National news briefs — Nov. 13

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JOINT BASE LEWIS-McCHORD, Wash.

Death penalty sought

Army prosecutors on Tuesday asked an investigative officer to recommend a death penalty court-martial for a staff sergeant accused of killing 16 Afghan villagers in a predawn rampage, saying that Staff Sgt. Robert Bales committed “heinous and despicable crimes.” Prosecutors made their closing arguments after a week of testimony in the preliminary hearing. Prosecutors say Bales, 39, slipped away from his remote base at Camp Belambay in southern Afghanistan to attack two villages early on March 11. Among the dead were nine children.

WASHINGTON

Deficit grows in October

The federal government started the 2013 budget year with a $120 billion deficit in October, an indication that the nation is on a path to its fifth straight $1 trillion-plus annual deficit. A soaring deficit puts added pressure on President Barack Obama and Congress to seek a budget deal in the coming weeks. The Treasury Department said Tuesday that the October deficit — the gap between the government’s tax revenue and its spending — was 22 percent higher than the same month last year.

HOUSTON

Day-care owner guilty

A Texas woman was convicted of murder Tuesday in the death of one of four children who died in a fire at her home day care after she left them alone with hot oil on the stove while she shopped at Target. Neighbors said they could hear children crying inside the burning Houston home but couldn’t reach them. The fire last year killed 16-month-old Elias Castillo and three other children. Three more were seriously injured.

MOUNT OLIVE, N.J.

Tree survives Sandy

The Christmas tree that will dominate New York’s Rockefeller Center survived the winds of Superstorm Sandy that left a path of destruction in a New Jersey town and even its donor without electricity for weeks. Joe Balku, 76, learned that the 80-foot Norway spruce had been chosen for the honor four weeks ago. Sandy hit two weeks later.

Compiled from wire reports.


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