WASHINGTON -- The Senate's third-ranking Republican predicted his party may provide enough votes to raise the U.S. debt limit in February without conditions, such as defunding Obamacare, that members sought in the past.
"I suspect that with Democrats, there are probably enough Republicans in the Senate that would vote for a clean debt limit increase," said South Dakota Sen. John Thune. He said he hadn't conducted a formal vote count.
Separately, House Republicans ended a policy retreat in Maryland today without deciding on their strategy for the debt limit debate, said two people who attended the private discussions and sought anonymity to describe them publicly. Party members, chastened from prior debt-limit fights, realize that default isn't an option, one of the people said.
Child sexual abuse
WASHINGTON -- Federal, state and local agencies aren't doing enough to monitor and prevent sexual abuse of children by school employees, resulting in a spotty reporting system that might underestimate the number of children who are sexually abused in schools, according to a new congressional report.
Although 46 states require officials to report child sexual abuse and 43 have penalties for failing to do so, many schools settle reports of allegations or suspicions of abuse within school districts because they don't fully understand or comply with existing requirements, according to the Government Accountability Office, the investigative arm of Congress.
Transgender pupil wins
PORTLAND, Maine -- School officials violated state anti-discrimination law when they would not allow a transgender fifth-grader to use the girls' bathroom, according to a ruling by the highest court in Maine that's believed to be the first of its kind.
The family of student Nicole Maines and the Maine Human Rights Commission sued in 2009 after school officials required her to use a staff, not student, restroom.
The court ruled Thursday that the Orono school district's actions violated the Maine Human Rights Act, which bans discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity, overturning a lower court's ruling that the district acted within its discretion.
NYPD changes policy
NEW YORK -- In a sharp break with New York's crime-fighting policies of the past decade, Police Commissioner William J. Bratton has told his top chiefs that he intends to fundamentally alter a program that sent waves of rookie officers into crime-ridden neighborhoods, while also inflaming tensions in minority communities.
At a closed-door meeting in police headquarters in January, Mr. Bratton said that rather than thrusting inexperienced officers into dangerous or highly charged situations, part of a program called Operation Impact, he envisioned a return to a more traditional approach where rookies would first be placed in local precincts.
Hackers strike Yahoo
NEW YORK -- Usernames and passwords of some of Yahoo's email customers have been stolen and used to gather personal information about people those Yahoo mail users have recently corresponded with, the company said Thursday.
Yahoo didn't say how many accounts have been affected. Yahoo is the second-largest email service worldwide, after Google's Gmail, according to the research firm comScore.
-- Compiled from news services