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National & International AP News Headlines

UNEMPLOYMENT DOWN IN HAWAII

HONOLULU (AP) — State labor officials say Hawaii's unemployment rate declined to 5.2 percent in December. That is the lowest rate for the state since October 2008.

The Department of Labor & Industrial Relations announced Thursday that the rate of 5.2 percent for December was down slightly from the previous month's rate of 5.3 percent. Nationally, the unemployment rate for December stood at 7.8 percent, unchanged from November.

ARMY IDENTIFIES SCHOFIELD SOLDIER SHOT BY POLICE

HONOLULU (AP) — The Army has confirmed the identity of a Schofield Barracks soldier who was shot and killed by police in Waikiki earlier this week. The Army's 25th Infantry Division says the soldier was 22-year-old Pfc. Gregory M. Gordon from Ashford, Ala.

Police say Gordon was shot early Tuesday after repeatedly ramming multiple police cars with his truck. Several police officers were injured in the incident. Officials said yesterday that Gordon joined the Army in April 2010 and attended basic training at Fort Knox, Ky. He was deployed with his unit to Afghanistan in April 2011 and returned about a year ago.

HAWAII REP CALLS FOR TIGHTER FIREARMS LEGISLATION

HONOLULU (AP) — Hawaii state Rep. Karl Rhoads wants a tighter grip on firearm ammunition and has introduced a bill to require people who are buying bullets to prove that they're licensed gun owners.

The Democrat's proposal yesterday came a day after President Barack Obama announced an extensive plan aimed at curbing gun violence nationally. Hawaii Rifle Association President Harvey Gerwig denounced Rhoads' bill as "ridiculous." Gerwig says the measure would negatively affect people who bought long arms prior to 1994, when long arm registration became mandatory.

GOP OFFICIAL: HOUSE TO VOTE TO LIFT DEBT LIMIT

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Republican-controlled House will vote next week to permit the government to borrow more money to meet its obligations, a move aimed at heading off a market-rattling confrontation with President Barack Obama over the so-called debt limit.

Full details aren't settled yet, but the measure would give the government about three more months of borrowing authority beyond a deadline expected to hit as early as mid-February, No. 2 House Republican Eric Cantor of Virginia said Friday.

ALGERIA: 12 HOSTAGES HAVE DIED IN THE SIEGE

AIN AMENAS, Algeria (AP) -- The bloody three-day hostage standoff at a natural gas plant in the Sahara took a dramatic turn Friday as Algeria's state news service reported that nearly 100 of the 132 foreign workers kidnapped by Islamic militants had been freed.

That number of hostages at the remote desert facility was significantly higher than any previous report, but it still left questions about the fate of over 30 other foreign energy workers. It wasn't clear how the government arrived at the latest tally of hostages, which was far higher than the 41 foreigners the militants had claimed previously.

CONFESSION MAY LEAD TO LEGAL WOES FOR ARMSTRONG

LOS ANGELES (AP) -- By admitting to Oprah Winfrey that he doped during his professional cycling career, Lance Armstrong potentially opened himself up to a stream of litigation that could lighten his wallet for years.

And then there's the big question: Will his mea culpa result in the reopening of a criminal investigation by the U.S. government?

Some legal experts believe the disillusionment and anger now directed at Armstrong will force the government to re-examine its evidence in light of his admissions, but others say revisiting the criminal case is unlikely.



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