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NEW YORK (AP) — First lady Michelle Obama urged Hollywood to give a more accurate portrayal of veterans and defended the Oscar-nominated "American Sniper," which has received criticism for its depiction of war.
MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) — Serena Williams won her 19th Grand Slam title, continued her unbeaten run in six Australian Open finals and extended her decade-long domination of Maria Sharapova with a 6-3, 7-6 (5) victory despite a hacking cough on Saturday night.
(Reuters) - Texas Governor Greg Abbott said on Friday he would officially declare Feb. 2 "Chris Kyle Day" in the state, in honor of the late Navy Seal sharpshooter portrayed in the film "American Sniper." The movie, starring Bradley Cooper as Kyle who was killed by a disgruntled U.S. veteran on a Texas gun range in 2013, has been a box office hit as well as a flashpoint of debate between liberals and conservatives. Abbott, a Republican, made the announcement during a speech at the Texans Veterans of Foreign Affairs Mid-Winter Convention in Austin, according to a statement from the governor's office. "In honor of a Texas son, a Navy SEAL and an American hero – a man who defended his brothers and sisters in arms on and off the battlefield – I am declaring February 2nd Chris Kyle Day in Texas," Abbott said during the speech, according to the statement.
San Francisco police detain two over body parts in suitcase
San Francisco police said on Friday night they had detained two people in connection with a case involving a suitcase full of body parts discovered on a downtown street earlier this week. An anonymous tip offered around 7:30 p.m. local time led officers to the Tenderloin neighborhood where they found the individuals, one of whom was identified earlier on Friday as a person of interest in the homicide case, San Francisco Police spokeswoman Grace Gatpandan said. The San Francisco Chronicle said the city medical examiner determined that the remains belonged to a "light-skinned male," but neither an identity nor cause of death could be immediately established.
By Mary Papenfuss ELKO, Nev. (Reuters) - When long-time bronc rider Paul Zarzyski needed to rest his aching bones after an adrenaline-charged stint on torquing horseflesh, he often turned to the last thing most people would associate with cowboy life: writing poetry. The ramshackle town with casinos, the Stampede Motel and coffee shops that play Hank Williams Jr., is sprouting an unusually large number of raw-boned guys in ten-gallon hats who call women “ma’am.” Both veteran poets as well as newbie rhymers are welcome at the festival, which features open mike nights, live music, and workshops on Western crafts and skills, including silver-smithing, ranch cooking, and making pulled-wool saddle blankets. Doug Groves, who sports a large handle-bar mustache, is teaching a four-day workshop on rawhide braiding, a beautiful macramé-like treatment of equine rigging introduced to the West by the Spanish. Groves learned his skill from fellow cowboys in bunkhouses while working for area “cow outfits.” Student Bobbie Yokum, who is married to a one-time team rodeo roper, has traveled to the workshop from California for the last 12 years.
HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) — A Connecticut panel developing a report on the Newtown massacre debated Friday whether the victims counted in the dedication should include the shooter's mother, a woman who has been faulted for contributing to the tragedy by fostering her son's fascination with guns.
Al-Qaeda's affiliate in Syria battled Western-backed rebels Friday as the jihadists pressed their bid to seize control of northern areas, a monitoring group and rebels said. The fighting comes nearly three months after Al-Nusra Front expelled another group of Western-backed opposition fighters from Idlib province. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the jihadists launched their offensive against the Western-armed Hazem movement on Thursday in Aleppo province. "The jihadists expelled the rebels from Regiment 111, once a regime army base that Hazem had taken over," Observatory director Rami Abdel Rahman told AFP.
Dartmouth College bans hard liquor
On Thursday, school President Philip Hanlon announced that starting March 30, all students, regardless of age, will be prohibited from possessing hard alcohol on campus. The school’s Greek societies have also been warned that they need to improve their behavior or risk being banned. The White House says the behavior has led to an “epidemic” of sexual assault on school campuses. According to the National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, 1,825 college students between the ages of 18 and 24 die each year from alcohol-related unintentional injuries and 97,000 students are victims of alcohol-related sexual assault or date rape.
By Barbara Liston ORLANDO, Fla. (Reuters) - A Florida prosecutor announced on Friday he will not pursue an aggravated assault charge against former neighborhood watchman George Zimmerman stemming from a domestic incident earlier this month after the alleged victim recanted. Zimmerman, who was acquitted in 2013 in a fatal shooting of an unarmed black teenager, has had several brushes with the law since his trial. His latest arrest on Jan. 9 in central Florida was in connection with a domestic disturbance involving his then-girlfriend who had accused him of throwing a wine bottle at her and smashing her cell phone during an argument. Zimmerman claimed he acted in self-defense when he shot and killed Trayvon Martin, 17, in February 2012, when he was patrolling as a neighborhood watch volunteer.