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Oct. 13, 2012 at 8:02 AM
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Obama: Auto industry bet 'paying off'

WASHINGTON, Oct. 13 (UPI) -- U.S. President Barack Obama said Saturday his administration's "bet on American workers" in the auto industry is "paying off in a big way."

In his weekly radio and Internet address, the president reminded listeners his administration "refused to let Detroit go bankrupt."

"We bet on American workers and American ingenuity, and three years later, that bet is paying off in a big way," he said.

Obama said auto sales have hit a four-year high and employment in the auto industry is increasing -- noting that General Motors Co. announced this week it is hiring 1,500 workers for a research center in Michigan "to help make sure the high-tech cars of tomorrow are designed and built right here in America."

The president said Detroit is not just making more cars and trucks, but is making "better ones."

"After 30 years of inaction, we raised fuel standards so that by the middle of the next decade, cars and light trucks will average almost 55 miles per gallon -- nearly double what they get today," he said.

"It's good for your wallet, it's good for our economy, and it's good for the environment," Obama said.

The president said the technology responsible for improved cars and trucks "will also help America stay on the cutting edge for decades to come" and he told listeners he had signed bipartisan trade agreements into law this week "because I want to see more cars on the road in places like South Korea imported from Detroit and Toledo and Chicago."

"So next time you see one of those brand new 2013 models on TV or on the lot, think about how far we've come together," he said. "Think about how -- thanks to the hard work and can-do spirit of the American people -- more of those cars and trucks are being manufactured by American workers at American companies in communities all across the country."

GOP: Dems' regulations hurt small business

WASHINGTON, Oct. 13 (UPI) -- Mitt Romney will help small businesses by reducing costly regulations created by President Obama, a Republican House candidate who runs a small business says.

Delivering the GOP's weekly media address, Markwayne Mullin said "if we're serious about keeping jobs here and bringing jobs home, we need to stop burdening small businesses with excessive and unnecessary regulations."

Romney "gets it," said Mullin, and supporting small business is a "key plank" of the GOP presidential candidate's platform.

The House gets it too, he added, noting the Republican majority there has approved several proposals "to address excessive regulations that impose unnecessary costs and hurt jobs."

Mullin is running for the congressional seat being vacated by Rep. Dan Boren, D-Okla.

The owner of a plumbing business, Mulllin said more than 40 percent of his revenue goes to complying with government regulations.

Mullin blasted the Democratic-controlled Senate for blocking bills that would ease regulations, particularly one that would require major new rules to be approved by Congress.

He called the bill a "great idea," adding that "our economy doesn't need more meddling."

Administration officials deny that regulations are hurting the economy.

In 2011, Jan Eberly, the assistant Treasury secretary for economic policy, called such allegations "commonly repeated misconceptions."

Bullet fired at Obama Denver office

DENVER, Oct. 13 (UPI) -- A window at an Obama campaign office in Denver was broken when a shot was fired into the building Friday afternoon, police said.

No one was injured, The Denver Post reported. Raquel Lopez, a police spokeswoman, said there were people in the office at the time.

"It looks like it was one shot that was fired into the structure," she said.

No one had been arrested late Friday. Lopez said police had a description of a car that might have been used by the shooter.

A campaign spokeswoman declined to comment on the shooting.

Syrian rebel: Hezbollah fights for Assad

BEIRUT, Lebanon, Oct. 13 (UPI) -- Syrian rebels say Hezbollah fighters from Lebanon have been playing a bigger role in the effort to prop up the regime of President Bashar Assad.

An engineer turned brigade leader in the Free Syrian Army told The Daily Star of Beirut he talked to some Hezbollah fighters in a border village by posing as a civilian sympathizer and giving them water.

"None of them were under 35 years old," the man, identified only as Hussein, said. "They were very professional and tough fighters. You can tell they are superior fighters from the way they move in battle and how they fight."

There is still little hard evidence of a large Hezbollah presence in Syria, the Star said. Hussein said his group assassinated Ali Nassif, a Hezbollah commander, last week.

Nassif was buried in Lebanon, where Hezbollah said only that he had died "performing his jihadist duties."

"The regime's soldiers are cowards against us, but we fear the Hezbollah men," Hussein said.

Indians can use bald eagle feathers

WASHINGTON, Oct. 13 (UPI) -- American Indians can now own the feathers of bald eagles and other protected birds but cannot buy or sell them, the U.S. Justice Department said Friday.

The department announced a new policy that allows American Indians to "possess, use, wear or carry" the feathers and other bird parts, CNN reported.

Bald eagles, a U.S. symbol since the late 18th century, came close to extinction, although they have been making a comeback with the ban on DDT use and federal protection. They are an important religious symbol to many tribes.

"The Department of Justice is committed to striking the right balance in enforcing our nation's wildlife laws by respecting the cultural and religious practices of federally recognized Indian tribes," Attorney General Eric Holder said.

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