National news briefs: 10/13/12

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Missing girl found dead

WESTMINSTER, Colo. -- A body found in a suburban Denver park was identified Friday as that of a missing 10-year-old girl, as anxious parents kept close watch over their children because of the potential presence of a predator in their midst, authorities said.

The body of Jessica Ridgeway was found Wednesday about 7 miles southwest of her home. Authorities said it was not intact, and DNA was used to identify her.

Jessica began a short walk from her home to Witt Elementary School on the morning of Oct. 5 but never arrived. A massive search by hundreds of law enforcement officers did not start until hours later because Jessica's mother works nights and slept through a call from school officials saying Jessica wasn't there.

$1.09 trillion deficit for '12

WASHINGTON -- The government budget deficit for the year ended in September was the fourth-largest since World War II as lawmakers debate the impact of the looming spending cuts a month before the election.

The shortfall registered $1.09 trillion in fiscal 2012, down from $1.3 trillion in 2011, according to Treasury Department data issued Friday. It reached $1.42 trillion in 2009, the highest ever. In September, the U.S. registered a surplus of $75 billion compared with a shortfall of $62.7 billion in the same month last year.

The U.S. faces a so-called fiscal cliff of $1.2 trillion in mandated spending cuts, in addition to the expiration of George W. Bush-era tax reductions, if Congress can't agree by Dec. 31 on ways to reduce the deficit.

Schools chief resigns

CHICAGO -- Chicago Public Schools CEO Jean-Claude Brizard stepped down Thursday after a little more than a year in the post and just three weeks after the school district endured its first strike by teachers in 25 years.

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, who named Mr. Brizard to the post 17 months ago, said the resignation was a mutual decision that arose after questions about Mr. Brizard's management became a distraction to efforts to improve the schools. Mr. Emanuel said the decision was made during "two to three separate conversations" in recent days.

Mr. Brizard previously held a similar position in the Rochester, N.Y., public schools. He is being replaced with Barbara Byrd-Bennett, a former teacher, principal and Cleveland schools CEO who has been filling in as Chicago's interim chief education officer.

China currency issue

WASHINGTON -- The Obama administration is delaying a decision that had been due Monday on whether China is manipulating its currency to gain trade advantages.

The Treasury Department said Friday the decision will now come after global finance officials meet in early November.

The delay means the decision will not likely come until after the Nov. 6 presidential election. GOP challenger Mitt Romney has attacked the administration for not targeting China for unfair trade practices.

Child-neglect probe

LOS ANGELES -- Nadya Suleman, otherwise known as "Octomom," will not face criminal charges from a child-neglect probe by La Habra, Calif., police, Orange County prosecutors announced Friday.

Ms. Suleman, who became famous in 2009 after giving birth to octuplets, had been accused by one of her caregivers of neglect in a September complaint.

Prosecutors did not describe the nature of the allegations against Ms. Suleman but said a review of the La Habra investigation determined there was insufficient evidence of any crime.



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