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Pentagon won't demote Petraeus for sharing classified information

Petraeus will not be demotedRetired General David Petraeus will not be docked one star for his conviction on charges of leaking classified information to his biographer and former lover, according to a letter sent by the Pentagon to the Senate and obtained by USA TODAY.

Stephen Hedger, a top official for legislative affairs, wrote Friday to Sen. John McCain saying that Defense Secretary Ash Carter considers the Petraeus matter closed, according to the letter, which was obtained by USA TODAY from a Pentagon official who was not authorized to speak publicly on the matter.


Pulitzer prize-winning security expert denied White House clearance

Ashcan SoltaniA Pulitzer prize-winning computer security expert recently hired by the Chief Technology Officer of the United States, Megan Smith, has been denied a security clearance and is heading to the West coast.

Ashkan Soltani was previously the chief technologist at the Federal Trade Commission. He was hired by the White House’s Office of Science and Technology Policy as a senior adviser to Smith in December.


Main Syrian opposition team heads to Geneva as peace talks open

Syrian Opposition joins peace talksA delegation from Syria's main opposition group flew to Geneva on Saturday to assess whether to join Damascus government officials in United Nations-brokered peace talks, an opposition representative said.

The 17-strong team included the head of the Saudi-backed Higher Negotiation Committee (HNC), which includes political and militant opponents of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in the country's five-year civil war.


'Monster' sinkhole shuts down highway 101 in Oregon

Oregon sinkholeA massive sinkhole near U.S. 101 in Oregon has caused the highway to be shutdown.

The sinkhole opened after storms that dropped 1.5 inches of rain and a landslide near the highway in Harbor, Ore.

"It's a monster," Oregon Department of Transportation spokesperson Jared Castle told NBC News. "It's massive. There's just no other way to describe it." Officials are unsure of the sinkhole's width but said it exceeds 60 feet in depth. Castle said the new sinkhole probably joined with another sinkhole that formed on Dec. 13.


The Latest: 39 die as boat sinks, bodies line Turkey shore

   39 drown as bodies line Turkey shoreAt least 39 migrants, including several children, have drowned trying to cross the Aegean Sea from Turkey to Greece, coastguards say.

More than 60 have been rescued from the sea near the Turkish resort of Ayvacik.  Local officials say they expect the death toll to rise when the capsized boat is searched.

Thousands of refugees and migrants continue to make the dangerous sea journey from Turkey to Greece to seek asylum in northern Europe.

The International Organization for Migration (IOM) said on Friday that 244 migrants had drowned in the Mediterranean so far this year, out of 55,568 arrivals.


France: We will recognize Palestinian state if talks deadlock persists

French give Israel an ultimatumFrance warned Friday that it will recognize a Palestinian state if its imminent efforts to end the deadlock in peace talks between Israelis and Palestinians end without result.

"France will engage in the coming weeks in the preparation of an international conference bringing together the parties and their main partners, American, European, Arab, notably to preserve and make happen the solution of two states,” Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said.


Jefferson Airplane’s Paul Kantner dies at 74

Paul Kantner dies at 74Paul Kantner, one of the giants of the San Francisco music scene, died Thursday. Mr. Kantner, a founding member of the Jefferson Airplane, was 74 and had suffered a heart attack this week.

His death was confirmed by longtime publicist and friend, Cynthia Bowman, who said he died of multiple organ failure and septic shock.

Mr. Kantner had a string of health problems in recent years, including a heart attack in March.


KY Halts Abortions at Planned Parenthood

Planned Parenthood Planned Parenthood temporarily has stopped offering abortion services at its new clinic in Louisville while it addresses objections the state raised Thursday about its license application for the facility.

But in a letter Friday to Kentucky officials, Planned Parenthood claimed the organization had the state's approval when it began offering abortion services Jan. 21 at the downtown clinic.


Here’s How Hard It Will Be to Unpoison Flint’s Water

Flint RiverIt is possible to trace every drop of toxic water spewed from Flint, Michigan back to two terrible decisions. The second was switching the city’s supply from treated Lake Huron water to the corrosive broth in the Flint River.

Left untreated, that water unleashed the disaster stored in the walls of the city’s first bad decision: its lead pipes.

In the past few weeks, the nation’s attention has increasingly focused on Flint’s public health disaster. At least 15 percent of the city’s homes have water with lead levels exceeding the safe limit established by the federal government. Several of those homes had water with lead levels 900 times above the safe limit.


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