National briefs: Dead cats found hanging in N.Y.

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WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. -- About 25 dead cats found in plastic bags hanging from trees in a New York suburb were apparently killed with blows to the head at various times over the past year, an investigator said Friday.

Ernest Lungaro, director of enforcement at the Westchester County SPCA, said necropsies on three of the cats revealed blunt trauma to their skulls.

Mr. Lungaro said a baseball bat, two shovels and a metal pipe were found near the scene in a wooded area just off Overlook Terrace in Yonkers, about a mile and a half north of the Bronx section of New York City. He said investigators were not yet sure that those items had been used in the killings.

It also wasn't known if the killings were the work of one or more people, he said.

The strange scene was discovered Thursday by a public works crew doing an annual cleanup.

New Jersey bridge scandal

TRENTON, N.J. -- Federal prosecutors in New Jersey have subpoenaed all records from a state legislative committee probing politically motivated lane closings at the George Washington Bridge that tied up traffic last year.

U.S. Attorney Paul Fishman, who is investigating whether crimes took place, is seeking "any and all records (in whatever form)" obtained by the 12-member committee. The panel is probing why allies of Republican Gov. Chris Christie closed access lanes in Fort Lee, N.J., from Sept. 9 to Sept. 12. The April 17 subpoena seeks the panel's records by May 2.

Mr. Fishman's office previously subpoenaed records from Mr. Christie's re-election campaign and the state Republican Committee.

Rubio defends gun rights

INDIANAPOLIS -- U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., delivered a full-throated defense of gun ownership Friday, telling a National Rifle Association audience that firearms are central to achieving the American Dream.

The dream, Mr. Rubio said, is not just a measure of financial prosperity but the ability to raise a family in a home that is stable, safe and secure. That, in turn, rests on the ability to possess a firearm for self-protection, the lawmaker said.

Israel wants new travel rules

WASHINGTON -- A campaign to allow Israelis to enter the United States without a visa is gaining steam in Congress, but is still running into a brick wall with the Obama administration over the U.S. government's most elementary demand: that the Jewish state provide the same treatment at its borders to all Americans, even if they are Arab or Muslim.

Objections from U.S. officials and some lawmakers blocked a congressional effort over the last year that could have allowed Israel to maintain discriminatory entry policies for certain groups of Americans, which no other country can do if its citizens are able to visit the U.S. without visas. However, a new version of proposed legislation could offer Israel greater flexibility in the Visa Waiver Program, and the administration has pledged to work with Israel to help it move closer to qualifying for the program.

Rep. Grimm to face charges

WASHINGTON--A Republican congressman is expected to face charges in a long-running federal investigation into campaign irregularities, but will continue serving in office, his lawyer said Friday.

Rep. Michael R. Grimm, a combat Marine and former FBI agent who represents Staten Island and other parts of New York, has been under investigation for more than two years in what his attorney called a "politically motivated vendetta."

-- Compiled from news services



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