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ISLAMABAD (AP) — An American drone strike in Pakistan has killed a top Taliban commander who sent money and fighters to battle the U.S. in Afghanistan but had a truce with the Pakistani military, officials said Thursday. The death of Maulvi Nazir is likely to be seen in Washington as affirmation of the necessity of the controversial U.S. drone program. It is likely to be viewed in a different light by military officials in Pakistan, however, because Nazir did not focus on Pakistani targets.
WASHINGTON (AP) — The House and Senate ushered in a new Congress Thursday, re-electing embattled Republican John Boehner speaker and hailing one of its own senators who returned a year after being felled by a stroke. The 113th Congress convened at 12 noon EST, the constitutionally mandated time, with pomp, pageantry and politics, on both sides of the Capitol.
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials say a photo taken at a resort in west-central Minnesota helped them solve a child pornography case and rescue a girl from her abuser. Gene Paulauskas, assistant special agent in charge of ICE's Homeland Security Investigations in Minneapolis, says agents in Oregon were investigating a case when they came across a photo labeled "Our Minnesota Trip." The image was sent to agents in Minnesota, who had it distributed among resort owners.
Lake Region Healthcare’s Orthopedic Joint Care Center opens this week in the main hospital building in Fergus Falls. The JCC specializes in knee and hip replacements, with a comprehensive before and after care program designed to ensure a successful recovery both at LRH and at home. “It’s a very exciting time for Lake Region Healthcare, as well as our community,” said Larry Schulz, CEO of LRH. “Our Joint Care Center utilizes only the newest technology and techniques all in a completely modified area built specifically for pre- to post-op care.”
LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Former Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm says she soon will leave Current TV, where she has hosted a public affairs program for the past year. Granholm made the announcement in a Facebook post late Wednesday, the same day it was revealed that Pan-Arab news channel Al-Jazeera has acquired Current TV.
NEW ORLEANS (AP) — The Justice Department has reached a $1.4 billion settlement with Transocean Ltd., the owner of the drilling rig that sank after an explosion killed 11 workers and spawned the massive 2010 oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. Two people with knowledge of the negotiations say Switzerland-based Transocean would pay the money to resolve the department's civil and criminal probe of the company's role in the Deepwater Horizon disaster.
NEW YORK (AP) — A last-minute surge in spending may have saved Christmas for stores. Major retailers such as Costco and Nordstrom on Thursday reported better-than-expected revenue in December. That comes as a relief for stores that can make up to 40 percent of their annual revenue during the winter holiday shopping period that runs from November through the end of December.
ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — An intensive effort to help Minnesota veterans find civilian jobs is paying off. National Guard officials say most of the 2,700 soldiers from the "Red Bull" Division who returned from the Mideast last spring have found work. Of the more than 500 who returned without civilian jobs, Minnesota Public Radio reports ( http://bit.ly/Umtq6y ), only 35 are still looking for work. Capt. Ron Jarvi Jr., who helps soldiers connect with unemployment resources, says it's a great accomplishment.
ELLSWORTH, Maine (AP) — A signed copy of a rare Stephen King book is up for auction at a Maine bookstore, with proceeds going to a nearby homeless shelter's emergency home heating fund. The copy of the “The Regulators,” written by horror writer and Maine native King under the pen name Richard Bachman, was donated by a customer of Scottie's Bookhouse in Hancock. Owner Michael Riggs says there are only 550 copies of the book in a special collector's box.
NEW YORK (AP) — Hormel Foods apparently has a hankering for a peanut butter and bacon sandwich. The company primarily known for Spam and other cured, smoked and deli meats said Thursday that it's buying Skippy, the country's No. 2 peanut butter brand, for about $700 million.