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Jan. 24, 2013 at 8:15 AM
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Gun ban said to include handguns, shotguns

WASHINGTON, Jan. 24 (UPI) -- A retooled U.S. assault-weapons ban to be introduced Thursday was to include handguns and shotguns in addition to rifles, The Washington Times reported.

The bill, by Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., titled "The Assault Weapons Ban of 2013," was also expected to decrease the number of military-style features a gun may have before it's considered an assault weapon to one from two, the newspaper said.

An assault weapon is typically a semiautomatic firearm having features similar to those of a military firearm. Military-style features include pistol grips, flash suppressors, bayonet lugs or grenade launchers.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed into law a ban similar to Feinstein's proposed ban last week.

National Rifle Association President David Keene said Wednesday New York's bolstered ban on assault weapons was likely unconstitutional and his organization planned to file a "notice of claim" against the state -- the first step toward a possible lawsuit.

"A so-called assault-weapons ban in today's world is probably unconstitutional," Keene told radio station WGDJ, Rensselaer, N.Y., citing the U.S. Supreme Court's 2008 ruling in District of Columbia vs. Heller, which he said prevents the government from banning "commonly used firearms."

N. Korea threatens U.S. with nuclear tests

PYONGYANG, North Korea, Jan. 24 (UPI) -- North Korea, furious over U.N. sanctions, Thursday vowed to target its "sworn enemy" the United States with rocket launches and a "higher-level" nuclear test.

In its latest invective against the U.N. Security Council's unanimously-approved resolution Tuesday calling for tightened sanctions for its Dec. 12 rocket launch, North Korea directed its ire at the United States, but didn't say when the tests would be conducted.

The isolated communist country's National Defense Commission in a statement against the resolution, carried by the official Korean Central News Agency, said:

"We do not hide that a variety of satellites and long-range rockets will be launched and a nuclear test of higher level will be carried out in the upcoming new phase of the anti-U.S. struggle, targeting against the U.S., the sworn enemy of the Korean people."

China's official Xinhua News Agency quoted the North Korean commission as declaring there will "no longer exist the six-party talks and the Sept. 19 joint statement," as "the U.N. Security Council has been reduced into an organization bereft of impartiality and balance."

12 killed in Nigerian violence

MAIDUGURI, Nigeria, Jan. 24 (UPI) -- Twelve people died in three violent incidents in Maiduguri, Nigeria, and police destroyed 140 explosives, the Abuja newspaper Leadership reported.

Two gunmen killed one person in London Ciki Ward early Wednesday, firing several shots into the air before forcing themselves into his home and shooting him at close range, Leadership reported. The identity of the man was not reported.

Later in the day, an improvised explosive device went off in Kalari Ward. The blast was followed by an hour of gunfire between military forces and insurgents, the newspaper said. At least six people died in the gunfight.

Meanwhile, a group of gunmen killed five people in Jiddari Polo Ward. The attackers held the victims at gunpoint before cutting their throats.

Officer dead, 3 injured in Iraq bombing

MOSUL, Iraq, Jan. 24 (UPI) -- A police officer was killed and three civilians injured Thursday in a bomb explosion in central Mosul, Iraq, an official said.

"An [improvised explosive device] that was planted in a roadside in central Mosul went off, targeting a police patrol of riot-control forces, [and] resulted in killing a policeman and injuring three civilians," a security source told the newspaper.

"Security forces rushed to the incident spot and transported the injured persons to a hospital for treatment while the dead body was sent to the morgue," the source added.

Calif. teacher may have abused 19 children

LOS ANGELES, Jan. 24 (UPI) -- A Los Angeles elementary school teacher has been arrested on suspicion of lewd acts of sexual abuse involving as many as 19 children, officials say.

The accusations against Robert Pimental, 57, date back to March 2012, the Los Angeles Times reported Wednesday.

The George de la Torre Elementary teacher was charged with 15 counts of "committing lewd acts and continual sexual abuse [fondling] of numerous students," police Capt. Fabian Lizzaraga said.

Prosecutors said they believe he victimized seven other children as well as one adult.

He was held on $12 million bond Wednesday.

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