Gun control forces struggling
WASHINGTON (AP) — Congress’ return from a weeklong recess leaves gun control forces facing the same bottom line: They still haven’t found five senators willing to switch their votes and revive the rejected effort to expand background checks for firearms buyers.
Both sides in the battle used advertising, noisy town hall meetings and other tactics to pressure lawmakers during their break and shore up support. A few senators who voted against broadened checks last month have said they’d be willing to consider revised legislation, but none have committed to backing anything new.
A new Senate vote seems unlikely until at least early summer.
Team kept from going to Benghazi
WASHINGTON (AP) — A former top diplomat in Libya said a team of U.S. special forces ready to head to Benghazi, Libya, after the assault on the U.S. diplomatic mission was told to stand down.
Gregory Hicks made the comments in an interview with the Republicans on the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee. Excerpts of his interview were released in advance of his testimony before the panel on Wednesday.
The attack last September killed Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans. A Pentagon timeline and a special State Department report said a seven-member security team, including two military personnel, traveled from Tripoli to Benghazi after first word of the attack. Hicks said a second team was told not to go after preparing to depart because he believes they weren’t authorized.
Five killed when volcano erupts
MANILA, Philippines (AP) — One of the Philippines’ most active volcanoes rumbled to life today, spewing room-sized rocks toward nearly 30 surprised climbers, killing five and injuring others that had to be fetched with rescue helicopters and rope.
The climbers and their Filipino guides had spent the night camping in two groups before setting out at daybreak for the crater of Mayon volcano when the sudden explosion of rocks, ash and plumes of smokes jolted the picturesque mountain, guide Kenneth Jesalva told ABS-CBN TV network by cellphone.
He said rocks “as big as a living room” came raining down, killing and injuring members of his group, some of whom were in critical condition. Among the dead were three Germans and their Filipino guide, said Albay provincial Gov. Joey Salceda.
He said everyone on the mountain had been accounted for at midday, except for a foreigner who was presumed dead.