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In the Nation

Mother charged in La. fire deaths

RAYNE, La. - Four children died in a mobile-home fire in Louisiana and their mother was charged Sunday with negligent homicide for allegedly leaving them alone, authorities said.

Capt. Doug Cain, a spokesman for Louisiana Department of Public Safety, told the Associated Press that the fire began just before midnight Saturday in Rayne, about 70 miles west of Baton Rouge in southern Louisiana.

Cain said the children who died were ages 2, 5, 7, and 8. He said their mother, Shaqueta McDade, 26, was charged with four counts of negligent homicide and was being held at the Acadia County Jail.

He said the Rayne Fire Department asked the state fire marshal for assistance in the investigation to determine the cause of the blaze. - AP

Democrats close to a nominee

WASHINGTON - President Obama will clinch the Democratic nomination for president Tuesday, ending a low-key primary race that many Americans probably didn't realize was happening.

Obama is certain to reach the 2,778 delegates he needs to secure his party nod for a second time when five states vote on Tuesday. He has won almost every delegate so far, with a few exceptions in some Southern states that won't vote Democratic in the fall anyway.

But don't expect a big party, or any party. Campaign officials say they are focused on the general election, as they have been for months, and the all-but-certain Republican nominee, Mitt Romney. -AP

Several hurt as car flips in Midtown

NEW YORK - Authorities say a car involved in a crash about a block from New York's Times Square flipped onto a sidewalk, injuring several pedestrians.

Nearly a dozen people were hurt in the chaotic crash Saturday night. Police say about eight people were hospitalized, but none appeared to have life-threatening injuries.

Police say the car that ended up on the sidewalk rear-ended another vehicle at the intersection. The second vehicle then struck a yellow cab. The first car ended up on its side.

Passengers and pedestrians alike were hurt. No charges have been filed against the driver of the vehicle that caused the initial accident. - AP

Blast in West linked to meteor

RENO, Nev. - Astronomers say an explosion heard across a large swath of Nevada and California on Sunday morning was likely caused by a meteor.

The explosion rattled windows and shook houses from Reno to Winnemucca in Nevada, and from the Sacramento to Bakersfield areas in California, and prompted a flood of calls to law enforcement agencies.

Dan Ruby of the Fleischmann Planetarium at the University of Nevada, Reno, says the reports indicate the meteor broke up above Earth somewhere over the Sierra southwest of Reno. - AP