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   WASHINGTON (AP) - Attention online shoppers: The days of tax-free shopping on the Internet may soon end for many of you.

   The Senate is voting on a bill today that would empower states to collect sales taxes for purchases made over the Internet. The measure is expected to pass because it has already survived three procedural votes.

   The bill faces opposition in the House, where some Republicans regard it as a tax increase. But there is a broad coalition of retailers lobbying in favor of it.

   Under current law, states can only require retailers to collect sales taxes if the store has a physical presence in the state. As a result, many online sales are tax-free, giving Internet retailers an advantage over brick-and-mortar stores.

 
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   It looks like the last of the safeguards Missouri legislators had initially placed on casinos could soon be tossed out.  

   A bill now before the Senate would let the state’s 13 casinos issue short-term loans to gamblers, secured by the gamblers' bank accounts.  The measure easily won approval in the state house last month.  

   Casino executives say they need to be able to provide credit in order to attract high-end gamers who don't want to carry large amounts of cash.  

   The measure would repeal the last of the safeguards that were in the original state law voters passed in 1992 when they legalized riverboat gambling.  The rule requiring riverboat casinos to actually be on a boat on a river, and $500 loss limits have already been repealed.

Monday, 06 May 2013 03:35
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   New warnings are being issued to stay away from rain-swollen rivers and streams.  That after three men who'd gone fishing in the Meramec River had to be rescued Sunday morning.  

   The Saline Valley Fire Protection District received a call around 9:30 a.m. from someone who saw the men's thrown into the water when their canoe flipped.  

   Saline Valley Fire Chief Bob Dunn says while crews were en route to the scene, they got a second call.  This one was from one of the men in the water who told them they were approaching the Highway 21 bridge.  

   Chief Dunn says rescue crews dropped a line from the bridge in an effort to fish them out of the swift-moving water.  "We were here with a rope and we watched them go underneath the bridge," Dunn said.  "One of them was able to grab hold of the rope that we had thrown to them.  The other two couldn't."

   The other two men managed to grab onto some low-hanging trees.  They were rescued by boat.

 
Monday, 06 May 2013 02:11
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VATICAN CITY (AP) — Pope Francis is calling for courageous defense of children to protect them from abuse.

Francis made no mention of the church scandals in many countries in which clergy abused children and hierarchy covered up for them. At a Mass he celebrated Sunday in crowded St. Peter's Square, Francis said abuse victims are in his prayers.

He stressed that all must work with courage so that children, who are among the most vulnerable people, be always defended and protected.

Ignoring sometimes heavy rain, Francis toured the square in a popemobile, but left the vehicle to embrace disabled adults and children along his route.

In a surprise, he ventured beyond the Vatican's confines, riding the popemobile down a Rome boulevard to greet thousands of cheering faithful who couldn't fit in the square.

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