NSA says site woes tied to scheduled update
The National Security Agency said its website nsa.gov was inaccessible for several hours Friday during a scheduled update.
The agency says an internal error in the system caused the problem.
There had been speculation that the online site had been hit with a denial-of-service attack, but the agency said that was not true. A denial-of-service attack is an attempt by outsiders to make a network unavailable to users.
Obama officials ask for delay on Iran sanctions
The Obama administration is asking Congress to hold off on enacting new sanctions against Iran. It said a pause in the push to impose new penalties would give negotiators flexibility in talks now underway to get Iran to comply with demands it prove its nuclear program is peaceful.
Even as U.S. officials argue that tough sanctions are what brought Iran to the negotiating table in the first place, the White House and State Department said Friday that the administration wants lawmakers to wait on new sanctions legislation to give the negotiations time to get traction. Some lawmakers have argued that now isn't the time to ease pressure and that pursuing sanctions will give the U.S. additional leverage in the talks.
But, State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said it was the consensus of the administration that a pause "would be helpful in terms of providing some flexibility while we see if these negotiations will move forward." She said the position was delivered to lawmakers and congressional aides at a meeting on Thursday.
State to probe accident that hurt 5 at carnival
Officials at the North Carolina State Fair in Raleigh were trying to determine Friday what caused an accident on a carnival ride that left five injured, two of them critically.
The accident happened after the "Vortex," a ride known for its wild twirls and flips, started up again as riders were getting off late Thursday evening, officials said. The injured riders range in age from 14 to 39.
Among the possible causes for the accident that investigators will be reviewing is a safety switch that malfunctioned on the ride Monday, according to Tom Chambers, the chief of the ride inspection unit at the state Labor Department.
Man convicted in deaths of eight family members
A Georgia man was convicted of murder Friday in the beating deaths of his father and seven extended family members inside the mobile home they shared, but he was spared a death sentence in a deal attorneys made to avoid a hung jury.
Guy Heinze Jr., 26, stood silently while his younger brother ran cursing from the Brunswick courtroom after the jury's verdict was read. The last-minute deal to withdraw the death penalty means Heinze will be sentenced to life in prison.
Prosecutors said Heinze had been smoking crack cocaine Aug. 29, 2009, when he killed his father and the other victims, all members of an extended family.
Each of the victims died from multiple crushing blows to the head from what police believe was a shotgun barrel, though the murder weapon was never found.
Doctor's mistress takes stand in his murder trial
The mistress of a doctor accused of murder testified Friday that she started a sexual relationship with him more than a year before his wife's death.
Gypsy Willis said Martin MacNeill put her up in a duplex, gave her a debit card for expenses, and helped pay for her schooling as a nursing student.
Willis, 37, insisted the relationship with a man 20 years older was casual and is over. Prosecutors have argued it was his motive for killing his wife in 2007. Michele MacNeill was found in a bathtub in her home.
Willis said she met MacNeill online by trading messages and was soon getting together with him at random times.
Her testimony was interrupted when the judge called for a break in the trial.
MacNeill, 57, is accused of hounding his wife, Michele, to have a face-lift, then mixing a lethal combination of drugs for her and helping her into the tub.
In other news
One of three men convicted in the 1983 massacre of 13 people at a Seattle gambling club is being paroled after 30 years in prison. Wai Chiu "Tony" Ng was convicted of robbery and assault for his role in the shooting at the Wah Mee club.