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January 2013 Archives

A retired FBI agent sent a letter to the Senate Judiciary Committee Thursday voicing his concern regarding the president's nominee for director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.
B. Todd Jones, currently the U.S. attorney for Minnesota, is undergoing Congressional evaluations to become the next director of the ATF, said MPR.
When former Minnesota FBI agent Donald Oswald heard this story, he said he felt "morally compelled" to inform Congress of Jones' unprofessional behavior, said the Pioneer Press.
Oswald cited Jones' failure to pursue violent, gun, and drug crimes in Minnesota as an "impediment to federal law enforcement," said MPR.
Former Minnesota FBI special agent Ralph Boelter said that he had a good relationship with Jones and that he did not witness the behavior Oswald described in his letter, the Pioneer Press reported.
Judiciary Committee member Sen. Charles Grassley(R) acknowledged that the committee will closely examine Oswald's concerning accusations throughout Jones' evaluation, said the Pioneer Press.

Giffords on guns: former Rep. speaks at gun control hearing

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Former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, a victim of a mass shooting in Arizona back in 2011, spoke out in favor of stricter gun laws in order to prevent further such acts of violence from occurring at a Congressional gun control hearing on Wednesday. In what was described in the Huffington Post as a rather labored speech to Congress, Giffords asked the government, and also the American public to seriously consider new legislation regarding gun laws. "Too many children are dying. We must do something. It will be hard, but the time is now," Giffords said. According to CNN, Congress also heard from those who oppose new gun laws including NRA executive vice president Wayne LaPierre, whose main concern with adding new legislation was that current laws are not being correctly enforced, and therefore he believes that adding more legislation would not be effective. In addition to under enforcement of the law, LaPierre said, "Law-abiding gun owners will not accept blame for the acts of violent or deranged criminals, nor do we believe that government should dictate what we can lawfully own and use to protect our families." The Huffington Post reported that nearing the close of the hearing, Mark Kelley, Giffords' husband, received news of a shooting in a Phoenix office building leaving three people wounded and the shooter at large.

Blaze breaks out at Brazilian Nightclub

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By Haley Egle
News sources have indicated that a vicious fire ripped through the Brazilian nightclub Kiss on Sunday morning killing over 230 university students. According to The Lede the fire is said to have been sparked as a result of a pyrotechnics display put on by the band Gurizada Fandangueira during their set. By the time party goers realized what was happening, it was too late. At that point the thick smoke that resulted from the blaze had spread throughout the club, causing the students to choke on the smoke they were inhaling. The crowd pushed toward the single exit where at first they were blocked from leaving by security guards said police inspector Marcelo Arigony according to the Star Tribune. First responder's attempts to help clear the mass of people from the club were hindered by the number of bodies blocking the entrance as Guido Pedroso Melo, commander of the city's fire department, told the O Globo newspaper. According to the Star Tribune, this nightclub fire is said to have been the deadliest the world has seen in over a decade.

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