Update on the latest news, sports, business and entertainment

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Updated: Sat, 26 Oct 2013 01:17:33 EST

OBAMA After hiatus, Obama returns to campaign mode in NY NEW YORK (AP) — President Barack Obama says the partial government shutdown and the debt ceiling fight was about more than Republicans seeking to undermine the health care law. He says it was about contrasting visions for the nation between the two political parties. Obama says his Democratic Party has the better part of that argument. The president made his remarks to Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee donors in Manhattan's Upper West side at the home of Karen Mehiel, a Democratic party fundraiser. Among the approximately 50 guests were House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi and the congressional committee's chairman, Rep. Steve Israel of New York. Tickets were $16,200 per person. Obama says the budget showdown displayed Washington's dysfunction in a way the country has not seen in a long time. NSA-WEBSITE NSA: No denial-of-service attack WASHINGTON (AP) — The National Security Agency says its website nsa.gov was inaccessible for several hours during a scheduled update. The agency says an internal error in the system caused the problem. There had been speculation on the Internet that the online site had been hit with a denial-of-service attack, but the agency said that was not true. A denial-of-service attack is an attempt by outsiders to make a network unavailable to its intended users. The NSA said the problem would be resolved Friday night. BUDGET BATTLE-OBAMA Obama discusses budget with Senate, House Dems WASHINGTON (AP) — The White House says President Barack Obama discussed upcoming budget talks with top Senate and House Democrats before heading to New York City. White House spokesman Josh Earnest told reporters traveling with Obama that the president reiterated a shared commitment to focus on growing the economy and creating jobs for middle-class families. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi, Senate Budget Committee Chairwoman Patty Murray and Chris Van Hollen, the House Budget Committee's top Democrat, were on the call. A larger group of Republican and Democratic senators and House members next week is to begin hammering out a budget deal to fund government operations through next September. A temporary funding measure that allowed the government to fully reopen last week is set to expire in early January. DEPUTIES SHOOT-13-YEAR-OLD FBI to investigate shooting of Calif. 13-year-old SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — The Federal Bureau of Investigation is conducting an independent investigation of the fatal shooting of a popular 13-year-old boy by a sheriff's deputy in Northern California. Sheriff Steve Freitas said he will cooperate fully with federal investigators and welcomes their participation in the probe of Andy Lopez's killing on Tuesday afternoon. The shooting has generated numerous protests and marches in the suburban town of Santa Rosa, with many residents questioning the deputy's decision to fire on the youth. In a statement late Friday afternoon, Freitas expressed sympathy to the Lopez family and thanked the Santa Rosa community for keeping protests peaceful. MOBILE HOME SLAYINGS Ga. man guilty of killing 8 in mobile home BRUNSWICK, Ga. (AP) — Prosecutors who won a conviction against a Georgia man in the slayings of eight people say they dropped a possible death sentence in a deal with defense lawyers that allowed them to avoid a mistrial. A jury convicted 26-year-old Guy Heinze Jr. of malice murder on Friday, four hours after the trial judge excused one jury member and replaced him with an alternate juror. Prosecutor John B. Johnson told reporters "a situation" with one juror had the jury deadlocked. Heinze's lawyers agreed to excuse that juror if prosecutors took the death penalty off the table. Johnson says neither side wanted a mistrial, which would have meant trying Heinze again. Heinze will be sentenced to life in prison, either with or without possible parole, for the Aug. 29, 2009 slayings. BRONX BLAZE-KIDS DIE NEW: NYC officials: Baby, 2 boys die after Bronx fire NEW YORK (AP) — New York police say three children are dead, including a 4-month-old baby, after a fire broke out in a Bronx apartment building a few blocks from Yankee Stadium. Firefighters responded to the blaze just before 8 p.m. Friday. Police said the three children, all boys, were ages 2, 5, and 4-months old. They were pronounced dead at a hospital. A 25-year-old woman, 4-year-old girl and 4-month-old girl were treated for smoke inhalation. Police said they are in stable condition. Fire officials said the fire originated in a second-floor apartment of the six-story building. The building's owner couldn't be reached for comment. The building is about 10 blocks from the site of a 2007 fire that killed 10 people, including 8 children. DRUG WEBSITE SHUTDOWN NEW: NY US Attorney: $28M in bitcoins seized NEW YORK (AP) — The United States Attorney in New York says about $28 million worth of bitcoins have been seized from a man charged with operating a notorious online drug marketplace known as Silk Road. U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara (buh-RAH'-ruh) said Friday more than 144,000 bitcoins were found on computer hardware belonging to Ross William Ulbricht. Federal authorities in New York have charged Ulbricht with three felonies related to the operation of the website. He was sent to New York from California earlier this month. The federal public defender who represented Ulbricht in California declined to comment. His New York attorney didn't immediately return messages. Silk Road gained notoriety as a black market bazaar where drugs could be bought and sold using bitcoins, a form of online cash. DEPARTMENT STORE-DISCRIMINATION SUIT NEW: Black actor: NY Macy's stopped me because of race NEW YORK (AP) — A black actor on the HBO drama series "Treme" (treh-MAY') says he was stopped because of his race while shopping at a New York City Macy's department store and has filed a lawsuit against it. Robert Brown's lawsuit comes after two other black shoppers made similar claims against Barneys New York this week. Brown's lawsuit was filed Thursday and seeks unspecified monetary damages. It says Brown was stopped by police at the Macy's Herald Square store after employees contacted authorities about possible credit card fraud. Brown's lawsuit says it was over sunglasses, but he said Friday at a press conference it was a $1,300 watch bought for his mother. Brown says he was handcuffed and searched before being released. He says he was targeted because he's black. Macy's says it's investigating the claim. MARINE-FRAUD NEW: Ex-Marine sentenced to more than 5 years for fraud SAN DIEGO (AP) — A former Marine has been sentenced to more than five years in prison for accepting $150,000 from military contractors while he was deployed in Iraq. U.S. District Judge Janis L. Sammartino sentenced former Staff Sgt. Gilbert Mendez on Friday in federal court in San Diego. Mendez pleaded guilty on Dec. 6, 2012, to conspiring to defraud the United States by accepting hundreds of thousands of dollars in payments from defense contractors. The foreign contractors received millions of dollars in military contracts at Camp Fallujah, Iraq. Mendez also must pay $150,000 in restitution to the Defense Department. MACY'S FIRE FDNY: No injuries in NYC Macy's store fire NEW YORK (AP) —A fire at the Macy's flagship store in New York City is out, and a fire department spokesman says no one was injured. The two-alarm blaze broke out about 8:15 p.m. Friday in the basement of the iconic department store on 34th Street in Manhattan. The building was evacuated, and the fire was out by about 9:15 p.m. A Macy's spokeswoman said customers were allowed back in to retrieve their personal belongings. Fire department spokesman Jim Long said 25 units and 106 firefighters responded. He said sprinklers in the building kept the fire from spreading. Fire marshals are investigating the cause. The department store has over 1 million square-feet of retail space. Dozens of onlookers gathered near the store to watch the spectacle.

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