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In Brief | Nation & World 10-20-13

Authorities capture 2 Fla. prisoners at motel

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — Two convicted killers who were freed from prison by phony documents were captured together without incident Saturday night at a Panama City motel, authorities said.

Joseph Jenkins and Charles Walker, both 34, were taken into custody about 6:40 p.m. at the Coconut Grove Motor Inn. They were apprehended several hours after their family members held a news conference urging the men to turn themselves in.

The Florida Department of Law Enforcement did not immediately release any other details about their capture or its investigation.

Jenkins and Walker were both serving life sentences at the Franklin Correctional Facility in the Panhandle before they were released. The bogus paperwork, complete with case numbers and a judge’s forged signature, duped prison officials and reduced their sentences to 15 years.

BART fatalities come amid strike

OAKLAND, Calif. — A commuter train that is part of a San Francisco Bay Area system whose employees are on strike hit and killed two maintenance workers Saturday afternoon, officials said.

The accident that killed one system employee and one contractor in the East Bay city of Walnut Creek occurred shortly before 2 p.m. as the train was on a routine maintenance run operated by a manager, Bay Area Rapid Transit officials said.

BART officials said in a statement that the manager was an “experienced operator” and the train was being run in automatic mode under computer control at the time of the accident.

Gov’t, JPMorgan reach tentative deal

WASHINGTON — JPMorgan Chase & Co. has tentatively agreed to pay $13 billion to settle allegations surrounding the quality of mortgage-backed securities it sold in the run-up to the 2008 financial crisis, a person familiar with the negotiations between the bank and the federal government said Saturday.

If the agreement is finalized it would be the government’s highest-profile enforcement action related to the financial meltdown that plunged the economy into the deepest recession since the Great Depression of the 1930s.

China bird flu’s return seen spurred by New Year chicken

HONG KONG — The avian flu strain that killed 45 people in Asia last spring is poised to return as poultry flocks swell before Chinese New Year, amplifying the virus that hides undetected in birds.

A 35-year-old man from the eastern Chinese province of Zhejiang is in serious condition after being infected with the new H7N9 flu strain, health authorities said this week. It’s the first confirmed human case in two months, according to the World Health Organization in Geneva.

Human cases of H7N9 were first reported in China in March and spiked in April before agriculture authorities temporarily closed live poultry markets to limit human exposure. The WHO counts 136 laboratory-confirmed cases to date. Three patients remain hospitalized and 88 have been discharged, the United Nations health agency said in an Oct. 16 statement.

Suicide bomber kills 15 in central Somalia

MOGADISHU, Somalia — A suicide bomber blew himself up Saturday inside a restaurant in central Somalia, killing at least 15 people, officials and residents said.

The restaurant in Beled-weyne, just over 186 miles north of Mogadishu and close to the border with Ethiopia, is frequented by Ethiopian and Somali troops operating in the area.

Responsibility for the attack was claimed by the Islamist militia al-Shabaab, which controls rural parts of central and southern Somalia, though it is on the back foot, facing a counter-insurgency led by the national army and supported by foreign troops from several African nations.

By wire sources