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Nation news briefs
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PRELIMINARY 3.7 QUAKE RATTLES VALLEJO: VALLEJO  (AP) — An earthquake with a confirmed magnitude of 3.7 has rattled the East Bay city of Vallejo.

The U.S. Geological Survey says the quake hit at 6:09 p.m. Wednesday about three miles south of Vallejo, or about 23 miles northeast of San Francisco.

A Vallejo police dispatcher said the quake was felt at the department's dispatch center, but police had no reports of injuries or damage.

The quake's epicenter was about 20 miles from Berkeley, where a series of quakes were recorded in October, but USGS geophysicist Rafael Abreu says it was too early to determine if Wednesday's quake was related to the earthquakes last fall.

GINGRICH HOPES FOR ANOTHER CAMPAIGN RESURRECTION: TULARE  (AP) — Newt Gingrich's presidential campaign has a history of near-death experiences and he insists another resurrection is on its way.

"I'm very happy to continue this campaign based on real solutions that ... are going to attract a lot of Americans," Gingrich said Monday during a fundraising swing in California. "We've done it twice and I suspect you're about to see us do it again."

The third time may not be the charm. Gingrich sustained a string of disappointing performances in several state contests last week and has watched rival Rick Santorum emerge as the leading conservative opponent to Mitt Romney.

While Romney and Santorum move toward a face-off in Michigan's primary Feb. 28 and Romney campaigns to win Arizona the same day, Gingrich has all but stepped off the trail to focus on raising money. Ahead lie the 10-state Super Tuesday contests of March 6, including a handful of Southern states where he hopes he can revive his sputtering

FAMILY OF MURDERED INMATE SUES HAWAII, PRISON: HONOLULU (AP) — The family of a Hawaii inmate stabbed to death at a private prison in Arizona sued the state of Hawaii and prison operator Corrections Corporation of America on Wednesday.

The legal action came after two gang members attacked Bronson Nunuha in his cell on Feb. 18, 2010, when a prison employee left the door open at Saguaro Correctional Center, according to the suit filed in Circuit Court.

Nunuha was stabbed more than 140 times with two different weapons. The attackers also carved the name of their gang into his chest.

"It's still hard for my family," Davina Waialae, Nunuha's mother, said at a press conference on the lawsuit. "My grandson has to grow up without a dad."

Nunuha, 26, was serving a five-year sentence for burglary and property damage. He was nine months away from finishing his sentence when he was killed.

PROBE: NYC TEACHER HAD STUDENTS WRITE TO INMATE: NEW YORK (AP) — Investigators say a New York City teacher had her students make Christmas cards for an incarcerated felon.

The special commissioner of investigation for city schools says Queens public school teacher Melissa Dean asked her fifth-graders to make holiday cards for someone who was lonely.

The commissioner's report was issued Wednesday. It says Dean mailed the cards to a friend serving time at the upstate Groveland Correctional Facility for weapons charges and violating an order of protection.

Some of the cards included students' names and addresses. The package of cards was intercepted by prison officials, who called the school principal. That triggered the investigation.

Dean was removed from the classroom. The Department of Education is seeking to fire her.

MAN COOKED & ATE CATS: BAKERSFIELD (AP) — In a case that has shocked even investigators, a California man is in jail for allegedly cooking and eating cats.

Jason Louis Wilmert is being held in the Kern County Jail on charges alleging animal cruelty and using a pet or domesticated animal for food. Both charges are misdemeanors.

Neighbors called sheriff's deputies when they heard cats wailing and screeching at the 36-year-old's house in the Bakersfield suburb of Oildale.

Sheriff's spokesman Ray Pruitt says he has "never seen anything like this."

Pruitt says investigators found evidence that led them to believe "he had the intent to use a cat for food," but he couldn't comment directly on the evidence. The case has been sent to the district attorney.

JOSEPH KENNEDY III ANNOUNCING MASS. CONGRESS BID: BOSTON (AP) — Joseph Kennedy III said Wednesday he's formally jumping into the race for the congressional seat now held by retiring U.S. Rep. Barney Frank.

"I believe this country was founded on a simple idea: that every person deserves to be treated fairly, by each other and by their government, but that's not happening in America anymore," Kennedy, a Democrat, said ahead of an announcement scheduled for Thursday.

He said he would work hard to earn every vote and if elected would "bring that fight for fairness to the U.S. Congress."

Kennedy, the son of former U.S. Rep. Joseph Kennedy II and a grandson of the late Robert F. Kennedy, recently moved from Cambridge to Brookline, part of the state's newly redrawn 4th Congressional District.

OKLA. SENATE GIVES 'PERSONHOOD' TO EMBRYOS: OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — The Oklahoma Senate has overwhelmingly approved an anti-abortion "personhood" bill that declares life begins at conception.

The vote Wednesday upset doctors who fear the proposed law will jeopardize reproductive medicine.

The bill now heads to the House, where it is expected to pass. Republican Gov. Mary Fallin typically won't comment on pending legislation, but she has described herself as strongly "pro-life."

The bill provides embryos and fetuses with "all the rights privileges, and immunities" of other citizens.