From NPR News in Washington, I'm Barbara Klein.
We have a pope. The announcement this past hour at the Vatican. He is Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio of Argentina. The 76-year-old, who's the first pontiff from the Americas has chosen the name Pope Francis. Among his first words from the Vatinan balcony was a prayer for his predecessor, Benedict XVI. And then, Pope Francis asked the tens of thousands gathered in St. Peter Square below to take a moment of silence and pray for him. He is the first Pope Francis, named for San Francis of Assisi, who spoke of rebuilding the church.
A judge in New York is refusing to consider a suit that challenges the state's tough new gun law. It was brought by more than 1,200 people. As NPR's Margot Adler reports, the suit now goes to this court of appeals.
New York's law enacted about two months ago sets a seven-bullet limit on magazines, tightens the definition of illegal assault weapons and requires federal background checks for private gun sales. The law suit argues that the law violates the state's constitution, which says that the defence and protection of the state is an obligation of all persons within the state. It also argues the states civil rights law give citizens their right to be armed for the general defence of community.But the lower court judge said the New York governor Andrew Cuomo used something called a message of necessity, to skip the normal three-day waiting period and the lower court can't review a message of necessity. Those who brought the suits say they'll take the suit all the way up to New York's highest court. Margot Adler NPR News, New York.
Consumer spent more in February than analysts were expecting. The Commerce Department says spending was 1.1% higher than it was in January on a seasonally adjusted basis. That's the biggest gain in five months. NPR's Yuki Noguchi reports some of the increases due to higher gasoline prices.
Spending at gasoline stations surged 5% last month. But even excluding gas, retail sales beat expectations. Auto and internet sales posted some of the biggest gains because consumer spending drives so much of the economy. This is considered a good sign. It comes despite the fact that the payroll tax holiday ended at the start of this year taking a bite out of take home pay.At least one economist warned against reading too much optimism into the number. Tax refunds are coming later this year and that could account for much of the boost in spending. Yuki Noguchi NPR News, Washington.
The latest give-and-take over the budget indicates republicans and democrats are making little to no movement on their long held positions. President Obama is holding meetings at the Capitol today with House Republicans who are proposing a plan similar to earlier ones, that democrats have rejected. House democrats are unveiling a counter-proposal.
Just before the close on Wall Street, the Dow was up five points; the NASDAQ up three; the S&P up two. THis is NPR.
A senate arm services subcommittee is holding hearings to investigate charges that the Pentagon has long failed to handle thousands of sexual assault cases in the military. Among today's witnesses, several victims who say the military criminal justice system is broken, including former navy petty officer Brian Louisx, who says he was raped by a superior non-commissioned officer. He says the handling of sexual assault cases in the military needs to be taken away from the chain of command and shifted to an independent office.
In Louisiana, a tug boat that was pushing a barge has hit a petroleum pipeline south of New Orlands. NPR's Jeff Brady reports the collision ignited a fire that's blazing on the water.
The tug boat was pushing a 147-foot barge through a bayou about 30 miles south of New Orlands. It struck the Chervon-operated pipeline. Coast guard Ansan Taner Steel says oil was reported in the water and spill responders have been called in.
The pipeline has already been isolated, this's what the people at Chervon are telling us. Only the gas already in that pipeline is able to burn.
The area is just north of Barataria bay, which was affected by BP's 2010 oil spill. The tug and barge were engulfed in flames. The crew was able to escape, though the coast guard says the captain suffered second and third-degree burns. Jeff Brady NPR News.
The lieutenant governor of Florida is resigning. Jennifer Carroll was forced to step down because of her connection to a group that claimed to be a veterans' charity.It's charged with running dozens of internet cafes and channeling money to insiders.
I'mBarbara Klein, NPR News in Washington.