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AROUND THE NATION

Gays in military settled as issue, lawmaker says

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Republican chairman of the House Armed Services Committee said Thursday that allowing gays to serve openly in the military is a settled issue that he won't try to reverse even if Mitt Romney wins the presidency in November and the GOP captures the Senate.

Rep. Howard "Buck" McKeon of California said his focus is on restoring money for the military after the latest round of defense cuts -- a planned reduction of $487 billion over 10 years that could nearly double if Congress fails to avert automatic, across-the-board cuts that begin in January.

Pressed by defense reporters during an interview on the divisive issue of gay rights that roiled Congress two years ago, McKeon said he wouldn't revisit it. "We fought that fight," he said, adding that his goal is to "get the things that our war-fighters need."

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Breast cancer survivor allowed to swim topless

SEATTLE (AP) -- A Seattle breast cancer survivor whose breasts were surgically removed has gained permission to swim topless at a city pool. But Jodi Jaecks, 47, wants to make sure her privilege is extended to other breast cancer survivors.

"Initially when I heard about the reversal, I was elevated. Then it came that it wasn't a policy change, it was just an exception for me," she said Thursday. "Then I was quite deflated. It seemed like it was a reaction that it was just meant to appease me."

Wednesday, Seattle Parks and Recreation Superintendent Christopher Williams said he was giving Jaecks an exception.

"Our original concern stems from our responsibility to accommodate the needs of all our patrons. In this case, I see nothing that might alarm the public," Williams said.