Thursday morning news: September 12, 2019

Democrats hammer McConnell on gun control » Democratic leaders are taking aim at Senate Majority Mitch McConnell on gun control.  

After returning to the Capitol this week from summer recess, Democrats immediately began hammering Republican leaders on the issue. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi… 

PELOSI: We will fight on every front in the courts, in the Congress, and in the court of public opinion to make sure this issue is too hot to handle for the GOP to block. 

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer joined her at a news conference. He blasted McConnell for not putting a background check bill on the Senate floor for a vote… 

SCHUMER: Shame on him. There are people who died. Shame on him! Put the bill on the floor and stop ducking the issue. 

McConnell said a group of senators is working with the White House to find out what President Trump would support. 

MCCONNELL: They are working on coming up with a proposal that the president will sign. Until that happens, all of this is theatrics. 

McConnell said he will only bring a bill to the floor if he’s confident the president will sign it into law. The White House has warned that the president would veto the House’s background checks bill.

But the Trump administration is talking over several possible measures with Republicans. Those include a so-called red-flag bill that would allow officials to take away guns from people believed to pose a threat. 

Trump administration moves to ban flavored e-cigarettes » Speaking at the White House on Wednesday President Trump announced that his administration will move to ban flavored ecigarettes. 

TRUMP: We are looking at vaping very strongly. It’s very dangerous. Children have died. People have died. 

Health officials have warned about the dangers of vaping amid an outbreak of a lung disease that has killed at least six people. 

It’s grown into a multibillion-dollar industry. The nicotine products come in flavors like “grape slushy” and “strawberry cotton candy.”

And Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar said not surprisingly more and more kids are trying it. 

AZAR: The youth are drawn to flavored e-cigarettes, so we simply have to remove these attractive flavored products from the marketplace. 

Azar said efforts to keep vaping products away from minors aren’t working. 

Under new rules, manufacturers would have to pull “all flavored e-cigarettes other than tobacco-flavor” off the market. 

The restrictions would only apply to nicotine vaping products, which the Food And Drug Administration regulates.

OxyContin maker reportedly agrees to record settlement » The pharmaceutical company that makes the painkiller OxyContin will reportedly pay more than $10 billion to settle lawsuits over the opioid crisis. WORLD Radio’s Kristen Flavin reports. 

KRISTEN FLAVIN, REPORTER: Purdue Pharma has reached a tentative settlement with 22 states and more than 2,000 local governments. 

The Associated Press, citing inside sources said the company will fork over as much as $12 billion over time. That would be the biggest settlement with any pharmaceutical company in U.S. history. It would also require the Sackler family, which owns the company, to give up control. 

It’s not clear whether the announcement signals the end of the legal action against Purdue Pharma. Attorneys general in some states are still pursuing their own suits against the company. 

Reporting for WORLD Radio, I’m Kristen Flavin. 

Appeals court puts hold on ruling that blocked asylum rule » The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled that the Trump administration can continue to enforce an asylum rule that a California judge had blocked just hours earlier. 

The rule states that migrants who pass through other countries on their way to the U.S. border must apply for asylum in those countries before they can seek asylum in the U.S.

A temporary injunction blocked that rule in states overseen by appeals court. That meant the policy was blocked in California and Arizona but not in New Mexico and Texas.

U.S. District Judge Jon Tigar this week blocked the rule nationwide. But the 9th Circuit put a hold on his ruling. That means the government can keep enforcing the policy in Texas and New Mexico as the court battle continues. 

British lawmakers demand Parliament be recalled after ruling » Some British lawmakers are demanding that Prime Minister Boris Johnson reopen Parliament immediately after a court ruled that he wrongly suspended it.

AUDIO: [Sound of Parliament protest]

Sounds from Westminster earlier this week as a room full of waving fists blasted the suspension. Johnson shut down Parliament until October 14th—just two weeks before Britain is due to exit the EU at the end of next month. 

The suspension is a legal political process called prorogation. But judges at Scotland’s highest civil court ruled Wednesday that Johnson’s government misused the process to try and handcuff Parliament.

The suspension gives Johnson a break from rebellious lawmakers as he maps out his next steps on Brexit. He claims that was not the reason for the move, but the Scottish judges said they don’t buy it.  

Scottish lawmaker Joanna Cherry said the court’s ruling means it’s time to get back to work. 

CHERRY: Now for every moment Parliament remains prorogued, the British government are breaking the law. So we as politicians are calling for Parliament to be recalled. 

The court ruled that Johnson’s suspension was “null and of no effect.” But it referred the matter to Britain’s Supreme Court for resolution. The high court is due to take up the case on Tuesday. 

T. Boone Pickes dies at 91 » Oil tycoon and philanthropist T. Boone Pickens died on Wednesday, surrounded by friends and family at his home in Dallas. He was 91. 

In addition to forming his own oil company, Pickens led bids to take over other oil giants, including Gulf, Phillips, and Unocal. Even when the hostile takeovers failed, he often made money selling the shares back to the companies. 

Pickens was a big player in politics, supporting both Republicans and Democrats over the years. And though he wasn’t running for office in 2008, he took his own energy plan directly to the American people with a series of national TV commercials.

PICKENS: In the coming weeks I’m going to share the details of that plan to use American technology and alternative energy to slash our dependency and break foreign oil’s stranglehold on us.   

Pickens was a big supporter of his alma mater, Oklahoma State University, where the football  stadium is named after him. He also donated millions to cancer research.

(AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta, File) In this July 12, 2016 file photo, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Ky. speaks during a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington. 

WORLD Radio transcripts are created on a rush deadline. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of WORLD Radio programming is the audio record.

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