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News Bytes
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A quick read of what’s happening in our world gleaned from the Associated Press

• GLOBAL ECONOMY SLOWDOWN: WASHINGTON — The global economy is in the worst shape since the dark days of 2009. Six of the 17 countries that use the euro currency are in recession. The U.S. economy is struggling again. And the economic superstars of the developing world — China, India and Brazil — are in no position to come to the rescue.

• CONGRESS PUTS BILLS ON HOLD: WASHINGTON — Senate-passed bills to cut farm subsidies and food stamps and overhaul the financially teetering Postal Service have been put on hold by House Republican leaders wary of igniting internal party fights or risking voters’ ire three months before the election. Both parties are engaged in political messaging rather than legislating.

• GAY MARRIAGE-ONE YEAR LATER: NEW YORK — New York became the largest and most influential state to legalize gay marriage one year ago, raising supporters’ hopes that it would boost national momentum and pump money into the state with a flurry of weddings from Manhattan to Niagara Falls. The law’s effects are noticeable if hard to measure.

• GOP CONVENTION SECURITY: TAMPA, Fla. — Tampa has hosted four Super Bowls, but the protesters expected to cram into the city for the Republican National Convention will be a different sort of crowd and the police are trying to get ready. In 2008, some protesters at the RNC in St. Paul, Minn., smashed cars, punctured tires and threw bottles in a confrontation with pepper-spray wielding police. Hundreds were arrested. Tampa has been allotted about $50 million to try to ensure everyone is safe for the convention at the end of August and have spent 13.6 million so far on big-ticket security items, including 200 bicycles, 13 electric all-terrain vehicles and one armored truck for the Aug. 27-31 gathering.

• PUERTO RICO-ILLEGAL COCKFIGHTS: SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico — Puerto Rico once had a thriving cockfighting business that generated $30 million a year in bets and drew more than 1 million spectators to clubs across the U.S. territory, one of the few places in the world where the fights remain legal. But the number of government-registered clubs is dropping, and many fights have gone underground as the government struggles to regain control of a bloody spectator sport that dates back to the 16th century.

• TEXAS-MEDICAID DEBATE: BROWNSVILLE, Texas — Jose Gallegos’ company eliminated health insurance for employees to save money, so when his gut started hurting and his skin took on a yellow tinge, he resisted seeing a doctor. When he finally went to the emergency room, doctors diagnosed cancer. Gallegos made too much money to qualify for Medicaid, but not enough to buy his own insurance. Just over a year later, he died. Families like his are at the center of a debate in Texas over President Barack Obama’s health care overhaul, which could have expanded Medicaid coverage to about 1.3 million Texans. But because Gov. Rick Perry has said the state will not expand the program, the class known as the “working poor” will not be included in the millions of Americans set to acquire coverage

• ISRAELI PRIME MINISTER SIDESTEPS ENDORSEMENT: Israeli prime minister skillfully skirts U.S. politics by refusing to endorse either presidential candidate, but openly laments that Iran’s nuclear program remains intact four years since the last U.S. election.