National briefs: Congress draws governors' ire

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WASHINGTON -- Top officials of the National Governors Association expressed frustration Saturday with how Congress operates -- as they launched a three-day quest for more money and other help from Washington lawmakers.

Right from the start of the governors' winter meeting, which runs through Monday, top officials expressed their irritation with this city's power brokers. Governors succeed best, they suggested, by working with each other.

"While Washington remains mostly gridlocked -- preventing long-term solutions -- we are addressing challenges by reforming education, building infrastructure, improving health care and developing energy resources," NGA chairwoman Mary Fallin, the Republican governor of Oklahoma, told reporters Saturday before formal sessions began.

Medal of Honor push

WASHINGTON -- Seeking to correct potential acts of bias spanning three wars, President Barack Obama will award the Medal of Honor to 24 Army veterans following a congressionally mandated review to ensure that eligible recipients were not bypassed due to prejudice.

The unusual mass ceremony, scheduled for March 18, will honor veterans, most of Hispanic or Jewish heritage, who had already been recognized with the Distinguished Service Cross, the nation's second-highest military award. Only three of the recipients are living.

Flags made in America

WASHINGTON -- As of Friday, American flags purchased by the U.S. military must be completely made in America.

The new policy, part of the $1.1 trillion omnibus appropriations bill signed last month, says that American flags, "including the materials and components thereof," have to be made in the United States.

'Tonight Show' tax break

NEW YORK -- "The Tonight Show" made its return to New York City with a splashy opening sequence showcasing Grand Central Terminal, the Chrysler Building, Lincoln Center and Jimmy Fallon's glamorous new studio at Rockefeller Center -- a fitting tribute to the place that helped foot the bill.

An unconventional 30 percent tax credit aimed at luring "Tonight" away from California after four decades is reportedly saving NBC more than $20 million a year. The network said that while the show relocated to New York for creative reasons the move wouldn't have been possible without the tax credit.

Frat suspended

OXFORD, Miss. -- A fraternity chapter at the University of Mississippi was indefinitely suspended Friday by its national organization and three of its freshman members were kicked out because of their suspected involvement in hanging a noose on a statue of James Meredith, the first black student to enroll in the then all-white college.

In a statement, Sigma Phi Epsilon said it suspended the Alpha Chapter at the university and the chapter voted to expel all three men and turn over their identities to investigators.

Tribal killings

ALTURAS, Calif. -- The woman who police say killed three family members and a worker at the headquarters building for an Indian tribe that was evicting her and her son from its land was the target of a federal investigation into at least $50,000 in missing tribal funds.

Investigators have been looking into whether Cherie Lash Rhoades took federal grant money meant for the Cedarville Rancheria tribe she once led, a source said.


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