Senate OKs defense bill, sends measure to Obama WASHINGTON (AP) - Congress is sending President Barack Obama a comprehensive defense bill that would crack down on sexual assault in the military and add protections for victims. The Senate voted 84-15 Thursday night for the legislation, which capped a year-long campaign led by the women of the Senate to address the scourge of rape and sexual assault in the ranks.
Over 75 injured in partial London theater collapse LONDON (AP) - Hunks of plaster and dust rained down on a packed audience when the ceiling of a London theater partially collapsed Thursday night. More than 75 people were injured - seven seriously, authorities said. The collapse at the Apollo Theatre took place around 8:15 p.m. during a performance of "The Curious Incident Of The Dog In The Night-Time" at the height of the Christmas holiday season. Plaster and masonry from a section of the ceiling tumbled down, bringing parts of the theater's balconies down with it onto the audience, police said.
Gov't offers a stopgap health insurance option WASHINGTON (AP) - Trying to head off more bad news over the chaotic rollout of President Barack Obama's health care law, the administration Thursday offered stopgap options so people whose existing plans got canceled are not penalized. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said in a letter to a group of senators that she will use authorities in the law to issue a "hardship exemption" from tax penalties to those who received cancellations and were not able to line up new coverage.
NSA debate shifts in favor of surveillance limits WASHINGTON (AP) - In a sharp and unexpected shift, the national debate over U.S. government surveillance seems to be turning in favor of reining in the National Security Agency's expansive spying powers at home and abroad. It's happened suddenly, over a span of just three days. First, a federal judge ruled that the NSA's bulk collection of telephone records was unconstitutional, and then a presidential advisory panel recommended sweeping changes to the agency. Together, the developments are ratcheting up the pressure on President Barack Obama to scale back the controversial surveillance programs.
Fury and frustration over Target data breach NEW YORK (AP) - Potential victims of credit card fraud tied to Target's security breach said they had trouble contacting the discounter through its website and call centers. Angry Target customers expressed their displeasure in comments on the company's Facebook page. Some even threatened to stop shopping at the store. Target apologized on Facebook and said it's working hard to resolve the problem and is adding more workers to field calls and help solve website issues.
Report: Fired nuke general misbehaved in Russia WASHINGTON (AP) - The Air Force general who was fired from command of U.S. land-based nuclear missile forces had engaged in "inappropriate behavior" while on official business in Russia last summer, including heavy drinking, rudeness to his hosts and associating with "suspect" women, according to an investigation report released Thursday. The events that led to the dismissal took place while Maj. Gen. Michael Carey was in Russia in July as head of a U.S. government delegation to a nuclear security training exercise. At the time, he was commander of the 20th Air Force, responsible for all 450 of the Air Force's Minuteman 3 intercontinental ballistic missiles stationed in five U.S. states.
Dads to diapers and more, myth-busting survey says CHICAGO (AP) - The detached dad, turning up his nose at diapering and too busy to bathe, dress and play with his kids, is mostly a myth, a big government survey suggests. Most American fathers say they are heavily involved in hands-on parenting, the researchers found. The nationally representative survey shows fathers' involvement has increased slightly since the government first asked in 2002, coinciding with research since then that bolsters the benefits of hands-on fathering.
Police: Suicide note foretold of Reno attack RENO, Nev. (AP) - Bypassing waiting patients, a gunman who complained he had a botched 2010 surgery opened fire with a 12-guage shotgun at doctors at a Reno medical office - a deadly rampage that investigators say was referred to in a suicide note. For the first time Thursday detectives provided a chilling, detailed account of how Alan Oliver Frazier of Plumas County, Calif., opened fire with a pistol-grip shotgun in the examination room area.of a urology medical practice.
'Duck Dynasty' fans react to Robertson's hiatus LOS ANGELES (AP) - When the A&E network suspended "Duck Dynasty" patriarch Phil Robertson for disparaging gay people, it may have followed a time-honored TV tradition of quickly silencing a star who, for better or worse, speaks his mind. But in doing so it also ruffled the feathers of possibly millions of fans of its most popular show. Fourteen hours after it was learned that Robertson had been placed on indefinite "hiatus" for telling GQ magazine, among other things, that gays are headed to hell, more than a half-million people liked an impromptu Facebook page demanding the show be boycotted until he returns.
Rodman holds tryouts for Pyongyang exhibition game PYONGYANG, North Korea (AP) - Former NBA star Dennis Rodman held tryouts Friday for a North Korean team to face a dozen NBA veterans in an exhibition game on leader Kim Jong Un's birthday next month - though he hasn't convinced all the players on the American team that it's safe to come to Pyongyang. The flamboyant Hall of Famer said plans for the Jan. 8 game are moving ahead but some of the 12 Americans he wants are afraid to come.