IN HEADLINES TODAY: Missouri Senate passes budget; mad cow disease found in California

Wednesday, April 25, 2012 | 12:43 p.m. CDT; updated 1:48 p.m. CDT, Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Here are some of today's top stories in Missouri, the nation and around the world according to The Associated Press:

Missouri | Budget moves forward, but balance unclear

With a final version of the state budget due to Gov. Jay Nixon on May 11, the Missouri Senate passed a version of the budget Wednesday. The House passed a budget in March. The Senate budget does not cut funding to either higher education or a program for people who are blind, which had been cut by the House so higher education could still be funded. Both versions of the budget involve a pay increase for state employees, though the eligibility threshold in the Senate version is much lower than the House version. Whether or not the Senate version of the budget is balanced was not established.

Nation | Random selection discovers California cow with mad cow disease

The cow in California that has been named the fourth case of bovine spongiform encephalopathy, or mad cow disease, did not display symptoms of the disease while alive. The disease was found when the cow's carcass was selected for a randomly assigned testing program after its death. The version of the cow's disease is not believed to have been attained through food, which is how the more common version spreads.

Nation | Senate Democrats move to freeze student loan interest rates

Democrats in the U.S. Senate have introduced legislation that would freeze interest rates on student loans for a year. To fund the measure, payroll taxes at certain private corporations would be increased. Republicans have expressed opposition to this tax increase. Democrats in the House of Representatives also plan to introduce similar legislation.       

World | Murdoch testifies at inquiry on U.K. phone hacking scandal

Rupert Murdoch, who is in charge of numerous publications and broadcast stations around the world, testified Wednesday in a U.K. inquiry into his ethics. The inquiry stems from investigations into a phone hacking scandal at a tabloid in the U.K. that Murdoch ran. In his testimony, Murdoch denied most allegations.

'AP News Minute'

Here are the top stories from the AP summarized in about a minute:

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