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Nation

Obama signs Sandy relief legislation

– President Obama on Sunday signed into law a $9.7 billion bill to pay flood insurance claims covering damage from Hurricane Sandy.

The law increases the borrowing authority of the Federal Emergency Management Agency. FEMA had warned that it was set to run out of money without additional dollars from Congress.

The White House said more than 100,000 flood claim payments from Sandy would be delayed without the additional money.

The House has yet to act on a larger, more comprehensive Sandy aid package. House Speaker John Boehner has promised a vote Jan. 15 on that $51 billion package, and Senate leaders have promised a vote the following week.

Drinking charge for senator’s son

U.S. Sen. Rand Paul’s son reportedly was charged with underage drinking and disorderly conduct on a flight from Kentucky to North Carolina.

The Charlotte Observer reported Sunday that William Hilton Paul, 19, was arrested Saturday morning at Charlotte Douglas International Airport.

The newspaper quoted Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Lt. Blake Hollar as saying it was possible Paul was served alcohol on the flight from Lexington, Ky., to Charlotte.

The office for Sen. Paul, R-Ky., said “as many parents with teenagers would understand,” the family requested their privacy be respected “in a situation such as this.”

Tow line tied to grounded oil rig

Responders said Sunday a main tow line has been attached to a Shell oil-drilling ship that grounded on rocks near a remote Alaska island.

The command center said an attempt to tow the drilling ship off Sitkalidak Island would come Sunday night or today, weather permitting. Crews want to tow the ship 30 miles to shelter in Kodiak Island’s Kiliuda Bay.

Responders said there is no sign that the hull of the Royal Dutch Shell’s Kulluk has been breached or that oil has spilled from the vessel.

Search for skydiver ends after 4 days

A search was suspended Sunday for a skydiver who vanished during a jump above Washington’s Cascade foothills.

King County sheriff’s Sgt. Cindi West said 100 searchers were out near 4,200-foot Mount Si east of Seattle early Sunday, looking for 29-year-old Kurt Ruppert of Lake City, Fla.

The search was suspended later Sunday, the fourth day of looking for Ruppert.

Ruppert hasn’t been seen since he jumped out of a helicopter at 6,500 feet Thursday afternoon, wearing a special wing suit with fabric under the arms to allow him to glide like a flying squirrel.

300 animals found in Florida home

A southwest Florida couple have been charged with animal cruelty and child abuse after authorities responding to a call about a missing child discovered 300 neglected animals in their home, including three dead rats and a dead hamster.

Pinellas County Sheriff’s officials responded to the Oldsmar home Sunday after receiving a call from Jeffrey O’Neil and Jennifer Kovacs about the 16-month-old girl’s disappearance. Authorities say she was found unharmed at the home of a relative who took her after trying unsuccessfully to awaken the allegedly intoxicated couple.

Deputies said they found hundreds of snakes, lizards, rats, birds and rabbits being kept in deplorable conditions inside the house. They said the animals were being bred and sold without the proper licensing.

Teenagers’ brawl empties La. mall

Large groups of brawling teenagers sparked a stampede at a Baton Rouge, La., mall that led police to evacuate the shopping center and shut it down early.

More than 200 teens were in the Mall of Louisiana’s food court when a large fight broke out just before 6 p.m. Saturday.

No injuries were reported. Police corralled unaccompanied youths until parents arrived to pick them up.

Film critics group says ‘Amour’ best

The National Society of Film Critics selected “Amour” as the best picture of 2012 during its annual meeting.

The critics chose the star of “Amour,” Emmanuelle Riva, as the best actress. Daniel Day-Lewis was chosen best actor for “Lincoln.”

The group of 60 prominent movie critics from around the country met Saturday at Lincoln Center in New York City to make its picks.

Austrian director Michael Haneke won best director for “Amour.” The French-language movie depicts the slow deterioration of the elderly woman played by Riva. It has been praised as an unflinching look at old age and life’s end.

Playwright Tony Kushner won best screenplay for “Lincoln.”

Amy Adams was chosen best supporting actress for “The Master,” and Matthew McConaughey was selected best supporting actor for “Magic Mike” and “Bernie.”

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