VIDEO: Today's Headline News from Associated Press
JERUSALEM (AP) -- Renewing U.S. support for the difficult "work of generations," President Barack Obama assured Israel on Wednesday that his administration would pursue an elusive Mideast peace that would allow residents of the Jewish state to live in peace and free from the threat of terror.
"In this work, the state of Israel will have no greater friend than the United States," the president declared after meeting with Israeli President Shimon Peres during his first visit to Israel as president.
Peres, in turn, said he welcomed Obama's clear message that "no one should let skepticism win the day, a vision that says clearly that peace is not only a wish, but a possibility."
Obama was meeting later with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and holding a joint press conference with the Israeli leader, who has just formed a new government.
LANDMARK GUN BILLS SIGNED IN COLORADO
DENVER (AP) -- The governor of Colorado signed bills Wednesday that put sweeping new restrictions on sales of firearms and ammunition in a state with a pioneer tradition of gun ownership and self-reliance.
The bills thrust Colorado into the national spotlight as a potential test of how far the country might be willing to go with new gun restrictions after the horror of mass killings at an Aurora movie theater and a Connecticut elementary school.
The approval by Gov. John Hickenlooper came exactly eight months after dozens of people were shot at the theater, and the day after the executive director of the state Corrections Department was shot and killed at his home.
The bills require background checks for private and online gun sales and ban ammunition magazines that hold more than 15 rounds.
Two ballot measures have already been proposed to try to undo the restrictions.
"UNPREDICTABLE" POPE WORRIES SECURITY TEAM
VATICAN CITY (AP) -- Forgive Pope Francis' security team for looking a bit nervous.
One pope was shot in St. Peter's Square while riding in an open vehicle. Another was tackled by a woman with mental problems in St. Peter's Basilica. So in the early days of Francis' pontificate, as the pope delights the flock by wading into crowds and pressing the flesh, it's only natural that chief Vatican cop Domenico Giani seems on edge.
Just consider some of Francis' acts of papal outreach, which have all made for a refreshing change from the reserved style of his predecessor Benedict XVI, but present a huge headache for a security detail attached to one of the planet's most high-profile people.
The day after his election, Francis eschewed the Vatican's armored limousine and traveled through the chaotic streets of Rome in an ordinary car to pick up his things at a downtown hotel.
At his first Sunday Mass as pontiff, Francis caused a stir by mingling with bystanders at a Vatican gate, shaking hands and even allowing himself to be grabbed by the shoulder, all while people jostled to get closer.
TRANSGENDER PEOPLE FORCE DEBATE ON BATHROOM USE
PHOENIX (AP) -- Arizona lawmakers have jumped in to the national debate over the rights of transgender people with a bill being debated Wednesday that would make it illegal for people to use public restrooms not associated with their birth gender.
Advocates say the measure would be the toughest standard in the nation for transgender people and bathroom use, requiring Arizona residents to use the restroom of the sex listed on their birth certificate. One local TV station has dubbed it the "Show Me Your Papers Before You Go Potty" bill, a reference to the Arizona Legislature's sweeping 2010 immigration law.
State and local governments are increasingly adding gender identity to anti-discrimination bans to ward off legal battles, but the delicate issue of what kind of restroom can be accessed by men and women presenting as a gender other than what they were born as remains largely unexplored despite a growing number of people identifying as transgender.
Transgender people have successfully sued businesses that didn't provide equal access to public facilities under state and local anti-discrimination bans that include gender identity. But opponents and proponents alike complain the laws don't explicitly demand businesses provide equal access for transgender people, creating confusion over how governments, restaurants, clothing stores and other establishments must act.