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Obama expected to sign renewed tax breaks...Judge to hear challenge to OK executions...Missing mailbox case tossed out

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WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama is expected to sign a massive tax package the will allow banks, retailers, commuters and teachers to keep their temporary tax breaks for another year. Taxpayers will be able to claim the breaks in their 2014 tax returns, but beyond this year, their fate will once again be uncertain. Congressional estimates say the package would add nearly $42 billion to the budget deficit over the next decade.

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — A federal judge will begin hearing evidence Wednesday morning in a case in which 21 Oklahoma death row inmates are challenging the state's lethal injection procedures after a bungled execution in April. The judge scheduled three days to hear from witnesses. The death row inmates say Oklahoma's new lethal drug combinations amount to human experiments that violate the constitution's ban on cruel and unusual punishment.

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Ohio lawmakers are expected to vote Wednesday on legislation that would keep private the names of companies that provide the state with lethal injection drugs. The Senate passed the bill last week and it'll now be voted on in the House. Some lawmakers have said the bill is needed to restart executions in Ohio. But prosecutors say the legislation will undoubtedly lead to court challenges.

PESHAWAR, Pakistan (AP) — An official three-day mourning periods starts Wednesday in Pakistan, where Taliban gunmen stormed into an army public school, killing 141 people, most of them children. The Taliban said the attack was revenge for a military offensive against their safe havens in the northwest. Army commandos killed all seven attackers in a day-long battle Tuesday.

HONOLULU (AP) — The criminal case of a man accused of stealing the mailbox of Honolulu's police chief has been tossed out. The case against Gerard Puana was dismissed two weeks after a mistrial was abruptly declared when Police Chief Louis Kealoha testified that he could identify Puana in blurry surveillance footage because the man seen in the video hauling away the mail box looked the way Puana looked when he was charged with breaking into a neighbor's home. Puana is the uncle of the police chief's wife.

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