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Debates get started in Las Vegas ... Budget Deal in Congress ... Wall Street surge



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LAS VEGAS, Nev. (AP) — A quartet of lower-polling Republican presidential candidates has commenced a debate at this hour in Las Vegas. The get-together precedes a faceoff a couple hours later involving the nine higher-standing candidates, including billionaire real estate mogul Donald Trump. Participants in the early debate include Sen. Lindsey Graham, and former Govs. George Pataki and Mike Huckabee along with former Sen. Rick Santorum.

WASHINGTON (AP) — Congress and the White House are nearing agreement on a tax and spending package that would fund the government through next year. It would raise domestic and defense spending and increase the deficit by hundreds of billions of dollars, by extending some popular tax credits without paying for them. Republican leaders hope to have a vote on it Thursday.

NEW YORK (AP) — It's a second day of gains today on Wall Street for the S&P 500 -- and that hasn't happened since early November. The index gained 21 points, as energy companies and banks led the market higher. Energy stocks rose as the price of crude oil jumped three percent. And banks moved higher ahead of tomorrow's expected rate increase by the Federal Reserve.

DENVER (AP) — A major Western snowstorm has tangled air and highway travel in Colorado. Denver International Airport says hundreds of flights were canceled after 7 inches of snow fell, and other flights have been delayed an average of four hours. About 600 miles of Interstate highways were snow-packed and icy. In Utah, about a foot of snow fell in most parts of the Salt Lake City area, and as much as two feet in some higher spots. And schools and roads were closed in Wyoming and Montana as a foot of snow fell in some areas.

LOS ANGELES (AP) — For the first time since he lost his job as anchor of "NBC Nightly News," Brian Williams has returned to the air on the network. He handled an NBC News special report today on the closure of the Los Angeles public schools. Lester Holt, who had replaced Williams as the evening news anchor, was out sick today. Earlier this year, Williams was suspended for six months after acknowledging that he misled viewers about his role in news stories. He returned as an anchor in September, reassigned to handling breaking news on MSNBC.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

The Associated Press

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