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Jan. 9, 2013 at 10:00 PM   |   Comments

Aurora prosecutors end evidence production

CENTENNIAL, Colo., Jan. 9 (UPI) -- Prosecutors in the Aurora, Colo., theater shooting Wednesday showed suspect James Holmes photographed the theater a month before the July killings.

The prosecution introduced photos taken June 29, July 5 and July 11 that depicted the theater's interior, back doors and door hinges, The Denver Post reported.

Wednesday was the third and last day of testimony in the preliminary hearing for Holmes, who is charged with killing 12 people and injuring at least 58 others.

Prosecutors finished presenting their evidence. The defense did not call any witnesses or make any statements to the court. The judge will decide whether there is enough evidence to go to trial. A hearing is scheduled for Friday, the Post reported.

Other photos introduced into evidence show images Holmes took of himself the night of the massacre.

The photos tend to show Holmes' "identity, deliberation and extreme indifference," prosecutors said in explaining why they introduced Holmes's self photos.

Photos show attack gear spread neatly on Holmes's bed and items found at the shooting scene, the Post reported.

One photo showed Holmes posing with an assault rifle and most of the ballistics he had on himself when he was caught, a witness said.


Cuomo says N.Y. to lead on gun control

ALBANY, N.Y., Jan. 9 (UPI) -- New York Gov. Andrew said Wednesday the state must lead the nation in the effort to curb gun violence and outlined the package of legislation he will seek.

A statement issued by Cuomo's office on the day he delivered his annual State of the State address said while New York is on the forefront in public safety laws, with "the senseless massacre in Newtown, Connecticut, and our state still mourning the loss of first responders in Webster's shooting tragedy, New York must say enough is enough to gun violence."

"There have been far too many lives claimed as a result of gun violence in recent years," the statement issued by Cuomo's office said. "New York once led the way: 'Sullivan's Law' of 1911 was the nation's first gun control law -- a model law that required a permit for possession of a hand gun. The time has come to make New York safer and once again lead the way for other states to follow."

Cuomo called on the Legislature to "pass the toughest assault weapons ban in the country."

"New York's ban on assault weapons is so riddled with loopholes and so difficult to understand that it has become virtually unenforceable," the statement said.

The governor proposes tightening the state's assault weapons ban and eliminating large-capacity magazines regardless of date of manufacture.


Abbas, Mashaal meet in Cairo

CAIRO, Jan. 9 (UPI) -- Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal met in Cairo as Egypt's president pressed the two to resolve their differences.

President Mohamed Morsi recently initiated an effort to settle disputes between Abbas' Fatah party and Mashaal's Hamas organization. Wednesday's discussions, which included senior officials from Fatah and Hamas, centered on possible implementation of the terms of a reconciliation agreement Abbas and Mashaal accepted last year, the Jerusalem Post reported.

The agreement provides for a unity government for Palestine, headed by Abbas, but efforts to implement the accord have failed and each side has blamed the other for that, the newspaper said.

Fatah has accused Hamas of disrupting plans for elections in the Gaza Strip and Hamas says PA forces routinely harass its supporters in the West Bank. In addition, many Hamas officials had consistently opposed naming Abbas leader of a new unity government.


High court OKs Chavez inauguration delay

CARACAS, Venezuela, Jan. 9 (UPI) -- Venezuela's top jurist Wednesday said President Hugo Chavez doesn't have to be inaugurated Thursday for him to remain in office.

Justice Luisa Estella Morales, president of the Supreme Court, cited "administrative continuity" in determining while Thursday marks the start of a term in office, a new inauguration is not essential, El Universal reported.

Since Chavez is already in office, there is "no interruption in the performance of duties," Morales said, noting "although required, the oath [is] not a condition for breaking with administrative continuity."

Morales said the inauguration is necessary, "but at this time we cannot say when, how and where" it will happen.

Chavez is unable to be in Venezuela this week because he is in Cuba recovering from cancer surgery. It is unclear when he might return to Caracas to resume his duties. His vice president, Nicolas Maduro, is handling his responsibilities in the interim.

Morales also said the Supreme Court has not considered convening a medical board to deal with Chavez's situation because the president "made clear the reasons for his departure."

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