Gun laws — President Barack Obama endorsed controversial bans on assault weapons and high-capacity ammunition magazines on Monday, as well as stricter background checks for gun buyers — but conceded he may not win approval of all in a Congress reluctant to tighten restrictions. “Will all of them get through this Congress? I don’t know," said Obama. He said lawmakers would have to “examine their own conscience" as they tackle gun control legislation after the horrifying Connecticut school shootings but in the face of opposition from the National Rifle Association and other pro-gun rights groups.
New York guns — Gov. Andrew Cuomo and lawmakers agreed Monday to a broad package of changes to gun laws that would expand the state’s ban on assault weapons and would include new measures to keep guns away from the mentally ill. The state Senate, controlled by a coalition of Republicans and a handful of Democrats, approved the legislative package around 11 p.m. by a vote of 43-18. The Assembly, controlled by Democrats, has been strongly supportive of gun control. It planned to vote on the measure today.
Debt ceiling — Declaring “we are not a deadbeat nation," President Obama warned on Monday that Social Security checks and veterans’ benefits will be delayed if congressional Republicans fail to increase the government’s borrowing authority in a looming showdown over the nation’s debt and spending. Obama said he was willing to negotiate deficit reduction with GOP leaders but insisted that those talks be separate from decisions to raise the $16.4 trillion debt ceiling and avert a possible first-ever national default.
Clinton testimony — Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will testify Jan. 23 before the House Foreign Affairs Committee about the deadly Sept. 11 assault on the U.S. mission in Libya. That’s the word from Rep. Ed Royce, chairman of the panel. He said in a statement late Monday that Clinton will answer questions about the raid that killed U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans in Benghazi.
California shooting — A 16-year-old student who was teased by his California high school classmates for his red hair, social awkwardness and bookish appearance was charged as an adult for allegedly wounding a classmate with a shotgun and trying to target another. Bryan Oliver pleaded not guilty Monday to two counts of premeditated attempted murder and three counts of assault with a firearm in the attack Thursday at Taft Union High School that left another 16-year-old wounded.
China pollution — The Chinese state media Monday published aggressive reports on what they described as the sickening and dangerous air pollution in Beijing and other parts of northern China, indicating that popular anger over air quality had reached a level where Communist Party propaganda officials felt that they had to allow the officially sanctioned press to address the growing concerns of ordinary citizens.
Father killing — The young son of a neo-Nazi knew right from wrong when he shot and killed his father, and he is therefore responsible for second-degree murder, a judge ruled Monday. Joseph Hall was 10 years old when he shot his sleeping father in the head in 2011. Now 12, he could be held in state custody until age 23. Because Joseph was so young at the time of the murder, the case hinged on whether he understood that shooting his father, Jeffrey Hall, 32, was wrong at the time.
Insurance exchanges — The White House says it will give states more time to comply with the new health care law after finding that many states lag in setting up markets where millions of Americans are expected to buy subsidized private health insurance. The secretary of health and human services was supposed to determine “on or before Jan. 1, 2013," whether states were prepared to operate the online markets, known as insurance exchanges. But Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, working with the White House, said she would waive or extend the deadline for any states that expressed interest in creating their own exchanges or regulating insurance sold through a federal exchange.
Natalie Wood death — Some of the bruises found on Natalie Wood’s body may have occurred before the actress drowned in the waters off Southern California more than 30 years ago, according to a newly released coroner’s report on one of Hollywood’s most mysterious deaths. The case took another twist Monday when officials released a 10-page addendum to Wood’s 1981 autopsy that cites unexplained bruises and scratches on Wood’s face and arms as significant factors that led to officials changing her death certificate last year from a drowning to “drowning and other undetermined factors."
— From wire reports