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Feb. 18, 2013 at 10:15 PM
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Obama plays golf with Tiger Woods

WASHINGTON, Feb. 18 (UPI) -- The White House Press Corps Association cried foul Monday after learning of President Obama's hush-hush round of golf with Tiger Woods in Florida.

The White House said cameras weren't allowed at the exclusive Floridian Yacht and Golf Club in Palm City Sunday because it is a private golf course, NBC reported.

Word got out when a golf reporter sent out a tweet and the press group complained to the administration about the lack of transparency for its pool reporters, the network said.

The scoop went to Golf Digest reporter Tim Rosaforte, who tweeted: "The President is arriving at The Floridian range. Awaiting is Tiger Woods and club owner Jim Crane. Historic day in golf. Their first round."

Almost 3 hours went by before the president's staff confirmed Obama was playing with Woods, who experienced a fall from grace, and the top of the world rankings, when his extramarital sex became an international scandal in 2009.

Investigators find Carnival Triumph clues

MOBILE, Ala., Feb. 18 (UPI) -- The fire on the Carnival Triumph cruise ship was caused by a leak in a fuel oil return line, the U.S. Coast Guard said.

The investigation of the incident and the crew's response to the fire will last about six months, Lt. Cmdr. Teresa Hatfield, the Coast Guard's Marine Casualty Investigation team leader, said during a conference call Monday.

In an email after the conference call, Coast Guard spokesman Carlos Diaz described the oil return line that leaked as stretching from the ship's No. 6 engine to the fuel tank, The Washington Post reported.

"We know that the fire originated in front of a generator. You can see the ignition marks on the wall," said Patrick Cuty, a senior marine investigator of the U.S. Coast Guard of the fire that left the massive ship adrift in the Gulf of Mexico last week.

Cuty said the site of the fire had three generators with three more in a second engine room not involved in the fire.

The ship had a problem on an earlier cruise with its propulsion system, CNN reported Monday.

"We'll know by the end of the next week whether the generator is the same one that was having an issue, an anomaly, in January," Cuty added.

Gallup: Americans' satisfaction up a bit

PRINCETON, N.J., Feb. 18 (UPI) -- Slightly more than a quarter of Americans say they're satisfied with the way things are going in the United States today, up slightly from January, Gallup said.

While 27 percent of Americans said they were satisfied, 72 percent said they were dissatisfied, the latest results of Gallup's annual World Affairs survey released Monday indicated.

The average level of satisfaction so far in 2013 matches the 26 percent average for all of 2012, the Princeton, N.J., polling agency said.

The current level of satisfaction is significantly higher than the 18 percent recorded at the start of Obama's first term in February 2009. Since then, satisfaction has never exceeded 37 percent and fell 11 percent in mid-2011, Gallup said.

Forty-seven percent of Democrats said they are satisfied with the country's direction, up from 39 percent in January, results indicated.

Satisfaction among Republicans has been fairly flat over the past year and currently is at 9 percent.

The overall satisfaction rate has been as high as 71 percent in February 1999 and as low as 7 percent in October 2008.

Mississippi officially abolishes slavery

JACKSON, Miss., Feb. 18 (UPI) -- Mississippi has officially joined the rest of the nation in ratifying the 13th Amendment that abolished slavery, officials say.

While the amendment to the Constitution passed when three-quarters of the states ratified it in 1865, Mississippi didn't get around to voting in favor of it until 1995. But then someone dropped the ball and failed to notify the U.S. archivist so Mississippi was never officially marked down as having ratified the end to slavery.

That oversight was rectified this month after Ranjan Batra, an associate professor of neurobiology and anatomical sciences at the University of Mississippi Medical Center, learned about it after seeing the movie "Lincoln," The (Jackson) Clarion-Ledger reported Sunday.

Assange plans run for Australian Senate

LONDON, Feb. 18 (UPI) -- WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, holed up in the Ecuadorean Embassy in London, said he wants to run for the Australian Senate.

Assange, in an interview with the Australian news outlet The Conversation, said the case against him in Sweden is "falling apart" and officials there should drop the charges. He has been charged with sexually assaulting two women, though Assange says the encounters were consensual.

Assange said once the charges are dropped he'll be able to leave the embassy, where he has lived exclusively after being granted protection for the last eight months.

After that, he will move back to his native Australia where plans have already been laid to create a WikiLeaks political party and run for a Senate seat against one of three Labor candidates in Victoria.

If he wins, Assange told The Conversation, the United States will be forced to back down on its threats to prosecute him for the massive document dump that revealed numerous secret diplomatic and military cables between America and its allies because it won't want to create an international controversy by prosecuting a sitting member of an ally's government.

Funeral held for first of Dorner's victims

LOS ANGELES, Feb. 18 (UPI) -- Monica Quan, one of the first victims in a shooting rampage by a former Los Angeles police officer, was remembered at a private funeral.

Monday Quan, 28, and her fiance, Keith Lawrence, 27, were gunned down on Super Bowl Sunday in the parking ramp outside their Irvine, Calif., condominium complex. Quan's father, Los Angeles Police Department Capt. Randy Quan, who was mentioned in an online manifesto published by Christopher Dorner, a former member of the force who was fired and sought revenge against his former colleagues.

Randy Quan had represented Dorner during his termination proceedings, the Los Angeles Times said Monday

Monica Quan's private funeral was held Sunday.

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