– HOUSTON

Four firefighters die when blazing restaurant collapses

Four firefighters searching for people they thought might be trapped in a blazing Houston motel and restaurant Friday were killed whenpart of the structure collapsed and ensnared them, authorities said.

At least five other firefighters were hospitalized in the blaze that became the deadliest in the 118-year history of the Houston Fire Department.

Flames were shooting from the roof of the Southwest Inn, along one of Houston’s most heavily traveled freeways, U.S. Highway 59, and black smoke was blanketing the area as firefighters tried to extinguish the fire.

SAN FRANCISCO

Federal judge orders Google to comply with FBI demands

A federal judge has ordered Google Inc. to comply with FBI warrantless demands for customer data.

U.S. District Court Judge Susan Illston on Tuesday rejected Google’s argument that the so-called National Security Letters the company received from the FBI were unconstitutional and unnecessary.

Illston ordered Google to comply with the secret demands even though she found the letters unconstitutional in March in a separate case filed by the Electronic Frontier Foundation.

Illston put the Google ruling on hold until the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals could decide the matter.

ST. PAUL, Minn.

Jesse Ventura says he may run for president in 2016

Former Minnesota Gov. Jesse Ventura dangled the idea Friday that he could run for the U.S. presidency in 2016.

Ventura eagerly volunteered the possibility while at Minnesota’s Capitol — and pushed back against skepticism that he would re-enter the political fray after being out of office since 2003.

He said the next race is “an opportune time” for an independent like him to run because there will be no incumbent.

He said he’s approached radio shock jock Howard Stern about being his running mate, and Stern expressed interest.

CLEVELAND

Kindergarten graduation leads to arrest of adults

A brawl that started over spilled punch at a kindergarten graduation ceremony Friday resulted in the arrest of eight people, authorities said. Police were called when one participant pulled out a pipe and another a hammer.

Two teenage girls apparently started hitting each other at Michael R. White Elementary School, and their families joined in, Cleveland police Cmdr. Wayne Drummond said. The fight involved adults and minors, he said.

“You had adults fighting adults, juvies fighting juvies, and so forth,” he said as parents streamed into the building to pick up their children. “You just had a melee here.”

No one was hurt, Drummond said. It wasn’t clear whether the hammer and pipe were brought to the school or were grabbed during the fight from a janitor’s supplies or elsewhere, police said.

No charges were immediately filed, but those arrested were being booked for aggravated rioting, Drummond said. By city practice, charges are filed after prosecutors review a case.

BEIRUT

Syrian government projects new attitude of confidence

As hopes for a Syrian peace conference fade and the opposition falls into growing disarray, President Bashar Assad has every reason to project confidence.

Government forces have moved steadily against rebels in key areas of the country over the past two months, making strategic advances and considerably lowering the threat to the capital, Damascus.

With army soldiers no longer defecting and elite Hezbollah fighters actively helping, the regime now clearly has the upper hand in a two-year civil war that has killed more than 70,000 people.

In back-to-back interviews with Lebanese TV stations this week, Assad and his foreign minister both projected an image of self-assuredness, boasting of achievements and suggesting that the military’s offensive would continue regardless of whether a peace track is in place.

— From news service reports