Latest National and International Headlines

In Chicago, a new policy on marijuana possession would mean adults who are caught with a small amount of the illegal drug would receive a fine instead of being arrested.

It's mostly about money and how best to use police resources.

Under current Illinois law, anyone found with less than about 1 ounce of marijuana can be charged with a misdemeanor. If found guilty, they face up to a year in jail and a $2,500 fine.

The collapse of the housing market has led to plenty of finger-pointing in Washington. Two easy targets are Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

These government-backed mortgage giants had to be rescued by taxpayers and now owe the government $188 billion. Still, Fannie and Freddie, which currently make the vast majority of home loans possible, are crucial to supporting the housing market right now.

Framed in my library is a sketch that LeRoy Neiman dashed off of me on the back of a menu, when he was watching me speak several years ago. LeRoy, who died the other day, was somewhat better known for another sketch, the "nymphette" that has appeared in Playboy since 1955 — but, of course, he's ever famous for simply being our most celebrated sports artist.

As Arizona officials prepare to apply the one provision of the state's immigration law upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court, some local authorities doubt they can properly enforce it.

"We will do our best to enforce the law. But we are in uncharted territory on this issue," Tucson Police Chief Roberto Villasenor said in a statement released by the Police Executive Research Forum, a nonprofit organization of police chiefs. The group says the law "will seriously undermine local law enforcement."

Two big pieces of news in Mexico's presidential race today:

-- A new poll finds that the PRI's Enrique Peña Nieto has maintained a big lead over his rivals Andrés Manuel López Obrador and Josefina Vázquez Mota. The election is this Sunday and a few polls before this one showed Obrador had narrowed the gap.

The college football champion will be decided by a playoff beginning after the 2014 season.

The AP reports:

"Come 2014, the BCS is dead. A committee of university presidents on Tuesday approved the BCS commissioners' plan for a four-team playoff to start in the 2014 season.

An America's Cup sailing event is being held to Newport, R.I., for the first time in 29 years. Sailors began arriving in Newport last week for the final leg of the America's Cup World Series regatta, which has been held at stops all across the world to gin up excitement for the official America's Cup next year in San Francisco.

Relationships are never easy.

If the partners in love happen to be living in a nursing home, there are even more challenges. And if they're showing signs of dementia, then things get really tricky.

Although no law forbids intimate relationships between people with dementia in nursing homes, staff and family members often discourage residents from expressing their sexuality, says a recent report in the Journal of Medical Ethics.

Congressional leaders on Tuesday said they were close to a deal to solve two big issues facing lawmakers — student loan interest rates and federal highway funding.

Both issues with looming deadlines have high stakes for middle-income Americans: If Congress fails to reach agreements by this weekend, the federal highway program would come to a halt, and student loan interest rates would double, to 6.8 percent.

Student Loans

President Obama has been hammering on the issue of student loans for days.

The clear front-runner in Mexico's poll on Sunday is Enrique Pena Nieto, a member of the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI), which ran Mexico for 71 years until ousted from power in 2000.

The nation's housing crisis has touched countless people. Increasingly, the well-off are among them.

Housing counselors around the country say they are seeing more people struggling to keep their million-dollar homes. It's a twist on a familiar story of hardship — but one that involves some very big numbers.

Moving Up, Falling Down

The uprising in Syria began in the spring of 2011 when rebellious teenagers scrawled anti-regime graffiti on a wall in the southern city of Daraa.

The protest against their arrest, and the regime's brutal response, sparked the wider revolt. Throughout the unrest, the country's younger generation has been at the forefront of efforts to end the repressive regime of President Bashar Assad.

At a cafe in the heart of Damascus recently, a young man flips open his cellphone to show pictures of people killed in the uprising.

The average price for a gallon of gasoline hit a six-month low today.

According to AAA, national survey of more than 100,000 gas stations today's average is $3.41. The AP reports that in South Carolina gas is now below $3.

The AP adds:

Mitt Romney's campaign has an obvious challenge: how best to combat charges from the Obama campaign that when the all-but-official Republican nominee was in the private sector, he was heavily involved in offshoring the jobs of U.S. workers?

The governing board of the University of Virginia decided to reinstate the president it had ousted earlier this month.

The AP reports the 15-member board voted unanimously to give Teresa Sullivan her job back, after it faced scathing criticism for its original decision, which students and faculty thought had been reached in a secretive manner.

"I want to partner with you in bringing about what's best for the university," Sullivan said after the vote.

The AP adds:

An Egyptian court decided today that the military should not have continued power to arrest civilians.

Reuters reports:

"The Muslim Brotherhood and other opponents of military rule were furious when the army-backed interim government empowered soldiers to arrest civilians, effectively reinstating Hosni Mubarak's hated state of emergency, which lapsed on May 31.

There might be no bluegrass music as we know it without Wade Mainer, who died Monday at his home in Flint, Mich., Sept. 12 at age 104.

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