In brief: Romney sweeps five primaries
WASHINGTON – Mitt Romney has won the California Republican presidential primary, completing a sweep of contests in five states.
Romney also won presidential primaries Tuesday in New Jersey, South Dakota, New Mexico and Montana.
The victories add to a delegate total that already exceeds the number needed to win the nomination. Romney has 1,398 delegates. He needs 1,144 to win the Republican nomination at the party’s national convention in August.
A total of 264 delegates are at stake in Tuesday’s contests, and Romney has a chance to win them all.
After Tuesday, only one Republican presidential primary remains, in Utah on June 26.
Bodies found in SUV likely were family
HOUSTON – Arizona authorities believe five bodies recovered from a torched SUV found in the desert 35 miles south of Phoenix over the weekend were a family killed in a murder-suicide.
The white Ford Expedition was seen fleeing from a U.S. Border Patrol agent early Saturday on Interstate 8 in the Vekol Valley area.
About four hours later, Border Patrol agents found the SUV several miles north of the highway in the desert, charred, with five bodies in it.
Police in the Phoenix suburb of Tempe announced Tuesday that the SUV was registered to a local family, James and Yafit Butwin.
The couple and their three children were reported missing Monday.
Cigarette tax holds slight edge in vote
LOS ANGELES – Early election returns show Californians divided Tuesday on whether to slap an additional $1-per-pack tax on cigarettes and other tobacco products to fund cancer research.
With 8 percent of precincts reporting, Proposition 29 was eking out a narrow lead with 52 percent of the vote.
The attempt to increase cigarettes taxes in the nation’s most populous state has attracted nationwide attention, with tobacco companies helping to raise $50 million to quash the effort and celebrities like cycling legend Lance Armstrong urging voters to support it.
ST. LOUIS – A man and his two adult sons died when a tornado obliterated a mobile home in southeast Missouri, officials said Tuesday.
The twister was part of a storm that struck Missouri, Illinois and Kentucky late Monday, but hit hardest in the tiny village of Diehlstadt, in Scott County, where the three men were killed.
Missouri State Highway Patrol Trooper Clark Parrott identified the deceased as 70-year-old Loy Miller, the owner of the trailer, and his sons, Jasper Miller, 50, and Randy Miller, 48.
Obama caps pay at housing authorities
WASHINGTON – The Obama administration is clamping down on excessive pay at public housing authorities, setting caps that extend and expand limits imposed by Congress. The action comes as the administration revealed that the top official at the Atlanta housing agency received a compensation package of $644,214, the highest in the country.
After conducting a national compensation survey, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development plans to set a maximum salary ceiling of $155,000 for public housing agency officials, according to two senior administration officials.