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   WEST, Texas (AP) — The mayor of a Texas town where a fertilizer plant explosion injured more than 100 people says some firefighters who were battling a blaze when the blast happened aren't accounted for.

   West Mayor Tommy Muska says there were five or six volunteer firefighters battling the blaze at the West Fertilizer plant when the explosion happened just before 8 p.m. Wednesday.

   Muska, who is a volunteer firefighter himself, says not all of his fellow firefighters are accounted for. He says the blast knocked his helmet off and shattered the windows of his nearby home.

   Authorities say an unknown number of people were killed in the blast, which leveled buildings for blocks in every direction.

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   WASHINGTON (AP) — Former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords says she's "furious" after senators on Wednesday blocked legislation that would expand background checks for gun buyers.

   Giffords is accusing senators who opposed new gun regulations of "cowardice," saying their decisions are "based on political fear and on cold calculations about the money of special interests like the National Rifle Association."

   The former Arizona congresswoman's remarks were published on The New York Times' op-ed page Wednesday. She has become a vocal gun control supporter since she was shot in the head at a rally near Tucson two years ago.

   The proposal to expand background checks fell short of the 60 votes needed to advance in the Senate. An attempt to ban assault-style rifles failed as well, along with a ban on high-capacity ammunition magazines.

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   PITTSBURGH (AP) - A.J. Burnett took a no-hitter into the seventh inning nearly 12 years after throwing the only one of his career, pitching the Pittsburgh Pirates to a 5-0 victory over the St. Louis Cardinals on Wednesday night.

   Burnett (1-2) lost his bid with two outs in the seventh on Carlos Beltran's double to right-center. That was the lone hit given up by the 36-year-old right-hander in seven dominant innings.

   The only other runner he allowed came when he hit Daniel Descalso with a 2-2 pitch with one out in the sixth to end his shot at a perfect game. Burnett struck out eight to raise his season total to 35 in 24 innings.

   His bid for a no-hitter came on a night when he recorded the 2,000th strikeout of his 15-year career. Burnett reached the milestone when he caught Beltran looking to lead off the second.

 
Thursday, 18 April 2013 01:20
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SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) - Rep. Lou Lang says he is thankful on behalf of patients in the state for the Illinois House approval of a measure authorizing the use of marijuana for medical purposes.

 

   Lawmakers voted 61-57 Wednesday to allow physicians to prescribe marijuana to patients with specific terminal illnesses or debilitating medical conditions.

 

   The Skokie Democrat is the sponsor of the legislation. He says the bill's regulations make it the strictest in the nation. He says those regulations were key to putting the bill "across the goal line."

 

   The legislation sets a 2.5 ounce limit per patient per purchase. The measure calls for 60 state-regulated dispensaries where patients could buy the drug.

 

   Lang says he looks forward to a "strong" vote in the Senate.

Wednesday, 17 April 2013 16:38
Published in Local News
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