Gun legislation voted down in Senate

WASHINGTON

Senate Republicans scuttled an election-year bill to immunize
the gun industry from lawsuits yesterday after Democrats amended it
to extend an assault weapons ban and require background checks on
all buyers at private gun shows.

The National Rifle Association began pressuring senators to vote
against the bill after Democrats won votes on the two key gun
control measures. The 90-8 vote against the bill virtually ends any
chance for gun legislation to make through Congress this year.

“I now believe it is so dramatically wounded that I would
urge my colleagues to vote against it,” said Sen. Larry Craig
(R-Idaho), the sponsor of the gunmaker immunity bill.

Democrats won close votes on their amendments to change the
Republican legislation, a strategy aimed at pressuring the
GOP-dominated House to accept the restrictions to gain passage of
the gunmaker-immunity bill. While Democrats won’t get the gun
ban extension and the gun show legislation, they called the vote a
success. Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) said, “The immunity
bill was a terrible bill. We’re better off at the end of the
day than we were at the beginning of the day.”

 

Executive pleads guilty to record tampering

NEW YORK

Former WorldCom CEO Bernard Ebbers was charged yesterday with
falsifying the books at the long-distance company in the biggest
corporate fraud case in American history, and his chief financial
officer pleaded guilty and agreed to testify against him.

Ebbers was accused in a federal indictment of taking part in a
scheme to falsely inflate earnings by $11 billion. He was charged
with securities fraud, conspiracy and making false filings with the
Securities and Exchange Commission.

Former chief financial officer Scott Sullivan agreed to plead
guilty to the same charges and cooperate with prosecutors in hopes
of reducing a potential 25-year prison sentence.

“I took these actions, knowing they were wrong, in a
misguided effort to preserve the company to allow it to withstand
what I believed were temporary financial difficulties,”
Sullivan, 42, of Boca Raton, Fla., said in court.

In a steady voice, Sullivan said he was motivated to plead
guilty by “sincere remorse and a deep sense of
contrition.”

 

Homeland security achievements lauded

WASHINGTON

America is “breathing down” the necks of terrorists
and will never relent, President Bush said yesterday, marking the
first anniversary of the Homeland Security Department. In a speech
to some 200 department employees, Bush said the United States was
cutting off the terrorists’ money supply, chasing down
terrorists leaders and disrupting their networks. This came amid
claims that while the administration is more aware of threats, it
is not doing enough about them.

“We are relentless,” Bush said. “We are
strong. We refuse to yield. The rest of them hear us breathing down
their neck. … We will bring these killers to
justice.”

His speech came as an internal Justice Department investigation
concluded that continuing delays in the integration of FBI
fingerprint files with U.S. Border Patrol databases were leaving
the country vulnerable to terrorists.

 

Estrogen can cause dementia, study says

WASHINGTON

Long-term use of estrogen slightly increases women’s risk
of a stroke and possibly of dementia, the government said
yesterday, halting the nation’s last major study of the
hormone a year early because of the safety concern.

Using estrogen alone — as roughly 5.6 million women
who’ve undergone hysterectomies do — doesn’t
appear as risky as taking it with the hormone progestin. Use of
estrogen alone for seven years didn’t increase women’s
risk of breast cancer or heart attacks, while taking the two-drug
combination for even shorter periods did.

The findings, announced by the National Institutes of Health,
may make it more difficult for women to decide whether to take some
form of hormone therapy at menopause and, if so, for how long.

 

Abducted girl found seven years later

PHILADELPHIA

Luz Cuevas took one look at the dimpled, dark-haired little girl
at a birthday party and instantly knew two things: She was watching
her own daughter — presumed killed in a 1997 fire — and
she needed a way to prove it.

So Cuevas pretended the 6-year-old girl had gum in her hair,
removed five strands from the child’s head, folded them in a
napkin and placed them in a plastic bag. “Because of TV, I
knew they needed hair for the DNA,” Cuevas said.

The DNA tests confirmed that the girl was Cuevas’s only
daughter, Delimar Vera. Investigators believe a family acquaintance
stole the 10-day-old baby from her crib, set the fire to cover the
crime and raised the girl as her own.

 

— Compiled from Daily wire reports

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