Chicago, Illinois (CNN) - A federal jury weighing the fate of former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich in his corruption trial told the judge on Thursday it has reached unanimous agreement on two of the 24 counts, but cannot agree on 11 others and has yet to consider the rest.
"We have deliberated and have reached unanimous agreement on two counts and haven't been able to come to an agreements on the rest of the counts," the jury told U.S. District Judge James Zagel.
The judge gave the jurors instructions to re-examine their opinions and attempt to reach a unanimous verdict if possible. Later, the jury deliberations ended for the week, with plans for the panel to meet again on Monday.
Washington (CNN) - President Barack Obama on Thursday extended U.S. assistance to Colombia in combating civilian aircraft involved in drug trafficking.
A White House statement said Obama issued a memo to the State Department and Defense Department authorizing the continuation of what is called U.S. Drug Interdiction Assistance to Colombia.
It is the seventh straight year that the interdiction assistance has been extended.
The memo said Colombia has appropriate procedures in place to protect against innocent loss of life from interdiction against civil aircraft "reasonably suspected" of illicit drug trafficking.
Washington (CNN) - One of the key goals of the new commander in Afghanistan, Gen. David Petraeus, is to try to settle the debate on the significance of the July 2011 date, according to an International Security Assistance Force official familiar with Petraeus' thinking.
After a month in the job, during which he stayed mostly out of public view, the general is preparing a round of interviews with media outlets.
July 2011 is the date President Barack Obama has set to begin reducing the number of U.S. troops in Afghanistan. But just what that will mean continues to be a question that the administration is struggling to answer clearly.
(CNN) - Former President George W. Bush and Laura Bush surprised 145 troops returning home from war Wednesday, greeting them at the Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport.
The service members, most returning for a two-week break, arrived on a charter flight expecting to be met by the Dallas-based Welcome Home A Hero organization.
But waiting with the crowd at the international arrivals section were the smiling former president and first lady. "We didn't tell them at all what was going on," said the leader of the welcoming group, Lt. Col. Patrick McAfee. "It was shock and awe when they walked in the double doors."
Most of the returning service members are serving in Iraq and Afghanistan.
A spokesman for Bush, David Sherzer, said they were "honored" to take part in the welcome. "President Bush often says that he doesn't miss much about being the President, but he does miss being the Commander in Chief of an incredible group of men and women", he said.
Los Angeles, California (CNN) - A federal judge ruled on Thursday to allow same-sex couples to marry in California, starting on August 18, handing another big victory to supporters of gay rights in a case that both sides say will likely end up in the U.S. Supreme Court.
Last week, Chief U.S. District Judge Vaughn Walker in San Francisco struck down the state's ban on same-sex marriage, ruling that voter-approved Proposition 8 violates the U.S. Constitution. Walker had issued a temporary stay on his decision, which on Thursday he said he would lift.
The high-profile case is being watched closely by supporters and opponents of same-sex marriage, as many say it will make its way to the U.S. Supreme Court. If it does, the case could result in a landmark decision on whether people in the United States are allowed to marry people of the same sex.
Washington (CNN) - Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour, a possible White House candidate in 2012, will headline a major dinner for the Republican Party of Florida in September.
The Mississippi governor is booked as keynote speaker for the Florida GOP's "Victory Dinner" on September 10 in Orlando, a party official told CNN Thursday.
The Florida GOP hopes to raise $1 million at the event, the party's biggest fundraiser of the year.
Washington (CNN) - Top Democrats are firing back at House candidate Ben Quayle, son of former Vice President Dan Quayle, for running a new campaign ad that slashes President Obama by calling him "the worst president in history."
Brad Woodhouse, spokesman for the Democratic National Committee, told CNN that the candidate for a U.S. House seat from Arizona has no standing to judge Obama.
"The son of the worst vice president ever may think he has some wisdom on the job performance of political leaders, but if he thinks a president whose actions have saved the country from a second Great Depression, reformed a broken health care system and protected consumers from the risk and greed of Wall Street merits such mention, his analysis is only slightly less ridiculous than his candidacy for public office is," said Woodhouse.
Quayle, the 33-year-old son of the former vice president, is one of 10 Republicans seeking the GOP nomination for the third district House seat of retiring Rep. John Shadegg. The Republican-leaning district primarily encompasses Phoenix and its surrounding suburbs.
(CNN) - When it comes to the political landscape three months before the midterm elections take place, is everything that's old new again?
A new CNN/Opinion Research Corporation survey paints a picture that is markedly similar to that of August, 1994, when few people predicted that in only three short months the Republican Party would snatch 54 seats from the Democrats and wrestle control of the House from the beleaguered party.
Sixteen years later, Republican candidates for Congress have a three-point advantage in the "generic ballot" question - virtually the same position they held at the same time in 1994. President Obama has an all-time high disapproval rating almost on par with that of Bill Clinton's 16 years ago. And Republican voters are feeling an intense amount of anger over the state of the nation - the same motivating force that the GOP relied on in 1994.
State Rep. Timothy Horrigan made the remarks Wednesday night in a thread discussing the Alaska plane crash that killed former Sen. Ted Stevens.
"Well a dead Palin wd be even more dangerous than a live one...she is all about her myth & if she was dead she cldn't commit any more gaffes," Horrigan wrote.