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Special Report

Obama's Polling Remains Solid in Europe

Some fresh pickings from the Political Grapevine:

Holding Steady

President Obama's approval rating may be slipping at home, but he's holding steady in Europe. A survey by Transatlantic Trends shows within the European Union 78 percent approve of Obama's foreign policies, compared with 52 percent here in the U.S. That's still a drop from last year, when the president had an 83 percent approval rating in the E.U.

The number of Europeans who disapprove of the president's handling of international policies doubled to 16 percent.

Back in 2008, then-President George W. Bush's disapproval rating was 75 percent in those countries.

Let's Talk About Sex

If you're wondering why the economic recovery is lagging, we may have another answer. It turns out that the National Institutes of Health put your stimulus dollars to work on men in Africa. The organization spent more than $820,000 of economic recovery funds on a study to teach African men how to wash themselves after sex.

But the researchers aren't even sure if the washing regimen actually works in preventing men from contracting HIV. They hope to do another study about that later on.

No word on whether they'll use more stimulus money for that.

Butt Out

Anyone who wants to smoke in New York City may just have to stay home.

City officials, with support from Mayor Michael Bloomberg, have announced new legislation to ban smoking in public places, such as parks, beaches, marinas, boardwalks and pedestrian plazas. That means no lighting up on a stroll through Central Park or while taking in the sights in Times Square.

If the ban is passed, violators could be slapped with a $50 ticket.