National news briefs: 7/6/14

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Downgraded Arthur departs

KILL DEVIL HILLS, N.C. -- North Carolina's popular beach towns began returning to the business of recreation Saturday, after Hurricane Arthur lashed the state's coast with forceful winds and heavy rain and then churned northward without leaving a trail of significant damage.

Arthur was downgraded to a tropical storm early Saturday, but the storm's near-hurricane strength winds slammed into Canada's maritime provinces, causing 113,000 customers of Nova Scotia Power to lose electricity. The utility in New Brunswick reported 86,000 outages.

New England was largely spared from damage spawned by the storm, but some 19,000 people in Maine and 1,600 in Vermont were without power after high winds and heavy rains pounded the region.

No injuries or deaths have been reported.

Boat crash kills 4

MIAMI -- Three boats collided near a Miami marina around the end of a fireworks display, killing four and injuring a dozen others in a chaotic scene that left bodies and survivors tossed overboard.

Multiple law enforcement agencies responded to the crash Friday night near the Dinner Key Marina in Miami, with officers plucking several people out of the water. The boaters are believed to have been out celebrating the Fourth of July holiday.

Shark attacks swimmer

MANHATTAN BEACH, Calif. -- A 7-foot shark attacked a swimmer near the Manhattan Beach Pier on Saturday morning, witnesses and police said.

The shark bit the swimmer, who was training near the pier, at about 9:30 a.m., according to the Los Angeles County Fire Department's Twitter page.

The shark was "hooked" by a fisherman roughly 40 minutes before the attack, fire officials said in a tweet.

The victim was in stable condition, officials tweeted.

House panel vs. SEC

The U.S. House Ways and Means Committee and a top staff member say the panel and its employees are "absolutely immune" from having to comply with subpoenas from a federal regulator in an insider-trading probe.

The committee Friday responded to U.S. District Court Judge Paul Gardephe's order to explain why it hadn't complied with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission's requests for documents, phone records and testimony of aide Brian Sutter for more than a year. Judge Gardephe gave the House until Friday to answer.

Kerry Kircher, the top lawyer for the House, said the SEC's request should be dismissed because the information it seeks concerns legislative activities protected by the Constitution, which can't be reviewed by federal judges. If Judge Gardephe won't dismiss the SEC's case, it should be transferred to federal court in Washington, Mr. Kircher said.

Honor for Newtown victim

HARTFORD, Conn. -- Before she was killed in the Newtown school massacre, 6-year-old Catherine Violet Hubbard raised money from returnable bottles and cans to buy bones for dogs at a pound and designed business cards for an imaginary animal shelter, listing herself as "caretaker."

Her pretend animal shelter is now on track to become a reality. Gov. Dannel P. Malloy recently signed legislation instructing the Department of Agriculture to convey state land to a foundation raising money to build an animal sanctuary to honor the life of the little girl who was one of 20 first-graders killed in the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting.

Plans for the sanctuary in her name include a shelter and adoption center for cats and dogs, a refuge for farm and work animals, and a rescue and release program for injured, native wildlife. Plans also include a state-of-the-art veterinarian clinic and a welcome center where educational programs will be held. The goal is to open the main building in Newtown in 2016.


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