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Associated Press
In this combo made from file images provided by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration shows two of nine new warning labels cigarette makers will have to use by the fall of 2012. Four of the five largest U.S. tobacco companies sued the federal government Tuesday, Aug. 16, 2011, over the new graphic cigarette labels, saying the warnings violate their free speech rights and will cost millions of dollars to print. (AP Photo/U.S. Food and Drug Administration, File)
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COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — Tobacco companies want a judge to put a stop to new graphic cigarette labels that include the sewn-up corpse of a smoker and pictures of diseased lungs, saying they unfairly urge adults to shun their legal products and will cost millions to produce. Four of the five largest U.S. tobacco companies sued the federal government Tuesday, saying the warnings violate their free speech rights.

WASHINGTON (AP) — After examining hundreds of combat support and reconstruction contracts in Afghanistan, the U.S military estimates $360 million in U.S. tax dollars has ended up in the hands of people the American-led coalition has spent nearly a decade battling: the Taliban, criminals and power brokers with ties to both. The losses underscore the challenges the U.S. and its international partners face in overcoming corruption in Afghanistan. A central part of the Obama administration's strategy has been to award U.S.-financed contracts to Afghan businesses to help improve quality of life and stoke the country's economy.

SAN ANTONIO (AP) — In the words of Gov. Rick Perry, secession was one scenario on the table for frustrated Texans. The BP oil spill? Might have been an act of God instead of corporate errors. And if the Federal Reserve puts more money in the U.S. system, as Perry told voters in Iowa this week, you could chalk it up as a treasonous act that would be treated "pretty ugly" back home. No, that wasn't on the same level as his famous interview signoff, "Adios, mofo." But Perry's just warming up.

WASHINGTON (AP) — Large new cuts in defense spending would "terribly weaken" U.S. national security, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said Tuesday as he and Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton used a rare joint interview to argue that the nation cannot afford to keep playing partisan chicken with its finances. Panetta expressed optimism about progress by American-led forces against the Taliban in Afghanistan and by NATO forces in support of anti-government rebels in Libya. He cited those conflicts as examples of why severe cuts to spending on defense and diplomacy would be dangerous.

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — After a summer of recall elections stemming from how Wisconsin lawmakers reacted to Gov. Scott Walker's proposal curbing public employee union rights, Republicans emerged bruised but not beaten while Democrats expressed optimism the tide was turning their way. Republicans lost two seats in the state Senate through the recalls, one short of the three Democrats needed to retake the majority. All three Democrats targeted for recall, including two on Tuesday night, were victorious. Following their two defeats, the Republican majority in the Senate narrowed to 17-16.

SYDNEY (AP) — An Australian teenager who spent 10 hours with a fake bomb chained to her neck said Wednesday she is relieved the FBI has arrested a man accused of breaking into her home and tethering the device to her as part of an elaborate extortion plot. Paul Douglas Peters was arrested in Kentucky on Monday in connection with the attack on 18-year-old Madeleine Pulver, who was studying at home when a masked man carrying a baseball bat broke into her house and attached the bomb-like device to her neck. The man left behind a note demanding money, along with an email address that appeared to refer to a novel about a ruthless businessman in 19th-century Asia.

DAVENPORT, Iowa (AP) — President Barack Obama is venturing from Iowa into politically familiar territory, taking his bus motorcade into his home state of Illinois as he wraps up a three-state tour through the cornfields, towns and cities of the Midwest. The president will hold two town hall meetings Wednesday in western Illinois, the state he once served as senator. He'll then return to Washington for the start of a vacation.

NEW YORK (AP) — Lawyers for former International Monetary Fund leader Dominique Strauss-Kahn fought back Tuesday after a media report said a medical examination listed "assault" and "rape" as the causes of injuries to a hotel housekeeper who accuses him of sexual assault. The exam, conducted at a hospital shortly after maid Nafissatou Diallo's encounter with Strauss-Kahn at a luxurious Manhattan hotel in May, found part of her genitals was reddened and she reported shoulder pain, according to the French newspaper L'Express. The newspaper published an account of her hospital record online Tuesday, accompanying an interview with her lawyer.

KENNETT, Mo. (AP) — Remains believed to be a 3-year-old Missouri girl who went missing more than a week ago were found Tuesday near a series of ditches where authorities say a neighbor is suspected of dumping her body after suffocating her with a plastic bag. A joint statement sent Tuesday night from prosecutors and law enforcement officers in the area said a Missouri State Highway Patrol officer searching by boat found the body of Breeann Rodriguez near the floodway ditches about eight miles southeast of the girl's family's home in Senath.

PITTSBURGH (AP) — Albert Pujols made another bit of history on Tuesday night but there was no post-game celebration in the St. Louis Cardinals' clubhouse. Pujols reached 30 home runs for the 11th consecutive season when the first baseman connected in the sixth inning off the Pittsburgh Pirates' Jeff Karstens. The NL home runs leader is the first player in major league history to hit 30 homers in each of his first 11 seasons.

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