AP Top News at 6:30 p.m. EDT

Associated Press
Senate Minority Leader Sen. Mitch McConnell of Ky., delivers his remarks on the elections and policy agenda for moving forward, Thursday, Nov. 4, 2010, at the Heritage Foundation in Washington.    (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)
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Victorious at the polls, congressional Republicans asserted their newfound political strength on Thursday, vowing to seek a quick $100 billion in federal spending cuts and force repeated votes on the repeal of President Barack Obama's prized health care overhaul. At the White Houses, Obama said his administration was ready to work across party lines in a fresh attempt to "focus on the economy and jobs" as well as attack waste in government. In a show of bipartisanship, he invited top lawmakers to the White House at mid-month, and the nation's newly elected governors two weeks later.

MOUNT MERAPI, Indonesia (AP) — Eruptions at Indonesia's deadly volcano appeared to be intensifying Friday, as clouds of searing gas and ash cascaded down the mountain, torching slope-side homes and triggering a chaotic midnight evacuation. A rescue worker told TVOne that at least one man was killed in the latest blast and footage showed more than a dozen injured being carried into a hospital on stretchers.

WASHINGTON (AP) — Self-proclaimed tea party leader Michele Bachmann's bid for a top Republican post in the House received a cool reaction Thursday from Speaker-to-be John Boehner, an early test of how GOP leaders will treat the antiestablishment movement's winners in Tuesday's elections. "Constitutional conservatives deserve a loud and clear voice in leadership!" Bachmann, R-Minn., who founded the Tea Party Caucus, said in a one-paragraph Facebook announcement that she is running for GOP conference chairman.

SINGAPORE (AP) — First came two quick bangs. Then, on the left side of the Qantas superjumbo jet, passengers saw flames, a stream of smoke and debris from a stricken engine. A gouge scarred the top of the Airbus 380's left wing, scorch marks were on the outside of the blown-out engine and part of its cover depicting the airline's familiar red kangaroo logo had fallen off during the flight over Indonesia. After a tense 95 minutes while the pilots dumped fuel, the massive, double-decker plane — the world's largest — returned safely Thursday to Singapore, where it made an emergency landing with 459 people aboard.

WASHINGTON (AP) — Rebuked by voters, President Barack Obama is turning overseas, heading to Asia for 10 days of diplomacy, tourism and dealmaking that could boost the battered chief executive and highlight his political skills on the world stage. Obama risks criticism he's fleeing the Democrats' midterm election wreckage for friendlier territory as sets out Friday on the longest foreign trip of his presidency, a sojourn through India, Indonesia, South Korea and Japan aimed at highlighting America's increasing engagement with Asia.

GEORGETOWN, Del. (AP) — After their bruising U.S. Senate battle, Democratic senator-elect Chris Coons and his defeated Republican opponent Christine O'Donnell made nice Thursday in a time-honored Delaware ritual where political foes bury a hatchet as a symbol of making amends. Coons and O'Donnell rode together in a parade of horse-drawn carriages and old-time automobiles that ended with party leaders burying a hatchet in a box of sand. Coons sat by his wife, Annie, while O'Donnell was accompanied by a bodyguard.

NEWARK, N.J. (AP) — A man who admitted pulling the trigger in the execution-style killings of three college students in a schoolyard was sentenced Thursday to three consecutive life terms in a case that jolted New Jersey's largest city into dealing with its crime problem. Melvin Jovel pleaded guilty to murder, attempted murder and weapons charges days before his trial was to begin in September.

PASADENA, Calif. (AP) — A NASA spacecraft sped past a small comet Thursday, beaming pictures back to Earth that gave scientists a rare close-up view of its center. Mission controllers burst into applause upon seeing images from the flyby that revealed a peanut-shaped comet belching jets of poisonous gases. "It's hyperactive, small and feisty," said mission scientist Don Yeomans of the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

FORT PIERCE, Fla. (AP) — Former "Partridge Family" heartthrob David Cassidy has been charged with driving under the influence in Florida. The Florida Highway Patrol said his car was stopped around 6 p.m. Wednesday for weaving and nearly causing an accident. Cassidy told a trooper that he had a glass of wine at lunch and a pain pill at 3:30 p.m. Troopers reported finding a half-empty bottle of bourbon in the back seat.

LANCASTER, Pa. (AP) — A central Pennsylvania man faces shoplifting charges after police said he tried to steal a pair of women's high-heel shoes by wearing them out of a department store. Lancaster police said 22-year-old Kyle James Eckman went into a store dressing room and put on a pair of size-10 heels then walked out without paying. He was stopped outside the store with his own shoes inside the shoebox in a shopping bag. Police said Eckman faces felony charges because of two prior retail theft convictions. He is being held on $50,000 bail.

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