AP Top News at 6:40 p.m. EST

March 10, 2011
Wisconsin Assembly members hold hands during a prayer by Rev. Jesse Jackson before a session at the state Capitol in Madison, Wis., Thursday, March 10, 2011. (AP Photo/Andy Manis)
View photos
Wisconsin Assembly members hold hands during a prayer by Rev. Jesse Jackson before a session at the state Capitol in Madison, Wis., Thursday, March 10, 2011.

With the labor movement heading to an epic defeat in Wisconsin and perhaps other states, union leaders plan to use the setback to fire up working people nationwide and mount a major counterattack against Republicans at the ballot box in 2012. Wisconsin's measure stripping public employees of most bargaining rights swiftly advanced toward GOP Gov. Scott Walker's desk Thursday, and he promised to sign it as soon as possible. But labor leaders say the events in Wisconsin have helped galvanize support for unions across the country, and they hope to use the momentum to help fight off the attacks and grow their membership.

RAS LANOUF, Libya (AP) — With fierce barrages of tank and artillery fire, Moammar Gadhafi's loyalists threw rebels into a frantic retreat from a strategic oil port Thursday in a counteroffensive that reversed the opposition's advance toward the capital of Tripoli and now threatens its positions in the east. The rout came as the U.S. director of national intelligence stressed that Gadhafi's military was stronger than it has been described and said that "in the longer term ... the regime will prevail."

HOUSTON (AP) — Arizona Rep. Gabrielle Giffords plans to attend the launch of the space shuttle Endeavour next month to see off her astronaut husband, a person close to the family told The Associated Press on Thursday. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the family and doctors have not yet publicized the decision. A news conference was scheduled for Friday morning at the Houston hospital where Giffords is undergoing rehabilitation.

WASHINGTON (AP) — Congress pushed deep into a raw and emotional debate Thursday over American Muslims who have committed terrorist attacks in the name of religion, in a hearing punctuated by tearful testimony, angry recriminations and political theater. Republican Rep. Peter King declared U.S. Muslims are doing too little to help fight terror in America. Democrats warned of inflaming anti-Muslim sentiment and energizing al-Qaida.

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama smiled when he said his large ears and funny name once made him a target of school-yard harassment. But he was all seriousness Thursday when he told a White House conference on bullying that torment and intimidation must not be tolerated. Some 13 million students, about a third of all those attending school, are bullied every year, the White House said. Experts say that puts them at greater risk of falling behind in their studies, abusing drugs or alcohol, or suffering mental or other health problems. Kids who are seen as different because of their race, clothes, disability or sexual orientation are more likely to be bullied.

DALLAS (AP) — Women who enjoy a daily dose of coffee may like this perk: It might lower their risk of stroke. Women in a Swedish study who drank at least a cup of coffee every day had a 22 to 25 percent lower risk of stroke, compared to those who drank less coffee or none at all.

NEW YORK (AP) — The new iPad model hitting stores Friday comes with several improvements over the original version but the same price tag, hobbling efforts by rivals at breaking Apple Inc.'s hold on the emerging market for tablet computers. Competitors such as Motorola Mobility Holdings Inc. can't seem to match the iPad's starting price of $499. Tablets that are comparable to the iPad in features cost hundreds of dollars more, while cheaper tablets are inferior to the iPad in quality.

SANTA MONICA, Calif. (AP) — Charlie Sheen brought his verbal war against Warner Bros. and the executive producer of "Two and a Half Men" to the courtroom on Thursday, filing a $100 million lawsuit seeking to recoup his salary and wages for the show's cast and crew. The breach of contract lawsuit alleges production was halted on the CBS sitcom in part to punish Sheen for recent behavior that has included two hospitalizations and, in recent weeks, a series of interviews in which he has attacked executive producer Chuck Lorre. But the suit and Sheen's attorney, Marty Singer, say most of the incidents cited by Warner Bros. for firing Sheen occurred before his tirades against Lorre began.

AUBURN HILLS, Mich. (AP) — An employee of Chrysler Group LLC's social media agency has been fired after it was discovered the person posted an obscene tweet on the Chrysler brand's official account. The tweet posted Wednesday read: "I find it ironic that Detroit is known as the (hash)motorcity and yet no one here knows how to (expletive) drive."

NEW YORK (AP) — Syracuse is back in the Big East tournament semifinals. The players who came up big for the Orange in the quarterfinals don't have any experience in those kind of games. Sophomore guard Brandon Triche had a season-high 22 points and freshman center Fab Melo scored a career-high 12, including two layups in the final 2 minutes, and No. 11 Syracuse beat No. 17 St. John's 79-73 on Thursday.