5 Things To Know Today

Lack Of Data Slows Studies Of Gun Control And Crime

As U.S. lawmakers prepare once again to take up the contested issue in the wake of the Newtown school massacre, they will find that all data on guns are surprisingly scarce. Federal data on gun ownership have dwindled and public funding for gun research has all but dried up. Private foundations, with few exceptions, have left the field.  Underreported crime figures and inconsistent enforcement of gun laws further frustrate analysis. The National Research Council, part of the congressionally chartered National Academies, analyzed the body of research on gun laws and gun violence and found no credible evidence that laws permitting residents to carry guns had decreased or increased violent crime, or that gun limits keep weapons out of the hands of criminals. Moreover, the federal government has been prohibited by law since 1986 from establishing a registration system for firearms or firearm owners. The CDC, citing survey costs, stopped asking Americans about gun ownership in its annual health surveys in 2004, just three years after it started asking the question in every state.

Decent Legal Outlook for NYSE Deal

Some potential exchange tie-ups of the last two years crumbled as regulators stood in the way. according to The Wall Street Journal. But analysts and lawyers give the $8.2 billion deal announced Thursday between Intercontinental Exchange Inc., known as ICE,  decent odds of being approved. U.S. antitrust regulators last year threatened to block a merger of the Big Board with Nasdaq OMX Group Inc. and ICE, saying a combination of NYSE and Nasdaq would have created a monopoly over U.S. share listings. But in the U.S., ICE has no stock-trading or corporate-listings business, while the combined group’s U.S. futures market operations would still be eclipsed by the CME Group Inc. The combined futures franchises of ICE and NYSE Liffe U.S., a still-small market opened in 2008 by NYSE Euronext, accounted for just 4% of nearly all futures contracts traded in the U.S. from January to June this year, according to analysis of data provided by the Futures Industry Association.

Nokia And Blackberry-Maker RIM Settle Over Patents

Finnish mobile giant Nokia  said on Friday it was withdrawing all its lawsuits against Blackberry-maker Research In Motion (RIM) after reaching an agreement on patent licensing. Last month Nokia filed lawsuits in the United States, Britain and Canada against RIM claiming it had breached an agreement on using Nokia patents on WLAN local area network technology.  The Finnish company said the agreement includes a one-time payment and on-going payments, all from RIM to Nokia, with the specific terms confidential. The dispute arose from different interpretations of which technologies were covered by a 2003 licensing deal that allows RIM to use Nokia’s patented technology. RIM had sought arbitration in 2011 to get the deal modified, but a Swedish court ruled in November it was in breach of contract and could not use the technology without reaching an agreement with Nokia. Nokia may have lost the title as the top-selling mobile phone maker, but the Finnish company holds patents to over 10,000 types of technology after having invested approximately 45 billion euros ($60 billion) in research and development over the past two decades.

Appeals Court Rules Against Hobby Lobby On Contraception

A U.S. federal appeals court on Thursday rejected a claim by an arts and crafts chain that wants to be exempted from a requirement to provide emergency contraceptives to employees because it violates the religious principles of its owners. Reuters reports the U.S. Court of Appeals in Denver ruled against family-owned Hobby Lobby’s assertion that the religious beliefs of its owners should relieve them from providing the “morning after” and “week after” pills to their employees, as required under President Barack Obama’s signature health care reforms. Hobby Lobby vowed to appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court. The medications at issue are classified as emergency contraceptives by the Food and Drug Administration, but the owners of Hobby Lobby call them “abortion-inducing drugs” because they are often taken after conception. The lawsuit is among 42 legal actions that have been filed over the issue, according to the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, a non-profit law firm in Washington, D.C.

Madoff’s Brother Sentenced To 10 Years

His entire life, Peter Madoff idolized his older brother, following him to Wall Street and to a top role at his investment firm. Now, he will follow Bernard L. Madoff to prison for 10 years for his role in perpetrating what became a multibillion-dollar Ponzi scheme. A federal judge handed down the sentence Thursday for Peter Madoff’s actions as the top compliance officer at Bernard L. Madoff Investment Securities, making him the second person to be sent to prison after four years of investigations into the fraud. The 10-year term was widely expected because of a deal struck months ago when Peter Madoff pleaded guilty to criminal charges. He had previously agreed to forfeit all of his personal assets, including a Ferrari and more than $10 million in cash. Judge Swain recommended he serve his sentence at the minimum-security federal prison camp in Otisville, N.Y.—about 80 miles outside New York City—so that he could be close to his family. He is due to surrender to authorities on Feb. 6.


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