From NPR News in Washington, I'm Lakshmi Singh.
Hundreds of people crowded into a Capitol Hill hearing room to hear testimony about proposals to stop gun violence. Former Arizona Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords spoke today on behalf of shooting victims. NPR's Carrie Johnson reports she urged lawmakers to do something.
Giffords was shot point blank in the head 2 years ago in Tucson. She's still recovering from her injuries. She and her husband Captain Mark Kelly urged Congress to close loopholes in the gun background check system, and to ban the sale of high capacity magazines behold lots of rounds of ammunition. But National Rifle Association's Wayne LaPierre says tinkering with the background system will do nothing to prevent criminals from getting their hands on guns. He told the Senate Judiciary Committee adding more red tape would be a federal nightmare imposed on law-abiding people. The Senate will have several more hearings on gun violence in the weeks ahead. Carrie Johnson, NPR News, Washington.
The search is underway for the gunman behind this morning's multiple shooting at an office complex in Phoenix. Peter O'Dowd with member station KJZZ is on the scene.
Police say a white male and an older man walked into a Phoenix office complex, got into a fight with somebody in that building and three people were shot, one person is in extremely critical condition, two are have non-life threatening injuries. They've been taken to the hospital. And police say right now they don't know who the shooter is and they don't know where he is. They do not have a suspect in custody.
Meanwhile, an Alabama SWAT team is trying to rescue a child being held hostage in a bunker in a rural town of Midland City, south of Montgomery. The 6-year-old boy was kidnapped from his school bus after the gunman shot and killed the driver.
A day after being confirmed by the Senate as the next Secretary of State, Senator John Kerry is delivering a farewell speech to his colleagues today.
"Nearly three decades after people of Massachusetts first voted me into this office, the people I worked with in the Senate voted me out of it. As always, I accept the Senate sound judgment."
The lawmaker from Massachusetts will succeed Secretary Clinton. Meanwhile, Massachusetts governor Deval Patrick has selected William Cowan to fill in for the interim. NPR's Tovia Smith has more.
As a top advisor to the governor, the 43-year-old Cowan says he learned the issues that mattering Massachusetts and he's honored to serve. Cowan will be Massachusetts' second African American Senator. And when he starts, it will be the first time the Senate has had two African Americans at once. Cowan spoke emotionally about what it means to him and his mother. "She's a child of the segregated south, a woman who did not have the opportunity to attend college. But my mother told me days like today were possible." Cowan is not competing in this special election. So far Democratic Congressman Ed Markey has announced and words were expected soon from fellow Democratic Congressman Steven Lynch and former Republican Senator Scott Brown.
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It's emerging that thousands of priceless manuscripts feared destroyed by retreating Islamists in Timbuktu, Mali likely, have been saved. Ofeibea Quist-Arcton reports the city's mayor had earlier told NPR he'd received credible accounts said the Jihads had set fire to the documents.
Ahead of the French led offensive that liberated Timbuktu in northern Mali, Mayor Halle Ousmane Cisse said he'd been reliably informed that Islamist militants had torched the Ahmed Baba Institute Library and other buildings housing the ancient manuscripts. The mayor said he didn't know the extent of the damage. But journalists in Timbuktu say staff at the center tells them that tens of thousands of documents had been speared to the way for safekeeping a while back. However, about 2,000 of the vast collection of historic scripts ranging from Islam to mathematics and poetry are believed to have burnt or looted by the departing Jihadists. Ofeibea Quist-Arcton, NPR News, Bamako.
Senator John McCain is warning fellow Republicans that failure to pass comprehensive immigration legislation could mean continued election losses for the party as the Republican friendly states, such as Arizona he says will fall to the Democrats. The Arizona Republican, one of eight Senators assigned onto a bipartisan immigration plan this week says failure to act means a trend of Hispanic defections from the GOP would continue.
The government's revealing an unexpected downturn in the U.S. economy for the first time in more than 3 years. The Commerce Department says the gross domestic product shrunk at an annual rate of 0.1% in the final month of 2012.
NASDAQ was down 30 at 13,926.
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