2 weeks after being sworn in, Tom Marino announces resignation from Congress

WASHINGTON — Pennsylvania Rep. Tom Marino announced Thursday he would be resigning from Congress.

The Republican lawmaker, who represents the 12th District in northeast and central Pennsylvania, said he will be leaving his post Jan. 23 for a job in the private sector.

Marino has served in the House since 2011 and was just re-elected to his fifth term.

“Having spent over two decades serving the public, I have chosen to take a position in the private sector where I can use both my legal and business experience to create jobs around the nation,” he said. “I want to thank the people of the 12th Congressional District of Pennsylvania for the faith they have placed in me to represent them in Congress. It truly has been one of the greatest honors of my life.”

Marino was a blue-collar factory worker who switched to a legal career later in life and became a federal prosecutor before entering politics. As the U.S. attorney for the Middle District of Pennsylvania from 2002 to 2007, he often focused on drug trafficking cases.

Trump tapped Marino in April 2017 to be head of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy, or the nation’s drug czar. Marino withdrew his nomination later that October, following reports about how a bill he sponsored, which later became law, made it harder for the Drug Enforcement Administration to go after opioid manufacturers who make suspicious sales.

Just last week, Marino introduced legislation to institute four-year terms for members of the House.

— CQ-Roll Call

MSU names Satish Udpa, a top-level MSU administrator, as interim president

Michigan State University’s board named Satish Udpa as its new interim president, replacing John Engler.

Engler resigned Wednesday, hours after the board scheduled a special Thursday morning meeting to fire him. Engler had said he would resign next Wedsnesday, but the board accepted his resignation effectively immediately. The move to accept Engler’s resignation and name Upda interim president was unamious. Trustee Melanie Foster, an Engler supporter, was not at the meeting.

“A wrong has been righted today,” an emotional board member Kelly Tebay, nearly in tears, said. “I’m sorry it took so long. Hopefully we restored some faith in your board.”

Udpa is currently the school’s executive vice president for administrative services, a post he’s held since 2013. Before that, he was the dean of the school of engineering for seven years.

In his current position he is in charge of the university’s human resources department; IT department; facilities department; office of planning and budgets; land management office and the Facility for Rare Isotope Beams.

“I’d like to thank Satish for being willing to step into this fiasco,” board member Brianna Scott said.

— Detroit Free Press

After 6 homicides in 11 days, Durham officials call for ‘common-sense gun laws’ in N.C.

DURHAM, N.C. — Durham officials called on state legislators Thursday to put in place “common-sense gun laws” in the aftermath of a rash of homicides in the first weeks of 2019.

Mayor Steve Schewel said it’s important to address the “root causes” of violence.

“First of all, and I have to mention this, we have got to have common-sense gun laws in this state,” he said.

Newly elected Durham County Sheriff Clarence Birkhead echoed the mayor, saying it’s too easy for young people to access guns.

Officials gathered Thursday to address the six homicides that occurred in Durham and Durham County in the first 11 days of the year. They tried to reassure the community that Durham is not a dangerous place, and the spate of homicides were outside the norm.

Durham saw a decrease in violent crime and gun violence last year, the mayor said. In 2018, violent crime in Durham dropped 13.5 percent and gun violence dropped 20 percent.

“I don’t want to lose sight of the big picture,” he said. “Durham is a safe city.”

Five of the recent homicides occurred in Durham, and one was in the county, Police Chief Cerlelyn “CJ” Davis said. Three of the five cases in Durham were domestic, she said, including the deaths of a 20-year-old woman and her 10-month old daughter.

— The News & Observer (Raleigh, N.C.)

Prince Philip, 97, uninjured after reportedly overturning his Range Rover in car accident

Prince Philip walked away unharmed but “shaken” from a car accident Thursday just outside of the queen’s private country home.

Buckingham Palace confirmed in a statement that the 97-year-old Duke of Edinburgh was involved in a two-vehicle accident near Sandringham Estate in Norfolk, England, about a three hours’ drive north of London.

The royal was not injured, and was given an all-clear by a doctor who saw him as a precaution.

The BBC reports Prince Philip was driving a Range Rover out of a driveway around 3 p.m. local time, and that his car overturned in the accident.

He was helped out of the vehicle by witnesses who later told the outlet the Duke was “very, very shocked” and shaken, but conscious.

Two people in the second vehicle were reportedly treated for minor injuries. It remains unclear whether the prince had any passengers in his car.

Prince Philip married Queen Elizabeth II, 92, in 1947, and retired from public life in August 2017.

He underwent a hip replacement in April, and was up and walking again by the next month, when he attended his grandson Prince Harry’s wedding to Meghan Markle.

— New York Daily News