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In this Jan. 31 file photo, former Nebraska Republican Sen. Chuck Hagel testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington before the Senate Armed Services Committee confirmation hearing. The Armed Services Committee voted 14-11 on Tuesday to send the nomination to the full Senate. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File)

Senate panel approves Hagel for Pentagon chief

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WASHINGTON (AP) -- A bitterly divided Senate panel on Tuesday voted to approve President Barack Obama's nomination of Chuck Hagel to be the nation's defense secretary at a time of turmoil for the military with looming budget cuts, a fresh sign of North Korea's nuclear ambitions and drawdown of U.S. forces in Afghanistan.

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