WASHINGTON

Obama seeking more ways for humane deportation

Seeking to pacify frustrated immigration advocates, President Barack Obama is directing the government to find more humane ways to handle deportation for immigrants in the U.S. illegally, the White House said Thursday.

With prospects for an immigration overhaul in Congress appearing ever dimmer, immigration advocates have been ramping up pressure on Obama to halt all deportations – a step Obama has insisted he can’t take by himself.

By announcing he’s open to changing how the U.S. enforces its current laws, Obama is signaling he may be growing more inclined to test the limits of his authority in the face of congressional inaction.

Obama’s announcement came Thursday in a meeting with Latino lawmakers who are seeking ways to resuscitate an immigration overhaul despite resistance from Republicans and election-year politics that have confounded their efforts.

BP again allowed to work for federal government

The oil company behind the largest offshore oil spill in U.S. history can once again perform work for the federal government.

Under an agreement reached Thursday with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, more than two dozen BP entities and its Houston-based oil production and exploration arm can secure new government contracts.

The company had been suspended from performing any new government work since November 2012, after BP agreed to plead guilty and to pay a $4.5 billion fine for criminal charges involving the death of 11 workers and lying to Congress about how much oil was spilling into the Gulf of Mexico.

AUSTIN, Texas

Driver plows into crowd at festival, killing 2, injuring 23

Fleeing police, a driver gunned a grey Honda Civic through a street barricade and into a crowd of South by Southwest festival attendees early Thursday, killing two people, injuring 23 others and casting a pall over one of the nation’s hippest celebrations of music, movies and technology.

The driver struck multiple pedestrians around 12:30 a.m. on a block filled with concertgoers, then sped down the street, hitting and killing a man from the Netherlands on a bicycle and an Austin woman on a moped, Austin Police Chief Art Acevedo said.

The driver eventually crashed into a parked van and tried to flee on foot before police used a stun gun to subdue him.

Rashad Charjuan Owens, 21, will face two counts of capital murder and 23 counts of aggravated assault with a vehicle.

Police said the incident started when an officer on a drunken-driving patrol tried to stop a vehicle. Acevedo indicated the suspect was drunk, but drunken driving was not among the charges police said Owens would face. Acevedo said investigators have obtained blood samples and were testing them.

WENATCHEE, Wash.

Resident told treehouse for his sons has to go

Zeb Postelwait of Washington state always wanted to build a treehouse for his sons. He got the chance last summer after moving into a Wenatchee home with a big tree in the front yard.

Two months later he received his first notice from the city to tear it down.

The Wenatchee World reports officials say the treehouse overhangs the sidewalk, threatening public safety. Postelwait disagrees.

City officials say he could keep it if he takes out a $1 million insurance policy. But Postelwait says no way.

The city is prepared to seek a court order to remove the treehouse and send Postelwait the bill. He feels the city is harassing him.

– From news service reports