National briefs — Feb. 18

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ATLANTA

Leak cause of ship’s fire

A leak in a fuel oil return line caused the engine-room fire that disabled a Carnival cruise ship at sea, leaving 4,200 people without power or working toilets for five days, a Coast Guard official said Monday. Cmdr. Teresa Hatfield estimated that the investigation of the disabled ship, the Carnival Triumph, would take six months. She said the crew responded appropriately to the fire. “They did a very good job,” she said. A Coast Guard spokesman described the oil return line that leaked as stretching from the ship’s No. 6 engine to the fuel tank.

COLORADO

House passes gun bills

New ammunition limits and universal background checks passed the Colorado House on Monday, during a second day of emotional debates that has drawn attention from the White House as lawmakers try to address recent mass shootings. The bills were among four the Democratic-controlled House passed amid strong resistance from Republicans, who were joined by a few Democrats to make some of the votes close. The proposed ammunition restrictions place a limit of 15 rounds for firearms, and eight for shotguns. The House also approved a bill requiring background checks on all gun purchases. The Senate still needs to consider the proposals.

NEW YORK

Killer’s letters on sale

Letters from John Lennon’s killer detailing his obsession with the novel The Catcher in the Rye to the police officer who arrested him went on sale Monday through a Los Angeles auction house. The four missives from Mark David Chapman to Stephen Spiro are for sale through Moments In Time, which specializes in historical documents, at a fixed price of $75,000, auction house owner Gary Zimet said. Zimet is selling the letters on behalf of Spiro, who arrested Chapman on Dec. 8, 1980, shortly after he shot Lennon outside the Dakota, the ex-Beatle’s Manhattan apartment building. The letters were written in 1983, after Chapman had pleaded guilty and been sentenced to 20 years to life in prison. Spiro said he decided to sell the letters in part to pay off medical bills from cancer and other illnesses.

Compiled from wire reports.


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