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Former US lawmaker Giffords launches gun control initiative

* Wounded Arizona ex-lawmaker says "enough" * Group seeks "common-sense" solutions to curb violence * Giffords initiative aims to raise funds, challenge NRA By Susan Heavey WASHINGTON, Jan 8 (Reuters) - Former U.S. Representative Gabrielle Giffords, who was severely wounded two years ago in an Arizona shooting, is launching a group aimed at curbing gun violence and raising enough money to challenge the well-funded gun lobby.

Syrians brush off Assad speech, fighting continues

By Oliver Holmes BEIRUT, Jan 7 (Reuters) - Syrians said on Monday they expected only war after a speech by President Bashar al-Assad that was billed as a peace plan, and fighting resumed in the capital just a few miles from where he spoke. Hours after Assad addressed cheering loyalists at the Damascus Opera House on Sunday, clashes raged just a few miles away near the road to the city's international airport, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.

UPDATE 3-Four dead in hostage-taking in Aurora, Colorado

(Updates with police confirmation) By Keith Coffman AURORA, Colo., Jan 5 (Reuters) - Four people, including the gunman, were dead following a hostage-taking incident on Saturday in Aurora, Colorado, the same town where a man shot dead 12 people and wounded 58 more in a movie theater last July, police told reporters on Saturday.
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