OBAMA DEFENDS DRONE STRIKES BUT SAYS NO CURE-ALL
WASHINGTON (AP) -- President Barack Obama on Thursday defended America's controversial drone attacks as legal, effective and a necessary linchpin in an evolving U.S. counterterrorism policy. But he acknowledged the targeted strikes are no "cure-all" and said he is haunted by the civilians unintentionally killed.
The president also announced a renewed push to close the Guantanamo Bay detention center in Cuba, including lifting a moratorium on prisoner transfers to Yemen. However, shutting the prison will still require help from Republicans reluctant to back Obama's call to move some detainees to U.S. prisons and try them in civilian courts.
Obama framed his address as an attempt to redefine the nature and scope of terror threats facing the U.S., noting the weakening of al-Qaida and the impending end of the U.S. war in Afghanistan.
"Neither I, nor any president, can promise the total defeat of terror," Obama said in remarks at the National Defense University. "What we can do - what we must do - is dismantle networks that pose a direct danger, and make it less likely for new groups to gain a foothold, all while maintaining the freedoms and ideals that we defend."
Since taking office, Obama's counterterrorism strategy has increasingly relied on the use of strikes by unmanned spy drones, particularly in Pakistan and Yemen. The highly secretive program has faced criticism from congressional lawmakers who have questioned its scope and legality.
The president, in his most expansive public discussion on drones, defended their targeted killings as both effective and legal. He acknowledged the civilian deaths that sometimes result - a consequence that has angered many of the countries where the U.S. seeks to combat extremism - and said he grapples with that trade-off.
REPORT: NATION'S KIDS NEED TO GET MORE PHYSICAL
WASHINGTON (AP) -- Reading, writing, arithmetic - and PE?
The prestigious Institute of Medicine is recommending that schools provide opportunities for at least 60 minutes of physical activity each day for students and that PE become a core subject.
The report, released Thursday, says only about half of the nation's youngsters are getting at least an hour of vigorous or moderate-intensity physical activity every day.
Another concern, the report says, is that 44 percent of school administrators report slashing big chunks of time from physical education, arts and recess since the passage of the No Child Left Behind law in 2001 in order to boost classroom time for reading and math.
With childhood obesity on the rise - about 17 percent of children ages 2 through 19 are obese - and kids spending much of the day in the classroom, the chairman of the committee that wrote the report said schools are the best place to help shape up the nation's children.
Specifically, the report recommends:
-All elementary school students should spend an average of 30 minutes each day in PE class.
-Middle and high school students should spend an average of 45 minutes each day in PE class.
-State and local officials should find ways get children more physical activity in the school environment.
PE isn't the sole solution, though.
The report advocates a "whole-of-school" approach where recess and before-and-after-school activities including sports are made accessible to all students to help achieve the 60-minutes-a-day recommendation for physical activity. It could be as simple as having kids walk or bike to school, or finding ways to add a physical component to math and science class lessons.
REVIEW: GOOGLE MUSIC PLAN SOLID, SERENDIPITOUS
LOS ANGELES (AP) -- Google's new music service offers a lot of eye candy to go with the tunes. The song selection of around 18 million tracks is comparable to popular services such as Spotify and Rhapsody, and a myriad of playlists curated along different genres provides a big playground for music lovers.
The All Access service represents Google's attempt to grab a bigger piece of the digital music market as more people stream songs over mobile phones. Such services are also meant to further wed smartphone users to Google's Android operating system, where the search leader makes money from advertising and transactions on its digital content store, Google Play.
For a monthly fee, All Access lets you listen to as much music as you want over an Internet connection. You can also download songs onto mobile devices for smooth playback later when you don't have cellphone or Wi-Fi access.
It's worth a try for the discounted monthly rate of $8 if you sign up by the end of June. Those who sign up later will pay $10 a month, the same amount charged by the main competitors, Spotify and Rhapsody. Either way, you get the first month free and can cancel at any time. All Access works on the free Google Play Music app for Android devices and over Web browsers on computers - but not on the iPhone. (Spotify and Rhapsody work on both Android and the iPhone).