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briefs

Obama to donate 5% of salary

– President Obama plans to give up 5 percent of his salary this year to draw attention to the financial sacrifice of more than 1 million federal employees who will be furloughed by automatic spending cuts starting in less than three weeks, the White House said Wednesday.

Obama, who earns $400,000, wrote a check to the Treasury this week, the first installment of his donation of $20,000, retroactive to March 1, the day sequestration started to slice 5 percent from non-Defense programs, a White House official said.

On Tuesday, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said he will return a portion of his salary to share the pain with 750,000 Defense civilians who will lose 14 days of pay this fiscal year. The EPA announced that acting Administrator Bob Perciasepe decided – before the president’s action became public – to donate 32 hours of pay to a fund that provides emergency loans, child-care subsidies and other financial help to federal workers.

HUD disclosed that Secretary Shaun Donovan and eight politically appointed deputies will donate seven days’ worth of salaries.

Search for teen hikers ends 3rd day

Rescuers working in dangerously rugged terrain combed Southern California’s Cleveland National Forest for two lost hikers late Wednesday, but the third day of searching had proved fruitless as darkness fell.

There was no evidence of foul play and authorities believe the teens are in the area, in part because a 911 call made before their mobile phone died was traced to a cell tower near the location, said Orange County Fire Authority Capt. John Muir.

“Their probability for survival is good,” he said, adding that the nights have been mild and the days not too hot.

Nicholas Cendoya, 19, and Kyndall Jack, 18, were last heard from Sunday night when they called for help on a cellphone.

Wisconsin legal tab in union fight listed

Wisconsin taxpayers have spent close to $850,000 defending lawsuits over Republican Gov. Scott Walker’s 2011 law that all but ended collective bargaining for most public workers.

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported that Walker’s office says taxpayers have paid the Michael Best & Friedrich law firm nearly $847,000 to defend the union rights law.

Walker’s spokesman blames the legal bills on union challenges.

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