United States

Around the World: March 27, 2015

Here's what's happening across the United States and around the world today.
GOP-controlled Senate OKs budget plan
WASHINGTON (AP) —The Republican-controlled Senate has approved a balanced-budget plan that calls for trillions in spending cuts and repeal of the controversial health care law to erase red ink by the end of the coming decade.
The vote was 52-46 after a marathon session lasting until after 3 a.m. The House approved a slightly different version Wednesday night on a similar party-line vote.
Next up are compromise budget talks between the two houses, after which lawmakers will begin writing legislation to translate the non-binding plan into specific proposals that are likely to spark a struggle with President Barack Obama.
The Senate blueprint envisions about $5 trillion in spending cuts, and an overhaul of the tax code as well as repeal of the health care law.
Senate delays vote on bipartisan bill on Medicare doc fees
WASHINGTON (AP) — The Republican-run Senate has delayed giving final congressional approval to bipartisan legislation permanently blocking Medicare cuts for physicians until next month.
The GOP-led House approved the $214 billion bill Thursday, moving Congress close to resolving a problem that has long plagued it.
That 392-37 vote, plus President Barack Obama's endorsement of the legislation, intensified pressure on the Senate to finish the measure.
But as the Senate worked into the morning on a separate budget-balancing plan, leaders decided to wait until after Congress' two-week spring recess to finish the legislation. Senators from both parties have complained about parts of the measure.
By law, doctors are to receive 21 percent cuts in Medicare reimbursements April 1. The government can delay processing the payments until lawmakers return.
Co-pilot's apartment, parents' home searched
MONTABAUR, Germany (AP) — Investigators are searching the family home of Germanwings co-pilot Andreas Lubitz (LOO'-bihtz), who French authorities say deliberately crashed a plane into the French Alps, killing himself and 149 other people.
The home about 40 miles northwest of Frankfurt belongs to Lubitz' parents, and investigators were seen carrying out blue bags, a big cardboard box and what looked like a large computer.
Investigators have also searched Lubitz' apartment in Duesseldorf.
Building collapse injures 19
NEW YORK (AP) — New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio says it appears no one is missing following an apparent gas explosion that tore through a Manhattan apartment building, but the family of a 23-year-old man says he hasn't been seen since dining at a restaurant.
De Blasio says plumbing and gas work inside the building that collapsed is to blame for the Thursday afternoon explosion.
An hour before the blast, utility company inspectors had determined that the work being done in the building was faulty.
Woman questioned in possible kidnap hoax
VALLEJO, Calif. (AP) — The lawyer for a California woman whose disappearance is being investigated as a possible hoax says she's met with police and is cooperating.
The boyfriend of 29-year-old Denise Huskins told police that his girlfriend was abducted early Monday in Vallejo (vuh-LAY'-oh).
He says it took so long to report the kidnapping because the abductors bound and drugged him.
Quinn turned up Wednesday, about 400 miles away. Police have said there's no proof of a kidnapping.
Jury finds ex-San Francisco bank executive guilty of fraud
OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — A former executive of a San Francisco-based bank that received federal bailout money has been convicted of fraud.
A federal jury in Oakland found 66-year-old Ebrahim Shabudin guilty on Thursday of conspiring with others within the bank to falsify key bank records as part of a scheme to conceal millions of dollars in losses and falsely inflate the bank's financial statements.
Shabudin was Chief Operating Officer for United Commercial Bank between 2008 and 2009.
United Commercial Bank received $298 million from the Troubled Asset Relief Program, or TARP, in 2008 during the height of the nation's financial crisis. That money was lost when the bank was seized by regulators, shuttered and filed for bankruptcy the following year.
Shabudin faces up to 25 years in prison when he's sentenced.
No murder charge for woman accused of cutting baby from womb
DENVER (AP) — A Colorado woman accused of luring a pregnant woman to a basement and cutting the baby from her belly will not be charged with murder.
But Boulder County prosecutors won't say what charges 34-year-old Catherine Olguin will face. Olguin is accused of luring 26-year-old Michelle Wilkins to her Longmont home March 18 with an ad on Craigslist offering baby clothes.
Police say Wilkins was attacked when she got to the house. She survived the attack but her baby did not.
Fiancee of ex-NFL player Hernandez due to be called in trial
FALL RIVER, Mass. (AP) — The fiancee of former New England Patriots player Aaron Hernandez is due to be called to testify in his murder trial today.
Two people with knowledge of the matter have confirmed to The Associated Press that Shayanna Jenkins will be called to appear.
Jenkins has been granted immunity, which means she can be compelled to testify or face time behind bars. There had been a question over whether prosecutors would call her.
Jenkins has pleaded not guilty to perjury. Prosecutors say she lied to a grand jury investigating the June 2013 killing of Odin Lloyd, who was dating her sister.
Prosecutors have said Jenkins removed a box from their home that they believe contained the murder weapon.
Video shows 'hospitality ambassador' beating homeless man
BERKELEY, Calif. (AP) — A "hospitality ambassador" in Berkeley, California has been fired after video surfaced that appears to show him beating up a homeless man.
Berkeley's ambassador program is coordinated through the Downtown Berkeley Association, a non-profit group.
Downtown Berkeley Association CEO John Caner has apologized for the incident and says another "hospitality ambassador" was suspended for witnessing the beating and doing nothing to stop it.
Sea otter rescued in California oil spill dies of shark bite
SANTA CRUZ, Calif. (AP) — A sea otter that became an ambassador for her species after a remarkable recovery from an oil tar soaking off the coast of Northern California has been killed by a shark.
"Olive the Oiled Otter" made headlines in 2009 when she was found covered in oil and near death on Santa Cruz beach. Olive recovered fully and went on to deliver a healthy pup years later.
The California Department of Fish and Wildlife says Olive was found dead by a beachgoer on Sunday.
The department says wildlife biologists found wounds consistent with a shark bite on the 7-year-old marine mammal's body.
It says Olive's wounds showed no signs of healing, indicating that she died quickly after the fatal bite.
Olive had more than 5,000 Facebook followers, in an account set up by wildlife officials. Hundreds of followers expressed sadness after reading about her passing.
Copyright AP - Associated Press
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