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President Barack Obama and Michelle Obama paid $98,169 in taxes on $481,098 in adjusted income last year, according to tax returns released Friday. They paid a federal income tax rate of 20.4 percent and donated less to charity than they did the year before.

south africa

Pistorius grilled by lawyer over death

Oscar Pistorius faced another day of cross-examination Friday as the prosecution challenged his account of the death of his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp. Prosecutor Gerrie Nel focused on the discrepancies of Pistorius' version of events, at times reducing him to tears and prompting him to apologize to the judge for contradicting himself. Nel accused Pistorius of killing Steenkamp, a law school graduate and budding reality television star, in a murderous rage.

murrysville, pa.

Motive in school violence unknown

No evidence has surfaced to show that a boy charged in a stabbing rampage at his high school on Wednesday was targeting any particular student. Alex Hribal, 16, is accused of stabbing or slashing 21 students and a guard. Three students remain in critical condition.

columbus, ohio

Geologists linking fracking to quakes

Geologists for the first time are linking earthquakes in a geologic formation deep under the Appalachians to hydraulic fracturing, leading Ohio to issue new permit conditions Friday. A state investigation of five tremors last month found that the injection of sand and water accompanying hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, may have put pressure on a fault.

new york

Authors Guild goes after Google books

The Authors Guild says that Google Inc. is stealing business from retailers and has asked a New York federal appeals court to find that the Internet giant is violating copyright laws with its massive book digitization project. The Guild is asking the court to reinstate its lawsuit alleging that Google's effort to create the world's largest digital library is violating the rights of authors.


Nation on alert after 6.6 quake

A magnitude-6.6 earthquake shook Nicaragua on Friday, sending people running into the streets less than 24 hours after a magnitude-6.1 quake rattled the Central American country. There were no immediate reports of new casualties or serious damage.


Deaths from Syrian violence rise to 68

The death toll from infighting between rival Islamic rebel groups in an eastern Syrian province has risen to 68, activists said Friday. The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said battles raged Friday for a second day in the oil-rich Deir el-Zour province near the Iraqi border.


Court rejects part of judiciary law

Turkey's highest court overturned the provision of a new law Friday that gave the government of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan greater control over the judiciary. It is a law that critics said harmed the country's separation of powers and was part of a broader effort on the part of Erdogan to push back against a corruption investigation that has encircled him and his aides.

Times wires