4:20pm

Tue December 13, 2011
Afghanistan

For U.S. Troops, Fighting Starts At Afghan Border

Originally published on Tue December 13, 2011 11:37 pm

Staff Sgt. Joshua White (center), Command Sgt. Maj. John Troxell (left) and Brigade Sgt. Maj. Mike Boom (right) observe a joint patrol of U.S. Army and Afghan National Army soldiers and Afghan police in Paktika province, Afghanistan, on Oct. 3. The mountainous border between Afghanistan and Pakistan has become a new front line in the Afghan war.
Matt Ford AP

The mountains along the border between Afghanistan and Pakistan would be cruel enough without the war raging on below — cliffs drop from 8,000-foot peaks that are spotted with only a few trees among the rocks.

But Afghanistan's eastern border has become the focus of the conflict as militants plot their attacks inside Pakistan, then slip across the rugged frontier to carry them out.

In Afghanistan's southeast Paktika province, Forward Operating Base Tillman looks across toward Pakistan over craggy peaks that American troops have nicknamed "Big Ugly" and "Big Nasty."

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4:04pm

Tue December 13, 2011
The Two-Way

Billionaire Dreamer, Aviation Pioneer Aim For Orbit

Originally published on Tue December 13, 2011 4:26 pm

A computer-generated image provided by Stratolaunch shows the planned carrier aircraft, with a rocket attached on its centerline and six jet engines suspended beneath its wings.
Stratolaunch Systems

4:03pm

Tue December 13, 2011
Education

School Chief calls Evolution Theory, Not Fact

Hart County's school superintendent is arguing that a new test that Kentucky high school students will take for the first time next spring will treat evolution as fact, not theory, and will require schools to teach that way. Superintendent Ricky D. Line raised the issue in recent letters and email messages to state Education Commissioner Terry Holliday and Kentucky Board of Education members. Line wants them to reconsider the "Blueprint" for Kentucky's new end-of-course test in biology.

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4:03pm

Tue December 13, 2011
Around the Nation

How Alabama Banned Holiday Gifts For Teachers

A new ethics law in Alabama bans all government workers — including teachers — from receiving gifts.
Lisa Thornberg iStockphoto.com

This time of year, you might be thinking about what sort of gift or tip you'd like to offer your child's teacher for Christmas.

In Alabama, they won't let you get away with that kind of illegal behavior.

Alabama's new ethics law, which took effect in March, bans nearly all gifts to government workers — not just elected officials, but all state, county and municipal employees. That includes schoolteachers, as a lengthy opinion from the state ethics commission makes clear.

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3:59pm

Tue December 13, 2011
The Commonwealth

Danville Police Chief Quits

Danville City Commission accepted the resignation of Police Chief Jay Newell on Monday. Newell, who served as chief of the department for four years, was granted voluntary reassignment to his previous position as a patrol officer. He cited personal health concerns as the primary reason for the decision.

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3:55pm

Tue December 13, 2011
Education

State Shortfall means Fewer Funds for Schools

Local school officials around Kentucky will soon find out how much money they stand to lose in a $57.5 million shortfall to state education funding. Education Commissioner Terry Holliday told superintendents in an email Friday that the Kentucky Department of Education would announce mid-year cuts later this month.

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3:55pm

Tue December 13, 2011
Europe

Europe Gets Austerity, But With Few Signs Of Growth

Originally published on Tue December 13, 2011 8:20 pm

A French man holds a flare during a protest against the government's austerity measures on Tuesday in Lille, northern France. European governments are proposing austerity measures, but critics say there should also be a plan for economic growth.
Philippe Huguen AFP/Getty Images

The plan European leaders agreed on last week to save the euro doesn't seem to have reassured the markets.

Two ratings agencies said the plan worked out in Brussels, which calls for greater fiscal integration, failed to address the immediate crisis of rising debts and the crushing costs of borrowing.

And some economists worry that the EU leaders are wrong to put so much emphasis on austerity without any real plans to stimulate economic growth.

For example, Portugal's growth rate last year was anemic, and the economies of Greece and Ireland shrank.

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3:53pm

Tue December 13, 2011
State Capitol

Child Welfare Records Released, More Change Wanted

Critics of Kentucky’s child welfare system say the recent release of over 80 child abuse records by the Cabinet for Health and Family Services is just the beginning. The child welfare system was at its best when the Cabinet for Families and Children was separate from the Cabinet for Health Services, said Anita Barbee, professor at University of Louisville’s Kent School of Social Work. She has also consulted with the cabinet for 20 years.

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3:50pm

Tue December 13, 2011
All Politics are Local

Yarmuth Opposes Riders on GOP Payroll Tax Plan

Pledging to vote against the Republican sponsored payroll tax plan, U.S. Rep. John Yarmuth, D-Ky. denounced the legislation for making fundamental changes to key programs without debate.  Speaker John Boehner, R-Oh., predicted the roughly $180 billion bill will pass the GOP-controlled House with bipartisan support.

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3:48pm

Tue December 13, 2011
The Commonwealth

I-64 Bridge Repairs On Schedule

Transportation officials say they expect the first load of steel reinforcements to arrive next week for installation on the Sherman Minton Bridge. The bridge has been shut down since early September, when inspectors discovered a crack in a load-bearing support beam.

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