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WASHINGTON (AP) — Allowing women to serve in combat roles will strengthen the U.S. military's ability to win wars, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said Thursday, shortly before his official announcement of the landmark change. "Our military is more capable, and our force is more powerful, when we use all of the great diverse strengths of the American people," Panetta said at a Pentagon ceremony in remembrance of Martin Luther King Jr.
BEIRUT (AP) — Syrian warplanes bombed rebel-held areas near Damascus on Thursday as President Bashar Assad's troops battled opposition fighters for control of a strategic road that links the capital with the main airport. The fighting around Damascus was part of the government offensive to dislodge rebels from towns and villages ringing the Syrian capital — areas that have been opposition strongholds since the uprising against Assad's rule began nearly two years ago.
WASHINGTON (AP) — Congressional Democrats are reintroducing legislation to ban assault weapons but the measure faces long odds even after last month's mass school shooting in Newtown, Conn. The measure being unveiled Thursday is authored by Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California, who wrote the original assault weapons ban. That law expired in 2004 when Congress refused to renew it under pressure from the National Rifle Association.
WASHINGTON (AP) — Senior defense officials say Pentagon chief Leon Panetta is removing the military's ban on women serving in combat, opening hundreds of thousands of front-line positions and potentially elite commando jobs after more than a decade at war.
WASHINGTON (AP) — Likening sexual assault in the Air Force's ranks to a cancer, the service's top officer resolved Wednesday to tackle the problem by screening personnel more carefully and putting an end to bad behaviors like binge drinking that can lead to misconduct.
PARK CITY, Utah (AP) — The Sundance Film Festival isn't home to many shoot-em-up movies, but action-oriented actors at the festival are facing questions about Hollywood's role in American gun violence. Guy Pearce and Alexander Skarsgard are among those who say Hollywood shares in the blame.
JERUSALEM (AP) — Israel's election has put a suave former TV news anchor and political novice in the role of kingmaker, and he has signaled he will use his power to try to move the next government to more centrist positions on Mideast peacemaking. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is likely to form the coalition as the head of the largest party, but that is not a certainty. A nearly complete vote count Wednesday showed a deadlock between Netanyahu's hawkish bloc and the center-left camp.
NEW YORK (AP) — AMC says "Mad Men" will return for its new season on April 7. AMC announced Wednesday that the two-hour premiere kicks off the acclaimed drama series' sixth season. The episode was written by "Mad Men" creator Matthew Weiner. "Mad Men" is set in the advertising world of circa-1960s New York City and stars Jon Hamm as agency exec Don Draper. Other stars include January Jones, Elisabeth Moss, John Slattery and Christina Hendricks. Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.
DULUTH, Minn. (AP) — A snowmobiler from Superior, Wis., is recovering in a Duluth, Minn., hospital after spending two nights in subzero cold in the forest on the Wisconsin-Minnesota border. Craig Friebe says he was riding up the frozen Nemadji River early Saturday when he ran out of gas. He would spend over 48 hours trying to find his way back to civilization before he came upon a bridge at daylight Monday, when it was about 15 degrees below zero, and waited until a snowplow driver happened by and summoned help for him
NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Justin Timberlake will appear in his first concert in more than four years the night before the Super Bowl. Timberlake has signed on to perform during "DIRECTV Super Saturday Night," held Feb. 2 in New Orleans. The singer recently released a new single, "Suit and Tie," featuring Jay-Z, and will release new album "The 20/20 Experience" later this year.