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NORTH CAROLINA: Negligent homicide rejected

A military jury found Sgt. Adam Holcomb, accused of hazing a private because of his Chinese heritage, not guilty of negligent homicide Monday. Pvt. Danny Chen, 19, of New York, killed himself in Afghanistan in October. The 10-member Fort Bragg jury found Holcomb guilty of two lesser charges, maltreatment of a subordinate and assault. Holcomb, of Youngstown, Ohio, faces a maximum of 2 1/2 years in prison. He is the first of eight to be court-martialed, all of the 3rd Battalion, 21st Infantry Regiment, 1st Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division. Four others face the negligent homicide charge. "This . . . is an affront to the Chen family and to servicemen and women across our country," City Council member Margaret Chin said.

NEW JERSEY: Girl's harrowing escape

Paul Parker was driving granddaughter Miranda Bowman, 12, home last Tuesday when he told her he didn't feel well. A few seconds later his head hit the driver's side window. As the pickup careened down the road at 80 mph, Miranda knew she had to stop it. Parker, 63, had died of a heart attack, his foot pressing on the accelerator. After a "30-second freak-out" Miranda realized the truck was speeding up and drifting to the side. She undid her seat belt, climbed under the steering wheel and pressed her hand on the brake. After hitting a few trees, she managed to bring it to a stop. Asked about her harrowing experience, Miranda said she knew how to react; her father is an EMT.

WASHINGTON: P.O. to default on payments

The U.S. Postal Service is bracing for a first-ever default on billions in payments due the Treasury, adding to uncertainty about the agency's solvency as first-class letters plummet and Congress deadlocks on ways to stem the red ink. Two legally required payments for future postal retirees' health benefits, $5.5 billion due Wednesday, and $5.6 billion in September, will be left unpaid, the mail agency said Monday.

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