Gun violence continues in America

Updated: Thursday, January 17 2013, 06:02 PM EST
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KALAMAZOO, Mich. (NEWSCHANNEL 3) - In Washington, Vice President Joe Biden got the high profile talks on curbing gun violence going Thursday when he suggested the President could take executive action if necessary.

Although the Vice-President gave no specific details, it was immediately suggested within the gun lobby that the White House was on the edge of starting to take away privately-owned weapons.

Tonight in Tom's Corner, Tom Van Howe says that while he doesn't think the President will do that, something ought to be done, and soon.


The Slate magazine web site has taken on an interesting challenge.

They started collecting data on how many people in the United States have been killed by guns since the tragedy in Newtown, Connecticut on December 14.

Those kinds of numbers are hard to keep up on and Slate is pretty much relying on people to send them the information which they at Slate can then easily confirm or deny. So—if anything—the gun death-count will likely be understated rather exaggerated.

But as of Tuesday evening, the number of people who've been gunned down in this country over the past 25 days stands at 695.

That's already 20 times the number of people who were shot to death in all of last year in Great Britain. And if 695 doesn't impress you as a particularly large number, do yourself a favor and count to 695 out loud, one at a time.

Stick with it until you're done. And while you're doing that, realize that six of those people are from Detroit. Seven are from Grand Rapids. Another from Bedford Township—Lansing. On Monday, a man and four women were killed in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

People were killed in Louisiana, in Illinois, all over Florida and Texas and California.

The only states that appear to have been left untouched are North Dakota and Maine.

45 people were killed on New Years Day alone. 32 on the second day of the year.

Meantime gun sales are at record levels—the makers of assault weapons can't keep up with the demand. Ammunition is flying from shelves.

FOX News was very excited this morning to have found an actual story about a woman shooting an intruder to death in the past day or so. They're already making her a hero without knowing details of the case.

And 125,000 people so far have signed a petition circulated by a loud Texas radio talk show host to have Piers Morgan , who took over for Larry King on CNN, departed back to Great Britain.

Morgan has had the temerity to call our incredible tolerance for violence a travesty. The White House has already noted that Morgan has every right to express his opinion on the Second Amendment by the authority of the First Amendment.

Look—even though I've long since grown weary of the expression—I know that guns don't kill people, that people do. But let's not let it end there.

There is simply no reason on earth that people  who are prone to anger management problems, who are unstable in a host of different ways, should have access to assault weapons.

Any weapons, for that matter.

But every issue needs a starting point.

I don't know what the white house is going to do, but I hope it is something. Because for a people who like to call themselves civilized to do nothing is unacceptable if not cowardly.

In this corner...I'm Tom Van Howe.
Gun violence continues in America
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Business News

Last Update on April 23, 2014 17:17 GMT


WASHINGTON (AP) -- The number of Americans buying new homes plummeted in March to the slowest pace in seven months, a sign that real estate's spring buying season is off to a weak start.

The Commerce Department says sales of new homes declined 14.5 percent last month to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 384,000. That was the second straight monthly decline and the lowest rate since July 2013.

Sales plunged in the Midwest, South and West in March. But they rebounded in the Northeast, where snowstorms in previous months curtailed purchases.

New-home sales have declined 13.3 percent over the past 12 months.

But median sales prices jumped 12.6 percent during the past month to $290,000. That's because new-home buyers in March bought more high-end properties compared to previous months.


WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Obama administration is cutting the amount of coal dust allowed in coal mines in an effort to help reduce black lung disease.

Top Labor Department officials are unveiling the long-awaited rule Wednesday at an event in Morgantown, W.Va.

Black lung is an irreversible and potentially deadly disease caused by exposure to coal dust. The government estimates that the disease has killed more than 76,000 miners since 1968.

The rule lowers the maximum levels of coal dust in mines. It also increases dust sampling in the mines, and requires coal operators to take immediate action when dust levels are high. The requirements will be phased in over two years.

The administration first proposed the rule back in 2010.


WASHINGTON (AP) -- The nation's tobacco companies and the Justice Department are including black media outlets in court-ordered advertisements that say the cigarette makers lied about the dangers of smoking.

A federal judge in 2006 ordered the industry to pay for the corrective statements in various advertisements in newspapers, as well as on TV, websites and cigarette pack inserts.

The brief filed in U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C., on Wednesday revises a January agreement outlining the details of those ads to address concerns raised by the judge and black media groups.

The groups had argued the ads should be disseminated through their outlets because the black community has been disproportionally targeted by tobacco companies.

The new agreement proposes more newspapers and TV networks that have greater reach to the black community.


NEW YORK (AP) -- A federal appeals court has revived a lawsuit by the European Union alleging that U.S. tobacco company R.J. Reynolds sponsored cigarette smuggling in Europe.

The 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New York City ruled Wednesday that the European Union and 26 of its member states were within their rights to sue in U.S. courts.

The lawsuit alleges that RJR directed, managed and controlled a global money-laundering scheme with organized crime groups. It said the company laundered money through New York-based financial institutions.

The lawsuit had been tossed out by a Brooklyn judge. But the appeals court says a racketeering law can apply to a foreign enterprise or conduct outside the U.S.

Lawyers did not immediately return messages for comment.

Reynolds American Inc. is based in Winston-Salem, N.C.


BRUSSELS (AP) -- The European Union says Greece has reached a major financial milestone that was required if it were to be granted more debt relief.

European Commission spokesman Simon O'Connor said Wednesday that Greece's government revenues last year exceeded expenditure when interest payment and other items were excluded.

He says Greece's so-called primary budget surplus of 1.5 billion euros ($2.1 billion), or 0.8 percent of its annual gross domestic product, is "well ahead of the 2013 target."

Greece's international creditors have said a primary surplus will entitle Greece to further debt relief. Discussions are set to be concluded in the second half of the year.

Most analysts expect the eurozone to lower the interest rates Greece pays on its loans or be granted another extension on when they have to be repaid.


FRANKFURT, Germany (AP) -- Business activity in Europe has risen to its highest level in three years as a once-shaky economic recovery gains speed.

The Markit survey of purchasing managers, a closely watched gauge of business activity, climbed to 54.0 in April from 53.1 in March. That's the highest reading since May, 2011. Anything over 50 indicates expansion.

Analysts said Wednesday's figures, which cover both services and manufacturing companies, showed that the moderate recovery was showing increasing strength in the 18 countries that share the euro.

Alarmingly low inflation of only 0.5 percent and high unemployment have raised fears the rebound was too weak to sustain itself and would require more stimulus from the European Central Bank.

The eurozone grew by a quarterly rate of 0.2 percent in the fourth quarter of last year.


TORONTO (AP) -- Canada says it will require a three-year phase out of the type of tank cars involved in the Quebec train derailment last summer that killed 47.

Last July, a runaway oil train derailed and exploded in Lac-Megantic, Quebec. Forty-seven people were incinerated and 30 buildings destroyed.

A government official confirmed the phase out of the DOT-111 tanker cars used to carry oil and other flammable liquids. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak publicly.

Canada's Transport Minister will announce new rules later Wednesday in response to recommendations by Canada's Transportation Safety Board in the aftermath of the tragedy.

The DOT-111 tank car is considered the workhorse of the North American fleet and makes up about 70 percent of all tankers on the rails.


NEW YORK (AP) -- Just over a month after buying Beechcraft for $1.4 billion, Textron announced 750 job cuts at that company and at its Cessna division.

The layoffs will occur over the next 60 days. Both aircraft makers are based in Wichita, Kan.

Management and non-management jobs will be eliminated, the company said.

Textron Inc., based in Providence, R.I., expects about $4.6 billion in annual revenue from the combination of Cessna and Beechcraft.


WASHINGTON (AP) -- Postal workers plan protests in 27 states Thursday against the opening of postal counters in Staples stores that are staffed with Staples employees.

Last year, Staples office supply stores began providing postal services under a pilot program that now includes some 80 stores. The American Postal Workers Union objects because the program replaces well-paid union workers with low-wage nonunion workers.

The union says that could lead to layoffs and the closing of post offices. In a statement, the union said postal workers "have taken an oath to protect the sanctity of the mail," unlike poorly trained retail workers. The union wants the counters staffed by uniformed postal workers.

The financially struggling U.S. Postal Service has been working to form partnerships with private companies as it tries to cut costs and boost revenues.

Washington Times