U.S. deficit falls by $200 billion

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WASHINGTON -- The White House said Monday that the federal budget deficit for the current fiscal year will shrink to $759 billion. That's more than $200 billion less than the administration predicted just three months ago.

The new figures reflect additional revenues generated by the improving economy and take into account automatic, across-the-board spending cuts that the White House had hoped to avert.

The 2013 budget year ending Sept. 30 will be the first one of Obama's presidency in which the deficit won't exceed $1 trillion.

Background-checks flap

WASHINGTON -- Twenty investigators have pleaded guilty or have been convicted of falsifying background checks of U.S. government workers since 2006.

Half of them worked for companies such as Altegrity Inc., which performed a background check on national-security contractor Edward Snowden. The cases may represent a fraction of the fabrications in a vetting process with little oversight, according to lawmakers and U.S. watchdog officials.

No Texas re-election bid

SAN ANTONIO -- Texas Gov. Rick Perry, the longest-serving governor in the state's history, announced here Monday that he will not seek election to a fourth term in 2014 amid speculation that he will run again for the Republican presidential nomination in 2016.

Mr. Perry, 63, said he would continue actively as governor until his term expires but made no explicit statement about what might come after that.

Spitzer's comeback try

NEW YORK -- Former New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer, in his first public appearance since he announced he was seeking a return to elected office, said Monday that voters should consider his "substantive record" as attorney general, governor and a prosecutor beyond the prostitution scandal that forced him from Albany.

The Democrat will need 3,750 valid signatures by Thursday to get on the ballot to run for city comptroller, which he called "the only office I thought about running for" when asked whether he considered a mayoral bid.

Windpipe girl dies

PEORIA, Ill. -- A toddler who in April became the youngest person ever to receive a bioengineered organ has died, surgeons involved in her treatment said Sunday.

The girl, Hannah Warren, who was born without a trachea, died Saturday at Children's Hospital of Illinois in Peoria, where she had undergone the experimental surgery on April 9. She would have turned 3 in August.

Also in the nation ???

Prosecutors and defense attorneys asked the Ohio Parole Board on Monday to spare a condemned killer who stabbed a neighbor 17 times, making a joint appeal for mercy based on Billy Slagle's youth at the time of his killing and his history of drug and alcohol abuse. ??? Several of George Zimmerman's good friends took the witness stand for the defense Monday to say they were sure that the person in distress screaming "help" in the background of a 911 call was Mr. Zimmerman, not Trayvon Martin, the teenager he shot and killed.



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