VIDEO: Today's Headline News from Associated Press

MILITARY ALTERS TRAINING TO DEAL WITH BUDGET

 

FORT CAMPBELL, Ky. (AP) -- The skies above Shaw Air Force Base in central South Carolina and the fields across Fort Campbell on the Tennessee-Kentucky line have been a bit quieter in recent months.

 

Budget cuts to the military have forced installations around the country to alter training exercises and daily routines to save money. For airmen and pilots, that means fewer flights. For soldiers and Marines, it means fewer drills or delaying them until a deployment nears.

 

The automatic budget cuts, known as sequestration, come as the military is in the midst of a drawdown in Afghanistan and shrinking its overall size.

 

The Army has retooled training regimens to focus on soldiers deploying to Afghanistan and Korea - those who will be in hostile areas soonest, said George Wright, a civilian Army spokesman in Washington. The Army curtailed training to smaller units of eight to 14 soldiers each -the squad level - for 80 percent of the fighting force in fiscal year 2013 and canceled seven Brigade Combat Team training center rotations.

 

In cases where only part of a brigade is deploying from Fort Campbell, some soldiers are being pushed into field training while others are held back until their departure date draws nearer, spokesman Bob Jenkins said.

 

"That way, we're able to meet the requirements for the people being trained for deployment and make sure they had all the things that were required," Jenkins said. "If people were supposed to go out and shoot 500 rounds one day, they went out and fired 500 rounds. That didn't change."

 

WINTRY BLAST HITS WEST, 8 KILLED; STORMS HEAD EAST

 

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) -- Stormy weather across the West blamed in eight deaths moved steadily eastward, prompting alerts of wintry conditions in New Mexico and Texas.

 

Forecasters said the storm system in the West would sweep across the South and toward the Atlantic coast the coming week, causing problems for holiday travelers.

 

The "Nordic outbreak" will "produce a mixed bag of wily weather that will end up impacting much of the nation," National Weather Service meteorologist Joe Harris said.

 

With a winter storm warning in effect for parts of New Mexico, snow was falling across much of the state early Sunday and forecasters predicted up to 5 inches for many areas.

 

The state Department of Transportation said motorists on several major roadways, including parts of Interstate 40, faced difficult driving conditions because of packed snow and ice, while some roads in the south were closed. Low temps were predicted to be mainly in the 20s statewide.

 

LAX RETURNS TO NORMAL AFTER CHAOTIC NIGHT

 

LOS ANGELES (AP) -- Operations were back to normal at Los Angeles International Airport on Saturday following a car crash and false alarms that evacuated terminals, stalled dozens of flights and panicked passengers jittery after a recent shooting rampage.

 

An estimated 4,600 passengers were affected by the disruptions Friday night during one of the airport's busiest holiday seasons, officials said.

 

The chaos erupted only three weeks after a gunman shot and killed a Transportation Security Administration officer and wounded three others before he was shot and captured by airport police.

 

On Friday, the panic started when a woman driving on the airport's arrivals loop had a medical emergency and lost control of her SUV, hitting a woman who was walking on a sidewalk before slamming into a parking garage across the roadway from Terminal 5, Los Angeles police Sgt. Mark Guardado said.

 

Sounds from the crash spurred reports of gunfire among passengers inside the terminal, many of whom fled the building, airport police Chief Patrick Gannon said.

 

"It was determined relatively quickly that there was not a shooting," Gannon said.

 

Both women in the crash were injured, the pedestrian seriously, Guardado told KTTV-TV. Details on the women's conditions were not immediately available Saturday morning.

 

In neighboring Terminal 4, airport police received an anonymous call just after the crash reporting a gunman at a specific gate, Gannon said.

 

LAX is expected to become the nation's busiest airport in the Thanksgiving holiday period, with 2 million passengers expected to pass through between Friday and Dec. 2, Alvarado said.

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