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This photo taken Jan. 9, 2014 shows U.S. Navy Commander Valerie Overstreet posing on the U.S. Naval Academy campus in Annapolis, Md. Overstreet wanted to start a family. But her job as a Navy pilot and the fact that she and her husband, also a naval officer, were stationed in different parts of the country made it complicated. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

SABBATICALS MAY HELP MILITARY KEEP WOMEN IN RANKS
 
CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. (AP) -- Navy Cmdr. Valerie Overstreet wanted to start a family. But her job as a Navy pilot and the fact that she and her husband, also a naval officer, were stationed in different parts of the country made it complicated.
 
So she decided to take advantage of a fledgling Navy program that allowed her to take a year off and return to duty without risking her career or future commands.
 
Now, three years later, she's got a 2-year-old daughter and a 9-month old son, she's back at work at the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Md., and her promotion to captain has been confirmed.
 
For Overstreet, the year off gave her precious time to have her daughter and get started on her master's degree. The Navy retains an officer it considers promising without requiring her to sacrifice her family life.
 
Across the military services, leaders are experimenting with programs that will give valued officers and enlisted troops, men and women, the incentive to stay. Also, as the Pentagon moves to bring women into more jobs closer to the combat zone, military officials believe it is crucial to keep midcareer female officers in the services so they can mentor those on the front lines.
 
"We have innovative things we're trying to retain women in the service," said Vice Adm. Mark Ferguson, vice chief of naval operations. "It's about creating the personnel policies that enable someone to say it's Navy and family, instead of Navy or family."
 
3-D PRINTING SET TO BREAK OUT OF NICHE
 
LAS VEGAS (AP) -- Some of the oddest items on display this week at International CES gadget show were edible, origami-like sculptures made of sugar, their shapes so convoluted as to baffle the eye.
 
The treats are one of many signs that we'll all be getting a taste of 3-D printing soon -and the phenomenon won't be relegated to the realm of engineers and tech enthusiasts.
 
The sugar sculptures are the output of the ChefJet Pro, the first commercial, kitchen-ready food printer. It looks like an oven, and deposits sugar layer by layer in a tray, then melts the parts intended for the sculpture with water so they solidify much like sugar in a bowl will harden with moisture.
 
Ink can be selectively added to the water so the sculptures come out in full color - a feature sure to set the minds of wedding and party planners spinning. Next to the geometric sculptures was a wedding cake supported by a delicate lattice-work tower of sugar that would be nearly impossible to make by conventional means.
 
Oh, and the printer can print in chocolate too.
 
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CAR BOMBS, CLASHES KILL 21 CIVILIANS IN IRAQ
 
BAGHDAD (AP) -- A series of car bomb attacks and clashes between security forces and militants around and north of Baghdad killed at least 21 civilians, officials said Sunday, amid an ongoing standoff between Iraqi forces and al-Qaida-linked militants west of the Iraqi capital.
 
The deadliest blast occurred at a bustling bus station in central Baghdad when an explosives-laden car exploded outside, killing at least nine people and wounding 16, a police officer said. Thousands of people use the bus station every day or pass through the area. Last Thursday, a suicide bomber blew himself up among a group of security force recruits nearby, killing nearly two dozen.
 
Another parked car bomb targeted a gathering of buses and taxis in Baghdad's northern Hurriyah neighborhood, killing four civilians and wounding 12, the same police officer said.
 
Shortly after sunset, fighting erupted in Baghdad's western suburbs of Abu Ghraib as gunmen attacked a military convoy, authorities said. Army artillery shells later landed on the Sunni village of al-Mahsna in Abu Ghraib, killing five civilians and wounding 13, police said.
 
Later, a suicide car bomb exploded in the northern town of Tuz Khormato, followed minutes later by bomb hidden in a cart nearby, Mayor Shalal Abdoul said. He said the blasts killed three people and wounded 27.
 
Medical officials confirmed the causality figures for all attacks. All officials spoke on condition of anonymity as they were not authorized to release the information.

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