National briefs: Obama takes 5% pay cut

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WASHINGTON -- President Barack Obama plans to return 5 percent of his salary to the Treasury in solidarity with federal workers who are going to be furloughed as part of the automatic budget cuts known as sequester, an administration official said Wednesday.

The voluntary move would be retroactive to March 1, the official said, and will apply through the rest of the fiscal year, which ends in September.

Word of the president's decision came a day after Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel and Deputy Defense Secretary Ashton Carter disclosed that they would return a share of their salaries commensurate with the pay lost by the department's civilian employees who are expected to be furloughed for 14 days before the end of the fiscal year.

Nest egg confusion

WASHINGTON -- Many workers are getting false or misleading information about options for their 401(k) accounts when they change jobs, congressional auditors said Wednesday in a report that urged regulators to offer consumers clearer guidance about their retirement money.

The Government Accountability Office found that financial firms often encourage workers to roll over a 401(k) into an individual retirement account, or IRA, even when that might not be the best option.

Survivalist captured

MANTI, Utah -- Authorities were pushing Wednesday for attempted aggravated homicide charges against a survivalist suspected of burglarizing dozens of remote Utah cabins where he stayed while eluding capture for six years.

The charges were being sought after Troy James Knapp, 45, fired at officers in a helicopter before surrendering on Tuesday in the snow-covered mountains outside of Ferron in central Utah, Sanpete County Sheriff Brian Nielson said.

Cruise ship corralled

MOBILE, Ala. -- The crippled cruise ship whose sewage-filled breakdown in the Gulf of Mexico subjected thousands to horrendous conditions tore loose Wednesday from the dock where it's being repaired, lumbered downriver and crunched into a cargo ship.

Wind gusts near hurricane strength shoved the 900-foot Carnival Triumph free from its mooring in downtown Mobile.

The violent weather Wednesday also blew a nearby guard shack into the water. One shipyard worker was rescued, and crews were searching for another, a U.S. Coast Guard spokesman said, but the cruise ship's mishap was unrelated.

Drug smuggling foiled

SUMAS, Wash. -- Four people were in custody Wednesday after what officials described as a foiled drug smuggling run across Washington state's border with Canada.

Court documents unsealed Wednesday say American Border Patrol agents encountered two camouflaged men trying to smuggle 58 pounds of MDMA, or ecstasy, into the United States east of Sumas on Tuesday.

Air-traffic control challenge

WASHINGTON -- Airports that serve Ohio State University and the headquarters of State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Co. have joined a lawsuit offensive to stop the federal government from shutting air-traffic control operations Sunday as part of government-wide spending cuts.

The latest suits target the Central Illinois Regional Airport in Bloomington, where State Farm is based, which handled more than 579,000 passengers in 2011, and the Ohio State University airport in Columbus.

-- Compiled from news services

nation


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