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John Kerry Defends US Drone Policy After Pakistan Hit

WASHINGTON (AP) - Secretary of State John Kerry is defending U.S. drone strikes after the CIA's killing of a senior Taliban member.

Kerry says the U.S. is at war with al-Qaida and the Taliban, so the strikes are legal. He says the U.S. wages the war in self-defense and as a last resort.

U.S. drone policy is under growing scrutiny. President Barack Obama promised greater transparency last week and said attacks would target only "imminent threats" to U.S. national security.

On Wednesday, a CIA strike killed a Pakistani Taliban deputy leader.

Kerry says drones have killed dozens of highly-trained al-Qaida commanders, trainers, bomb makers and operatives. He says drones have disrupted plots against planes, U.S. transit systems, European cities and American troops in Afghanistan.

Kerry says, quote, "Those strikes have saved lives."

Negotiations Break Down on Georgia's Firearms Bill


ATLANTA (AP) - Gun laws in Georgia will not change in 2013.

House leaders said they could not come to an agreement with key senators over whether to expand gun possession rights on college campuses in Georgia.

While a conference committee released a compromise plan late Thursday, lawmakers supporting it acknowledged they did not have the support to force a vote before a midnight deadline. Any bills that don't pass by the final adjournment fail.

Both sides had agreed to allow local K-12 school boards to choose whether to arm certain school employees and allow churches to choose whether to allow concealed weapons on their property.

But House members wanted to relax restrictions for college students. Senate leaders sided with college executives who want to keep their existing bans on concealed weapons.

Ga. House, Senate Leaders Formally Approve Budget

ATLANTA (AP) - House and Senate leaders have formally approved a roughly $41 billion state operating budget comprised of state and federal money for the next fiscal year. 

The next stop is the desk of Governor Nathan Deal.  The final version looks a lot like what Deal pitched in January.

The state portion includes $19.9 billion, an increase of around $56 million.

The budget largely spares K-12 education from budget cuts, while many state agencies will see slight cuts. The pre-kindergarten school year will be expanded, as will HOPE grants for technical college students.  Some of that money will also go to the Education Center at Robins Air Force Base and to Mercer University, though dollar amounts aren't certain yet.

Deal has called for cutting payment rates to health care providers treating Medicaid patients. Lawmakers rejected that idea.

The budget year begins July 1.

 

Houston County Jobless Rates Below Georgia Average

Houston County Jobless Rates Below Georgia Average

Houston County's jobless rate was 7.2 percent in February compared to Georgia's 8.6 percent and metro Macon's nine percent.

The Georgia Department of Labor says  February unemployment declined to nine percent in metro Macon.

According to a release, that's down from February 2012, when unemployment for metro Macon was 10 percent.

Georgia's February unemployment rate is 8.6 percent, not seasonally adjusted.

From January to February, metro Macon gained 500 jobs and fewer people were laid off.

RELATED | Macon's Unemployment Up in January 2013

Most jobs were added in the professional, business, education, health care, trade, transportation, warehousing, leisure and hospitality industries as well as in in local government.

Metro Macon includes Bibb, Crawford, Jones, Monroe and Twiggs counties.

Summit Set to Address Veteran Homelessness

Summit Set to Address Veteran Homelessness

A summit to address veterans' homelessness is set to for March 26th.

This comes after the Secretary of Veterans Affairs set a goal for VA to end veteran homelessness by 2015, according to a release.

The summit will address six areas:

  • Outreach and education
  • Prevention
  • Treatment
  • Income/employment/benefits
  • Housing/Supportive Services
  • Community partnerships

The summit takes place at 195 Holt Street in Macon. Registration begins at 10:30 a.m. and events last from 11 a.m. until 1 p.m.

How to Write for 13WMAZ's Where You Live

How to Write for 13WMAZ's Where You Live

Where You Live is WMAZ's hyperlocal feature. This means that we are helping bring you more community-specific news more often.

We have websites for these communities:

Dooly-Macon County
Hancock-Putnam
Bleckley-Dodge-Pulaski
Twiggs
Sandersville
Milledgeville
Peach-Crawford
Gray-Jones
Forsyth-Monroe
Dublin
Perry 
Warner Robins
Macon
R
obins AFB

These community websites are a place for you and your community members to share information.

To join our team and share with folks just like yourself, all you have to do is email us your email address and name whereyoulive@13wmaz.com

From there, we set up an account for you. This account lets you log in to your community site and post photo galleries, concerts, community events, 100th birthday parties, your concerns, latest creative projects, how-to advice and anything else you want people in your area to know.

Once you have an account, here are some examples of how you can stay involved Where You Live:

(These are just ideas to get you started. Feel free to come up with your own blog ideas!)

  • Post about your hobby: 
    Exercise 
    Photography 
    Scrapbooking 
    Hunting 
    Fishing 
    Couponing 
    Music reviews 
    Movie reviews 
    Local fashion

 

  • Are you that person who always takes photos at the high school's football games or at community festivals?  You can log in with your new account and create a gallery to show off your photos on our site.
  • Have a story idea that may need a reporter in our newsroom? Send us a news tip by emailing eyewitnessnews@13wmaz.com
  • Where You Live is your space for public conversation.  Feel free to comment on others' articles. New ideas can crop up just from simple conversations with others.
  • See something bizarre around town? Take a (cell phone) photo and post it to your community site! Maybe someone else will know the background story.
  • Add an event to our community calendar. Click "Add an Event"  on your community site's event section.
  • Like" us on Facebook to include your local news, breaking news and weather warnings and watches in your Facebook feed.
  • Follow us on Twitter for breaking news and weather updates.

Intelligence Specialist Creates Temporary Afghanistan Monument from Memory

Intelligence Specialist Creates Temporary Afghanistan Monument from Memory

 

By Kevin Lilley
Air Force Times

Ron White once memorized a deck of cards in 87 seconds.

That’s every card, every suit, in every position in the deck — No. 1 through No. 52 — in less than a minute and a half. It was, at the time, an American record.