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In the Nation

Bush signs spending bill

WACO, Texas - President Bush signed a $555 billion domestic spending bill into law yesterday but not without taking a swipe at Congress for including pet projects totaling nearly $10 billion.

Bush lauded the bill for not requiring any tax increases while also adequately funding U.S. troops without imposing "arbitrary timelines for withdrawal" from Iraq. But he criticized lawmakers for including nearly 10,000 earmarks.

Democrats rejected Bush's criticism, accusing him of throwing the budget into imbalance with war spending and tax cuts.

- Washington Post

NRA tracking gun owners down

NEW ORLEANS - The National Rifle Association has hired private investigators to find hundreds of people whose firearms were seized by police after Hurricane Katrina, court papers filed this week said.

The NRA is trying to locate gun owners for a federal lawsuit it filed against Mayor Ray Nagin and Police Superintendent Warren Riley over the city's seizure of firearms after the 2005 hurricane.

The NRA and the Second Amendment Foundation contend that the city violated gun owners' right to bear arms and left them "at the mercy of roving gangs, home invaders, and other criminals" after Katrina. The NRA says the city seized more than 1,000 guns that were not part of any criminal investigation. Police have said they took only guns that had been stolen or found in abandoned homes.

- AP

Mall shooter tried suicide in 2006

OMAHA, Neb. - Robert Hawkins, the 19-year-old gunman who fatally shot eight people and himself at Westroads Mall on Dec. 5, tried to kill himself in January 2006 by swallowing about 30 Tylenol pills, according to court records released yesterday.

Months later, Hawkins left state care, and his father, Ron, said the youth "will have to stand or fall on his own."

A judge released case-worker reports, a psychological evaluation, and a letter to the court from Ron Hawkins after several news organizations filed motions. The judge also released 11 transcripts of Robert Hawkins' earlier court proceedings.

In one report, Hawkins, who had been in and out of the juvenile justice system since age 14, told a social worker he was feeling overwhelmed by court hearings and school and wanted to die when he swallowed the pills. The social worker's report said Hawkins "ended up in the emergency room."

- AP


A man and a woman

were arrested yesterday after six people, most likely three generations of a family and including two young children, were found dead at a rural property in Carnation, Wash., east of Seattle.