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By AP

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Updated: Sat, 12 Apr 2014 01:16:03 EST

CALIFORNIA BUS CRASH

Feds eye possible issues after deadly bus crash

ORLAND, Calif. (AP) — Federal investigators say they will review whether a stretch of California freeway where a bus carrying students was struck by a big rig should have had a barrier down the median to prevent head-on collisions.

In addition, the National Transportation Safety Board said Friday it will determine if a fire suppression system recommended but not mandated for buses would have made a difference in the crash that left 10 people dead.

Mark Rosekind, an NTSB member, said his agency would be gathering information over the next two weeks but not immediately provide a preliminary cause of the fiery crash along Interstate 5.

The bus was carrying 44 teenagers from Southern California high schools to Humboldt State University to participate in a program that invites prospective low-income or first-generation college students to visit the campus.

CALIFORNIA BUS CRASH

Cause of deadly California bus crash unknown

ORLAND, Calif. (AP) — The California Highway Patrol says it does not yet know what caused a FedEx tractor-trailer to veer across a grassy highway median and slam into a bus, killing 10 people.

Lt. Scott Fredrick said at a news conference Friday that investigators will try to determine whether the FedEx driver fell asleep, experienced mechanical failure or lost control because of a separate collision on the southbound side of the freeway. It also will probe roadway and weather conditions.

The investigation could take as long as six months.

The crash occurred on Interstate 5 in Orland, a city about 150 miles northeast of San Francisco.

OBAMA

Obama: Right to vote under threat in the US

NEW YORK (AP) — President Barack Obama says the right to vote in the U.S. is under bigger threat than at any time since the Voting Rights Act passed nearly five decades ago.

Obama says the idea of "one person, one vote" is the single biggest tool for fighting injustice. He's denouncing Republican efforts to pass voting restrictions, such as photo ID laws.

Obama is addressing Al Sharpton's National Action Network conference in New York. His speech comes a day after he marked the 50th anniversary of the Civil Rights Act.

The Supreme Court recently invalidated key provisions of the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

Obama also says some states are leaving millions uninsured out of political spite. He's referring to Republican-controlled states that haven't accepted a Medicaid expansion under his health care law.

SEBELIUS RESIGNATION

Obama hopes for smooth confirmation vote

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama may be looking to avoid an election-year confirmation battle in the Senate, with his choice of Sylvia Mathews Burwell to take over as secretary of Health and Human Services.

He points out that she was confirmed without a negative vote last year to be budget director.

She's now being nominated to succeed Kathleen Sebelius (seh-BEEL'-yuhs), who is stepping down after overseeing the troubled rollout of the new health care law.

Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell says he hopes it marks the start of a "candid conversation" about what he calls "Obamacare's shortcomings and the need to protect Medicare."

The opening weeks of the enrollment period were marred by problems with the website, straining ties between Sebelius and officials in the West Wing. The administration rebounded, and exceeded expectations by enrolling more than 7 million people by the March 31st deadline. But that didn't end Republican criticism of Sebelius or boost the public's perception of the federal health care overhaul.

GAY MARRIAGE-UTAH

Utah AG speaks at rally in favor of marriage ban

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — Utah Attorney General Sean Reyes says his defense of Utah's same-sex marriage ban in a federal appeals court is not motivated by hate.

Reyes said Friday his office is defending Utah's right to define marriage as residents decide. The ban was passed by 66 percent of voters in 2004.

Reyes spoke during a rally at the Capitol attended by about 100 supporters of Utah's same-sex marriage ban.

They gathered to thank Reyes and stand up for what they called traditional marriage a day after a federal appeals court heard arguments about the constitutionality of the law.

Attorney generals in seven states have declined to defend same-sex marriage bans.

Speakers in Utah said marriages between a man and a woman are the only unions that ensure children are raised properly.

UKRAINE-SANCTIONS

US levies more sanctions over Crimea takeover

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Treasury Department is sanctioning the former vice speaker of the Ukrainian parliament, six Crimean separatist leaders and a Crimea-based gas company over Russia's takeover of the Crimean Peninsula.

David Cohen, the undersecretary for terrorism and financial intelligence, on Friday called the Crimean Peninsula "occupied territory" and said the U.S. would continue to levy costs on those involved in what the U.S. deems are violations of Ukraine's sovereignty.

The Treasury Department action freezes any assets within U.S. jurisdiction held by those sanctioned and also bans U.S. citizens from conducting transactions with them.

In March, President Barack Obama slapped new visa restrictions on Russian and other opponents of Ukraine's government in Kiev and authorized wider financial penalties against those involved in the military intervention or in stealing state assets.

STABBING DEATH-STILETTO HEEL

Woman gets life in prison in stiletto heel slaying

HOUSTON (AP) — A jury has sentenced a Houston woman to life in prison for killing her boyfriend by stabbing him at least 25 times in the face and head with the 5½-inch stiletto heel of her shoe.

Ana Trujillo (troo-HEE'-yoh) could be seen silently crying Friday when her sentence was handed down in last June's killing of 59-year-old Alf Stefan Andersson. She was convicted of murder Tuesday.

Prosecutors say Trujillo attacked Andersson during an argument at his home after a night of drinking. Her attorney argued that Andersson, a professor and researcher at the University of Houston, attacked the 45-year-old Trujillo and that she defended herself with the only weapon available, her shoe.

Jurors had asked to look at the blue suede stiletto heel — a size 9 platform pump.

US-GENERAL-MOTORS-RECALL

GM slow to act on recalls, House documents show

DETROIT (AP) — Documents from a House subcommittee show that General Motors CEO Mary Barra received an email about a steering problem in the Saturn Ion in October 2011 — more than two years before the car was recalled.

That email message was not related to a problem with an ignition switch that is at the heart of a separate recall of 2.6 million small cars. That recall is the subject of a subcommittee investigation. GM has linked that problem to 13 deaths.

The documents also show that a GM engineer signed off on changes to the defective switch without changing the part number, which made the problem harder to track.

Also included is a 2013 email from federal regulators complaining that GM is slow to act on safety issues.

CRUISE SHIP BALTIMORE-ILLNESS

Passengers ill on cruise ship that sailed from Md.

BALTIMORE (AP) — The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says passengers on a cruise ship that sailed out of Baltimore became sick on board during two consecutive voyages.

According to the CDC website, about 100 passengers and crew members on the Grandeur of the Seas became ill with vomiting and diarrhea. It left April 5 for a seven-day cruise.

A spokeswoman for ship owner Royal Caribbean Cruises in an email confirmed the illnesses and said a norovirus was believed to be the cause.

The CDC also reported that about 100 passengers and crew members became ill on the Grandeur during its sailing from March 28 to April 5.

The agency says three of its staff will board the ship when it returns to Baltimore Saturday to investigate the most recent outbreak.

SPACE STATION

Space station computer outage may force spacewalk

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (AP) — A computer outage at the International Space Station may require a spacewalk by astronauts.

NASA said Friday night that a backup computer on the outside of the orbiting lab is not responding to commands. The main computer, called an MDM or multiplexer-demultiplexer, is working fine and the six-man crew is in no danger. But the computers control some robotic functions that would be needed for next week's planned visit by a private SpaceX supply ship. A backup computer would need to be operating for redundancy of those robotic systems.

Mission Control is deciding whether the computer can be repaired or must be replaced. NASA is still aiming for a Monday launch from Cape Canaveral of the SpaceX cargo ship. But that could change, depending on the faulty computer.

911 OUTAGE

NEW: CenturyLink: Washington 911 outage due to vendor

SEATTLE (AP) — CenturyLink says a seven-hour outage in Washington state 911 service early Thursday was caused by a technical error by a third-party vendor.

In a statement Friday, the company said the vendor worked with CenturyLink to resolve the issue "as quickly as possible."

In one case early Thursday, an Everett, Wash., woman says she made 37 calls about an intruder breaking into her home and had to drive him away herself with a knife.

The company said a similar, shorter 911 outage about the same time in Oregon affected about 16,000 phone customers in Lincoln, Tillamook and Yamhill counties. CenturyLink says that was caused by a maintenance issue.

$120 MILLION HOUSE

NEW: 50-acre Connecticut estate sells for $120 million

GREENWICH, Conn. (AP) — A 12-bedroom waterfront estate on 50 acres in wealthy Greenwich has been sold for $120 million.

Even though that's $70 million under Copper Beech Farm's initial listing price, real estate agent David Ogilvy tells the Greenwich Time he believes the sum is the most ever paid for a residential property in the United States. The paperwork finalizing the sale to a limited liability company was filed Friday.

The 13,000-square-foot French Renaissance-style home has a 75-foot pool, grass tennis court, a stone carriage house and two islands in Long Island Sound.

Ogilvy says Copper Beech Farm edged out a Silicon Valley property sold last year for $117.5 million.

Built in 1896, Copper Beech Farm was once owned by Andrew Carnegie's niece Harriet Lauder Greenway.

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