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Weiner to resign from Congress

Embattled US representative Anthony Weiner is resigning from Congress, saying he cannot continue in office amid the intense controversy surrounding sexually explicit messages he sent online to several women.

The 46-year-old Democrat made the announcement in his home district in New York after two weeks of fighting off pressure to step aside.

Mr Weiner apologised again for "the embarrassment that I have caused" and said he hoped to continue to fight for the causes dear to his constituents.

Party leaders have been pressing him to resign so that Democrats could resume positioning themselves for the 2012 election campaign without constant criticism from Republicans on moral grounds.

"I'm here today to again apologise for the personal mistakes I have made and the embarrassment I have caused," he said reading from a brief statement in New York City's Brooklyn borough. "I make this apology to my neighbours and my constituents, but I make it particularly to my wife, Huma."

Mr Weiner's wife Huma Abedin was absent as he announced his decision on Thursday, as she was 10 days ago when he admitted having sent inappropriate messages and photos to several women online.

Mr Weiner said he had hoped to remain in Congress but conceded his predicament had made that impossible. Instead, he said he would resign "so my colleagues can get back to work, my neighbours can choose a new representative and, most importantly, that my wife and I can continue to heal from the damage I have caused".

He took a leave of absence and had been at a treatment facility at an undisclosed location since last weekend. Until Thursday's press conference, he had not been seen in public since telling reporters last Saturday he intended to return to work.

His decision to give up his House seat marks the end of a scandal that resulted from the brash New Yorker's use of social media such as Twitter and Facebook.

Mr Weiner at first denied having sent any inappropriate photos, then recanted in a remarkable news conference 10 days ago at which he admitted having exchanged inappropriate messages with several women.

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