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National news briefs — compiled on March 25

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WASHINGTON

IRS rules on bitcoins

Virtual currencies like bitcoin will be taxed like property — not currency, the Internal Revenue Service said Tuesday. The IRS says bitcoin is not legal tender. You can’t use it to pay your taxes. However, if you receive wages in bitcoin, you have to pay taxes on it just like you would if you got paid in dollars. Or if you got paid in chickens. The IRS issued a series of 16 questions and answers Tuesday to clarify the tax treatment of virtual currencies like bitcoin. In general, the IRS says it will apply the same rules that govern other barter transactions.

WHITING, Ind.

Lake Michigan oil spill

Crews for BP worked Tuesday to clean up an undetermined amount of crude oil that spilled into Lake Michigan and affected about a half-mile section of shoreline near Chicago following a malfunction at BP’s northwestern Indiana refinery, officials said. The spill reported Monday afternoon appears to have been contained by crew members who deployed absorbent booms around the spill site, said the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Mike Beslow. The spill was not expected to pose any threat to municipal water supplies, Beslow said.

SALT LAKE CITY

Governor signs pot law

Parents of Utah children with severe epilepsy are cheering a new state law that allows them to obtain a marijuana extract they say helps with seizures. Gov. Gary Herbert has already approved the law and held a signing ceremony for about 50 parents and children Tuesday. The new law doesn’t allow medical marijuana production in Utah but allows families meeting certain restrictions to obtain the extract from other states.

PHOENIX

Dog’s life is spared

A judge on Tuesday spared the life of a pit bull that mauled a 4-year-old boy last month. Municipal Court Judge Deborah Griffin ruled that the dog named Mickey must be neutered, defanged and microchipped. She declared the dog vicious earlier in the day and could have ordered euthanasia. Griffin also said the dog must remain in a rehabilitation center or shelter for the rest of its life and can’t be adopted.

Compiled from wire reports.


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