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AP News in Brief at 7:58 p.m. EST Jan. 3

New tax law includes some odd breaks

Tucked into the “fiscal cliff” tax package approved by Congress are billions of dollars in tax breaks that should make the new year a lot happier for businesses of many stripes, including film producers, race track owners and the makers of electric motorcycles.

In all, more than 50 temporary tax breaks were renewed through 2013, saving businesses and individuals about $76 billion.

The biggest of the bunch, a tax credit for research and development, helps U.S. manufacturers compete against foreign competition, according to the National Association of Manufacturers. Another provision helps restaurants and retailers expand by allowing them to more quickly write off the costs, according to the National Restaurant Association.

New York

Official: Gun permit story dangerous

A New York county clerk justified his refusal to release the names and addresses of handgun permit holders to a newspaper, saying it would give stalkers and thieves a convenient roadmap to target potential victims.

“This certainly puts my public in danger,” Putnam County Clerk Dennis Sant said yesterday.

The Journal News, which serves New York City’s northern suburbs, sparked an outcry last month when it published clickable online maps with the names and addresses of pistol permit holders.

When the newspaper requested the same information from Sant, he balked, saying the law gives him the prerogative to refuse to release public information if it endangers the public.

Pakistan

U.S. missiles kill top Taliban militant

An American drone strike in Pakistan has killed a top Taliban commander who sent money and fighters to battle the U.S. in Afghanistan but had a truce with the Pakistani military, officials said yesterday.

While the death of Maulvi Nazir was likely to be seen in Washington as affirmation of the necessity of the controversial U.S. drone program, it could cause more friction in already tense relations with Pakistan.

Nazir was killed when two missiles slammed into a house in a village in South Waziristan while he was meeting with supporters.

The Associated Press

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