Federal workers suffer 'pay gap'

WASHINGTON — The federal government reported Friday that on average, its employees are underpaid by 26.3 percent compared with similar non-federal jobs, a "pay gap" that increased by about 2 percentage points over last year while federal salary rates were frozen.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics presented the figures to the Federal Salary Council, an advisory group of federal agency officials, union representatives and outside pay experts.

Under a 2010 law, federal salary schedules were frozen for 2011 and will be frozen again in 2012, though "within-grade" raises that are largely based on longevity still are allowed, as are raises after promotions. The overall average gap was calculated at 24.1 percent last year.

The comparison of federal vs. non-federal pay long has been a controversial topic, with other studies, using different sets of data and different methods, producing widely varying figures.

Bus crash kills student on missionary trip

ABILENE, Texas — A bus carrying Abilene Christian University students to a Texas children's home for a weekend of missionary work lost control on a highway on Friday and overturned, killing a 19-year-old student and injuring all 15 other people onboard, four of them critically, officials said.

The bus carrying 12 agricultural students, three faculty members and a faculty member's spouse was headed to Medina when the driver lost control entering a bend on U.S. 83 near Ballinger, about 50 miles southwest of Abilene, the Texas Department of Public Safety said. The bus struck a concrete culvert and overturned, ejecting several passengers.