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ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — Minnesota health officials reported 23 flu deaths in the past week Thursday in one of the state's most severe flu seasons in years, bringing the season total to 27. More than 1,100 people across the state have been hospitalized with the flu this season, according to the Minnesota Department of Health. And it's been difficult for health officials to keep up. Several hospitals have restricted visitors in an attempt to protect patients and staff from the flu. Flu activity is hitting hard around the U.S, with most states classifying it as widespread.
LONDON (AP) — Two former Guantanamo detainees on Thursday condemned "Zero Dark Thirty," a film about the hunt for Osama bin Laden whose brutal interrogation scenes have sparked a discussion over the use of extreme methods in the U.S. campaign against terror. Speaking at an event in London on the eve of the 11th anniversary of the opening of the U.S. prison camp in eastern Cuba, the pair said the film was an attempt to rehabilitate those guilty of human rights abuses.
OAKDALE, Minn. (AP) — The St. Paul Winter Carnival has a new ambassador of fun. WCCO says Anita Mack was crowned Klondike Kate in Oakdale Wednesday night. Five contestants were judged on vocal ability, song, costume and audience reaction. The original "Klondike Kate" earned her nickname during the Gold Rush of 1898, as the most famous dancehall girl of the North. The St. Paul Winter Carnival starts Jan. 24. Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.
BUFFALO, Minn. (AP) — A man who was arrested but not charged in the killing of a Cold Spring police officer has been charged with stalking his ex-girlfriend. The St. Cloud Times reports ( http://on.sctimes.com/11jMycu ) 34-year-old Ryan Michael Larson is accused of a pattern of stalking that included calling her employer, a health care facility in Buffalo, and trying to get her fired. A warrant was issued for his arrest Thursday.
CENTER CITY, Minn. (AP) — The Chisago County Attorney says the use of deadly force by a sheriff's deputy in North Branch was justified. The county attorney agrees with findings from the state Bureau of Criminal Apprehension which reviewed the shooting by Deputy Steven Husmann. Authorities say Robert Aho was killed July 8, 2012 when he emerged from his home armed with a rifle and shotgun and ignored commands to put the weapons down.
WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama is announcing Treasury secretary nominee Jack Lew, pointing to his past work of balancing budgets during the Clinton administration. The president says he feels "bittersweet" about losing Lew as his White House chief of staff but says "my loss will be the nation's gain." He notes that Lew was budget director during the Clinton administration, when the budget ran a surplus for three years.
TAFT, Calif. (AP) — A student was shot and wounded at a San Joaquin Valley high school Thursday and a suspect was taken into custody, officials said. The shooting occurred about 9 a.m. at Taft Union High School, an oil and agricultural community about 120 miles northwest of Los Angeles. The student who was shot was flown to a hospital in Bakersfield, said Ray Pruitt, spokesman for the Kern County Sheriff's Department. There was no immediate word on the victim's condition.
WASHINGTON (AP) - The evangelical pastor chosen to give the benediction at President Barack Obama's inauguration withdrew from the ceremony Thursday after remarks he made two decades ago condemning the gay rights movement surfaced. The Rev. Louie Giglio of Passion City Church in Atlanta said in a statement he withdrew because it was likely that the "prayer I would offer will be dwarfed by those seeking to make their agenda the focal point of the inauguration."
QUETTA, Pakistan (AP) — A series of bombings in different parts of Pakistan killed 103 people on Thursday, including 69 who died in a sectarian attack on a bustling billiard hall in the southwest city of Quetta, officials said. The blasts punctuated one of the deadliest days in recent years in Pakistan, where the government faces a bloody insurgency by Taliban militants in the northwest and Baluch militants in the southwest.
CHASKA, Minn. (AP) — Chaska police say they've made an arrest for a threat that closed the local high school Tuesday. Police announced the arrest of a boy Wednesday night, but gave no other details. The school was locked down Tuesday morning and students were later sent home. Classes resumed Wednesday. Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.