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    Governor Cuomo declares flu emergency in New York

    NEW YORK

    NEW YORK — Governor ­Andrew M. Cuomo on Saturday declared a public health emergency for the state because of the flu outbreak. His order suspends a state law that limits the authority of pharmacists to vaccinate only individuals age 18 or older. Pharmacists will now be allowed to administer flu vaccinations to patients as young as six months old. Nearly 20,000 flu cases have been reported in the state.

    MISSOURI

    Major barge route on river deepened

    ST. LOUIS — Crews have completed the most critical phase of removing bedrock that threatened barges along a crucial stretch of the drought-starved Mississippi River, easing fears that the channel could close to shipping, the Army Corps of Engineers said. Contractors cleared limestone and added 2 feet of depth to the channel near Thebes, Ill., in a month. Officials said the channel is now deep enough to maintain navigation.

    CALIFORNIA

    Suspects sought in store hostage case

    LOS ANGELES — Police were searching Saturday for two armed robbers who escaped after storming into a Nordstrom Rack store the day before, taking 14 workers hostage and attacking two of them. One worker was stabbed and another sexually assaulted before the three-hour ordeal ended.

    CONNECTICUT

    Biden offers to talk with victims’ kin

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    HARTFORD — Vice President Joe Biden, who is leading a review of gun safety laws, has ­offered to talk with any families of the Newtown elementary school shooting victims, a support group said.