White House task force urges limit on NSA snooping WASHINGTON (AP) - A presidential advisory panel has recommended sweeping changes to government surveillance programs, including limiting the bulk collection of Americans' phone records by stripping the National Security Agency of its ability to store that data in its own facilities. Court orders would be required before the information could be searched. In a 300-page report released Wednesday, the five-member panel also proposed greater scrutiny of decisions to spy on friendly foreign leaders, a practice that has outraged U.S. allies around the world.
Ga. woman has 1 of 2 winning lottery tickets ATLANTA (AP) - A Georgia woman who bought just one ticket and used family birthdays and lucky No. 7 to choose her numbers was one of two winners of the $636 million Mega Millions jackpot, the second largest in U.S. history. Lottery officials in Georgia identified the winner as Ira Curry, of Stone Mountain, which is east of Atlanta. Curry will take a lump sum of about $120 million after taxes, Georgia Lottery chief executive Debbie Alford said.
10 Things to Know for Thursday Your daily look at late-breaking news, upcoming events and the stories that will be talked about Thursday: 1. ADVISORY PANEL URGES LIMITS ON NSA SPYING
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Defense bill gives Obama rare Guantanamo victory WASHINGTON (AP) - Up to half the terror suspects held at the U.S. military prison at Guantanamo Bay could be closer to heading home under a bipartisan deal reached in Congress that gives President Barack Obama a rare victory in his fight to close the prison. The deal would lift the most rigid restrictions Congress previously imposed on detainee transfers overseas and is part of a broad compromise defense bill awaiting final passage in the Senate this week. The House approved the measure last Thursday.
Syrian air raids exact high toll on Aleppo BEIRUT (AP) - In a withering four-day air assault, the Syrian government pummeled opposition-held neighborhoods in the northern city of Aleppo, leveling apartment buildings, flooding hospitals with casualties and killing nearly 200 people. Rebels say the unusually intense airstrikes have prompted civilians to flee to the countryside and could portend a government ground offensive against the opposition-held half of the city, which has been divided for a year and half by grueling fighting.
Higher blood pressure threshold OK in older adults CHICAGO (AP) - Many older adults with high blood pressure can be treated less aggressively, which could mean taking fewer pills to get it under control, according to new treatment guidelines from an expert panel. But not all experts are on board with the advice - including the federal agency that appointed the group. Panel members stressed that they are not changing the definition of high blood pressure: 140 over 90. For adults aged 60 and older, they are recommending a higher treatment threshold, prescribing medicine only when blood pressure levels reach 150 over 90 or higher.
Secret Service investigating Target data breach NEW YORK (AP) - The Secret Service says it is investigating a credit- and debit-card data theft at Target stores. Secret Service spokesman Brian Leary confirms the agency is investigating, but declined to provide further details.
Dog that survived gassing headed to Rose Parade NEWARK, N.J. (AP) - Things are coming up roses for a scrappy New Jersey beagle who survived a dog pound gas chamber. Daniel will be among eight shelter dogs riding on a float in the Rose Parade on New Year's Day in Pasadena, Calif.
Patriarch off 'Duck Dynasty' after gay comments LOS ANGELES (AP) - "Duck Dynasty" patriarch Phil Robertson is off the hit A&E reality series indefinitely after disparaging gays as sinners akin to adulterers and swindlers, the network said. A&E announced Wednesday what it called a "hiatus" for Robertson, 67, after he disparaged gays in the January edition of GQ magazine. He also said that, growing up in Louisiana before the Civil Rights movement, he never saw mistreatment of blacks.
Late run lifts Heat past Pacers 97-94 in showdown MIAMI (AP) - Dwyane Wade scored 32 points, Ray Allen hit a go-ahead 3-pointer with just under a minute left and the Miami Heat erased a 15-point deficit in the second half to beat the Indiana Pacers 97-94 on Wednesday night. LeBron James scored 24 on a bad left ankle for the Heat, who closed within a game of the Eastern Conference-leading Pacers. Chris Bosh added 15 points for Miami, including a 3 that tied it late in the fourth.
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