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Senate easily advances $1.1 billion in Zika funding

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Senate voted decisively on Tuesday in favor of a bipartisan $1.1 billion measure to combat the Zika virus this year and next, cutting back President Barack Obama's request but offering significantly more money to fight Zika than would House GOP conservatives.

Obama pledges more than $450 million aid to help Colombia peace plan

By Roberta Rampton WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President Barack Obama said on Thursday he would ask the U.S. Congress for more than $450 million in aid to help Colombia end “half a century of wrenching conflict” and implement a peace accord aimed at ending Latin America's longest war. If approved, the aid would help with security and fighting the drug trade, as well as educating and retraining members of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, the leftist rebel group at war with the government since 1964. “After half a century of wrenching conflict, the time has come for peace,” Obama said after meeting with Colombian President Juan Manual Santos.

Senate votes to gut Obamacare in symbolic vote

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – After five years of failed attempts, U.S. Senate Republicans on Thursday passed a symbolic bill to gut President Barack Obama's signature healthcare reform law, but Obama has vowed to veto the measure. The Republican-controlled Senate voted 52-47 to repeal several core Obamacare provisions under special budget procedural rules that allow for passage with a simple majority rather than the 60-vote threshold needed for most legislation in the Senate. (Reporting by David Lawder; Editing by Eric Walsh)

South Korea’s Park postpones U.S. trip as MERS cases rise

By Jack Kim and Christine Kim SEOUL (Reuters) – South Korean President Park Geun-hye postponed a U.S. visit on Wednesday to supervise the handling of an outbreak of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS), as two more people died and 13 new cases were reported, lifting the total number of patients to 108. Park had been due to leave for the United States, her country's closest ally, on Sunday and meet President Barack Obama on Tuesday. First identified in humans in 2012, MERS is caused by a coronavirus from the same family as the one that triggered China's deadly 2003 outbreak of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS).

Justice Department sides with transgender inmate in Georgia lawsuit

The Obama administration on Friday weighed in on the side of a transgender Georgia prison inmate who is suing the state over prison officials’ refusal to provide treatment such as hormone therapy. On Thursday, a federal judge ruled that California must provide sex reassignment surgery to a transgender inmate.

Obama administration: 16.4M have gained health insurance

WASHINGTON (AP) — More than 16 million Americans have gained insurance coverage as a result of President Barack Obama’s health care law, the administration said Monday as the White House prepares to commemorate the fifth anniversary of the law’s signing.