin to bow out

CUMMING, Iowa -- U.S. Sen. Tom Harkin said Saturday he will not seek a sixth term in 2014, a decision that eases some of the burden the national Republican Party faces in retaking the Senate.

Mr. Harkin, 73, chairman of an influential Senate committee, cited his age -- he would be 81 at the end of a sixth term -- as a factor in the decision, saying it was time to pass the torch he has held for nearly 30 years, freeing a new generation of Iowa Democrats to seek higher office.

Mr. Harkin, first elected in 1984, ranks seventh in seniority and fourth among majority Democrats. He is chairman of the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee and chairman of the largest appropriations subcommittee.

Ryan pushes GOP unity

WASHINGTON -- Rep. Paul Ryan has a message for fellow Republicans: Let's stick together and carefully pick our fights with President Barack Obama.

In a speech Saturday to conservatives, the Wisconsin congressman and 2012 vice presidential nominee outlined a pragmatic approach for dealing with a second Obama administration. Saying that Mr. Obama would attempt to divide Republicans, Mr. Ryan urged them to avoid internal squabbles.

"We can't get rattled. We won't play the villain in his morality plays. We have to stay united," Mr. Ryan said at the National Review Institute's weekend conference on the future of conservatism. "We have to show that if given the chance, we can govern. We have better ideas."

Club invites gay spouse

FORT BRAGG, N.C. -- A woman who is married to a female Army officer at Fort Bragg and who was recently denied membership in its officers' spouses club said late Friday that she has been invited to become a full member.

Ashley Broadway told The Associated Press that she received the invitation from the club's board in an email Friday.

The invitation came on the same day that Ms. Broadway also learned she had been named Fort Bragg's 2013 "Military Spouse of the Year" by Military Spouse magazine. She is married to Lt. Col. Heather Mack, who gave birth this week to the couple's second child, a baby girl.

Dolphin dies in foul canal

NEW YORK -- A wayward dolphin that meandered into a polluted urban canal, riveting onlookers as it splashed around in the filthy water and shook black gunk from its snout, died Friday evening, marine experts said.

The deep-freeze weather hadn't seemed to faze the dolphin as it swam in the Gowanus Canal, which runs 1.5 miles through a narrow industrial zone near some of Brooklyn's wealthiest neighborhoods.

NYC mayor's philanthropy

BALTIMORE -- Today, as he makes a $350 million gift to his alma mater, Johns Hopkins University -- by far the largest in its history -- New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, along with the president of the university, will disclose the staggering sum of his donations to that institution over the past four decades: $1.1 billion.

That figure, kept quiet even as it transformed every corner of the university, makes Mr. Bloomberg the most generous living donor to any education institution in the United States, according to university officials and philanthropic tallies.

The mayor, who is 70, has pledged to give away all of his $25 billion fortune before he dies.

-- Compiled from news services



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