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In brief


December 23. 2013 12:46AM


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WASHINGTON


Opposition to NSA


action gets stronger


The drive to end the bulk collection of phone records by the National Security Agency is gaining strength, as Senate Democrats said Sunday that Congress will change the law to ban the practice if President Barack Obama does not do it first.


“It’s time to have real reform, not a veneer of reform,” said Sen. Mark Udall, D-Colo., a longtime critic of the NSA. “We have got to rebuild the American people’s trust in our intelligence community so we can be safe,” he said on ABC’s “This Week.” “But we don’t do that by bulk data collection that violates the privacy of Americans. That’s unconstitutional, and has shown to not be effective.”


Last week, a federal judge said the routine collection of the dialing records is probably unconstitutional, and a panel appointed by Obama recommended a major change.


“We believe the government shouldn’t hold this data any longer,” Michael Morrell, a former acting director of the CIA and a panel member, said on CBS’s “Face the Nation.”


LITTLETON, Colo.


Student shot at


her school dies


A suburban Denver high school student who was shot in the head by a classmate died Saturday afternoon,Littlejohn Adventist Hospital officials and her family said.


Claire Davis, 17, was in critical condition after being shot at point-blank range at Arapahoe High School on Dec. 13.


The Davis family said in a statement that they are grateful for the 17 years they had with their daughter.


BEIRUT


At least 32 die


in gov’t airstrike


Syrian aircraft pummeled opposition areas in the northern city of Aleppo on Sunday, killing at least 32 people and extending the government’s furious aerial bombardment of the rebel-held half of the divided city to an eighth consecutive day.


Since it began on Dec. 15, the government’s unusually heavy air campaign in Aleppo has killed more than 200 people, smashed residential buildings and overwhelmed the city’s hospitals with casualties.


The timing of the assault — a month ahead of planned peace talks in Switzerland — suggests that Syrian President Bashar Assad could be trying to strengthen his position and expose the opposition’s weaknesses before sitting down at the negotiating table.


Sunday’s air raids targeted several Aleppo neighborhoods, but the worse hit was Masaken Hanano, where bombs fell on a second-hand market, a two-story building and a main road, activists said.


NEW ORLEANS


Lt. gov. offers to


aid ‘Duck Dynasty’


Louisiana Lt. Gov. Jay Dardenne said Saturday the “Duck Dynasty” reality TV show is important to state tourism — and he could help connect the Robertson family with new producers if they cannot reach agreement with the A&E network.


The network suspended patriarch Phil Robertson last week for telling GQ magazine that gays are sinners akin to adulterers and swindlers.


The show is produced around the Robertson family’s home base in Ouachita Parish.




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