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NATION BRIEFS

CALIFORNIA/University reveals it paid Palin $75K to speak

Capping a long-running dispute, a cash-strapped California public university revealed Friday its foundation arm paid Sarah Palin $75,000 to give a 40-minute speech at a recent anniversary dinner for the campus. The former vice-presidential candidate's appearance drew criticism and scrutiny after officials refused to disclose the terms of her contract to speak at the black-tie gala that netted major donations for California State University, Stanislaus. University spokeswoman Eve Hightower did not fully explain what prompted the sudden release of the former Alaska governor's speaking fee, which officials had said was confidential. In a statement, campus administrators proclaimed it the most successful fundraiser in the school's history, saying it raised more than $207,000 for scholarships - an unexplained increase from the previously released figure of $60,000. The Washington Speakers Bureau, which negotiated the contract, did not immediately respond to messages seeking comment. Palin spokesman Doug McMarlin declined to comment.


COLORADO/Judge: Stolen Valor Act unconstitutional

A law that makes it illegal to lie about being a war hero is unconstitutional because it violates free speech, a federal judge ruled Friday as he dismissed a case against a Colorado man who claimed he received two military medals. Rick Glen Strandlof claimed he was an ex-Marine with a Purple Heart and Silver Star, but the military had no record he served. He was charged with violating the Stolen Valor Act, which makes it a crime punishable by up to a year in jail to falsely claim to have won a military medal. U.S. District Judge Robert Blackburn dismissed the case and said the law is unconstitutional, ruling the government did not show it has a compelling reason to restrict that type of statement. A spokesman for the U.S. attorney in Denver said prosecutors are reviewing the decision and haven't decided whether to appeal.


UTAH/State workers responsible for 'immigrant' list

Authorities in Utah said Friday that at least two state employees may have been responsible for compiling and distributing a list containing the names and personal information of 1,300 people who, the senders charged, are illegal immigrants and should be deported. The employees, placed on leave, work for the Department of Workforce Services. More state employees also might be involved, and officials said the investigation continues. The list, sent to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement in Salt Lake City in April, was redistributed this week with additional names to Utah lawmakers, news organizations and police chiefs. The senders, Concerned Citizens of the United States, demanded authorities begin deporting people on the list. The list included addresses, Social Security numbers and whether some women were pregnant.


WASHINGTON, D.C./Earthquake shakes area residents

Washington-area residents are used to politicians being the region's movers and shakers, so it was a surprise when the earth below shook. The rare earthquake rattled windows and jostled dishes but apparently caused no serious damage. President Barack Obama told reporters he didn't feel it. The 3.6-magnitude temblor was the strongest to hit within 30 miles of D.C. since officials began keeping records in 1974. The quake happened at 5:04 a.m. and was centered in the Rockville, Md., area, said Randy Baldwin, a geophysicist with U.S. Geological Survey's National Earthquake Information Center.

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