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WASHINGTON - It's Day 3 of thefederal government shutdown, with no end in sight. President Obama sayshe's "exasperated," which probably sums up the feelings of lawmakers inCongress and the rest of the nation. What you need to know for Thursday,Oct. 3:

Obama meets with lawmakers, but shutdown continues

Congressand the White House aren't any closer to ending the budget impasse thatsparked the shutdown, but President Obama and top Senate and Houseleaders met for the first time Wednesday to discuss the situation. Theissues are still the same: Obama and Democrats won't accept any stopgapspending bill to fund the government that has restrictions.Republicans aren't budging from trying to affect the health care lawsigned by Obama. Every day of the shutdown also brings the nation closerto reaching another fiscal crisis on Oct. 17, when the government willreach the debt ceiling.

Children caught in the middle of budget fight

Children are the collateral damage in the shutdown,and its duration could have a devastating impact on some.Pre-kindergarten classes under the Head Start program have been forcedto close. Patients with incurable diseases have been turned away fromthe National Institute of Health's Clinical Center. About 8.8 millionwomen and children are at risk of not getting vouchers through theSpecial Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children,known as WIC.

Freebies to furloughed workers ease the pain

With800,000 federal employees furloughed from their jobs, companies insideand outside of Washington are trying to lure customers and mediaattention by offering everything from free cups of coffee to freebie sandwichesand free oil changes. One example: Federal workers who own a Hyundaican stop making car payments for as long as the shutdown keeps them offthe job. All the bad political karma is getting reshaped intopositive PR by dozens of companies desperately trying to make publicrelations lemonade out of the government shutdown lemon.

Shutdown clogs pipeline of government data for business

The river of datathat federal agencies release daily on everything from job growth todivorce rates is drying up in the shutdown. At the top of the list isthe closely watched Labor Department report on U.S. employment inSeptember. Reports on factory orders, retail sales and wholesale priceswill likely be postponed if the shutdown goes into next week. Economistsand industry officials say the data vacuum will likely affect stockmarkets and even business hiring and investment if the government isclosed for more than a week or two.

Pentagon OKs service academy football games

The Defense Department gave the go-ahead late Wednesday for the military service academies toplay their scheduled football games this weekend, including thesold-out Navy vs. Air Force matchup in Annapolis, Md. The games were injeopardy because the Pentagon suspended all intercollegiate athletics atthe shutdown's start. Army is scheduled to play Boston College, butneither athletic department had officially announced the game washappening.

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