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Nov. 19, 2012 at 10:00 PM
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Poll: Dems and GOP can be bipartisan

PRINCETON, N.J., Nov. 19 (UPI) -- A majority of Americans said they believe President Obama will make a bipartisan effort to solve the nation's problems, a Gallup poll released Monday indicated.

Nearly two-thirds of Americans, 65 percent, said they believe Obama will reach out to congressional Republicans while a majority, 57 percent, said they also expect congressional Democrats to try to work with the opposing party's leaders, results of the Gallup-USA Today poll indicated.

Less than half, 48 percent, said the same of the Republicans in Congress.

Results in the latest poll are similar to those in November 2010 after Republicans won control of the House, but down from 2008, when Obama won his first term as president, the Princeton, N.J., polling agency said.

Nearly two-thirds of Democrats also said the country would benefit most if party leaders would compromise to avoid the so-called fiscal cliff of tax rate expirations and automatic across-the-board spending cuts.

Results for poll are based on nationwide telephone interviews with 1,009 adults conducted Nov. 9-12. The margin of error is 4 percentage points.

Colombian FARC announces cease-fire

HAVANA, Nov. 19 (UPI) -- FARC, Colombia's leading rebel group, announced a temporary halt to anti-government activity as a goodwill gesture during negotiations with the government.

The unilateral move began Monday and will last to Jan. 20, it said, although the Bogota government said previously it will not participate in a cease-fire until a final agreement, now being negotiated in Havana, is achieved.

The leftist Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, has been at odds with the government since the 1960s, making it the longest-running insurgency in Latin America, CNN said Monday.

"The end of the armed conflict is the precursor to peace. To achieve it we have to go deep into the transformation of society," said Colombian government representative Humberto de la Calle.

"We are not the guerrillas that some media make us out to be," countered FARC representative Ivan Marquez. "We come to the table with proposals and projects to achieve a definitive peace, a peace that implies a demilitarization of the state, and radical socioeconomic reforms."

Indianapolis house blast a homicide probe

INDIANAPOLIS, Nov. 19 (UPI) -- The explosion in Indianapolis that killed two people, leveled five homes and damaged 81 others is now a criminal investigation, authorities said Monday evening.

The turn of events came as a funeral was held for the two people killed in the Nov. 10 blast, Dion and Jennifer Longworth, both in their mid-30s, The Indianapolis Star reported. They lived next door to the home of Monserrate Shirley, 47, where the explosion occurred.

Marion County Prosecutor Terry Curry called on the public to call in with any tips about the blast, which caused more than $4 million in damage, the newspaper said. He said investigators wanted to learn more about a white van seen in the vicinity before the explosion.

"At this time we're here to inform you that we're turning this into a criminal homicide investigation," Gary Coons, chief of the Indianapolis Department of Public Safety's Homeland Security division, told reporters.

No further details of the criminal investigation were provided.

Authorities had yet to determine exactly how the explosion was set off, though natural gas appeared to have been involved.

The Star said Shirley and her boyfriend, Mark Leonard, were out of town, her daughter was with friends and their cat had been boarded when the blast occurred. Neighbors said a truck that had been parked in front of the house for some time was moved just hours before the explosion.

Shirley has said she had no idea how the explosion occurred. Her ex-husband, John Shirley, mentioned there had been a problem with the home's furnace, but she said a thermostat was replaced and there had been no further issues with the heating system, the Star said.

The Shirleys had filed jointly for Chapter 13 bankruptcy, showing liabilities of nearly $410,000 and assets of about $316,000. They divorced in February 2011.

The house, valued at $230,000 with a mortgage of about $225,000, was put up for sale for $149,900 later that year but was pulled off the market in March, the Star said.

Friend: Broadwell rues affair's damage

CHARLOTTE, N.C., Nov. 19 (UPI) -- A friend of Paula Broadwell said the author regrets any damage her affair with ex-CIA Director David Petraeus created for her family.

The person said Broadwell was ravaged by the fallout, which forced Petraeus to resign from the CIA, and that the biographer "deeply regrets the damage that's been done to her family," ABC News reported Monday.

Broadwell, her husband and their two sons returned to their home in Charlotte, N.C., Sunday, where they were greeted by more than two dozen friends and neighbors, the friend said on condition of anonymity.

The 40-year-old author, who wrote the Petraeus' biography, "All In," was trying to "focus on her family," the friend said.

Prosecutors must decide whether to charge Broadwell with mishandling classified information for allegedly taking secret files from secure government buildings, a violation of federal law but authorities may allow the military to discipline her. As an intelligence officer in the U.S. Military Reserve, Broadwell had clearance to review the documents.

Petraeus, meanwhile, hired a top Washington lawyer during the weekend, ABC News reported. The lawyer, Robert Barnett, of Williams & Connolly, is known for negotiating book deals for politicians from President Barack Obama to 2008 Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin.

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