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With a fight over Social Security brewing in the new Republican Congress, advocates are worried that a possible GOP angle is to turn Social Security into a perennial crisis in much the same way raising the debt limit has become. By setting up a series of forcing events, the argument goes, Republicans would be able to create an ongoing crisis atmosphere around Social Security that would create a pretext for dramatic changes to the 80-year-old program.

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The longtime New York Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver (D) turned himself into the FBI Thursday morning in Lower Manhattan on federal corruption charges. A five-count criminal complaint alleged Silver, who has held the speakership for two decades, used the power of that office to obtain $4 million in kickbacks and bribes disguised as income.

The complaint against Silver grew out of the ashes of the Moreland Commission, a panel New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) set up in summer 2013 that was tasked with investigating public corruption. When Cuomo suddenly disbanded the commission in March 2014, eight months before it was to wrap up its work, federal investigators picked up the pieces. The investigators also reportedly began looking into Cuomo's shutting down of the commission.

The complaint against Silver noted Cuomo announced that he had agreed to end the Moreland Commission as part of budget negotiations, in which Silver and his staff played a key role. A three-month-long New York Times investigation last year found that the governor's office had repeatedly hamstrung the commission's investigations into his political allies and associates.

So does Silver’s arrest signal turbulence ahead for Cuomo?

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This post has been updated.

RIYADH, Saudi Arabia (AP) — Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah, the powerful U.S. ally who joined Washington's fight against al-Qaida and sought to modernize the ultraconservative Muslim kingdom with incremental but significant reforms, including nudging open greater opportunities for women, has died, according to Saudi state TV. He was 90.

More than his guarded and hidebound predecessors, Abdullah assertively threw his oil-rich nation's weight behind trying to shape the Middle East. His priority was to counter the influence of rival, mainly Shiite Iran wherever it tried to make advances. He and fellow Sunni Arab monarchs also staunchly opposed the Middle East's wave of pro-democracy uprisings, seeing them as a threat to stability and their own rule.

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HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — A county prosecutor has been at least temporarily blocked from taking any action on a grand jury recommendation that state Attorney General Kathleen Kane be charged criminally in an investigation of alleged leaks of secret investigative material by her office.

The state Supreme Court took the action "until further order of the court," Jim Koval, a court spokesman, said Thursday. Matters in the case against Kane are otherwise under seal, he said.

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