National briefs: Immigration hopes rising

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WASHINGTON -- Business groups and activists lobbying for broad changes in U.S. immigration laws say they now expect House Republicans to consider piecemeal legislation this year and could start by tightening border security.

Party leaders have been discussing options for months. House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, who says he's committed to advancing legislation, last month hired an immigration policy adviser from the Bipartisan Policy Center to work on the issue.

"Boehner has had many opportunities to shut down this process and he never has," said Randel Johnson, senior vice president for immigration and labor issues at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. "We're definitely working towards an expectation that the House is going to move forward on immigration."

House Republicans are wary about facing voters in November without changing immigration policies, and are cautious about embracing legislation deemed to be an "amnesty" that could be used by opponents in the March to September primary season.

Jackpot recipient revealed

LOS ANGELES -- It took the winner of a record California Mega Millions jackpot several weeks to come forward because he didn't realize he had the ticket, officials said.

He was identified Friday as Steve Tran, a delivery driver from Northern California, but lottery officials said he asked that no other information about his background be revealed. The ticket is worth $324 million, or half the $648 million jackpot.

Mrs. Bush back home

HOUSTON -- After six days of receiving treatment for pneumonia, Barbara Bush -- the wife of one president and the mother of another -- was released from a Houston hospital Saturday morning.

Mrs. Bush, 88, the wife of the 41st president, George H.W. Bush, 89, and the mother of George W. Bush, was admitted to the hospital on New Year's Eve for a "respiratory-related issue," family spokesman Jim McGrath said Tuesday.

Coroner: Speed killed actor

LOS ANGLES -- "Fast and Furious" actor Paul Walker and his friend were traveling at more than 100 mph when the Porsche they were in crashed Nov. 30 in Santa Clarita, Calif., killing them both, according to a coroner's report released Friday.

The report from the Los Angeles County coroner's office says that Walker's friend, Roger Rodas, lost control of the 2005 Porsche Carrera GT "for unknown reasons" as it sped in an industrial area of the city known for attracting car enthusiasts.

Kidnapped man's body

NEW YORK -- The charred body of a prominent Hasidic real estate developer who was kidnapped Thursday near his Brooklyn office has been found in a smoldering trash bin outside a Long Island gasoline station, police said Saturday.

The body of the developer, identified as Menachem Stark, 39, was discovered Friday afternoon by workers at the gas station about 20 miles away from where he had been kidnapped.

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