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First lady's book a hit with daughters

WASHINGTON -- Michelle Obama got a rare thumbs-up from her adolescent daughters for publishing her first gardening book.

The first lady said daughters Sasha, 11, and Malia, 13, were pulled in by the pictures and eventually read "American Grown: The Story of the White House Kitchen Garden and Gardens Across America."

"They couldn't put it down, and they started looking through, and then they started actually reading it," she said. "Eventually, I got, actually, a thumbs-up."

Michelle Obama spoke to a bookstore crowd Tuesday at a book signing, which required the 200-plus attendees to stand in line for hours last week to get a wrist band, then go through security clearance and again line up for hours before the signing at a downtown Barnes & Noble. She thanked the groups who were caught in the rain while waiting.


Soldier found guilty of killing roommates

FORT STEWART, Ga. (AP) -- A Georgia soldier was found guilty Tuesday of killing his two Army roommates in 2010 at a U.S. base camp in Iraq, where prosecutors said he opened fire hours after complaining that the victims had let their room get too messy.

A court-martial found Spc. Neftaly Platero guilty of two counts of premeditated murder and one count of attempted premeditated murder after a weeklong trial.

Platero faces life in prison with or without the possibility of parole. Fort Stewart commanders earlier decided not to pursue it as a death penalty case.

Prosecutors said Platero, 34, of Kingwood, Texas, opened fire on his roommates as they got ready for bed at Camp Fallujah on Sept. 23, 2010. Pfc. Grebrah Noonan was fatally shot in the side and the back after having just returned to their room from a shower. Spc. John Carrillo Jr. was killed while rummaging through his backpack.

A fourth soldier who shared the room, Spc. Jeffrey Shonk, survived.


Commerce chief gives no end date for leave

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The White House said Tuesday there was no timetable for Commerce Secretary John Bryson's return from medical leave.

President Obama spoke with Bryson briefly, their first conversation since the secretary suffered a seizure connected to two traffic accidents Saturday in the Los Angeles area. "The president encouraged Secretary Bryson to focus his thoughts on his own health and on his own family," White House spokesman Josh Earnest said.

Investigators are awaiting a blood test to determine if Bryson was under the influence while driving. A Breathalyzer test administered shortly after the crashes did not detect alcohol, authorities said.

Bryson, 68, informed the White House on Monday that he was taking a medical leave of absence to undergo tests. He did not specify how long he would remain on leave but said he would not perform the functions and duties of the office "during the period of my illness."