National briefs: Suit filed over combat policy
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WASHINGTON -- Four female service members filed a federal lawsuit Tuesday seeking to overturn the Pentagon's exclusion of women from many combat roles, arguing that the restrictions are unconstitutional and have hindered their careers.
The plaintiffs have all served in Iraq or Afghanistan and each performed dangerous combat-related missions. Two were awarded Purple Hearts -- a combat decoration -- after they were wounded on the battlefield.
"The shrapnel that tore through the vehicle that day didn't stop because I'm a female," Army Staff Sgt. Jennifer Hunt, who was injured in Iraq by a roadside bomb while she was riding in a Humvee, said in a telephone interview. She said the Pentagon's combat exclusion policy assumes that women are less capable than men, "which is I think one of the biggest errors the military can make."
The lawsuit was filed in U.S. District Court in San Francisco against Defense Secretary Leon Panetta.
HOUSTON -- Justice Department officials announced Tuesday that they have opened an investigation into whether Albuquerque police used "unreasonable deadly force" against civilians.
The announcement followed a series of controversial officer-involved shootings and abuse cases -- some caught on video -- in New Mexico's largest city that triggered protests, lawsuits and demands for a police overhaul. City officials had previously rejected appeals for a Justice Department review, but agreed to cooperate after federal officials began a preliminary review last year.
WASHINGTON -- Pennsylvania Republican Bill Shuster could be named chairman of the U.S. House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee as soon as today.
The House Republican Steering Committee has included him on a list of recommended chairmanships. The recommendations are expected to be presented to the full House for ratification today. If ratified, seven of the 19 House committees will have new chairmen.
Approval would make Mr. Shuster, of Blair County, the highest-ranking Pennsylvania congressman.
WASHINGTON -- Under political pressure to take action on immigration reform, three Republican senators introduced an alternative version of the Dream Act on Tuesday that would give legal status for young immigrants brought to the U.S. unlawfully as children.
The effort, called the Achieve Act and launched by retiring senators Jon Kyl of Arizona and Kay Bailey Hutchison of Texas and supported by Arizona Sen. John McCain, appears to be a push to take some of the heat off of Republicans on immigration.
Fewer young immigrants would qualify for the proposal than would have been eligible under earlier versions of the Dream Act.
MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- Bomb threats to 30 courthouses and other government buildings across Tennessee forced many to be evacuated Tuesday, including the federal building in Memphis, but authorities said no explosives were found.
Tennessee became the fourth state to deal with similar bomb hoaxes. One targeted 28 courthouses in Oregon and similar threats were reported in Nebraska and Washington this month.
First Published November 28, 2012 12:08 am