Entries in Report (3)


Final Report on Probe into Upper Big Branch Mine Disaster Released

SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images(CHARLESTON, W.Va.) -- The state of West Virginia Thursday released what is expected to be the final report on the investigation into the Upper Big Branch mine explosion that killed 29 people in April 2010.  

The report, like three others, says a methane explosion at the mine was exacerbated by coal dust.  Massey Energy -- owner of the Upper Big Branch mine -- favored production over safety and failed to properly rock dust the mine, according to the report.
The state issued 253 citations against the coal company. Those violations were for improper ventilation, equipment problems, and personnel issues pertaining to the foreman or fireboss, among other areas.

The explosion at Upper Big Branch has been called the worst U.S. mining disaster in nearly 40 years.
Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


White House Slams Report that Says War on Drugs 'Has Failed'

Doug Menuez/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- The White House is slamming a report from the Global Commission on Drug Policy that says the long running war on drugs has been a failure.

In the report, the commission stated, "The global war on drugs has failed, with devastating consequences for individuals and societies around the world.  Fifty years after the initiation of the U.N. Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs, and 40 years after President Nixon launched the U.S. government’s war on drugs, fundamental reforms in national and global drug control policies are urgently needed."

The commission also recommended that certain controlled substances should be legalized.

However, the White House says legalizing drugs like marijuana remains a non-starter for the Obama administration.

The Office of National Drug Policy says the war is succeeding because overall drug use in the U.S. is about half what in was in the late 70s. The president's approach, the office says, focuses on drug addiction as a disease, providing treatment and on efforts to prevent drug abuse.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Over 62,000 Guns 'Missing' from Gun Shops Since 2008

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- More than 62,000 guns disappeared from U.S. firearm dealers' inventories in the past three years without any record of being sold, according to a report by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, or ATF.

The estimate means, on average, that dealers "lost" 56 firearms a day between 2008 and 2010.

In many cases, the weapons were likely stolen or sold under the table or on the black market, circumventing established registration procedures and background checks, experts said.  Without a record of a purchase, the weapons are considered hard to trace.

"No wonder it's so easy for gang members and dangerous people to get guns," said Paul Helmke, president and CEO of the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence, a group favoring stricter gun control.  "It's obvious these folks aren't losing inventory -- they're selling it under the table or out the back door, feeding the criminal market."

Helmke said the numbers, first publicized by the Brady Center Wednesday after appearing in a public ATF slideshow presentation at a Las Vegas trade show last week, likely understate the extent of the problem.

The ATF data are based on spot compliance inspections of 20 percent of the more than 60,000 retail gun dealers in the U.S.

The ATF, which has approximately 600 inspectors, conducted 10,500 inspections in 2010.  Following those inventories, dealers could not account for more than 21,000 guns.

Dealers who improperly complete licensing forms or fail to report multiple handgun sales, among other violations, could face fines or have their retail licenses revoked.  Sixty-seven dealers were shut down last year, according to the data.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

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