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ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — For Minnesota lawmakers, spring break is over and the required end of the 2013 legislative session is not far around the corner. The Legislature returns Tuesday with about seven weeks to finish writing a new two-year budget, decide whether to legalize gay marriage and make any revisions to state gun laws. House Speaker Paul Thissen says lawmakers should expect the pace to pick up considerably. Much of April will be spent voting on pieces of the budget.
WASHINGTON (AP) — An amused President Barack Obama read a children's book to a gathering of boys and girls at the White House then peppered them with questions: Had any of them lost a tooth? Had any climbed trees? Had any fallen after climbing? It was all part of the annual White House Easter Egg Roll, which attracted 30,000 children and parents to the Executive Mansion's South Lawn for a day of festivities.
RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) — Tom Cruise took time off from promoting his latest movie in Brazil by visiting Maracana stadium and meeting former Brazilian soccer star Zico. Cruise posed for photos at the stadium's newly installed field holding a Brazil jersey with his name on the back.
NEW YORK (AP) — Veteran correspondent Byron Pitts is jumping from CBS to ABC News, where he will be chief national correspondent and a fill-in anchor for various broadcasts. Pitts spent 15 years at CBS News, where he covered political conventions and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. ABC News President Ben Sherwood said in a memo to his staff Monday announcing the hire that Pitts "has a unique talent for stories about people and communities facing the longest odds."
WASHINGTON (AP) — The White House, busy with its annual Easter Egg Roll, also managed to pull off an April Fools' prank. The White House Twitter account announced earlier Monday to be on the lookout for a "special video message from the president." Instead, viewers got a surprise visitor to the press briefing room. The piece began with a shot of the familiar lectern regularly used by press secretary Jay Carney. It was empty as the presidential entrance march played. Then a small head peeked over the edge of the stand.
ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — A legislative fight over parks and trails money is brewing between rural and urban lawmakers. The St. Cloud Times reports that officials from metro organizations are unhappy with how the state divides $80 million in parks and trails funding — one part of Minnesota's Clean Water, Land and Legacy Amendment. The state is set to give 60 percent to outstate Minnesota funds and the remainder to urban areas.
CHICAGO (AP) — Law enforcement authorities say Mexican drug cartel operatives who once stuck close to the U.S.-Mexico border are establishing a greater presence in the Upper Midwest. Cases involving drug cartel members have been seen in Minnesota, and there has been activity in neighboring Wisconsin. The head of the Sinaloa cartel was recently named Chicago's Public Enemy No. 1, the same label once given to gangster Al Capone.
ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar and Congressman Tim Walz are holding a Minneapolis press conference to discuss their legislation aimed at helping wrongly discharged military veterans restore their benefits.
COLD SPRING, Minn. (AP) — Four relatives of a Cold Spring police officer killed while on duty in November are squabbling about who should control the money donated to his family. A Stearns County judge has scheduled a Monday hearing to sort out the dispute between Thomas Decker's widow, ex-wife and two brothers, the Minneapolis Star Tribune reported.
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Things will be chilly when Minnesota and Detroit meet for the Twins' home opener. Temperatures aren't expected to get warmer than 32 degrees Monday in Minneapolis, where the only heat in Target Field might be Justin Verlander's 100 mph fastballs. Former Twins fan favorite Torii Hunter will be returning as a Tiger. He adds punch to an already potent offense that includes Prince Fielder, Miguel Cabrera and Victor Martinez.