WASHINGTON

- A former top diplomat in Libya yesterday delivered a riveting minute-by-minute account of the chaotic events during the deadly assault on the U.S. diplomatic mission in Benghazi last September, including details about a 2 a.m. call from Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and confusion about the fate of U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens.

Gregory Hicks, the deputy chief of mission who was in Tripoli, described for a House committee how a routine day on Sept. 11, 2012, quickly devolved as insurgents launched two nighttime attacks on the facility in eastern Libya, killing Stevens and three other Americans.

The hours-long hearing produced no major revelation while reviving disputes over the widely debunked comments made by U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice five days after the attacks and the inability of the U.S. military to respond quickly.

Calif. cops hunt man accused of killing kin

SHINGLETOWN, Calif.

- Authorities in rural Northern California yesterday were searching for a man suspected of fatally shooting his wife and two young daughters at their home.

Shane Franklin Miller, 45, was on the loose a day after the killings in Shingletown, about 230 miles northeast of San Francisco, Shasta County sheriff's officials said.

Police said deputies received a call from Miller's residence about 7:45 p.m. Tuesday. When they arrived, they found the bodies of Miller's wife, Sandy, 34, and two daughters, Shelby, 8, and Shasta, 4. Shane Miller wasn't there.

Investigators have said he may be driving a gold-colored 2010 Dodge Mega Cab pickup with a camper shell. He's considered armed and extremely dangerous.

Utah teen charged in referee's death

SALT LAKE CITY

- A Utah teen accused of punching a soccer referee who later died was charged yesterday with homicide by assault, a count issued when an attack unintentionally causes death.

Salt Lake County District Attorney Sim Gill also said he will seek to try the teen as an adult in the death of 46-year-old Ricardo Portillo.

The charge carries a possible sentence of up to five years in prison for adults, but penalties can be less for juveniles. Gill said it became clear in looking at the facts that the teenager's actions didn't amount to more serious charges.

Italian boating crash kills 7, leaves 2 missing

ROME

- Italian prosecutors placed the captain of the Jolly Nero cargo ship under investigation yesterday for alleged manslaughter after his vessel slammed into the dock at Genoa's busy port and toppled the control tower into the harbor, killing at least seven people.

As rescue teams in diving suits searched for two other missing people, officials began piecing together how the 40,000-ton container ship could have sideswiped the port's control tower when weather and sea conditions were "perfect" Tuesday night. The focus was on whether human error or a technical malfunction was to blame.

The crash occurred about 11 p.m. as the Jolly Nero was backing out of Genoa's port accompanied by two tugboats. At the same time, a shift change was taking place among employees at the control tower, meaning more people were in the building than usual.

Faulty cable blamed for Syrian Web outage

BEIRUT

- A problem with a fiber-optics cable was responsible for an Internet outage that cut off civil war-ravaged Syria from the rest of the world for nearly 20 hours, state media said yesterday.

Internet service stopped abruptly Tuesday evening, prompting speculation that the regime had pulled the plug, possibly as a cover for military action. However, no large-scale military offensives were reported yesterday, and the opposition did not accuse the regime of sabotage.

In the past, the regime halted Internet service in selected areas during government offensives to disrupt communication among rebel fighters. The last nationwide outage, for two days in November, coincided with a major military operation near the capital, Damascus.

- Daily News wire services