WASHINGTON (AP) - A Senate aide and a lobbyist say two senators have struck a bipartisan deal on expanding background checks to more firearms purchases. The agreement could build support for President Barack Obama's drive to curb gun violence.
Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Republican Sen. Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania planned to announce their pact Wednesday.
Gun control advocates consider background checks the most effective of the proposals Congress is considering for reducing gun violence.
The deal would expand the checks to cover all commercial sales, such as at gun shows and online. Private transactions that are not for profit, such as those between relatives, would be exempt.
Currently, the system only covers sales through licensed gun dealers.
The aide and lobbyist spoke on condition of anonymity to describe private talks.
COLLINSVILLE, Ill. (AP) - An Italian greyhound that spent eight months on the lam is back in his southwestern Illinois home after being returned from where he turned up more than 900 miles away.
Suburban Journals of Greater St. Louis (http://bit.ly/Y9rhBc) reports 5-year-old Dauz went missing from the Dausman family's fenced Collinsville yard in July of last year, only to turn up last month at an animal shelter in Fairfax, Va.
Alicia Dausman believes Dauz was stolen by a friend's family member who temporarily was living with them.
Dauz was reunited after the Virginia shelter scanned the digital identification chip implanted in the dog's neck and notified the family.
Dausman says the pet is thinner, lighter in color and barks raspier, but appears happy to be home.
LONDON (AP) - Former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, whose conservative ideas made an enduring impact on Britain, has died. She was 87.
Her former spokesman says Thatcher died this morning of a stroke.
Thatcher, the country's first female prime minister, re-made Britain's economic landscape after coming into office in 1979 with a free-market philosophy and the goal of privatizing state industries. And she would wage some hard-nosed battles with the country's labor unions.
Her influence was felt long after she left office in 1990. Tony Blair, whose Labor Party languished in opposition as the Conservative Thatcher held power for more than a decade, ended up adopting many of her views.
Thatcher's forceful personality and hard-driving style earned her the nickname of the "Iron Lady." It was a term that was reinforced when she led Britain into war against Argentina in 1982 after the Argentines invaded the Falkland Islands. She forced them to retreat.
In 1984, she escaped a brush with terrorism. An I-R-A bomb exploded in a hotel hosting the annual conference of the Conservative Party. It narrowly missed Thatcher, but killed five others.
The badly-divided Conservatives eventually pushed her from power in 1990, and the party has struggled since then to regain its footing.
In her later years, she grew frail after a series of small strokes, and gave up most public speaking on the advice of her doctors.