National briefs (11/21/13)

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Clearer form for mortgages

WASHINGTON -- The federal government's consumer financial watchdog will require lenders to issue shorter, easier-to-understand mortgage disclosure forms to home buyers that more clearly show the costs and terms of the loans.

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau issued the rule Wednesday, following through on an initiative launched in 2011 as the then-fledgling agency's first major action.

Lenders will be required to use the new forms, available in English and Spanish, starting Aug. 1, 2015.

Serial killer executed

BONNE TERRE, Mo. -- Joseph Paul Franklin, a white supremacist who targeted blacks and Jews in a cross-country killing spree from 1977 to 1980, was put to death Wednesday in Missouri, the state's first execution in nearly three years.

Franklin, 63, was executed at the state prison in Bonne Terre for killing Gerald Gordon in a sniper shooting at a suburban St. Louis synagogue in 1977. He was convicted of seven other murders, but the Missouri case was the only one resulting in a death sentence. Franklin has also admitted to shooting and wounding civil rights leader Vernon Jordan and Hustler magazine publisher Larry Flynt, who has been paralyzed from the waist down since the attack in 1978.

Lawmaker's drug case

WASHINGTON -- Florida Republican Rep. Henry "Trey" Radel pleaded guilty Wednesday to a misdemeanor charge of cocaine possession and was sentenced to a year's probation.

"I've hit a bottom where I realize I need help," Mr. Radel told a judge in acknowledging that he purchased 3.5 grams of cocaine from an undercover police officer in a Washington neighborhood Oct. 29.

Mr. Radel made no mention of his political future and did not answer reporters' questions.

TSA officer's autopsy

LOS ANGELES -- The Transportation Security Administration officer who was killed in a gunman's attack at Los Angeles International Airport died two to five minutes after he was shot, coroner's officials said Wednesday.

Assistant Chief Coroner Ed Winter said the autopsy report isn't finalized, but the detail was released after pressure to clarify when TSA Officer Gerardo Hernandez died. The final report is expected to be released later this week, he said. Hernandez was shot multiple times in the Nov. 1 shooting inside Terminal 3.

'Nuclear option' on Hill?

WASHINGTON -- Senate Democrats are on the verge of moving to eliminate the use of the filibuster against most presidential nominees, aides and senior party leaders said Wednesday, a move that would deprive Republicans of their ability to block President Barack Obama's picks for Cabinet posts and the federal judiciary and further erode what little bipartisanship still exists in the Senate.

Sen. Harry Reid of Nevada, the majority leader, is poised to move forward today with a vote on what is known on Capitol Hill as the "nuclear option," several Democrats said. Mr. Reid and the senators who have been the most vocal on stopping the Republican blockade of White House nominees are now confident they have the votes to make the change.

Also in the nation ...

Nearly two weeks after celebrating his 95th birthday, the Rev. Billy Graham was hospitalized Tuesday in Asheville, N.C., for respiratory problems. ... Gov. Pat Quinn on Wednesday signed a historic measure into law making Illinois the 16th state in the nation to allow gay marriage.

-- Compiled from news services


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