World News Briefs
2012 MILITARY SUICIDES HIT RECORD HIGH OF 349
WASHINGTON (AP) — The Associated Press has learned that suicides in the U.S. military surged to a record 349 last year. That far exceeds the 295 American combat deaths in Afghanistan in 2012 and compares with 301 military suicides in 2011.
SEVERE BEIJING SMOG PROMPTS UNUSUAL TRANSPARENCY
BEIJING (AP) — One of Beijing's worst rounds of air pollution kept schoolchildren indoors and sent coughing residents to hospitals Monday, but this time something was different about the murky haze: the government's transparency in talking about it. While welcomed by residents and environmentalists, Beijing's new openness about smog also put more pressure on the government to address underlying causes, including a lag in efforts to expand Western-style emissions limits to all of the vehicles in Beijing's notoriously thick traffic.
PALACE: PRINCE WILLIAM AND KATE'S BABY DUE IN JULY
LONDON (AP) — The former Kate Middleton is due to give birth to her first baby in July, and her health is improving after a bout of severe morning sickness, palace officials said Monday. The child of Kate and Prince William will be third in line to the British throne.
SECOND INAUGURATION SMALLER; STILL FULL OF GLAMOUR AND POMP
WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama's second inauguration is going to be smaller than his historic first swearing-in, but still full of glamour and pomp. Estimates of turnout are 600,000 to 800,000, compared with a record 1.8 million in 2009. Yet recent developments have shown enthusiasm is high. A limited offering of $60 inaugural ball tickets for the public sold out quickly. Obama has cut the number of balls from 10 last time to just two this year. The AP has learned organizers expect 35,000 people to attend the larger ball, and 4,000 people are expected to attend a ball in honor of U.S. troops — double the size of last time.
MALI ISLAMISTS GAIN GROUND DESPITE FRENCH FIGHTING
BAMAKO, Mali (AP) — Despite intensive aerial bombardments by French warplanes, Islamist insurgents grabbed more territory in Mali Monday and moved closer to the capital, French and Malian authorities said. In the latest setback, the al-Qaida-linked extremists overran the garrison village of Diabaly in central Mali, France's defense minister said in Paris. Jean-Yves Le Drian said Monday the rebels "took Diabaly after fierce fighting and resistance from the Malian army that couldn't hold them back."
THOUSANDS OF PROTESTERS RALLY IN PAKISTANI CAPITAL
ISLAMABAD (AP) — Thousands of Pakistanis fed up with a government they say is corrupt and indifferent to the plight of common citizens descended on the capital Monday, responding to the call of a charismatic cleric who has quickly become a powerful but mysterious political force. The dramatic entry into Pakistani politics of Tahir-ul-Qadri, a preacher who until recently lived in Canada, has sparked concern from some that he is seeking to derail elections expected this spring at the behest of the powerful army.
ROOKIE WINS SONY OPEN
HONOLULU (AP) — Russell Henley became the first PGA Tour rookie to win his debut in 10 years with a record-setting performance yesterday in the Sony Open. Tied for the lead with fellow rookie Scott Langley to start the final round, Henley seized control from the start with a birdie on the first hole. He then really poured it on at the end of the round. Henley birdied his last five holes to close with a 7-under 63 for a three-shot win over Tim Clark. Henley finished at 24-under 256 for an invitation to the Masters.
AFC-NFC PLAY OFFS
One game is a rematch. The other might feel like one — at least to one of the teams.
For the second straight year in the AFC, the New England Patriots will host the Baltimore Ravens with a trip to the Super Bowl on the line.
In the NFC title game, San Francisco will travel to Atlanta, with the Falcons' defense trying to stop a versatile, running quarterback for the second straight week.
On Sunday, the Falcons barely got past Russell Wilson and the Seattle Seahawks, who overcame a 20-point deficit to take a one-point lead, but gave it up after Matt Ryan drove Atlanta into field goal range and Matt Bryant made a 49-yard kick with 8 seconds left for a 30-28 win.
Colin Kaepernick passed for 263 yards and rushed for 181 — a playoff record for a quarterback — in San Francisco's 45-31 victory over Green Bay on Saturday.
The Ravens advanced when Justin Tucker kicked a 47-yard field goal 1:42 into the second overtime Saturday, ending the NFL's longest game in 26 years and giving the Ravens a 38-35 win over the Denver Broncos. The win postponed Ray Lewis' retirement at least one more game and ended Peyton Manning's sensational comeback season with the Broncos.
New England advanced to the AFC championship when Tom Brady threw for three touchdowns Sunday to beat Houston 41-28 and become the winningest quarterback in postseason play. The Patriots' win didn't come without a cost. Tight end Rob Gronkowski was injured on the Patriots' eighth offensive play and needs surgery on his broken left arm, a person with knowledge of the injury told The Associated Press. He previously missed five regular-season games and is done for the season.