National briefs: Pfizer ends bid for company

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LONDON -- Pfizer confirmed Monday that it has ended its bold bid to buy AstraZeneca, Britain's second-largest pharmaceutical company.

On the final day for Pfizer to decide whether to abandon the plan, it said it did not intend to make an offer for AstraZeneca. Last week, the British company rejected what Pfizer had called its final offer.

The cash-and-stock bid, which valued AstraZeneca at about $119 billion, would have created the world's largest drug company. The advances by Pfizer pitted two of the world's largest drugmakers against each other.

Victim's father speaks out

ISLA VISTA, Calif. -- With a California town grieving the deaths of six college students killed by a mentally ill man, one victim's father Monday blamed the killings on politicians who failed to tighten gun laws after a mass school shooting in Newtown, Conn.

Richard Martinez, whose son Christopher Michael-Martinez, 20, was gunned down Friday night in Isla Vista said similar rampages would continue until lawmakers took action on guns.

Elliot Rodger, 22, the son of a Hollywood director, died after fatally stabbing three people in his apartment and shooting three people dead near the University of California at Santa Barbara.

First lady to take stand

WASHINGTON — First lady Michelle Obama is set to take an unusual, high-profile step today into the center of a legislative battle by delivering White House remarks taking issue with makers of frozen pizzas and french fries and other companies seeking to scale back school-lunch standards.

Mrs. Obama is scheduled to speak out against a House measure, backed by Republicans and pushed by the food industry and some school officials, that would allow some districts to opt out of federal mandates passed in 2010 to reduce sodium and increase whole grains, fresh fruits and vegetables in school lunches. White House aides say she will announce the launch of a campaign-style push to fight the legislation.

Mudslide still unstable

COLLBRAN, Colo. — Rescue teams failed to find any sign Monday of three men missing after a ridge saturated with rain collapsed, sending mud sliding for 3 miles in a remote part of western Colorado.

Clancy Nichols, 51, a county road and bridge employee, his son Danny, 24, and Wes Hawkins, 46, have been missing since Sunday after the ridge collapsed.

The search near the small town of Collbran has been hampered because only the lower third of the slide is stable. Even at the edges, the mud is 20 to 30 feet deep. It’s believed to be several hundred feet deep and about a half mile wide.

Also in the nation …

A spreading Alaskan wildfire has forced the evacuation of about 1,000 buildings, but firefighters have gained ground by containing about 30 percent of the wind-driven blaze, a U.S. Forest Service spokesman said Monday. … The Census Bureau, which struggles to keep up with the rapid changes in American life, is about to start categorizing an estimated 180,000 same-sex married couples as families.

-- Compiled from news services

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