Obama joins abortion fight
President Barack Obama vowed Friday to join Planned Parenthood in fighting against what he said are efforts by states to turn women’s health back to the 1950s, before the Supreme Court legalized abortion nationwide, and singled out the GOP-governed states of North Dakota and Mississippi for criticism.
“When politicians try to turn Planned Parenthood into a punching bag, they’re not just talking about you,” Obama said, becoming the first sitting president to address the abortion-rights group in person. “They’re talking about the millions of women who you serve.”
Obama asserted that “an assault on women’s rights” is underway across the country, with bills introduced in more than 40 states to limit or ban abortion or restrict access to birth control or other services.
Rare nickel sells for $3.1M
Four Virginia siblings who never let a rare 5-cent piece slip through their fingers, even when it was declared a fake, have been rewarded for their devotion to a humble family heirloom after the century-old coin sold for more than $3.1 million.
The 1913 Liberty Head nickel, one of only five known to exist, was sold to two bidders for $3.17 million at an auction Thursday night in suburban Chicago.
The children of the late Melva Givens of Salem will divide $2.7 million, before taxes.
The nickel was minted surreptitiously, discovered in a car wreck that killed its owner and forgotten in a closet for decades after it was pronounced a fake.
The coin was struck at the Philadelphia mint in late 1912, the final year of the Liberty nickel, but with the year 1913 cast on its face — the same year the beloved Buffalo Head nickel was introduced.
House to stop online tax bill
A bill to require Internet shoppers to pay sales taxes for online purchases might be cruising through the Senate but it will soon hit a roadblock in the House.
“There’s a lot of political difficulty getting through the fog of it looking like a tax increase,” said Rep. Steve Womack, R-Ark., one of the main sponsors of the bill in the House.
The bill would empower states to reach outside their borders and compel online retailers to collect state and local sales taxes for purchases made over the Internet. Under the bill, the sales taxes would be sent to the states where a shopper lives.
In many states, shoppers are required to pay unpaid sales taxes when they file state tax returns. But governors complain that few people comply.
Students aid sandbag effort
Hundreds of high school students pitched in Friday to place 100,000 sandbags around Fargo and help protect homes against Red River flooding.
The familiar sandbag party that kicked off what city officials call “tuck it in weekend” began in 2009 when residents fought the first of three consecutive major floods. Students placed 700,000 sandbags in less than two days during the last flood in 2011. Officials and residents hope not nearly as many are needed this year.
The students sandbagged 134 homes throughout the city Friday and headed back to school after lunch was served by grateful residents.