National news briefs: 11/10/13

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M.D. convicted in wife's murder

PROVO, Utah -- The conviction early Saturday of a Utah doctor in the murder of his wife was the culmination of a yearslong pursuit of justice by the family of the victim.

The daughters and sisters of Michele MacNeill hounded authorities to investigate Martin MacNeill amid an initial finding that the 2007 death was natural, possibly from heart disease.

The jury convicted Dr. MacNeill, 57, of first-degree murder about 12 hours after getting the case, returning the verdict after 1 a.m. He faces 15 years to life in prison when he is sentenced Jan. 7. He also was found guilty of obstruction of justice, which could add 1-15 years.

Feds: $864M from BofA

NEW YORK -- Federal prosecutors want Bank of America Corp. to pay about $864 million over losses incurred by the government after it bought thousands of home loans made by Countrywide Financial during the housing boom.

U.S. attorney Preet Bharara made the request in documents filed late Friday with the U.S. District Court in Manhattan.

Gay union bill advances

HONOLULU -- The state's House late Friday passed a bill to legalize same-sex marriage, all but ensuring that Hawaii will soon join 15 other states and the District of Columbia in permitting gay and lesbian couples to wed.

After 12 hours of heated debate, the House approved the measure by a vote of 30-19. It is expected to be sent Tuesday to the Senate, which has approved same-sex marriage by a wide margin but must accept revisions in the House version for it to become law.

Gov. Neil Abercrombie, a Democrat who called a special session of the Legislature to address the issue, lauded the House action and indicated he would quickly sign the legislation when it reaches him.

'Kidnap' shakedown

SAN DIEGO -- Four people have been charged in a scheme that used telemarketing tactics in Tijuana, Mexico, to shake down immigrants for ransom money under the guise that loved ones had been kidnapped, according to an indictment unsealed Friday.

In reality, no one had been snatched and the callers didn't even know who they were dialing.

But in a small percentage of successes since 2007, the "virtual kidnappers" collected at least $500,000, federal investigators said.

Harvard deficit: $34M

BOSTON -- Harvard University finance officials are pledging to manage costs better and pursue innovative revenue strategies after its deficit soared to $34 million in the most recent fiscal year, compared with a $7.9 million shortfall the previous year.

A financial report released Friday says the school saw revenues jump 5 percent to $4.2 billion, due largely to the increased annual distribution from its hefty $32.7 billion endowment.

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