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NATIONAL BRIEFS


WASHINGTON: Signature ends budget battle

President Barack Obama signed into law Tuesday a catch-all government-funding bill that ends the 2013 budget fight and locks in $85 billion in budget cuts he opposes. With his signature, day-to-day operations of cabinet departments and federal agencies will continue through Sept. 30, the end of the fiscal year. With the automatic cuts known as sequestration taking effect, the spending will amount to about $984 billion. The previous authorization was to expire Tuesday.


TEXAS: Suspect's Caddie yields clues

Bomb-making materials and pants that appeared to have blood on them were found in the car of a man suspected of killing Colorado's prisons chief, according to documents made public Tuesday. Also found in Evan Spencer Ebel's black Cadillac were maps, handwritten directions, documents from the Department of Correction, a Domino's Pizza shirt and visor, a pizza carrier bag, zip ties and duct tape. Ebel was killed in a shootout with Texas authorities last week after a high-speed chase. Authorities in Decatur, where Ebel's car crashed before the shootout, sent the items to Colorado agencies investigating the death of correction chief Tom Clements and the slaying of a pizza deliveryman whose body was found two days before Clements was killed. Investigators haven't released a motive.


CALIFORNIA: Disgraced Petraeus appears

David Petraeus, who has remained largely in seclusion since being forced to resign as head of the CIA after the disclosure of an extramarital affair, returned to the public spotlight Tuesday evening with a speech and an apology before military students and veterans, delivering the keynote to 600 people at the University of Southern California's annual ROTC dinner. The New York Times, which obtained an advance copy of the speech, said he acknowledges and apologizes for the affair, then discusses future plans as a public advocate for veterans and other causes.


OHIO: Early spring? Oh, never mind

A winter-weary Ohio prosecutor who filed a tongue-in-cheek criminal indictment against the Pennsylvania groundhog over his "prediction" of an early spring dropped the charge Tuesday. Butler County prosecutor Mike Gmoser said Punxsutawney Phil has a "defense with teeth in it" as his handler is taking the blame.

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