From NPR News in Washington, I'm Lakshmi Singh.
The White House is hosting major players in gun policy including the National Rifle Association. It's gathering proposals for gun control initiatives weeks after the mass shooting at a Connecticut elementary school. In Tucson, Arizona, police are destroying more than 200 firearms despite objections from the NRA. NPR's Ted Robbins reports.
The city of Tucson held a gun buyback, giving 50 dollars in grocery cards for every weapon turned in . An NRA spokesman said there's no problem with that. But Arizona's state law prohibited the city from destroying the guns. Instead he said the guns should have been sold to firearms dealers to be put back in circulation or given away. The city said the law applies to seized or abandoned firearms, not those turned in voluntarily. So police sent 205 weapons to be shredded Tuesday afternoon. The NRA says it will work with the Arizona's Legislature to clarify the law and prevent future firearm destruction. Ted Robbins, NPR News, Tucson.
An investigation is under way into what caused the ferry crash in Lower Manhattan that injured more than 50 people, at least two of them critically. The accident occurred during morning rush hour.
Transocean is in court this hour, its first appearance since settling with the US Justice Department for its role in the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill. NPR's Debbie Elliott reports the deal won't be approved until after a hearing next month.
Transocean has agreed to pay 1.4 billion dollars in civil and criminal penalties and plead guilty to violating the Clean Water Act. The firm owned the Deepwater Horizon oil rig which exploded in a well blowout, killing 11 rig workers and polluting the Gulf with near five million barrels of oil. BP leased the rig from Transocean. Today's court appearance in New Orleans is preliminary. Transocean is expected to enter its guilty plea next month when a federal judge holds a hearing on whether to accept the settlement. Separately, BP bases trials on civil Clean Water Act charges on February 25th. Debbie Elliott, NPR News.
No new members have been elected to Baseball's Hall of Fame this year, something that hasn't happen in 17 years. Among those passed over with three baseball stars who are eligible for the first time, Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, Sammy Sosa, NPR's Craig Windham reports all three were among players linked to the game's steroid scandal.
Hall of Fame inductees are elected by members of the Baseball Writers of America. To be chosen, a candidate must receive a vote of 75% or more of the writers participating. Clemens, who won a record seven Cy Young awards during his long pitching career, got just 37%. Bonds, the game's home run king received 36%. Sluggers Sammy Sosa and Mark McGwire were also rejected. All of the players have 15 years to gain election to the Hall of Fame. Craig Windham, NPR News.
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In Venezuela, the Supreme Court has ruled that President Hugo Chavez, who remains in cancer-related treatment in Cuba, does not have to attend his own inauguration tomorrow. NPR's Juan Forero is in Caracas, where he says the court ruled that despite his long absence, Chavez remains in charge.
Chavez hasn't been heard from in a month ever since he went to Havana for his latest cancer surgery. And the public knows little about his condition. But the Congress voted to postpone his Thursday inauguration, and the court backed that decision today. The Court's President Luisa Estella Morales said there's not even a temporary absence. The opposition says the government is lying and called for a medical board to travel to Cuba to inform the public. But the court rejected that idea. Morales told reporters that because Chavez was reelected, there's continuity from one term to the next. Juan Forero, NPR News, Caracas.
The historic Washington National Cathedral, which has hosted some of the nation's most prominent political figures, will begin presiding over same-sex marriages. It is among the first Episcopal congregations to do so.
The body of a Chicago man who died of cyanide poisoning less than two months after wining a million-dollar lottery will be exhumed. The Cook County medical examiner says an autopsy on Urooj Khan is expected over the next few weeks. Khan's cause of death in July was initially determined natural, no autopsy was performed. But due to a relative's request, more testing was performed, revealing a lethal dose of cyanide. Khan's death is now ruled a homicide.
I'm Lakshmi Singh, NPR News, Washington.
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