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WASHINGTON: Accord on huge spending bill

Weary after a year of partisan bickering, lawmakers reached a tentative agreement Monday on a sprawling $1 trillion-plus spending bill that chips away at military and environmental spending but denies conservatives many of the policy changes they wanted on social issues, government regulations and health care. Environmentalists succeeded in stopping industry forces from blocking new clean air regulations and a new clean water regulation opposed by mountaintop removal mining interests. The measure implements the summer's hard-fought budget pact between President Barack Obama and Republican leaders. That deal essentially freezes agency budgets, on average, at levels for the recently completed budget year that were approved back in April.

OHIO: Unionists run for statehouse

Unionized teachers and retirees, local government officials and veterans are among public workers running for office in an effort by Democrats to take control of the state House after a successful fall campaign to repeal a collective bargaining overhaul championed by Gov. John Kasich and fellow Republicans. Without the option of a gubernatorial recall like Wisconsin's, a 2012 takeover of the Ohio House, where Republicans hold a 19-seat advantage, is Democrats' best next step for capitalizing on voter anger over the union-limiting law. A total of 21 House districts will be without an incumbent next year due to term limits and other departures.

TEXAS: Students shot: By hunters?

Authorities suspect hunters may have shot two middle school students who were wounded by gunfire Monday afternoon while trying out for a basketball team. Classes were not in session at Harwell Middle School in the Edinburg school district when the boys, ages 13 and 14, were shot around 4:45 p.m. One of the boys was in critical condition Monday night with a bullet embedded in an organ.

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