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WASHINGTON: $16 muffins spark review

President Barack Obamaordered federal agencies to review expenses for conferences Wednesday after an embarrassing report revealed the Justice Department served $16 muffins at a 2009 gathering. Office of Management and Budget chief Jack Lew directed agency heads to conduct a thorough review of how taxpayer dollars are being spent on conferences. A report by the Justice Department's Office of Inspector General on Tuesday said the agency spent $121 million on conferences over two years. Some of the spending appeared "extravagant and wasteful," the audit said. "We found the Department spent $16 on each of the 250 muffins served at an August 2009 legal conference."


CALIFORNIA: Cops charged in fatal beating

Two police officers were charged Wednesday in the death of a schizophrenic homeless man who was beaten and repeatedly shocked with a Taser gun July 5. The confrontation between Fullerton police and Kelly Thomas, 37, was caught by a bus depot surveillance camera and two witnesses with cellphones and touched off protests in the city. Officer Manuel Ramos was charged with second-degree murder and involuntary manslaughter. Cpl. Jay Cicinelli was charged with involuntary manslaughter and use of excessive force. Thomas was left on life support and died five days later.


PENNSYLVANIA: Lesbian eager to re-enlist

A female sergeant discharged from the Air Force last year after South Dakota police reported her marriage to a woman wants to re-enlist, now that the ban on gays and lesbians serving openly in uniform has been lifted. Jene Newsome said Wednesday she's eager to restart her military career. "Just to have that liberation, and just to be able to celebrate and come out to your co-workers, and . . . not refer to my wife as my friend when I'm around some of my co-workers or at events for the military," she said. Newsome, 29, lives in Harrisburg. She plans to go to the recruiter's office Oct. 1, the day the recruiter told her jobs will open up to those previously enlisted.

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