National briefs: Sweeping Ga. gun law signed

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ATLANTA -- In Georgia, it soon will be legal to carry a gun in more places -- including bars, churches and government buildings -- following Gov. Nathan Deal's signing Wednesday of a bill celebrated by supporters as a victory for the Second Amendment but decried by critics as the "guns-everywhere bill."

The Safe Carry Protection Act, which takes effect July 1, will allow licensed gun owners to take firearms into houses of worship if the congregation allows it, into bars unless the owner objects, into non-secure areas of airports, and into government buildings, except past security checkpoints.

The law also would permit schools to arm staff members and lower the age from 21 to 18 for active members of the military to obtain gun licenses. It also would offer defendants an "absolute defense" in court if a gun is used in the face of a violent attack.

No video of police shooting

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. -- Albuquerque's police chief said Wednesday that the authorities have not been able to find conclusive video footage of the fatal police shooting of a 19-year-old woman this week, the 24th person killed since 2010 by members of a department under federal and state investigation for violating use-of-force rules.

Chief Gorden Eden said at a news conference that the officer's lapel camera had not captured the shooting, but declined to say whether the officer had switched on the camera as department policy required once he confronted Mary Hawkes early Monday morning.

Chief Eden would not say whether cameras worn by other officers in the area had filmed the shooting.

Disciplined workers' perks

WASHINGTON -- More than 2,800 Internal Revenue Service workers who recently had been disciplined received millions of dollars in bonuses and time off as part of an employee recognition program, a new government audit shows.

The IRS has a program that rewards its employees for a job well done, but a report released Tuesday by the Treasury inspector general for tax administration found that between Oct. 1, 2010, and Dec. 31, 2012, more than 2,800 recently disciplined IRS workers got more than $2.8 million in monetary awards and more than 27,000 hours in time-off awards.

The employee infractions included not paying their taxes.

U-2 spy plane phaseout

WASHINGTON -- The U-2 spy plane outlasted the Cold War, outlived its successor and proved crucial a half-century ago when two superpowers were on the brink of nuclear war.

But defense cuts now threaten to knock the high-flying reconnaissance aircraft out of the sky.

The Air Force wants to gradually retire the fleet of 32 "Dragon Lady" planes, which can soar to an altitude of 70,000 feet, collect intelligence on North Korea and Russia and rapidly send the data to U.S. commanders. It says the unmanned aerial vehicle Global Hawk can do the job, and the Pentagon cannot afford both the plane and the drone.

Manning's name change

LEAVENWORTH, Kan. -- An Army private convicted of providing classified documents to WikiLeaks won an initial victory Wednesday toward living as a woman when a Kansas judge granted a petition to change her name to Chelsea Elizabeth Manning.

The decision clears the way for official changes to Pvt. Manning's military records, but does not compel the military to treat the soldier previously known as Bradley Edward Manning as a woman.

-- Compiled from news services


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