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Gates predicts women will get combat roles

DURHAM, N.C. —Defense Secretary Robert Gates says the day will come when women will be allowed to serve in special operations units, the kind of commando teams that conduct secret raids and nab terrorists.

Such an allowance would be a major change for the military. Women by law aren't allowed to serve on the front lines of combat, although women serving in Iraq and Afghanistan often face the same threats as infantry troops.

Gates was addressing a group of ROTC students at Duke University on Wednesday when he was asked whether special operations units will open to women now that they are allowed on submarines.

Swarming bedbugs plague firefighters

DENVER — Denver firefighters ran into more than the normal hazards at a house fire.

Crews responding to the blaze Wednesday also had to battle bedbugs, the bloodsucking insects quickly becoming the scourge of households and businesses across the country.

Lt. Phil Champagne of the Denver Fire Department told the Denver Post that firefighters had to be decontaminated after going into an attic where items were infested with bedbugs.

The bugs scurried away from the flames and latched on to firefighters' equipment and gear. Some of the gear had to bagged so the bugs wouldn't get a free ride to the firehouse.

Man ordered to stay away from Sarah Palin

JUNEAU, Alaska — Sarah Palin has been granted a restraining order against a Pennsylvania man accused of stalking and threatening her.

Alaska Magistrate Judge Colleen Ray issued a 20-day protective order Monday against 18-year-old Shawn R. Christy, finding probable cause to believe he had stalked the former governor and vice presidential candidate.

Palin and her attorney claimed Christy made implied threats through phone and written messages, allegedly telling Palin to watch her back and saying he was buying a one-way ticket to Alaska and sending a receipt for a gun purchase.

Christy was ordered to have no contact with Palin's family and to stay a mile away from her home.

Film director Arthur Penn dies at 88

LOS ANGELES — Arthur Penn, the three-time Oscar-nominated director best known for "Bonnie and Clyde," the landmark 1967 film that stirred critical passions over its graphic violence and became a harbinger of a new era of American filmmaking, died Tuesday, a day after he turned 88.

Penn died of congestive heart failure at his New York City home, said his daughter, Molly. A veteran of directing live television dramas in the 1950s, Penn made his film directorial debut with "The Left Handed Gun," a 1958 revisionist Western starring Paul Newman as Billy the Kid.

Penn, who was often attracted to characters who were outsiders, directed only a dozen other feature films over the next three decades, including "The Miracle Worker," "The Chase," "Mickey One," "Alice's Restaurant," "Little Big Man," "Night Moves," "The Missouri Breaks" and "Four Friends."

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