US News: Mudslide; Oil Spill; DC Cherry Festival but No Open Buds; Elevator Shaft Plunge; Cougar, Elephants

A Washington state mudslide Saturday has killed several people, moved houses off their foundation and blocked this state highway.
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SEATTLE (AP) -- Snohomish County authorities say a third person has died following a massive landslide in rural Washington state that injured at least eight others and destroyed six houses.
The slide blocked the North Fork of the Stillaguamish River, which prompted an evacuation notice because water is rising rapidly behind the debris. Authorities worry about severe downstream flooding if water suddenly breaks through the blockage.
The landslide also completely covered State Route 530 near the town of Oso, about 55 miles north of Seattle. The slide was at least 135 feet wide and 180 feet deep and hit just before 11 a.m. on Saturday.

McALLEN, Texas (AP) -- Crews were working through the night after a barge carrying nearly a million gallons of especially thick, sticky oil collided with a ship in Galveston Bay, leaking an unknown amount of the fuel into the popular bird habitat as the peak of the migratory shorebird season was approaching.
Booms were brought in to try to contain the spill, which the Coast Guard said was reported at around 12:30 p.m. Saturday by the captain of the 585-foot ship, Summer Wind. Coast Guard officials said the spill hadn't been contained as of 10 p.m., and the collision was still being investigated.
The Coast Guard says the ship collided with a barge carrying 924,000 gallons of marine fuel oil. It didn't give an estimate of how much fuel had spilled into the bay.

Appeals court halts gay marriages in Michigan
CINCINNATI (AP) -- A federal appeals court has suspended gay marriages in Michigan, putting on hold a decision by a lower court judge who had struck down the state's same-sex marriage ban.
The Cincinnati court's order Saturday brings a halt to same-sex weddings in Michigan, at least through Wednesday.
Earlier in the day, same-sex couples rushed to Michigan county clerk's offices to get hitched before the decision, and several hundred managed to do so.
Nuptials followed one after another, at times en masse, in at least four of Michigan's 83 counties. Those four -- Oakland, Muskegon, Ingham and Washtenaw counties -- issued more than 300 marriage licenses to same-sex couples Saturday.
Federal Judge Bernard Friedman on Friday had overturned Michigan's constitutional ban, the latest in a series of decisions overturning similar laws across the country.

Plane carrying marijuana crashes near San Diego
SAN DIEGO (AP) -- Authorities say an ultralight aircraft carrying about 250 pounds of marijuana has crashed in the mountains east of San Diego, but there's no sign of the pilot.
The downed plane was discovered Friday morning by U.S. Customs and Border Protection during a routine air patrol.
A team of federal agents picking through the wreckage in the remote Laguna Mountains found a helmet, gloves and other gear. There was also a pair of footprints leading away from the crash site.
Because there was no sign of blood, authorities believe the pilot walked away unscathed.
The marijuana was removed from the craft.
Mike Carney of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement says agents are pursuing all leads related to the drug-smuggling incident.

CINCINNATI (AP) -- A 12-year-old Texas girl with a rare case of medically induced obesity that pushed her weight past 200 pounds is recovering after weight-loss surgery.
NBC News reports Alexis Shapiro was sedated and on a ventilator Friday after undergoing surgery at Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center. A message left by The Associated Press at the hospital Saturday seeking an update wasn't immediately returned.
Doctors said Friday she was stable but expected to remain in the intensive care unit through the weekend.
Doctors expect the 4-foot-7 Shapiro to lose weight and resolve many health problems, such as type 2 diabetes and pulmonary issues.
WCPO-TV in Cincinnati reports the condition arose after brain surgery two years ago to remove a tumor damaged her pituitary gland and part of the brain that signals hunger.

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The buds still aren't open on the cherry trees in Washington, D.C., but the national festival to honor the annual springtime event is blossoming.Saturday night to enjoy multicultural performances featuring singers and dancers. The Japanese ambassador to the U.S. marveled at the beauty of the pink and white blossoms but joked about the traffic snarls that also ensue. Washington D.C.'s mayor noted that even though it's spring, the region is expecting a snowstorm on Tuesday.
This year marks the 102nd anniversary of the gift of thousands of cherry trees from Japan as a symbol of friendship with the United States. Peak bloom is expected between April 8th and April 12th.

LOS ANGELES (AP) -- Southern California used to be known as the "Bank Robbery Capital of the World."
No more.
The Los Angeles Times reports the number of robberies has declined, part of a larger trend that has seen crime rates fall across the nation.
There were 212 bank robberies last year -- the lowest since the 1960s -- in a seven-county region overseen by the FBI's Los Angeles office.
During the worst year in 1992, more than two dozen Los Angeles banks were robbed in a single day.
Authorities say better security at banks such as bulletproof acrylic glass has made it harder for bandits to get access to money. They also credit the ability to make high-resolution images of robbers available to the public through the Internet.

John Love, Bataan Death March survivor, dies at 91
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) -- An Albuquerque retirement home says John E. Love, a Bataan Death March survivor who led a campaign to change the caption on a historic photo from The Associated Press, has died.
Gerry Lightwine, pastor at La Vida Llena, says Love died Monday. He was 91.
Love was one of 75,000 Filipino and American soldiers taken captive by the Japanese in World War II when U.S. forces surrendered in the province of Bataan and Corregidor Island in April 1942.
Love later worked to change the caption on one of the most famous photos in AP's library about the march. The photo, thought to be of the Bataan Death March, actually was an Allied POW burial detail.
The AP corrected the caption in 2010, 65 years after the image was first published.

Vermont officials remind of ice shanty removal
MONTPELIER, Vt. (AP) -- Forecasters are warning residents of the East Coast that another blast of wintry weather is ahead next week. But there's one sure sign of spring in New England today.
The Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department is warning Vermont anglers to remove their ice shanties soon or face a fine of up to $1,000.
Officials say the law requires ice fishing shanties to be removed when the ice becomes unstable or by March 30, whichever comes first.
Shanties are also required to be labeled with the name and address of the owner.
State Game Warden Maj. Dennis Reinhardt says ice conditions can deteriorate quickly and this law exists to help ensure that shanties don't become a boating hazard and create debris that will wash up on shore.

NEW YORK (AP) -- A 12-year-old girl who plunged 35 feet into the elevator shaft of a New York City apartment building has survived with serious injuries.
The accident happened Friday afternoon in the Manhattan neighborhood of SoHo.
The Fire Department of New York says the girl fell from the lobby of the building into the elevator pit. She suffered multiple injuries and is in serious condition at Bellevue Hospital Center.
Fire spokesman Khalid Baylor tells The New York Times that firefighters and medical technicians pried open the elevator doors in the sub-basement to reach her and hoist her up in a basket.
The elevator apparently had been out of service at the time of the accident.
It wasn't immediately clear whether the girl lived in the building.

Mountain lion attack on dog prompts California couple to obtain hunting permit
BEAUMONT, Calif. (AP) -- A mountain lion attack on a French bulldog has prompted a Southern California couple to obtain a permit to hunt the big cat down.
The Riverside Press-Enterprise reports Holly and Mark Adams received the permit from the California Department of Fish and Wildlife this week after their puppy was killed in their backyard in Beaumont.
Such a permit can be issued upon request when property is lost in an attack.
The couple says their purebred pet Mickey Blue was worth $4,000.
They said the cougar was tracked to a golf course, but then Beaumont police officials wouldn't let them use a firearm.
Cmdr. Greg Fagan said hunting is prohibited within the city limits.

Circus elephants escape, damage parking lot cars
ST CHARLES, Mo. (AP) -- Authorities say three elephants escaped from their handlers at a circus near St. Louis and damaged several vehicles in the parking lot before they were recaptured.
Television station KMOV reports that the female elephants escaped from the children's ride section of the Moolah Shrine Circus at the Family Arena in St. Charles.
TV station KSDK says the circus issued a statement saying the handlers were able to occupy the animals and that "they are now resting comfortably in their compound at this time."
Police say that the animals also damaged the venue's loading door.

Clinton says nation needs gradual debt reduction
TEMPE, Ariz. (AP) -- Former President Bill Clinton says the nation needs to address the government's long-term debt gradually as the economy recovers. But he tells college students that making tough choices is hard in a money-fueled political system.
Speaking Saturday at Arizona State University, the former president told the Clinton Global Initiative University that political leaders who make tough decisions run the risk of a billionaire spending a fortune to run television ads against them.
Clinton notes that Republican congressman Dave Camp of Michigan has been criticized by fellow Republicans because his tax overhaul proposal includes new or higher taxes for investment managers and big banks.
Of Camp, Clinton says, quote, "Boy, did he get killed by his own crowd."
The former president says future debt reduction needs to maintain key budget priorities.