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Associated Press
Bahraini women wait outside a hospital in Manama, Bahrain, Thursday, Feb. 17, 2011, where victims of the confrontation between anti-government protestors and riot police were being treated. Armed patrols prowled neighborhoods and tanks appeared in the streets for the first time after riot police with tear gas and clubs drove protesters from a main square where they had demanded sweeping political change.(AP Photo/Hasan Jamali)
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Troops and tanks locked down the capital of this tiny Gulf kingdom after riot police swinging clubs and firing tear gas smashed into demonstrators, many of them sleeping, in a pre-dawn assault Thursday that uprooted their protest camp demanding political change. Medical officials said four people were killed. Hours after the attack on Manama's main Pearl Square, the military announced a ban on gatherings, saying on state TV that it had "key parts" of the capital under its control.

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — A group of Democratic Wisconsin lawmakers blocked passage of a sweeping anti-union bill Thursday, refusing to show up for a vote and then abruptly leaving the state in an effort to force Republicans to the negotiating table. As ever-growing throngs of protesters filled the Capitol for a third day, the 14 Democrats disappeared around midday, just as the Senate was about to begin debating the measure, which would eliminate collective bargaining for most public employees.

WASHINGTON (AP) — In a deepening struggle over spending, Republicans and Democrats swapped charges Thursday over a possible government shutdown when funding expires March 4 for most federal agencies. "Read my lips: We're going to cut spending," declared House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, who pledged that the GOP-controlled House would refuse to approve even a short-term measure at current funding levels to keep the government operating.

ATLANTA (AP) — More than half the states are not complying with a post-Virginia Tech law that requires them to share the names of mentally ill people with the national background-check system to prevent them from buying guns, an Associated Press review has found. The deadline for complying with the three-year-old law was last month. But nine states haven't supplied any names to the database. Seventeen others have sent in fewer than 25, meaning gun dealers around the U.S. could be running names of would-be buyers against a woefully incomplete list.

SULAIMANIYAH, Iraq (AP) — Kurdish security guards opened fire Thursday on a crowd of protesters calling for political reforms in northern Iraq, killing at least two people, officials said, showing even war-weary Iraq cannot escape the unrest roiling the Middle East. Separately, a car bomb killed eight people and wounded 30 others in Muqdadiyah, 60 miles (90 kilometers) north of Baghdad, an official said. The area was once one of the strongholds of al-Qaida, and insurgents there stage frequent attacks despite improved security in much of the country.

HA LONG BAY, Vietnam (AP) — Italian traveler Stefano Corda felt an ominous tilt as dinner was served, but his tour boat crew assured him everything was fine. A few hours later, Corda and his friend jumped for their lives into Vietnam's famed Ha Long Bay as water raced inside the wooden vessel, sucking it down and killing 12 people from nine countries. Vacationers from the U.S., Britain, Australia, Japan, Russia, France, Sweden and Switzerland died along with their Vietnamese tour guide Thursday in Vietnam's deadliest tour boat accident since the country opened to foreign visitors 25 years ago. All were sleeping on the overnight ship, which was anchored in about 30 feet (10 meters) of water near a small island.

WASHINGTON (AP) — Consumers paid more in January for everything from food and gas to airline tickets and clothing. The price increases reflect creeping but still-modest inflation. The Consumer Price Index rose 0.4 percent last month, matching December's increase, the Labor Department said Thursday. Over the past year, the index has risen 1.6 percent.

HOUSTON (AP) — Rep. Gabrielle Giffords is able to laugh at jokes, recognize visitors and even offer a poignant response when asked recently by her husband how she was doing. "Better," Giffords said, in one of the first words she uttered since being shot in the head Jan. 8.

WASHINGTON (AP) — Hibernating bears set their energy demands on low, but unlike most other animals that take long winter naps they don't chill out very much, researchers reported Thursday. Figuring out how they cut energy use but still keep their body temperature relatively warm could one day have important implications for treating victims of heart attack, stroke and other conditions, scientists hope.

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — A standout Iowa high school wrestler refused to compete against a girl at the state tournament on Thursday, relinquishing any chance of becoming a champion because he says wrestling a girl would conflict with his religious beliefs. Joel Northrup, a home-schooled sophomore who was 35-4 wrestling for Linn-Mar High School this season, praised his first-round opponent, Cedar Falls freshman Cassy Herkelman, and Ottumwa sophomore Megan Black, who became the first two girls to make the state wrestling tournament in its 85-year history.

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