National Briefs: U.S. abortion rate declines

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NEW YORK -- The U.S. abortion rate declined to its lowest level since 1973, and the number of abortions fell by 13 percent between 2008 and 2011, according the latest national survey of abortion providers conducted by a prominent research institute.

The Guttmacher Institute, which supports legal access to abortion, said in a report being issued Monday that there were about 1.06 million abortions in 2011 -- down from about 1.2 million in 2008. Guttmacher's figures are of interest on both sides of the abortion debate because they are more up-to-date and in some ways more comprehensive than abortion statistics compiled by the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

According to the report, the abortion rate dropped to 16.9 abortions per 1,000 women ages 15-44 in 2011, well below the peak of 29.3 in 1981 and the lowest since a rate of 16.3 in 1973.

According to lead author Rachel Jones, the drop in abortions was likely linked to a steep national decline in overall pregnancy and birth rates.

Obama, O'Reilly tangle

WASHINGTON -- President Barack Obama defended himself against an array of Republican criticism in an interview during Fox's Super Bowl pregame show.

The president traded barbs with interviewer Bill O'Reilly in a live interview that covered his troubled health care law rollout, the 2012 attacks on the U.S. diplomatic mission in Libya and revelations that the IRS targeted conservative groups for extra scrutiny. "I try to focus not on the fumbles but on the next plan," Mr. Obama said.

He defended against Mr. O'Reilly's questions about why administration officials initially described the attack in Benghazi, Libya, as a spontaneous mob protest of an anti-Islamic, American-made video. He rejected "the notion that we would hide the ball for political purposes when a week later we all said in fact there was a terrorist attack taking place."

Daley remains in hospital

CHICAGO -- Former Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley likely will remain hospitalized in an intensive care unit for several days as doctors conduct tests to determine why he was feeling ill and disoriented during a conference in Arizona, a spokeswoman for the city's longest-serving mayor said Sunday.

Mr. Daley was the city's mayor for 22 years, the most by anyone in city history.

Jos. A. Bank merger battle

HAMPSTEAD, Md. -- Jos. A. Bank raised doubts Sunday about whether the federal government will approve the takeover bid by rival clothier Men's Wearhouse.

Jos. A. Bank Clothiers said that Men's Wearhouse had yet to explain why the Federal Trade Commission would approve the proposed combination because of antitrust concerns.

Twitter turns to music

CANNES, France -- For the music business, Twitter holds a vast haystack of data with no easy way to find the most valuable needles -- like which acts are attracting the most attention and where.

To help find them, Twitter has turned to 300, a new company started by Lyor Cohen, one of music's biggest power brokers. Cohen announced the partnership Sunday at Midem, an annual music industry conference in Cannes, France.

Twitter's deal with 300 is similar to a partnership that Twitter announced last week with the cable network CNN and the tech company Dataminr to develop a news-alert system for journalists.

-- Compiled from news services


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