D.C. approves new gun rules

WASHINGTON - The District of Columbia Council yesterday passed more regulations for gun owners, months after the U.S. Supreme Court struck down the city's 32-year-old handgun ban.

Among other things, the bill requires gun owners to register their weapons every three years and get training by a certified firearms instructor.

The National Rifle Association accused the city of forcing residents to jump over unnecessary hurdles, thereby undermining the intent of the Supreme Court's ruling last June that affirmed the right of Americans to keep guns in the home for self defense.

D.C. leaders say they are trying to be respectful of the court case while doing all they can to enact strict gun-control measures in a city where gun violence is common.

- AP

U.S. donates Nazi trial papers

WASHINGTON - The Justice Department yesterday donated to the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum 50,000 pages of records related to the court cases of Nazi war criminals.

They include transcripts and decisions in cases to strip away U.S. citizenship or extradite defendants accused of contributing to the deaths of six million Jews during World War II, Attorney General Michael B. Mukasey said.

The documents "perpetuate the memory of those men, women and children who perished, by ensuring that the truth of their fate - that their stories - survive in paper and ink for future generations," he said during a ceremony at the museum.

Apart from records of the prosecutions that immediately followed the Allied victory in 1945, the documents are the largest body of English-language materials on Nazi war criminals publicly available, Mukasey said.

- AP

Richardson link to donor studied

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. - A federal grand jury is investigating how a California firm that contributed to the political activities of New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson, the nominee to head the Commerce Department, won a lucrative government contract.

The panel is looking into possible "pay-to-play" dealings between CDR Financial Products and someone in a position to push the contract through with the state of New Mexico, a person familiar with the proceedings said yesterday. The person asked not to be identified because the proceedings were secret.

The proceedings follow an FBI probe in which investigators sought documents from the New Mexico Finance Authority. Investigators also interviewed former and current authority officials about New Mexico's 2004 contract with CDR for the $1.6 billion transportation program. Richardson spokesman Gilbert Gallegos said the governor's office was "aware of questions surrounding some financial transactions" at the authority.

- AP

Elsewhere:

Food and Drug Administration

chief Andrew von Eschenbach announced he would resign as of Jan. 20, Inauguration Day. President-elect Barack Obama is considering a list of job candidates including Baltimore's health commissioner, several prominent doctors, and former and current FDA officials.