State, nation and world news Feb. 9, 2011

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Compiled by Spinnaker and Wire Services

Around the State: Rick Scott takes a whack at Florida’s budget

Governor Rick Scott proposed a two-year budget plan Feb. 7 that would slash $7.1 billion in state spending by making broad cuts to public education, benefits for state workers and their pension plans. “The public expects us to get back to what the core functions of the state are,” Scott said at a Tallahassee news conference. Public schools’ spending plans will go from $22.5 billion to $19.1 billion. Scott also plans to save $3 billion in Medicaid over the next two years by slashing payments to providers like hospitals and physicians, and expanding the Medicaid reform pilot statewide. “I commend the governor’s fiscally conservative efforts to do more with less, all without raising taxes,” Sen. John Thrasher, R-St. Augustine, said in a statement. But Democrats slammed the proposal for the deep cuts it made. “The retreaded voodoo economics we heard today will not right this ship,” said Senate Minority Leader Nan Rich, D-Weston.

Around the Nation: AOL: You’ve got the Huffington Post

America Online purchased The Huffington Post for $315 million this week, a step in CEO Tim Armstrong’s effort to reinvent the Internet provider as a media company. AOL will pay $300 million in cash, and the rest will be in stock. Arianna Huffington will still have control of all AOL’s editorial content and maintain the title of president and editor in chief of what would be called The Huffington Post Media Group. She will oversee not only popular AOL websites like Techcrunch and the local Patch news sites, but also properties like MapQuest and MovieFone. Huffington said she hopes to turn AOL into a center of “citizen journalism” in advance of the 2012 elections.

Around the World: Civil unrest continues in Egypt

Last weekend’s negotiations did little to quell the unrest in Egypt, as protests enter their second straight week. Demonstrators remain camped out in Cairo’s Tahrir Square. However, the protesters are reportedly taking their toll on the military, which, so far, has remained neutral. Reports indicate troops near the Egypt Museum opened fire Sunday night. Egypt’s new vice president initiated talks with six opposition groups Feb. 6, including the Muslim Brotherhood and promised several reforms, including looking at new constitutional amendments, tackling government corruption, and liberalizing the media. Still, protesters want President Hosni Mubarak to resign. The New York Times says that for the past week Mubarak “has veered between anger, a sense of betrayal and stoicism.”