Nation roundup for December 10


Boy shot to death at Pa. gun store

MERCER, Pa. (AP) — A 7-year-old boy had been buckling himself into his safety seat in the back of his father’s truck when he was shot to death after a handgun accidentally went off as his father got in the front seat, police said Sunday.

Joseph V. Loughrey, 44, told police he had been trying to sell the guns Saturday at Twigs Reloading Den in East Lackawannock Township, 60 miles north of Pittsburgh. He unloaded the magazine at home, but didn’t realize a bullet was still in the chamber, Lt. Eric Hermick said. His son, Craig Allen Loughrey, was shot in the chest and died at the scene.

State police Lt. Eric Hermick said Sunday the father had secured a rifle in the back of the truck and placed his pistol on the console when the handgun went off. Hermick said police are reviewing surveillance video from the store, which helped lay out the chain of events; the video is not being released.

“It is very clear-cut exactly what transpired here,” Hermick said of what he called clearly an accident. “As he’s laying it down, it discharges.”

An autopsy was scheduled for Sunday and the results of the investigation will be given to Mercer County District Attorney Robert G. Kochems, Hermick said. A message left with Kochems was not immediately returned.

Hermick said the father was very distraught and cooperative; he said he doubts there will be charges, but that it’s up to the district attorney. The father could face charges, including involuntary manslaughter, Hermick said.

“It’s obviously negligent and reckless to some degree,” he said. “It’s obviously in that gray area, where it’s a true accident. But is there negligence or recklessness with him not clearing the chamber?”

Court to review drug settlements

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Supreme Court will take a close look at payments from brand-name drug makers to manufacturers of generic equivalents to keep the no-name products off the market at an estimated cost of $3.5 billion a year to consumers.

The justices said Friday they will consider competing appeals court decisions about whether the practice known as reverse payments or “pay for delay” illegally reduces competition by delaying the sale of substantially cheaper generic drugs.

The payments typically are made to resolve patent infringement claims by the brand-name manufacturers against the makers of the generic drugs. What is unusual about the practice is that the claim is resolved by a payment from the company that holds the patent rights to the company accused of violating them.

The Federal Trade Commission says either Congress or the high court should take action to protect consumers from what it terms the anticompetitive agreements. Generic drugs can sell for as little as 10 percent of the brand-name price. The sale of generic products can wipe out the vast majority of the market for the higher-priced brand-name drugs.

The cases at issue all involve challenges to agreements between drug companies that delayed the sale of generic versions of patented drugs. The challengers include the federal government as well as national drugstore and supermarket chains that argue their customers are being forced to pay more for prescription drugs because of the agreements.

FTC chairman Jon Leibowitz has called the agreements “win-win deals for both companies. But they leave American consumers footing the bill.” The FTC says the settlements add an average of 17 months to the time it takes to get the generic drugs on the market.

TSA officer killed in murder-suicide

CLEVELAND (AP) — A Transportation Security Administration officer was fatally shot by her husband Sunday before he killed himself on an off-site parking lot at Cleveland Hopkins International Airport, authorities said.

Before turning the gun on himself, the husband fired at a second TSA employee but missed, police spokesman Sgt. Sammy Morris said. The late morning shooting at an airport employee parking lot was an apparent homicide and suicide, Morris said. No names were released.

Morris said the husband and wife were estranged, but investigators weren’t sure of a motive for the shooting.

The wife and the second TSA employee were commuting to work; the husband apparently followed his wife to the lot, blocked her in her car by his vehicle, and then began firing, Morris said. The other TSA worker wasn’t hurt, police said.

Morris said the wife and the other TSA employee, a man, were not romantically involved.

‘Skyfall’ is back in the No. 1 spot

LOS ANGELES (AP) — James Bond is in a box-office photo finish with Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny over what looks to be the last slow weekend of the holidays.

According to studio estimates Sunday, Sony’s Bond tale “Skyfall” took in $11 million to move back to No. 1 in its fifth weekend.

That put it narrowly ahead of Paramount’s “Rise of the Guardians,” the animated adventure of Santa, the Easter Bunny and other mythological heroes that pulled in $10.5 million.

The two movies inched ahead of Summit Entertainment’s “The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn — Part 2,” which had been tops for three-straight weekends. The “Twilight” finale earned $9.2 million, slipping into a tight race for No. 3 with Disney’s “Lincoln,” which was close behind with $9.1 million.

The top movies were bunched up so closely that rankings could change once final weekend revenues are released today.

The weekend’s only new wide release, Gerard Butler’s romantic comedy “Playing for Keeps,” flopped with just $6 million, coming in at No. 6.

“Skyfall” raised its domestic total to $261.6 million and added $20.3 million overseas to bring its international income to $656.6 million.

At $918 million worldwide, “Skyfall” has the best cash haul ever for the Bond franchise and surpassed “Spider-Man 3” at $890 million to become Sony’s top-grossing hit.

The “Twilight” finale also is a franchise record-breaker, surpassing the $710 million worldwide haul of last year’s “Breaking Dawn — Part 1.” The finale’s domestic total now stands at $268.7 million.

“Rise of the Guardians” led the international box office with $26 million, followed by 20th Century Fox’s “Life of Pi” at $23.8 million.

It was another traditionally quiet post-Thanksgiving weekend, with big November releases continuing to dominate in the lull before a pre-Christmas onslaught of movies.

The box office is expected to soar next weekend with the arrival of part one of “The Hobbit,” Peter Jackson’s “The Lord of the Rings” prelude. After that comes a steady rush of action, comedy and drama through year’s end, including Tom Cruise’s “Jack Reacher,” Quentin Tarantino and Jamie Foxx’s “Django Unchained,” Seth Rogen’s “The Guilt Trip” and Hugh Jackman and Russell Crowe’s “Les Miserables.”

“The last couple of weeks of the year are some of the strongest every year,” said Paul Dergarabedian, an analyst for box-office tracker Hollywood.com. “We are on the cusp of some really huge box office. There’s a lot of money still left in the year despite this slow period right now.”

Hollywood’s domestic revenues have topped $10 billion so far this year, with the industry expected to finish 2012 ahead of the all-time high of $10.6 billion set in 2009.

Trashed savagely by critics, FilmDistrict’s “Playing for Keeps” stars Butler as a washed-up soccer star trying to reconnect with his ex-wife (Jessica Biel) and young son. The all-star cast includes Catherine Zeta-Jones and Uma Thurman as soccer moms with the hots for Butler.

In limited release, Bill Murray’s Franklin Roosevelt drama “Hyde Park on Hudson” opened solidly with $83,280 in four theaters, averaging a healthy $20,820 a cinema. By comparison, “Playing for Keeps” averaged $2,115 in 2,837 theaters.

Released by Focus Features, “Hyde Park on Hudson” stars Murray as Roosevelt, whose intimate relations with a distant cousin (Laura Linney) become both a source of strength and distraction as the president plays host to the king and queen of England on the eve of World War II.

Estimated ticket sales for Friday through Sunday at U.S. and Canadian theaters, according to Hollywood.com. Where available, latest international numbers are also included. Final domestic figures will be released Monday.

1. “Skyfall,” $11 million ($20.3 million).

 

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