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NATION BRIEFS

WASHINGTON/No help for unemployed

With Republicans citing concerns about the growing national debt, the House rejected a bill Tuesday to extend unemployment benefits for people who have been out of work for long stretches. The House, however, is expected to vote on the bill again as early as Wednesday. Without an extension, payments would continue to phase out for more than 200,000 people a week. House Democrats brought up the bill Tuesday under a special procedure in which no amendments were allowed and debate was limited. The vote was 261-155, short of the two-thirds needed. Democrats now plan to bring up the bill again under regular business, in which the bill would need only a simple majority to pass.


LOUISIANA/Storm stops oil cleanup

The crashing waves and gusting winds churned up by Tropical Storm Alex put the Gulf oil spill largely in Mother Nature's hands Tuesday. Oil-scooping ships in the Gulf of Mexico steamed to safe refuge because of the rough seas, likely to last for days. Officials scrambled to reposition booms to protect the coast and had to remove barges that had been blocking oil from reaching sensitive wetlands. Those operations could soon get a boost, as the United States accepted offers of help from 12 countries and international organizations. Alex is projected to stay far from the spill zone. But U.S. Coast Guard Lt. Dave French said all skimming efforts had been halted for now off the Louisiana coast.


ILLINOIS/Push to limit handguns

Chicago Mayor Richard Daley will push for a strict handgun ordinance to replace its doomed gun ban that will likely include limiting each resident to one handgun, requiring gun owners to have insurance and prohibiting gun stores in the city, his top lawyer said Tuesday. A day after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled Americans have a right to own a gun for self-defense anywhere they live - a ruling that certainly means the end of Chicago's 28-year-old gun ban - Corporation Counsel Mara Georges moved quickly to alert a City Council committee of plans to propose a new gun ordinance.

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