Gay-marriage vote tabled in Ill. Senate
Hopes that Illinois could quickly become the 10th state in the nation to legalize gay marriage bogged down Thursday when the bill’s Democratic supporters backed off plans to have a full Senate vote on it and went home after canceling a scheduled session today.
Same-sex marriage advocates entered the lame-duck session Wednesday with high expectations of passing a bill by the assembly’s Jan. 9 curtain. Backers were riding a wave of momentum from successes during the November elections as well as public encouragement from President Barack Obama.
Tax breaks in ‘fiscal cliff’ plan
Tucked into the “fiscal cliff” tax package approved by Congress are billions of dollars in tax breaks that should make the new year a lot happier for businesses of many stripes, including film producers, racetrack owners and the makers of electric motorcycles.
In all, more than 50 temporary tax breaks were renewed through 2013, saving businesses and individuals about $76 billion. Congress routinely renews the tax package, attracting intense lobbying — and campaign donations — from businesses and trade groups that say the tax breaks help them prosper and create jobs.
Government strikes rebel positions
Twin airstrikes by government jets on a large, rebel-held suburb of Damascus on Thursday sheered the sides off apartment towers and left residents digging through rubble for the dead and wounded.
The bombing of Douma came amid a wave of attacks on rebellious districts of the Syrian capital, part of the government’s efforts to keep rebel fighters out of President Bashar Assad’s seat of power. Late Thursday, a car bomb exploded at a gas station inside the city itself, killing at least nine people, activists said.
Douma, the largest patch of rebel-held ground near Damascus, illustrates why the opposition’s advance on the capital has bogged down. Despite capturing territory and setting up committees to provide basic services, the rebels lack the firepower to challenge Assad’s forces and remain helpless before his air force.
Girls accused of drugging parents
Two teenage girls were arrested in Northern California this week after they used sleeping pill-laced milkshakes to drug one girl’s parents because they wouldn’t let her use the Internet past 10 p.m., police said.
The incident unfolded in Rocklin — about 20 miles northeast of Sacramento — the night of Dec. 28, when the parents fell asleep about an hour after drinking milkshakes their 16-year-old daughter and her 15-year-old friend brought them from a fast-food restaurant, Rocklin Police Lt. Lon Milka said Thursday. The parents woke up in the middle of the night feeling “really groggy” with “hangover symptoms,” Milka said, but had not been drinking.
When they woke up again the next morning, they still felt “really odd,” Milka said, and “figured that something was wrong.”
The couple went to the Rocklin police station and picked up $5 drug kits typically used by parents to test their children for drugs, Milka said. After the tests picked up traces of drugs, the parents contacted authorities and took their daughter to the police station.