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Gunman's background...Anti-Muslim protests in Germany...Newtown parents' lawsuit

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WASHINGTON (AP) — Australian authorities say the gunman who took workers and customers hostage at a cafe in downtown Sydney was once prosecuted for sending offensive letters to families of Australian troops killed in Afghanistan. Two hostages were killed in crossfire or shot by their captor when officers stormed the cafe after a 16-hour standoff. He also died. Four people, including a police officer, were injured.

BERLIN (AP) — Chancellor Angela Merkel (AHN'-geh-lah MEHR'-kuhl) is warning Germans not to be duped by far-right rhetoric, amid concern about the growing number of people flocking to anti-Islam demonstrations. A group calling itself Patriotic Europeans against the Islamization of the West has staged weekly rallies in Dresden. Thousands attended a rally tonight.

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) —The maker and sellers of the Bushmaster AR-15 rifle used two years ago in the Connecticut school massacre are being taken to court. The families of nine of the 26 people killed in the Newtown shooting have filed suit alleging wrongful death and negligence. The suit says the gun should not have been sold for civilian use because of its overwhelming firepower.

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Senate is set to vote on President Barack Obama's nomination of Dr. Vivek (VEE'-vek) Murthy to serve as U.S. surgeon general. Murthy's nomination has faced opposition from Republicans and the National Rifle Association over his support for gun control and past statements calling gun violence a public health concern. An instructor at Harvard Medical School and co-founder of Doctors for America, Murthy has been endorsed by more than 100 health organizations.

NEW YORK (AP) — The mother of a 12-year-old Cleveland, Ohio, boy fatally shot by police who believed he was carrying a gun says Tamir Rice was never given a chance to follow officers' orders. Police say the officer states he ordered the boy, who was playing with a pellet gun, to raise his hands. The officer fired within 2 seconds of getting out of his cruiser. Samaria Rice also says officers put her 14-year-old daughter in handcuffs after the teen attempted to rush to her brother's aide.

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