District of Columbia
Senators delay Brennan CIA vote
WASHINGTON - The Senate Intelligence Committee will delay voting to confirm John Brennan as CIA director. The panel's Democratic chairwoman demanded Wednesday that the White House turn over more details about lethal drone strikes on terror suspects and last September's attack in Benghazi, Libya, that left the U.S. ambassador there and three other Americans dead.
Intelligence Chairwoman Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., said the vote likely will be pushed off until late February.
In a statement, she said senators need to see more classified legal opinions that justify using the unmanned spy planes to kill al-Qaida suspects overseas, including American citizens. The Obama administration last week released two of nine classified Justice Department memos outlining the legal reasoning to Feinstein's committee just hours before Brennan's confirmation hearing in front of the panel.
The White House declined to comment Wednesday.
Senate leader sets stage for Hagel vote
WASHINGTON - The Senate's top Democrat has set the stage for a full Senate vote by the end of the week on President Obama's nomination of Chuck Hagel to be defense secretary.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid filed a motion Wednesday to limit debate and force a vote on Hagel's nomination. Democrats hold a 55-45 edge in the Senate and have the numbers to confirm Hagel on a majority vote. But they would need the support of five Republicans before an up-or-down vote on the president's pick to head the Defense Department would be allowed if the GOP decided to filibuster. Republicans have indicated they might delay a vote.
Lady Gaga cancels tour due to hip injury
NASHVILLE, Tenn. - Lady Gaga has canceled the rest of her tour dates due to a hip injury.
A news release Wednesday from Live Nation Global Touring said Lady Gaga has a tear in her right hip, sustained some time ago, that will require surgery to repair, followed by a recovery period.
The pop star had 21 dates through March 20 remaining on her Born This Way Ball tour schedule. Fans who have already bought tickets will receive a refund.
Group urges closure of Heart Attack Grill
LAS VEGAS - A Washington, D.C.-based anti-meat advocacy group is asking Las Vegas authorities to close the Heart Attack Grill after the eatery's 52-year-old unofficial spokesman, John Alleman, died of a heart attack last week.
Officials for the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine said Wednesday they sent a letter the Las Vegas Department of Planning asking it to shut down the famously unhealthy restaurant to prevent another death.
In 2011, another unofficial spokesman, a 575-pound man named Blair River, died at age 29.
129 Chicago schools subject to closure
CHICAGO - Chicago Public Schools officials will have a pool of 129 schools to choose from when the decision is made on which ones will close in June.
According to CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett, schools safe from closure are those with more than 600 students, schools with at least 70 percent capacity and schools isolated from others or surrounded by schools without any more room.
The Chicago Sun-Times reported Byrd-Bennett also said Wednesday that schools that received children from shut-down schools in the last three years will not be closed.
Chicago Public Schools must give names of the schools that will be closed - and the schools displaced students will attend - to the state by March 31.
Condom requirement proposed for porn
SACRAMENTO, Calif.-Following the lead of Los Angeles County, a California lawmaker is proposing to require that all actors in pornographic films wear condoms to protect them from exposure to AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases.
Assembly member Isadore Hall III, a Democrat, has scheduled a Valentine's Day news conference at the offices of the AIDS Healthcare Foundation to announce the introduction of the legislation.
"When it comes down to it, adult film actors are employees, like any other employee for any other business in the state," Hall said Wednesday.
Bulger lawyer: Jury should decide claim
BOSTON - A lawyer for reputed gangster James "Whitey" Bulger has told a judge a jury should decide Bulger's claim he had immunity to commit crimes from a former federal prosecutor. But attorney J.W. Carney Jr. also said Wednesday outside court Bulger wasn't an informant.
FBI files and testimony in other cases say Bulger was an FBI informant during the 1970s and 80s, when he's accused of participating in 19 murders.
At Wednesday's hearing, a prosecutor asked the judge to throw out the immunity claim, saying any such agreement that included murder would be void.