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ATLANTA (AP) — Two lucky winning tickets were sold in Tuesday's near-record $636 million Mega Millions drawing: one at a tiny newsstand in Atlanta, and the other more than 2,000 miles away in California.

The lucky Georgia ticket was sold at a Gateway Newsstand in Atlanta's affluent Buckhead area, Mega Millions Executive Director Paula Otto said.

Newsstand owner Young Soolee grinned as she arrived Wednesday morning at the shop off the lobby of the Alliance Center office building. The newsstand — a small, long shop with one register that can hold perhaps 10 people at a time — is frequented by workers at the office building, which sits across the street from an upscale mall.

"I'm so excited and so happy now," Soolee said. "I love my store and the customer now."

Some media outlets reported that Soolee would receive money as the owner of the store that sold a winning ticket. But Georgia Lottery spokeswoman Tandi Reddick said Wednesday that's not the case. She said Soolee won't get any bonus beyond the 6 percent commission all retail outlets received based on lottery sales.

"They do have the distinction of being known as the lucky store now, and that's always great news for them," Reddick said.

The winner has 180 days to claim the prize, Reddick said. The clock began ticking Tuesday. Lottery officials in Georgia will release basic information about the winner, including name and city of residence. Like the policies for store owners receiving bonus money, the number of days and anonymity for the winner varies by state, Paula Otto, Mega Millions lead director, said in an email.

Buckhead is a financial center of Atlanta and one of its largest neighborhoods, a vast northern area known for upscale shopping centers such as Lenox Square and Phipps Plaza, both a short walk from the store that sold the winning ticket. The Alliance Center is home to a variety of offices — lawyers and financial services professionals, even the Brazilian Consulate General.

The California ticket was sold at Jennifer's Gift Shop, which sits along San Jose's tree-lined Tully Road, amid a cluster of Asian restaurants. The store's owner, Thuy Nguyen, told KNTV he doesn't know who the bought the winning ticket, but it's likely someone he knows — most of his customers are his friends. "I feel good! I don't even know, I can't sleep tonight," Nguyen told the station.

The winning numbers in the drawing were: 8, 14, 17, 20, 39; Mega Ball: 7.

The jackpot was the second-largest lottery prize in U.S. history. It started its ascent Oct. 4. Twenty-two draws came and went without winners, Otto said.

Otto said $336 million in tickets were sold for Tuesday's drawing — they had projected $319 million.

"Sales were a little better than we'd anticipated," Otto said. "It was a fun run; it was our first holiday run for either of the big jackpot games."

The winners can choose to be paid over time or in a cash lump sum, Otto said. Based on the $636 million figure, the winners would receive $318 million each over time or $170 million each in cash.

Mega Millions changed its rules in October to help increase the jackpots by lowering the odds of winning the top prize. That means the chances of winning the jackpot are now about 1 in 259 million. It used to be about 1 in 176 million, nearly the same odds of winning a Powerball jackpot.

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VATICAN CITY (AP) - Four homeless people have helped Pope Francis celebrate his 77th birthday at the Vatican.
 
They live nearby and were invited to attend the morning Mass which Francis celebrates daily at the Vatican hotel where he lives. One of the men held his dog as he was presented to Francis after Mass. The Vatican said Francis invited his household help to join him in a "family-like" atmosphere, and he spoke of them one by one during his homily.
 
After Mass, all ate breakfast with Francis at the hotel.
 
Francis already blew out the candles on his birthday cake, presented to him on Saturday by children at the Vatican.
 
Another present awaits him. His favorite Argentine soccer team, San Lorenzo, will give him a replica of their championship trophy.
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WASHINGTON (AP) — Senate Republican leaders are criticizing a bipartisan budget deal, parting ways with their House counterparts who shepherded the measure through that chamber last week.

The split makes it harder for the Republican Party to present a united front as it approaches the midterm election year. And it shows that even modest tweaks in tax and spending policies trigger strong reactions in conservative circles.

Still, senators in both parties say the budget deal should have enough votes to pass and become law, perhaps by Wednesday. And some GOP activists play down the House-Senate divide's implications, saying it's driven by internal congressional politics more than by serious philosophical splits.

"Our leadership gets along pretty well, and coordinates pretty well with each other," said Terry Holt, a longtime Republican strategist and former congressional staffer with close ties to House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio.

Holt said it's not unusual for the minority party in the House or Senate to force the other party to provide the overwhelming majority of votes for contentious legislation.

Republicans control the House, and they provided more than half the "yes" votes when the budget deal passed the House 332 to 94. But Republicans hold only 45 of the Senate's 100 seats. GOP leaders are doing little or nothing to help the budget bill survive Tuesday, when a key procedural vote is scheduled.

"This is one of those votes you see fairly regularly," Holt said. "If they don't need people's votes, they don't push them."

Republicans note that a Democratic senator from Illinois, Barack Obama, voted in 2006 against raising the federal debt ceiling, when Republican George W. Bush was president. When Obama became president, he chided Republicans for opposing the same type of debt ceiling increases.

The bipartisan budget bill, which Obama supports, would restore about $63 billion in across-the-board spending cuts scheduled to take effect over the next two years. It calls for $85 billion in budget savings over the next decade. Among other things, it would extend existing cuts to Medicare providers, raise airline security fees and require federal civilian employees to pay more of their pension costs.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., has signaled he opposes the budget deal. The Senate's second-ranking GOP leader, Sen. John Cornyn of Texas, has criticized it too. His campaign website stated Monday, "Senator Cornyn Opposes the Latest Budget Deal," but the article was removed from the site late in the day.

Some senior Republicans who lack leadership positions are supporting the budget measure. The bill is imperfect, said Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, "but sometimes the answer has to be yes."

"Ultimately, this agreement upholds the principles conservatives stand for," Hatch said. "And with Democrats controlling the White House and the Senate, it is the best we could hope for."

McConnell and Cornyn face tea party-backed Republican primary challengers in their re-election bids next year. Such challenges make it difficult for Republicans to back a bipartisan budget measure that hard-core conservatives criticize because it eases scheduled spending cuts, former GOP congressional aide John Feehery said.

McConnell repeatedly has defended the "sequester" cuts that the budget bill would reduce, Feehery noted. So the senator could open himself up to fierce criticism if he backed the compromise measure.

"It would be nice to get everyone on the same page," Feehery said. "But it's probably too much to ask."

Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, the 2012 Republican nominee for vice president, said the majority party must show it can govern if it's to remain in power. Ryan, chairman of the House Budget Committee, was the top Republican in shaping the compromise plan now awaiting Senate action.

When a Republican senator's criticisms were noted last week, Ryan dismissed them on MSNBC's "Morning Joe," saying, "Read the deal and get back to me."

"In the minority, you don't have the burden of governing, of getting things done," Ryan said.

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