In brief: Budget deficit hits record in November
WASHINGTON – The federal budget deficit rose to $150.4 billion last month, the largest November gap on record.
The Treasury Department says November’s budget gap was 25 percent more than the deficit in November 2009.
For the first two months of the current budget year, which began Oct. 1, the deficit totals $290.8 billion. That’s 2 percent less than for the same period a year ago.
But analysts say the tax deal President Barack Obama reached with Republicans this week will give the 2011 budget year the largest deficit in history – $1.5 trillion, according to economists at JPMorgan Chase.
The 2009 deficit is the current all-time high, at $1.42 trillion. The second-highest deficit ever is the $1.29 trillion deficit for the 2010 budget year, which ended Sept. 30.
Drug cartel leader believed killed in clash
MEXICO CITY – The eccentric leader of the brutal La Familia drug cartel is believed to have been killed in a shootout during two days of fighting between federal police and gunmen that terrified civilians across a western Mexican state, the government said Friday.
The death of Nazario Moreno Gonzalez – nicknamed “The Craziest One” – would be a major blow to a drug cartel that burst into national prominence four years ago by rolling severed heads into a nightclub.
Police have received information that the 40-year-old Gonzalez was killed in a clash Thursday between cartel gunmen and federal police. Five officers and three civilians were also killed in the shootouts, which began Wednesday night, when La Familia gunmen attacked federal officers in the city of Apatzingan.
Miller loses round in write-in count fight
JUNEAU, Alaska – A judge on Friday ruled against Republican Joe Miller’s lawsuit challenging how Alaska counted write-in votes for rival Lisa Murkowski in their Senate race, delivering another setback to the tea party-backed candidate in his longshot legal fight.
Judge William Carey’s ruling is virtually certain to be appealed to the state Supreme Court, and he said his decision wouldn’t take effect until Tuesday to give Miller time to do so.
The ruling marks a victory for Murkowski in her historic write-in bid. The winner is scheduled to be sworn in Jan. 5.
Murder conviction in activist’s ’75 death
RAPID CITY, S.D. – A South Dakota jury returned a murder conviction Friday in the killing of an American Indian Movement activist whose death came to symbolize AIM and its often violent struggles with federal agents during the 1970s.
John Graham, a 55-year-old former member of the group, was convicted of felony murder in the kidnapping of Annie Mae Aquash in 1975. The jury acquitted him of premeditated murder.
Lead prosecutor Marty Jackley, the state’s attorney general, said the murder charge carries a mandatory sentence of life in prison. Prosecutors alleged Graham and two other AIM activists killed Aquash because they thought she was a government informant.