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WASHINGTON (AP) Virginia Congressman Eric Cantor says he'll see to it that all House committees devote more time and effort to overseeing and exposing problems in the federal government. Cantor is expected to be the majority leader under the new Republican-led House.

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) A panel has recommended that the New College Institute in the economically struggling Martinsville area should become a branch campus of one of Virginia's existing public universities. The recommendation will be forwarded to Gov. Bob McDonnell and the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia.

NORFOLK, Va. (AP) Ten businesses in Hampton Roads have been declared off-limits to U.S. military personnel because they sell a product called "Spice" that mimics marijuana's effects. Two businesses are in Hampton, four are in Newport News, two are in Norfolk and two are in Virginia Beach.

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) The Virginia Supreme Court says a defendant can be forced to admit guilt as part of his probation even if he's allowed to withhold such an admission at a plea hearing. James Carroll had entered an Alford plea on a rape charge. The court said someone who enters an Alford plea is treated like any other convicted defendant.

(Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

NPR

La. Family Celebrates Son's 2nd Birthday With Personal Injury Lawyer-Themed Party

When she was planning a birthday party for her 2-year-old son earlier this year, L'erin Dobra of Prairieville, La., had to choose a theme. But luckily her son had already begun giving her hints. He was fixated with a particular commercial for a personal injury law firm, featuring Morris Bart, who has been the pitchman since the 1980s. The party even included a cake with Bart's picture on it.
NPR

Pesticide Drift Threatens Organic Farms

Conventional farmers use millions of pounds of pesticides each year to protect crops from weeds and insects. When those chemicals drift to neighboring property, they can ruin crops on organic farms.
NPR

Planned Parenthood Controversy Raises Questions About Fetal Tissue Research

A series of sting videos targeting Planned Parenthood is raising questions about the field of fetal tissue research. Companies who buy and sell such tissue defend their work.
NPR

Letting Go Of The Wheel: How Google Is Easing People Into Self-Driving Cars

Google has begun testing a new self-driving car this summer that is designed to work without a steering wheel. But as the Planet Money team reports, the company's biggest challenge may be convincing Americans to hop inside.

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