NATION IN BRIEF: New York state lawmakers reject gay marriage bill

The Associated Press. Supporters of same-sex marriage demonstrate outside the New York Senate at the Capitol in Albany, N.Y., on Wednesday after the Senate voted down a bill to legalize same-sex marriage.

The Associated Press. Supporters of same-sex marriage demonstrate outside the New York Senate at the Capitol in Albany, N.Y., on Wednesday after the Senate voted down a bill to legalize same-sex marriage.

New York state lawmakers reject gay marriage bill

ALBANY, N.Y. -- New York lawmakers rejected a bill Wednesday that would have made their state the sixth to allow gay marriage, disheartening advocates already stung by a similar decision by Maine voters just last month.

The New York measure failed by a wider-than-expected margin, falling 12 votes short in a 24-38 decision by the state Senate. The Assembly had earlier approved the bill, and Gov. David Paterson, perhaps the bill's strongest advocate, had pledged to sign it.

New York also doesn't allow civil unions, but has several laws, executive orders and court decisions that grant many of the rights to gays long enjoyed by married couples.

Ft. Hood suspect charged with attempted murder

FORT WORTH, Texas -- An Army psychiatrist was charged Wednesday with 32 counts of attempted premeditated murder in the deadly mass shooting at Fort Hood that also injured more than two dozen soldiers and two civilian police officers, military officials said.

Maj. Nidal Hasan has already been charged with 13 counts of premeditated murder after the Nov. 5 shooting in a building at the Texas base where soldiers must go before being deployed. Witnesses said he jumped on a desk and shouted ''Allahu Akbar!'' -- Arabic for ''God is great!'' Army officials have said he was armed with two pistols, one a semiautomatic capable of firing up to 20 rounds without reloading.

The additional charges come less than 24 hours after Hasan's civilian attorney was notified that the Army plans to evaluate Hasan to test his competency to stand trial as well as his mental state at the time of the shooting.

Comcast, GE set to announce NBC deal today

PHILADELPHIA -- The deal to give Comcast Corp. control of NBC Universal is expected to be announced this morning.

Two people familiar with the talks told The Associated Press of the plans on condition of anonymity because the agreement has not been made public.

Comcast's purchase of a 51 percent stake in NBC Universal would transform the nation's largest cable TV provider into one of the biggest owners of TV and movie programming.

Comcast is expected to pay GE $5 billion to $7 billion in cash and contribute $6 billion to $7 billion worth of cable channels. GE would transfer $8 billion to $10 billion in debt to the venture and own 49 percent at the outset.

GE paved the way by reaching a deal this week to buy out the 20 percent stake in NBC Universal that is held by France's Vivendi SA.

Bank of America to repay bailout loans, raise cash

NEW YORK -- Bank of America Corp. says it plans to repay its government bailout funds and raise capital in the coming days.

The bank has issued a statement Wednesday saying it would pay back the $45 billion in government loans it received during the credit crisis last year and after the purchase of Merrill Lynch & Co. earlier this year.

The move would allow Bank of America, which is trying to recruit a new CEO to succeed the retiring Ken Lewis, to free itself from government restrictions on executive pay that come along with bailout funds.

Bank of America said it would use $26.2 billion in available cash and would also sell $18.8 billion in securities.

Ample supply drives oil below $77 per barrel

NEW YORK -- Oil prices dipped Wednesday with more evidence that the country is using less energy while oil and gasoline supplies continue to grow.

Demand for gasoline slumped during the Thanksgiving week, when millions of people take to the road and gas sales usually jump.

''Once the holiday was over, people got right back to their cocooning habits, stayed home and didn't do a lot of driving,'' said Tom Kloza, publisher and chief oil analyst at Oil Price Information Service.

Benchmark crude for January delivery dropped $1.77, or more than 2 percent, to settle at $76.60 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

No bodies found at Ohio suspect's former home

CLEVELAND -- The FBI said no bodies turned up in a search of the former home of an Ohio serial killing suspect who later lived on another property that held the remains of 11 women.

Agents led two search dogs on Wednesday around the East Cleveland property where 50-year-old Anthony Sowell lived before going to prison for 15 years for a 1989 attempted rape.