Midday Roundup: Senate readies for gun battle

Newsworthy | Leigh Jones

Midday Roundup: Senate readies for gun battle

Sens. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., right, and Patrick Toomey, R-Pa.
Associated Press/Photo by J. Scott Applewhite

One round in the chamber. The Senate will take up debate on a package of gun control measures tomorrow. Between Republican threats to filibuster and wavering support even among Democrats, Majority Leader Harry Reid doesn’t know whether he will have enough votes to get the measure passed. But Sens. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., and Pat Toomey, R-Pa., plan to release a compromise measure today that they hope a majority of their colleagues can support. As it stands, the bill calls for expanding background checks to all gun sales. Right now, checks are only required for sales through licensed gun dealers. The Manchin-Toomey proposal would expand checks to gun shows and online transactions but exempt face-to-face sales between family and friends. The package up for consideration tomorrow also would tighten federal laws against illegal gun sales and give more money to school safety initiatives. The proposed assault weapon and high-capacity ammunition magazine bans have been removed from the measure.

Payday. New York City has agreed to pay $365,000 to Occupy Wall Street and two affiliated groups for damages to books, electronic equipment, and bicycles during the 2011 raid that evicted protestors from Zuccotti Park. Most of the money, $235,000, will go to two attorneys who brought the cases to federal court. As part of the settlement, the city had to agree that the destruction of the items was “unfortunate.” During the raid, about 2,800 books collected for a “People’s Library” were damaged and hauled away by the city’s sanitation department.

Storm watch. Forecasters at Colorado State University have released their predictions for the 2013 hurricane season, and it’s not good news for communities in the Caribbean and along the Atlantic and Gulf coasts. Analysts predict a more active than average season, with 18 tropical storms, nine of which will likely blow up into hurricanes, with four storms possibly becoming major hurricanes. In a normal season, only two major storms pound the area. The likelihood that a major storm will hit the United States this year increased by 20 percent, from 52 percent to 72 percent. Hurricane season runs from June 1 to Nov. 30.

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IVF pioneer dies. Robert Edwards, the British scientist credited with pioneering the successful technique for in vitro fertilization, died today at age 87. Edwards started working on a way to fertilize a human egg outside the body in 1955. The first “test tube baby” was born in 1978. Edwards won the Nobel Prize in 2010. At the time he said his goal was to help families: “Nothing is more special than a child.” But Edwards faced strong opposition from the Catholic Church because his technique called for fertilizing more eggs than could be implanted, which led to the long-term storage and eventual destruction of many embryos.

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