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POSTED January 26, 2012 9:00 p.m.

'MOON COLONY' PROMPTS GALACTIC CLASH IN GOP DEBATE: JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) — Newt Gingrich wants America to establish a colony on the moon. Mitt Romney says it's not worth the enormous cost.

The GOP presidential debate turned to space Thursday night as the candidates were asked about Gingrich's call for developing a permanent lunar presence as a way to invigorate a key Florida industry.

Gingrich says NASA should offer prize incentives to businesses that develop commercial flight to the moon and beyond. He holds up that idea as an example of bold thinking.

But Romney chalks it up as pandering to local concerns over national interests. He says that if a business subordinate brought the space idea to him he'd fire him.

Texas congressman Ron Paul drew laughs when he said the people he'd send to the moon are politicians.

GINGRICH, ROMNEY ATTACK EACH OTHER ON FORECLOSURES : JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) — Rivals Newt Gingrich and Mitt Romney are trading barbs over their income from mortgage firms Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

In Thursday's debate in Florida, Gingrich criticized Romney's investment in mutual funds that included the lenders, as well as Wall Street giant Goldman Sachs.

Gingrich says Romney is profiting from home foreclosures that plague Florida, and he's asking how much of Romney's personal fortune came from those foreclosures.

Romney defends the investments, saying his blind trust handles his finances and that Gingrich himself owns mutual funds that also invest in the quasi-government lenders.

Romney also is criticizing Gingrich for his paychecks as a consultant to the lender that some blame for the housing crisis.

TWITTER TO CENSOR TWEETS IN INDIVIDUAL COUNTRIES: SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Twitter has refined its technology so it can censor messages on a country-by-country basis.

The additional flexibility is likely to raise fears that Twitter's commitment to free speech may be weakening. It comes as the short-messaging company expands into new countries in an attempt to broaden its audience and make more money.

But Twitter sees the censorship tool as a way to ensure individual messages, or "tweets," remain available to as many people as possible while it navigates a maze of different laws around the world.

Before, when Twitter erased a tweet it disappeared throughout the world. Now, a tweets containing content breaking a law in one country can be taken down there and still be seen elsewhere.

Twitter will post a censorship notice whenever a tweet is removed.

ROMNEY FAILED TO DISCLOSE INCOME FROM SWISS BANK: JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) — Mitt and Ann Romney failed to list an unknown amount of investment income from a variety of sources, including a Swiss bank account, on financial disclosure forms filed last year, the presidential hopeful's campaign announced Thursday as it worked to correct the omissions.

Also missing is income from at least 20 different investment funds in the Romneys' blind trusts that are either not listed on his disclosure or contradict information listed on the former Massachusetts governor's 2010 tax return. At least one of the 20 is an investment fund held by Ann Romney carries an "offshore" label. It's part of a fund operated by Bain Capital, the private equity firm Romney ran for 15 years.

A campaign spokeswoman offered no explanation for the omission. She said Thursday the adjustments would be "trivial" and would not alter the overall picture of the Romney's finances. The former Massachusetts governor has estimated his wealth at as much as $250 million.

The Swiss account was held in Ann Romney's blind trust. The tax returns show the Romneys made $1,783 in interest income from that account in 2010.Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich also failed to report income from his 2010 tax return on his financial disclosure. Gingrich will amend his disclosure to show $252,500 in salary from one of his businesses, spokesman R.C. Hammond said Thursday

FBI: FOILED SLAYING PLOT WAS TO BE BLAMED ON CAT: EAST ST. LOUIS, Ill. (AP) — Federal investigators helped by a conscientious paroled killer say they foiled a plot to abduct, extort and electrocute a wealthy man in a scheme they say borrowed elements from a television show and sought to blame the killing on the planned victim's cat.

A criminal complaint against Brett Nash of Pontoon Beach, unsealed Wednesday, identifies the target of the plot only as a former corporate attorney in the southern Illinois industrial town of Granite City who long pursued sex with Nash's wife. According to an affidavit, one plan Nash explored involved forcing the intended victim into a hot tub and electrocuting him with a radio tossed into the water — followed by kitty litter that Nash thought would prompt authorities to believe the animal was the culprit in the killing.

CANDIDATE REMOVED FROM BALLOT OVER ENGLISH RULE: YUMA, Ariz. (AP) — A judge ruled that a city council candidate in Arizona must be removed from the ballot due to lack of English proficiency.

The ruling on Wednesday came after the San Luis City Council approved a motion Jan. 13 asking for verification that Alejandrina Cabrera met the requirement of a state law that any person holding office in the state, a county or city must speak, write and read English.

San Luis Mayor Juan Carlos Escamilla filed a lawsuit in December asking the court to determine if Cabrera's English skills were sufficient to qualify her to seek the four-year council seat in the city's primary election.

Cabrera, who last year launched two unsuccessful attempts to recall Escamilla as mayor, was one of 10 candidates to file petitions to run for the council.

The Yuma Sun reported the removal of Cabrera from the ballot also stemmed from a Dec. 14 complaint made by former mayor Guillermina Fuentes that Cabrera isn't fluent in English.

 

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