END OF BAN ON WOMEN IN COMBAT ANNOUNCED: Defense Secretary Leon Panetta
made the news official Thursday (January 24th) that had been reported a day earlier, announcing that the ban on women serving in combat is being lifted, a move that will open up more than 230,000 positions to women and pave the way for them to earn higher pay and better promotions. Panetta said women have shown they are willing to fight and die alongside their male comrades, stating, "We owe it to them to allow them to pursue every avenue of military service for which they are fully prepared and qualified." Panetta said the qualifications will not be lowered, acknowledging that not all women will meet them, and said it will be up to the military service chiefs to recommend whether women should remain excluded from special forces such as the Navy SEALs and Army's Delta Force.
AL-QAIDA'S NO. 2 IN YEMEN DIES MONTHS AFTER INJURED IN DRONE STRIKE: Al-Qaida's No. 2 in Yemen, Saeed al-Shihri, has died of wounds he suffered in a U.S. drone attack in that nation last October, Yemen's official SABA news agency and a security official
said Thursday (January 24th).
to several attempted attacks in the
underwear bombing attempt of an airliner over
KERRY TESTIFIES IN CONFIRMATION HEARING: Democratic Senator John Kerry of Massachusetts answered questions Thursday (January 24th) in his confirmation hearing for the position of secretary of state, testifying on topics including Iran, Syria and climate
change before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee -- the same committee he'd
sat on for 28 years and was chairman of for the last four. Kerry was introduced by the current secretary of state, Hillary Clinton, who called him "the right choice" to succeed her as she steps down after four years. The committee is expected to approve Kerry's nomination.
NTSB 'VERY CONCERNED' ABOUT '
on board aircraft. This is a very serious air safety concern." The 787 has been grounded by the Federal Aviation Administration since an All Nippon Airways plane made an emergency landing in Japan on January 16th after a battery incident, which Hersman said may or may not have been a fire. That emergency landing came after a fire occurred on a Japan Airlines 787 on the tarmac in
POLL: AMERICANS WANT DEFICIT REDUCED, BUT NO CUTS IN ENTITLEMENTS, EDUCATION: A new poll clearly illustrates the political problem facing the Obama administration and Congress as they try to get
survey by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the Harvard School of Public Health and the Kaiser Family Foundation found that most Americans want President Obama and Congress to reduce the deficit, but to do so without cuts to Medicare, Social Security or education. Two-thirds of those surveyed said they want the deficit reduced, but two-thirds also said there shouldn't be education, Medicare or Social Security cuts as a way to do so, with an even
greater three-quarters saying the deficit can be brought down without cutting
SENATE APPROVES SMALL-SCALE FILIBUSTER REFORM: The Senate voted by a wide margin yesterday (January 24th) to approve reforms to curb the use of filibusters, but the changes were on a small-scale, not the more sweeping changes some Democrats had wanted. The rules changes -- which were worked out on a bipartisan basis between Majority
Leader Harry Reid and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell -- would reduce, but not eliminate, the number of times the minority party can use filibusters, which block legislation and can only be ended by the votes of 60 senators. The currently majority Democrats say the minority Republicans use of filibusters has become so frequent as to be almost routine. In return, the majority party would have to allow two minority amendments on bills, a response
to complaints from the Republicans that the Democrats often prevent them from offering any amendments at all. The attempt pushed by some Democratic senators to require filibustering senators to physically debate on the Senate floor -- as Jimmy Stewart did in the 1939 film, Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, but has been rare for decades -- went nowhere.
FACEBOOK FOUNDER ZUCKERBERG TO
with Christie before, when the social networking giant's chief donated $100 million to the struggling public schools in
last October, with a
EX-SCIENTOLOGIST COUPLE SUE THE CHURCH
misrepresented causes. Luis and Maria Garcia claim they were duped into giving more than $420,000 for a building campaign, disaster relief efforts and other Scientology causes, only to discover most of the money went instead towards other spending, including inflating the church coffers, financing the, quote, "lavish lifestyle" of its leader, David Miscavige, stifling
inquiries into church activities and intimidating members and former members.
The lawsuit charges, "The church, under the leadership of David Miscavige, has strayed from its founding principles and morphed into a secular enterprise whose primary purpose is taking people's money." The church denies the charges. The Garcias were 28-year members of the church, rising to upper levels of Scientology. But they left in 2010 over their disenchantment with its direction under Miscavige, who has led the church since founder L. Ron Hubbard's death in 1986.
WHICH STATES HAVE AMERICANS WHO LIVE THE LONGEST?: A growing number of Americans are living to age 100, with the centenarian population rising 65.8 percent over the past three decades, from 32,194 people who were age 100 or older in 1980 to 53,364 centenarians in 2010, according to new Census Bureau data. This increase came at the same time as the total population increased just 36.3 percent. A U.S. News & World Report story said that people who live to be 100 have certain living conditions in common, with a large majority of them living in urban areas, for instance, and more living in the Northeast or
VOICEMAILS FROM TE'O HOAX GIRLFRIEND PLAYED IN COURIC INTERVIEW: Voicemails from a person that Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te'o says was pretending to be his online girlfriend were played during an interview he did with Katie Couric that aired on
her syndicated show Thursday (January 24th). Three voicemails were played that Te'o said were left for him last year by someone he believed to be "Lennay Kekua," a woman he fell for online, but never met in person, and who he says he thought had died in September of leukemia. Deadspin.com exposed the hoax earlier this month, saying Kekua never existed. But Te'o has denied any involvement, saying he'd believed the whole story until he got a phone call on December 6th from the person he'd believed to be Kekua. Some had charged the Heisman Trophy runner-up might have been involved in the hoax for publicity.
The first voicemail was from what was supposed to be Kekua's first day of
second, the person was apparently upset by someone else answering Te'o's phone:
And the third was left on the day he believed Kekua was released from the hospital, the
day before she supposedly died:
Couric suggested the person who left the messages might have been Ronaiah Tuisasosopo, a 22-year-old
parents appeared with him for part of the interview, backing up their son's claim that he wasn't involved in the hoax, saying they'd also spoken on the phone with a person they believed to be Kekua.
Players made their debut on January 18th at the Sundance Film Festival, where the movie premiered, and will also perform on the 31st to celebrate its
world. When I came up with the idea of taking all these performers to the live
stage a few months ago, my idea (was) to have video presentations between each
performance. We'll have that at the next shows."
FORMER KORN GUITARIST ‘EXCITED’ ABOUT REUNION SHOWS: Ex-Korn guitarist Brian "Head" Welch told Artist Direct in a new interview that he is "really excited" about reuniting with his former group for four shows this spring and summer. After being initially announced to join them at two German festivals, Welch has now also signed on for a
Welch said, "It's a bit surreal because I didn't expect it to happen. We have no hate for each other like some of these other bands that haven't talked in years. People grew. Everyone went to different places in life . . . It was so long that I didn't see it happening, but then when it crept up on me last May during Carolina Rebellion, I saw the emotion. Nothing else mattered
except reconciliation, brotherly love, and that family feel with the guys and the fans. People were in tears. I thought, 'This is a really good thing.'"
J.J. ABRAMS TO DIRECT UPCOMING '
JAMES CAMERON SUED
SYLVESTER STALLONE BLACKMAILED BY HALF-SISTER: Details have emerged of an alleged blackmail plot involving Sylvester Stallone and his half-sister which went down in the
1980s. Toni-Ann Filiti reportedly received millions of dollars from Stallone after she threatened him with false claims of physical abuse.
Documents obtained by Page Six reveal that Sly and Toni-Ann reached a settlement
which had the Rambo actor giving her $2 million plus $16,666.66 per month and a $50,000 per year trust to cover her psychiatric and medical expenses. Sources close to the situation say there was no truth to the abuse allegations and Stallone's mother Jackie said, "This was nothing more than a shakedown. Toni-Ann was on 65 Oxycontin pills a day, and she threatened Sylvester. A drug addict will do anything. When Sylvester became famous, she didn't have to hook. He was trying to help her. He caved in."
IS THERE A ‘SAVED BY THE
might follow in the footsteps of Boy Meets World and reboot the series or at least stage a reunion.
Gosselaar, aka Zack Morris, referenced the Boy Meets World reboot saying, "We'll see how they do and maybe we'll do a reunion as well." Dennis, who played Mr. Belding, told TMZ, "I have always supported a reunion of any kind including all of us. Honestly, the fans still love us and our show so much; they deserve it!"
APP SHOWS HOW DRINKING WILL AFFECT YOUR LOOKS: A free app released by the Scottish government aims to cut down on excess drinking. It's called Drinking Mirror,
and is free. Brave users upload their picture and enter how many alcoholic drinks they have per week to see what their future face will look like. For those who enjoy too many cocktails the app shows a face that has aged less than gracefully and has redness, puffiness, and deep wrinkles. Dermatologist Michele Green says that alcohol is a toxin to the body, and causes the body to dehydrate and age prematurely. (Women's Health)
TWITTER INTRODUCES "VINE": Twitter has introduced a new app called Vine. The app is being called the Instagram of video, and is currently only available for the iPhone. Users must sign into the app using their Twitter account or via email, then they simply hit the video camera button and press down on the viewfinder to record. The recording stops if you
remove your finger from the viewfinder, so you can choose to record various things. Videos shot through Vine are limited to a time of six seconds, and are designed to be shared via Twitter and Facebook. When shared through Twitter, it embeds your looped video right in the tweet - the result looks like an animated GIF. Vine was launched yesterday (January 24th.) (
CHECK IT OUT: Be inspired by checking out these creative Vines: http://tinyurl.com/awjbp64
THE WEIRD THING THAT COULD
consider them in the frame of applicants interviews on that day." Gino suggests upping your chances no matter when your interview is by being yourself, being honest, telling details, and remembering to ask the interviewer questions. (Men's Health)