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Doctors in Houston used a hard plastic implant to fix a hole in Rep. Gabrielle Giffords' skull on Wednesday, the latest milestone in her recovery from an assassination attempt four months ago. The procedure will improve her quality of life, experts say.

new york

Workers illegally fired over posts

Federal labor regulators say a New York nonprofit illegally fired five employees after they went on Facebook to criticize working conditions. The National Labor Relations Board says Hispanics United of Buffalo violated federal law, which allows employees to talk with co-workers about their jobs and working conditions without reprisal.


Filibuster possible over Obama pick

The Senate stands on the edge of what could be the biggest fight over an Obama administration judicial nominee yet. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., Tuesday night filed a motion to limit debate on the nomination of Goodwin Liu to the U.S. Court of Appeals in San Francisco. The motion requires 60 votes to pass and its failure to do so would be, in effect, a filibuster.

GOP bid to speed drilling is blocked

The Senate has rejected a Republican bid to speed up and expand offshore oil drilling in the face of $4-a-gallon gasoline prices.A procedural vote failed Wednesday, 57-42, on the bid to speed decisionmaking on drilling permits and force the government to conduct previously scheduled lease sales in the Gulf of Mexico and off Virginia's coast. The sales were suspended after the BP oil spill.


Iran frees former Seattle journalist

Former Seattle journalist Dorothy Parvaz was released by Iran Wednesday and allowed to travel to Doha after at least two weeks in detention without charge in Iran. Parvaz, who holds U.S., Iranian and Canadian citizenship, was born in Iran but grew up in Canada. She was arrested shortly after arriving in Syria to cover protests, then transferred to Iran in an unprecedented move by Syrian authorities.


Indictment in poisoning of trees

The Alabama fan accused of poisoning the oaks at Auburn's Toomer's Corner has been indicted by a Lee County grand jury. The 62-year-old faces two felony counts of first-degree criminal mischief, two felony counts of unlawful damage, felony vandalism or theft of property from a farm animal or crop facility and two misdemeanor counts of desecrating a venerated object.


San Francisco may ban circumcision

A group seeking to ban the circumcision of male children in San Francisco has succeeded in getting their controversial measure on the November ballot, meaning voters will be asked to weigh in on what until now has been a private family matter. City elections officials confirmed Wednesday that the initiative had received enough signatures to appear on the ballot, getting more than 7,700 valid signatures from city residents.

Times wires