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GOP hawk will retire after 7 terms

Rogers

– Rep. Mike Rogers, the brash-talking Republican security hawk who has criticized the Obama administration yet commanded uncommon bipartisan support as chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, said Friday he was retiring from Congress next year.

The 50-year-old from Michigan made the surprising announcement in a radio interview, saying he’d leave Washington when his seventh term expires to begin a career in broadcasting.

Rogers’ departure comes despite a sharp climb in his national profile, as he considered a Senate run and his name was floated as a possible candidate for FBI director. He has been among the GOP’s best fundraisers.

Township trustee’s Gary office searched

Agents from the FBI, IRS and Indiana State Police obtained a warrant for Thursday’s search of the Calumet Township trustee’s office in Gary as part of an ongoing investigation, said Robert Ramsey, the supervisory agent for the FBI office in Merrillville.

Details about the warrant have been sealed by a federal judge, Ramsey said.

Calumet Township Trustee Mary Elgin has faced scrutiny recently over the office’s spending on assistance to Gary’s low-income residents and the use of take-home cars.

Holder recognizes 300 gay marriages

Attorney General Eric Holder on Friday extended federal recognition to the marriages of about 300 same-sex couples that took place in Michigan before a federal appeals court’s ruling put those unions on hold.

Holder’s action will enable the government to extend eligibility for federal benefits to the Michigan couples who married March 22, which means they can file federal taxes jointly, get Social Security benefits for spouses and request legal immigration status for partners, among other benefits.

Airliner search zone shifts to northeast

Three weeks into the mystery of Flight 370, investigators relying on newly analyzed satellite data shifted the search zone yet again, focusing on a swath of Indian Ocean, where better conditions could help speed a hunt.

Planes combing the newly targeted area off the west coast of Australia spotted several objects Friday, including two rectangular items that were blue and gray, the Australian Maritime Safety Authority said.

Although those are part of the colors of the missing Malaysia Airlines jet, it was not clear if they were from the plane.

The newly targeted zone is nearly 700 miles northeast of sites the searchers have crisscrossed for the past week.

Union cites train driver’s long hours

A union for Chicago Transit Authority drivers says the operator of the train that crashed at O’Hare International Airport worked 69 hours in the seven days before the accident.

Amalgamated Transit Union Local 308 President Robert Kelly said Friday that the operator’s call-in status without a consistent work shift caused her to work “strange” hours, which was a factor in the crash.

The CTA disputed the number of hours the operator worked, putting it at 55 hours.

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