Nation/World

In brief: Handgun tax would fund firearms efforts

Washington – A group of Democratic lawmakers, led by Rep. Linda Sanchez of California, is launching an effort to secure money for gun buybacks, firearms safety campaigns and anti-violence programs from a new tax on handgun purchases.

Sanchez unveiled the bill, which would impose a 10 percent tax on handgun purchases, Thursday.

The measure is among a spate of bills introduced in response to the Newtown, Conn., school shooting that left 27 dead, including the gunman.

Gun buyback programs have been popular in cities, with Los Angeles taking in 2,037 firearms, including 75 assault weapons, at a buyback program in December.

Gay marriage backers drop Laura Bush ads

Dallas – A pro-gay marriage group will replace ads that include former first lady Laura Bush speaking on the topic with a new ad this weekend after Bush said she did not want to be part of its campaign.

The Respect for Marriage Coalition said Thursday that it appreciated Bush’s previous comments, “but are sorry she didn’t want to be included in an ad.” The national advertising campaign of print, television and online ads that launched this week featured part of a Bush interview on CNN in which she says: “When couples are committed to each other and love each other then they ought to have the same sort of rights that everyone has.”

The ads that began running Wednesday also included clips of President Barack Obama, former Vice President Dick Cheney and former Secretary of Defense Colin Powell talking favorably about same-sex marriage.

No harmful bacteria in water after body found

Los Angeles – No traces of disease-causing bacteria were found in the water supply of a downtown Los Angeles hotel where authorities discovered the body of a Canadian tourist inside a rooftop water tank this week, health officials said Thursday.

A do-not-drink order implemented Tuesday was expected to be in place through the weekend until the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health determines that the water is suitable for drinking purposes, said Angelo Bellomo, director of environmental health.

Authorities discovered the body of Elisa Lam, a 21-year-old tourist from Vancouver, B.C., inside a water tank on the hotel’s roof Tuesday. A maintenance worker found the body after receiving complaints from Cecil Hotel residents about low water pressure.

An autopsy was completed Thursday, but Lam’s cause of death will be deferred pending toxicology tests, coroner’s officials said.



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