National news briefs: 12/8/12

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Obama widens donor pool

WASHINGTON -- President Barack Obama will accept unlimited donations from corporations -- but no money from lobbyists or political action committees -- to finance his 2013 inaugural festivities, reversing his stance of four years ago, Addie Whisenant, a spokeswoman for his inaugural committee, said Friday.

Inauguration events will be downsized as well.

Lobbyists and political action committees won't be allowed to contribute. Corporations that accepted but haven't yet repaid funding from the Troubled Asset Relief Program also will be prohibited from donating.

In 2009, Mr. Obama banned corporate cash and accepted a maximum of $50,000 per donor.

He will take the oath of office Jan. 20. Formal ceremonies will be Jan. 21.

Bus driver acquitted

NEW YORK -- A bus driver accused of being so tired that he caused one of the deadliest crashes in New York City's history was found not guilty of manslaughter and negligent homicide Friday.

The bus driven by Ophadell Williams, 41, struck a guardrail on Interstate 95 in the Bronx, flipped over and ripped open, killing 15 of the 32 passengers and injuring many more.

The trial centered on the question of whether a driver can be proved to be too tired to drive responsibly.

Mr. Williams had been in jail since September 2011, unable to afford bail. His sentence on one misdemeanor charge was commuted to time served.

Lotto winner surfaces

PHOENIX -- The second winner in last week's $587.5 million Powerball drawing is a married man in his 30s from the wealthy Phoenix suburb of Fountain Hills, lottery officials said Friday.

They reported the man lived in Pennsylvania until about a year ago and played the lottery only twice since moving to Arizona.

The man remained anonymous, and officials said he bought $10 in tickets. He opted to take the pretax cash option of $192 million.

A mechanic and his wife, Mark and Cindy Hill of Dearborn, Mo., already have claimed their half of the multistate Powerball prize.

Pure hydrocodone opposed

WASHINGTON -- Government health experts overwhelmingly oppose a stronger version of the powerful painkiller hydrocodone

The Food and Drug Administration's panel of pain specialists voted 11-2 with one abstention against Zohydro for chronic pain. San Diego-based Zogenix Inc. developed the drug.

The FDA is not required to follow the group's recommendation, though it often does. If approved, Zohydro would be the first pure hydrocodone medication approved in the U.S. Existing products combine it with lower-strength painkillers such as acetaminophen.

Truck driver not charged

MIDLAND, Texas -- The Midland Police Department does not plan to file charges against the man who drove a parade float carrying 12 veterans and their wives onto railroad tracks, a city spokeswoman said Friday.

The Nov. 15 crash in the West Texas town killed four veterans and seriously wounded five others. The driver, Dale Andrew Hayden, was not physically injured in the crash.

Officials with the National Transportation Safety Board have said the truck pulling the float drove onto the tracks while warning bells rang. Witnesses said one of the crossing arms hit the float as it attempted to cross.

The accident left Mr. Hayden traumatized, said a lawyer for the driver's employer.



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