National News Roundup: Flu, film legacy and a faltering computer company

By Carolyn Freeman

In this edition of the National News Roundup, a ban on women in combat is lifted, J.J. Abrams is officially named “Star Wars” director and Exxon surpasses Apple as the world’s most valuable company.

Pentagon now allows women in combat
Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said on Thursday that it was “the responsibility of every citizen to protect the nation.” Obama also said that the decision would further equality in the United States. Read more here.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton testifies in Congress
Clinton took responsibility for the attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya that killed Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans. The Obama administration is trying to gain a greater understanding of the rescue effort that resulted in three American deaths. Read more here.

Flu season continues, though less people are getting sick
A report from the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention declares that flu activity is decreasing in many places, though it is still high overall. High levels of the flu were found in 26 states, as opposed to 30 last week. Read more here.

Former ‘Star Wars’ director George Lucas endorses J.J. Abrams as new director
Star Wars creator George Lucas released a statement: “I’ve consistently been impressed with J.J. as a filmmaker and storyteller. He’s an ideal choice to direct the new Star Wars film and the legacy couldn’t be in better hands.” “Star Wars: Episode VII” is expected come out in 2015. Read more here.

Exxon surpasses Apple in stock market
Shares of Apple continued to slide Friday following a 12 percent decline on Thursday. A poor quarterly earnings report precipitated the plunge, which dropped Apple to No. 2 in market capitalization, behind oil company Exxon. See more here.