AP Top News at 9:46 p.m. EST
(Associated Press Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) Late scramble for vaccine as flu season heats upWASHINGTON (AP) _ Missed flu-shot day at the office last fall And all those "get vaccinated" ads A scramble for shots is under way as late-comers seek protection from a miserable flu strain already spreading through much of the country. Federal health officials said Friday that there is still some flu vaccine available and it's not too late to benefit from it. But people may have to call around to find a clinic with shots still on the shelf, or wait a few days for a new shipment.
US government tells computer users to disable JavaWASHINGTON (AP) _ The U.S. Department of Homeland Security is advising people to temporarily disable the Java software on their computers to avoid potential hacking attacks. The recommendation came in an advisory issued late Thursday, following up on concerns raised by computer security experts.
In gun debate, video game industry defends itselfWASHINGTON (AP) _ The video game industry, blamed by some for fostering a culture of violence, defended its practices Friday at a White House meeting exploring how to prevent horrific shootings like the recent Connecticut elementary school massacre. Vice President Joe Biden, wrapping up three days of wide-ranging talks on gun violence prevention, said the meeting was an effort to understand whether the U.S. was undergoing a "coarsening of our culture."
Could janitors be one school's line of defense TOLEDO, Ohio (AP) _ A rural school district in Ohio is drawing attention with its plans to arm a handful of its non-teaching employees with handguns this year _ perhaps even janitors. Four employees in the Montpelier schools have agreed to take a weapons training course and carry their own guns inside the district's one building, which houses 1,000 students in kindergarten through 12th grade, school officials said.
French forces take action against Mali IslamistsBAMAKO, Mali (AP) _ France launched airstrikes Friday to help the government of Mali defeat al-Qaida-linked militants who captured more ground this week, dramatically raising the stakes in the battle for this vast desert nation. French President Francois Hollande said the "terrorist groups, drug traffickers and extremists" in northern Mali "show a brutality that threatens us all." He vowed that the operation would last "as long as necessary."
In Venezuela, humor not stymied by Chavez's crisisCARACAS, Venezuela (AP) _ The monthlong absence of ailing President Hugo Chavez has elicited prayers, an emotional street rally and heated political debate. Amid the tense wait for news from Chavez's hospital in Cuba, Venezuelans are also turning to one of their most prized national attributes: a biting, irreverent sense of humor. A flurry of jokes and political cartoons have taken aim at the government's postponement of Chavez's inauguration. When the president's followers took to the streets to symbolically take the oath in Chavez's place, some critics said the outlandishness hit a new, surreal high.
Mexicans protest dog detentions, tests negativeMEXICO CITY (AP) _ Dozens of protesters chanting "Free the dogs, arrest the criminals!" demonstrated outside Mexico City police headquarters Friday, demanding the release of 57 stray dogs seized over five suspected mauling deaths in recent weeks. The protesters said the dogs are innocent, and many claimed the victims were probably killed by humans. They acknowledged the famished dogs that live in a hilltop park in an east-side slum where the bodies were found may have bitten the corpses after they were already dead.
FAA to review of Boeing 787, but calls plane safeWASHINGTON (AP) _ The government stepped in Friday to assure the public that Boeing's new 787 "Dreamliner" is safe to fly, even as it launched a comprehensive review to find out what caused a fire, a fuel leak and other worrisome incidents this week. Despite the incidents, Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood declared, "I believe this plane is safe, and I would have absolutely no reservations about boarding one of these planes and taking a flight." Administrator Michael Huerta of the Federal Aviation Administration said his agency has seen no data suggesting the plane isn't safe but wanted the review to find out why safety-related incidents were occurring.
US-born Taliban fighter wins prison prayer lawsuitINDIANAPOLIS (AP) _ An American convicted of fighting alongside the Taliban must be allowed to pray daily in a group with other Muslim inmates at his high-security prison in Indiana, a federal judge ruled Friday. Barring John Walker Lindh and his fellow Muslims from engaging in daily group ritual prayer violates a 1993 law that bans the government from curtailing religious speech without showing a compelling interest, U.S. District Judge Jane Magnus-Stinson ruled.
Defense: Move Ohio football players' rape trialSTEUBENVILLE, Ohio (AP) _ The attorney for one of two Ohio high school football players charged with raping a 16-year-old girl says he's seeking to get the trial moved and close it to media and the public. Attorney Walter Madison said Friday he has filed those motions and another seeking more time before the trial, which is scheduled next month in juvenile court in Steubenville (STOO'-behn-vihl) in far eastern Ohio. Madison says the case has gone "out of control" amid extensive online and media attention.
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