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In brief: Benghazi panel issues subpoenas

WASHINGTON – The chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee issued subpoenas on Tuesday for State Department documents related to the widely debunked talking points about the cause of the deadly attack on the U.S. diplomatic mission in Benghazi, Libya, last year.

Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., is pressing for material from 10 current and former department officials, including several who had worked for former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton. He gave the department until June 7 to comply.

The intelligence community’s talking points compiled for members of Congress suggested the Sept. 11 attack that killed U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans stemmed from protests over an anti-Islamic video rather than an assault by extremists.

Republicans have accused the Obama administration of trying to mislead the American people about an act of terrorism in the heat of the presidential campaign.

Storm in Pacific may hit Mexico

MIAMI – A tropical storm has formed in the eastern Pacific Ocean, bringing a storm warning for coastal areas in the southernmost parts of Mexico.

The National Hurricane Center said Tuesday evening that Tropical Storm Barbara was about 145 miles south-southwest of Salina Cruz, Mexico.

The storm has maximum sustained winds of 40 mph and is standing still.

However, forecasters said the storm is expected to strengthen and should begin moving northward soon, bringing it to the coast of Mexico today.

A tropical storm warning is in effect in Mexico from Lagunas de Chacahua to Boca de Pijijiapan.

Dying winds offer firefighting respite

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. – Firefighters took advantage of a lull in winds on Tuesday to gain ground against a forest fire in mountains northwest of Santa Barbara, Calif., as some crews were diverted to a second fire that broke out nearby and jumped two highways.

The Santa Barbara County blaze erupted Monday in Los Padres National Forest, carving its way through 3.2 square miles of dry chaparral, oak and pine. Firefighters had it 65 percent contained by sunset Tuesday, despite feared wind gusts of up to 40 mph, fire spokesman Manuel Madrigal said.

More than 600 firefighters, supported by a dozen aircraft, were on the lines about 10 miles northwest of downtown Santa Barbara.

The fire, which remained under investigation, burned two vehicles and a U.S. Forest Service garage.

Obama speaks at heritage event

WASHINGTON – President Barack Obama says the contributions Asian-Americans and Pacific Islanders have made to the U.S. underscore the need to overhaul the nation’s immigration system.

Obama spoke at a White House event marking Asian-American Pacific Islander Heritage Month. He lauded Asian-Americans and Pacific Islanders for helping build and defend the United States, and he called for immigration laws that would respect that history.

Slain officer to get posthumous job

BOSTON – Gov. Deval Patrick has signed a bill that would allow an MIT police officer allegedly slain by the suspects in the Boston Marathon bombing to be posthumously appointed to a suburban Boston police department.

Sean Collier had been offered a job and was planning to join the Somerville Police Department before he was fatally shot while sitting in his police cruiser on April 18. Authorities say he was killed by the two men suspected in the twin bombing, which happened three days earlier.

Patrick on Tuesday called the 27-year-old Collier a “true hero” and said the appointment was a “small token to honor his memory and his sacrifice.”

The Legislature approved the bill, which allows Somerville Mayor Joseph Curtatone to appoint Collier to the force.

Curtatone said Collier would have been sworn in next week.


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N. Korea, setting stage for talks, halts nuclear, ICBM tests

UPDATED: 10:03 p.m.

North Korea said Saturday it has suspended nuclear and long-range missile tests and plans to close its nuclear test site ahead of a new round of negotiations with South Korea and the United States. There was no clear indication in the North’s announcement if it would be willing to deal away its arsenal.