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Biden To Recommend Broad Measures To Stem Gun Violence

Vice President Joe Biden said Thursday he would recommend the White House push for broad measures to stem gun violence, citing growing support for tighter background checks on gun purchasers, restrictions on high-capacity clips and other moves. But the National Rifle Association delivered a swift rebuke following a meeting with Mr. Biden, saying the administration was gearing up for an attack on gun ownership. Mr. Biden said he would deliver his recommendations Tuesday to President Barack Obama, who has promised a quick effort to put them into practice. The Wall Street Journal reports the strong opposition from the NRA, the nation’s most powerful gun-rights group, suggested proponents of new measures had substantial work to do to build political support. Mr. Biden and other administration officials have met with a range of groups this week, among them medical associations, victims’ rights and sportsmen’s organizations, entertainment-industry trade groups and gun retailers, as part of an assignment from Mr. Obama to draw up a response to the school killings last month in Newtown, Conn.

JP Morgan Chase Facing Major Regulatory Action

JPMorgan Chase  is likely to face a major regulatory action connected with firm’s anti-money laundering and compliance programs. The banks two main regulators, the Office of the Comptroller and the Currency (OCC) and the Federal Reserve, are expected to announce the action as early as today, according to Reuters, which would likely be in the form of a cease and desist order. A cease and desist order is the harshest form of enforcement action that the OCC can issue. While the bank is not expected to pay a monetary penalty, the order could potentially limit the bank’s business activities and strategic opportunities. Additionally, the bank will be required to enhance its monitoring and risk surveillance systems and procedures. Regulators, who heightened scrutiny in this area months ago, appear to have found a company-wide lapse in procedures and oversight connected to anti-money-laundering (AML) surveillance and risk management. AML controls are intended to deter and detect the misuse of legitimate financial channels for the funding of money laundering, terrorist financing and other criminal acts.

James Holmes Trial Ready To Go Ahead, Judge Says

A judge ruled late Thursday that there’s enough evidence for James Holmes to face trial on charges that he killed 12 people and injured 70 others in a Colorado movie theater last summer, CBS News reports. Judge William Sylvester said prosecutors have established probable cause to proceed with 166 felony counts, including murder and attempted murder.  Holmes is due to be arraigned Friday, but his defense attorneys filed papers Thursday afternoon saying he’s not ready to enter a plea. They are likely to appear in court Friday to ask for the arraignment to be delayed. Defense attorneys did not explain why they are not ready for arraignment. Their filing also objected to media requests to bring cameras into the courtroom. Other than during his brief initial appearance in July, cameras have been barred from court during Holmes’ case. Sylvester’s ruling came after a three-day hearing earlier this week, in which prosecutors laid out their case against Holmes, 25.

Judge Won’t Block NYC Circumcision Law

A Manhattan federal judge refused to block a New York City regulation requiring people who perform circumcisions and use their mouths to draw away blood from the wound on a baby’s penis to first obtain written consent from the parents, Reuters reports. U.S. District Judge Naomi Reice Buchwald on Thursday refused to issue a preliminary injunction against the change to the city’s health code, which some members of the city’s Orthodox Jewish communities called an unwarranted government intrusion on religious freedom. In September, the New York City Board of Health voted to require mohels, who perform circumcisions, to obtain advance consent that tells parents about the risk of a potentially fatal herpes infection linked to the ritual of metzitzah b’peh. Enforcement of the regulation was put on hold until Buchwald could rule on the request by the Central Rabbinical Congress of the USA and Canada, the International Bris Association and some rabbis for a preliminary injunction. In court papers filed in October, they said the regulation improperly singled out an exclusively religious ritual, and violated the free speech and free exercise protections within the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. But in a 93-page decision, Buchwald refused to halt enforcement of the regulation, and said the plaintiffs’ claims were likely to be found without merit.

DEA Agents Hired Prostitute For Secret Service Official

USA Today reports  Two U.S. drug agents hired a prostitute for a Secret Service supervisor before President Obama’s April visit to Colombia, the Justice Department has determined. A third Drug Enforcement Administration special agent who had dinner with the other agents earlier that evening in Cartegena, “played no role in facilitating” the “sexual encounter,” according to a summary of the investigation by the Justice Department’s inspector general. The investigation found that all three DEA agents initially denied knowing about agency personnel procuring prostitutes for the Secret Service, and that all had deleted information from their government-issued BlackBerry phones. Two did so after learning about the probe.  Additionally, all three DEA agents, who had high-level security clearances, admitted they had hired prostitutes on other occasions. But the IG said that the agents’ actions did not warrant prosecution, and that the U.S. attorney’s office had also declined to prosecute. Prostitution is legal in Colombia. In a statement, the Drug Enforcement Administration said the matter “is currently under review by the Board of Professional Conduct” for possible disciplinary action. The summary was contained in a Dec. 20 letter by Inspector General Michael Horowitz. It was sent to the chairman and ranking minority member of the Senate Homeland Security Committee

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