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Associated Press

Posted on January 18, 2014 at 9:00 AM

Updated Saturday, Jan 18 at 9:00 AM

UN-AFGHANISTAN

16 people die in Kabul attack

UNITED NATIONS (AP) — Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon says four United Nations personnel are among 16 dead in the "horrific attack" on a Kabul restaurant.

Officials say a suicide bomber blew himself up outside a Kabul restaurant filled with foreigners and affluent Afghans having dinner Friday night, while two gunmen sneaked in through the back door and opened fire.

The U.N. chief condemned Friday's attack "in the strongest terms," saying "such targeted attacks against civilians are completely unacceptable and are in flagrant breach of international humanitarian law," U.N. deputy spokesman Farhan Haq said.

Ban said the U.N. personnel, who were not identified, were among at least 16 foreigners and Afghans killed, including a number of people from other international organizations. Kabul police say 14 died, and the discrepancy could not be immediately reconciled.

Ban demanded an immediate end to the attacks.

BUDGET BATTLE

Obama signs $1.1 trillion government spending bill

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama has signed the $1.1 trillion spending bill that funds the federal government through the end of September.

Obama signed the measure Friday, the day before federal funding was set to run out. He was joined at a conference center near the White House by aides who did much of the work negotiating it.

The compromise package passed both houses of Congress overwhelmingly this week. It funds every agency of the federal government and also scales back automatic spending cuts that hit the Pentagon and major domestic programs last year.

The measure calls for less spending than Obama proposed but more than Republicans sought. However, lawmakers of both parties were determined to avoid a repeat of the political showdown that caused a 16-day government shutdown last October.

CHEMICAL SPILL-WEST VIRGINIA

Co. blamed for W.Va. spill files for bankruptcy

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) — The company blamed for a chemical spill that left 300,000 West Virginians without safe drinking water has filed for bankruptcy.

Freedom Industries Inc. filed for bankruptcy Friday with the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in the Southern District of West Virginia.

Company president Gary Southern signed the paperwork.

The water was tainted after a chemical used to clean coal leaked from a storage tank and then a containment area at a facility owned by Freedom Industries.

The bankruptcy document says the leaky storage tank appears to have been pierced through its base by some sort of object.

It also says a current theory for the hole is that a local water line that broke near the Charleston plant could have made the ground beneath the storage tank freeze in the cold days before Thursday's spill.

CALIFORNIA WILDFIRES

Most evacuations over in Los Angeles-area wildfire

GLENDORA, Calif. (AP) — Most of the remaining evacuees from a wildfire in the foothills northeast of Los Angeles can now return home.

County emergency officials said Friday afternoon that residents in all but one neighborhood of the city of Azusa can return home. That means only a handful of the 3,700 people who evacuated the fire as it raged Thursday morning remain away from their homes, though it was not clear exactly how many.

Residents in neighboring Glendora were allowed to return on Thursday night.

The fire that burned 2 ½ square miles has been reduced to smoke and scattered ashes after destroying five homes and damaging 17 houses and other structures.

PHILLY SCHOOL SHOOTING

2 students shot in Philly school gym; boy cleared

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — A teenage boy originally thought to have been involved in a Philadelphia high school gym shooting that wounded two fellow students has been cleared.

Police say the shooting happened at the Delaware Valley Charter High School in north Philadelphia on Friday afternoon. A boy and a girl were each shot in an arm.

Police found one boy wanted in the shooting near his home. Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey says the boy was questioned and released from custody and is no longer a suspect.

A second boy turned himself in to police Friday night. A third is being sought.

One of the wounded students has been released from a hospital. The other is listed in stable condition.

MAYOR-COUNCILWOMAN THREATS

Man held in threatening gay, socialist officials

SEATTLE (AP) — A man accused of threatening Seattle's openly gay mayor and a socialist City Council member has been ordered held in jail.

The Seattle Times reports that Mitchell Munro Taylor of Seattle was arrested Thursday on suspicion of malicious harassment. Bail was set Friday at $600,000.

Court documents say threatening, anti-gay postings from the man's account were found on Mayor Ed Murray's Facebook page. One reportedly said, "Mayor, meet Harvey Milk," a reference to a gay San Francisco official fatally shot in 1978.

Another post said "death to socialist council member." Kshama Sawant (CHAH'-mah SAH'-want) is the first socialist council member in Seattle's modern history.

Defense lawyer Eric Lindell said in court that his client has Asperger's syndrome, a form of autism. He says Taylor had been off his medications.

SAME-SEX WEDDING CAKE

Oregon: Cake refusal violates gay couple's rights

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Oregon's Bureau of Labor and Industries has determined that a suburban Portland bakery violated the civil rights of a same-sex couple by refusing to bake a cake for the women's wedding.

Agency spokesman Charlie Burr said Friday that investigators found evidence that Sweet Cakes by Melissa unlawfully discriminated against the couple based on their sexual orientation.

The Oregonian reports the state will oversee a conciliation process to see if the parties can reach a settlement.

Rachel Cryer and Laurel Bowman of Portland say they were denied a wedding cake last January by the bakery's owners, Aaron and Melissa Klein.

The Kleins' lawyer Herbert Grey says his clients will participate in the conciliation process but maintain their original stance. They have said they were practicing their right to religious freedom.

HORSE SLAUGHTER

Horse slaughter blocked by federal law

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — The resumption of the commercial slaughtering of horses was blocked Friday as President Barack Obama signed a budget measure that withholds money for required federal inspections of the slaughtering process.

The measure provides temporary funding for the federal government, but it stops the U.S. Agriculture Department from spending on horse slaughterhouse inspections.

The president of the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals says the federal government's action reflects the opinions of many Americans that horse slaughter is "abhorrent and unacceptable."

The last domestic horse slaughterhouses closed in 2007, a year after Congress withheld inspection funding. Since federal money was restored in 2011, plants in New Mexico, Missouri and Iowa have fought to start slaughtering to potentially export horse meat for overseas consumers.

OHIO EXECUTION

UPDATE: Unclear future for executions after Ohio's longest execution

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Family members of a condemned Ohio man who took 26 minutes to die have threatened a lawsuit and new questions are arising about the ability of states to carry out executions.

Death row inmate Dennis McGuire made loud snorting noises Thursday during the longest execution since Ohio resumed capital punishment in 1999.

McGuire's adult children said Friday it amounted to torture. The convicted killer's son, also named Dennis, says nobody deserves to go through that.

McGuire's attorney and an anti-death penalty group are calling for a moratorium on executions.

The 53-year-old McGuire was sentenced to die for raping and fatally stabbing a pregnant woman in 1989.

PLAYBOY-HARPERS-LAWSUIT

NEW: Playboy sues mag over photos of model Kate Moss

NEW YORK (AP) — Lawyers for Playboy magazine are suing Harper's Bazaar publisher Hearst Communications over its online use of photos of fashion model Kate Moss.

Court papers filed Friday in federal court in Manhattan say the magazine violated Playboy's exclusive right to publish the pictures taken by fashion photographers Mert Alas and Marcos Piggott for the publication's 60th anniversary issue.

The suit alleges Harper's posted on its website a clothed photo of the 40-year-old supermodel from the Playboy shoot but added a hyperlink that took readers to another website showing the nude and partially nude photo spread.

The lawsuit seeks $150,000 per photo infringed.

Representatives for Harper's Bazaar didn't immediately return messages Friday.

Moss has been a star since she was discovered as a teenager in the late 1980s.

CHINA-ANCIENT TOWN FIRE

NEW: Heater blamed for fire in ancient Chinese town

BEIJING (AP) — Chinese state media say a heater left unattended caused a fire that destroyed an ancient Tibetan town in southern China's Yunnan province.

The official Xinhua News Agency said late Friday that authorities detained Tang Ying, operator of the Ruyi Inn guesthouse in the old neighborhood of Dukezong in Shangri-La county.

Xinhua said Tang was under investigation for allegedly causing the Jan. 11 fire that burned for nearly 10 hours, destroying 343 houses and many historic artifacts.

It said Tang forgot to turn off the heater, which later set fire to a curtain.

Local authorities have said a million-dollar fire prevention system failed to prevent the blaze. Witnesses say hydrants failed to pump out water and that fire engines were kept outside the area's narrow alleys.

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