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In other news Thursday, Vice President Biden met with sporting groups and the NRA as part of his preparation of a set of recommendations for curbing violent gun crimes and mass shootings. Also, new border violence has sprung up between India and Pakistan in the disputed territory of Kashmir.
Vice President Biden will send his recommendations to curb gun violence to President Obama by Tuesday. The vice president held another round of meetings on the topic in Washington today, this time including sporting groups, as well as the powerful National Rifle Association and others.
Mr. Biden said a consensus is emerging for tightening background checks and banning high-capacity ammunition magazines.
VICE PRESIDENT BIDEN:
There's got to be some common ground here to not solve every problem, but diminish the probability that what we have seen in these mass shootings will occur and diminish the probability that our children are at risk in their schools.
Late today, the NRA issued a statement saying it was disappointed that the discussions focused mainly on what it called an agenda to attack the Second Amendment. The group said it hopes to have an honest conversation with members of Congress.
There's been new border violence between India and Pakistan in the disputed territory of Kashmir. Today, Indian troops shot and killed a Pakistani soldier in the mountainous region. Kashmir is divided, but both countries claim it in its entirety. Pakistan claimed the shooting was unprovoked, but the Indian military said the Pakistanis fired first. In all, two Pakistani soldiers and two Indian troops have been killed since Sunday.
Wildlife rangers in Kenya kept searching for a gang of ivory poachers who killed a dozen elephants and hacked off their tusks. It was the worst single poaching incident the country has ever seen.
We have a report from Rohit Kachroo of Independent Television News.
ROHIT KACHROO, Independent Television News:
Corpse after corpse, 12 in total, scattered across a national park, victims of a gang which struck over the weekend.
But what future for the orphans that we saw today? They're the young of a generation hit hard by an explosion in demand for ivory. This elephant orphanage in Nairobi has rarely been so busy. Some are very young, others old enough to have the tiny tusks which may someday make them as valuable as their parents were.
This is a terrible reflection on the state of elephant poaching right around East Africa, because, while the populations in the wildlife sanctuaries and national parks are falling, here in the orphanages, they're rising, and fast. The woman who rescued them is searching for solutions and wants governments to do much more.
DAPHNE SHELDRICK, The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust:
They better start thinking about elephants, rather than trade. They have got to vote the right way, southeast, to ban the sale of all ivory, whether it's legal or illegal forever. Everybody can live without a trinket.
Governments will meet in March to discuss the ivory trade, but they know that somehow they need to cut consumer demand.
JULIAN BLANC, CITES Endangered Wildlife Monitoring Group:
In the 1980s, people in Europe and in America didn't think twice about buying ivory. It was a normal thing for them to do. And through a lot of campaigns, attitudes were changed quite quickly. How quickly that can happen in other countries, I'm not sure.
But it is a change that they desperately need.
Word came later that Kenyan police killed two suspected poachers in a gun battle today. It was unclear if they were part of the gang being sought in last weekend's attack.
The debate over head injuries in pro football took a new turn today. A brain analysis found former NFL great Junior Seau was suffering from CTE, a degenerative brain disease, when he committed suicide last May. The National Institutes of Health said there were abnormalities widely linked to repetitive blows to the head. Seau had been a star linebacker for 20 years before retiring in 2009.
In economic news, American Express announced it's cutting about 5,400 jobs as it restructures. The reductions will come mainly in the company's travel business. And, on Wall Street, stocks had a good day after reports suggesting the economic outlooks in China and Europe may be improving. The Dow Jones industrial average gained more than 80 points to close at 13471. The Nasdaq rose nearly 16 points to close above 3121. The Standard & Poor's 500 hit another five-year high, topping 1470.
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