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URGENT: Video shows beheading of second American journalist

DUBAI (Reuters) - The Islamic State militant group released a video purporting to show the beheading of U.S. hostage Steven Sotloff, the SITE monitoring service reported on Tuesday. A masked figure in the video also issued a threat against a British hostage, a man the group named as David Haines, and warned governments to back off "this evil alliance of America against the Islamic State", the monitoring service said. (Reporting by William Maclean, Editing by Angus MacSwan)

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Congress verifies: Obama, Biden win Electoral College vote

U.S. Vice President Joe Biden (L) holds the presidential election electoral college vote certificate representing the state of Ohio alongsid
U.S. Vice President Joe Biden (L) holds the presidential election electoral college vote certificate representing the state of Ohio alongsid

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The Congress formally confirmed on Friday, nearly two months after polls closed, that President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden won the 2012 White House election.

At a joint session of the Senate and House of Representatives, lawmakers carried out the final phase of a process known as the Electoral College that dates back to the founding of the nation.

They verified the vote of 538 electors from the 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia, each of whom represented a presidential and vice presidential candidate. Electors were picked on Election Day, based on the popular vote.

In approving and then adding up individual certification documents, they confirmed that Democrats Obama and Biden beat Republican challengers Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan, 332-206. At least 270 electoral votes are needed to win.

Republican House Speaker John Boehner and Biden, as Senate president, presided over the process that lasted about 30 minutes.

(Reporting By Thomas Ferraro; Editing by Vicki Allen)

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