National briefs: 'Climate caucus' plans talkathon

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WASHINGTON -- The Senate was headed into another all-nighter Monday evening as 26 Democrats who call themselves the "climate caucus" planned to speak nonstop about climate change from about 6:30 p.m. until 9 a.m. today.

The talkathon is the latest effort by the group, which is working in concert with a parallel House caucus, to elevate the issue of global warming. The members know that serious climate change legislation stands no chance of passage in the current divided Congress, where many lawmakers in the Republican-majority House deny the science of human-caused global warming.

The members of the climate caucus say their objective is to raise the urgency of global warming and build toward a time in the coming years when the political landscape may have shifted enough that a bill could pass Congress.

Holder sees heroin crisis

WASHINGTON -- The top U.S. prosecutor Monday urged authorities to focus their attention on "the most dangerous types of drugs," particularly heroin and prescription painkillers, just weeks after the government took steps to legitimize the country's marijuana industry.

Attorney General Eric Holder joined other law enforcement and public health officials who have expressed alarm about the rise in heroin addiction. The dangers of the drug were highlighted last month by the death of actor Philip Seymour Hoffman from a poisonous mix of narcotics, including heroin.

Mr. Holder cited federal statistics showing heroin overdose deaths rose 45 percent from 2006 to 2010, when the drug was blamed for killing 3,038 people. Heroin use rose 79 percent from 2007 through 2012, with 669,000 people reporting they had tried the drug, according to a federal survey released last year.

Colorado: $2 million in marijuana taxes

DENVER -- Colorado made roughly $2 million in marijuana taxes in January, state revenue officials reported Monday in the world's first accounting of the recreational pot business.

The tax total reported by the state Department of Revenue indicates $14.02 million worth of recreational pot was sold.

New marathon security

FRAMINGHAM, Mass. -- Runners and the more than 1 million spectators expected to watch the Boston Marathon next month will be met by a number of enhanced safety measures after last year's deadly bombing, the authorities said Monday.

Some 36,000 runners are expected to take part in the April 21 race, 9,000 more than last year, when two bombs placed in backpacks near the finish line killed three people and injured more than 260 others.

Smithsonian picks leader

WASHINGTON -- The Smithsonian Institution announced Monday that it has chosen an energetic fundraiser and a forceful advocate of the arts and humanities as its new secretary: David J. Skorton, the president of Cornell University.

Mr. Skorton said he plans to officially take over the job of overseeing the institution's 19 museums and galleries, the National Zoological Park, and nine research centers July 1, 2015.

-- Compiled from news services

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