As of Thursday, April 18, 2013
Senate rejects gun control measures
WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama and his gun control allies say Senate rejection of expanded background checks and other restrictions won’t stop their drive to reduce firearms violence. But their path to enacting gun curbs this year seems blocked by the National Rifle Association, and supporters of restrictions appear befuddled about what it will take to push legislation through this Congress.
The Senate planned to vote Thursday on two more amendments to a gun control bill. One by Sen. John Barrasso, R-Wyo., would cut aid to state and local governments that release information on gun owners. Another by Sens. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, and Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., would bolster federal mental health programs.
Italy fails to pick another president
ROME (AP) — Italian lawmakers failed on Thursday to elect the nation’s president during an initial round of voting, the latest worrisome symptom of the political discord that has thwarted the formation of a government for two months.
President Giorgio Napolitano’s term ends next month, and choosing his successor is viewed as a critical step toward resolving the political impasse that resulted from inconclusive national elections for Parliament in February.
While the presidency is mostly ceremonial, the post has the power to dissolve Parliament and call a new national election. The president will also be the one to find someone with enough support in the legislature to try to form a government.
Bridge bolts break after tightening
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Officials in charge of building a new eastern span of the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge repeatedly questioned the work and quality control of companies involved in making long seismic safety bolts that broke while being tightened.
In March, a third of the 96 bolts failed, and transportation officials said it could take months to find the cause and fix the problem, meaning the scheduled Labor Day opening of the new $6.3 billion span could be in jeopardy.
Documents released to news media by the California Department of Transportation show its inspectors found structural integrity issues with some of the bolts several years ago, before they were installed. It is unclear whether the bolts were fixed before installation.