Friday December 28, 2012

WASHINGTON -- District of Columbia police say they are investigating an incident in which NBC News journalist David Gregory displayed what he described as a high-capacity ammunition magazine on "Meet the Press."

Gun laws in the nation's capital generally restrict the possession of high-capacity magazines, regardless of whether the device is attached to a firearm. Gregory held up the magazine as a prop for Sunday's segment, apparently to make a point during an interview, even though D.C. police say NBC had already been advised not to use it in the show.

"NBC contacted (the Metropolitan Police Department) inquiring if they could utilize a high capacity magazine for their segment. NBC was informed that possession of a high capacity magazine is not permissible and their request was denied. This matter is currently being investigated," police spokeswoman Gwendolyn Crump said in a written statement. She declined to comment further.

While interviewing National Rifle Association CEO Wayne LaPierre for Sunday's program, Gregory held up an object that he said was a magazine that could hold 30 rounds.

"Here is a magazine for ammunition that carries 30 bullets. Now, isn't it possible that if we got rid of these, if we replaced them and said, 'Well, you can only have a magazine that carries five bullets or ten bullets,' isn't it just possible that we could reduce the carnage in a situation like Newtown?" Gregory asked, referring to the December 14 shooting in which a gunman massacred 20 children and 6 adults at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut.

LaPierre replied: "I don't believe that's going to make one difference. There are so many different ways to evade that even if you had that" ban.

It was not clear how or where Gregory obtained the magazine.

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LONDON -- Britain's public spending watchdog says it will investigate severance packages at the BBC in the wake of a highly-criticized payout to the broadcaster's former director general.

The probe comes after a group of British lawmakers accused the BBC of being cavalier with taxpayers' money by paying 450,000 pounds ($730,000) in severance to George Entwistle -- double the amount he was entitled to -- when he quit last month over the BBC's disastrous handling of fallout from the Jimmy Savile sex abuse scandal.

Barry Lester, a spokesman for the National Audit Office, said the watchdog had written to the BBC saying it wanted to look at Entwistle's payout and that the broadcaster had responded by asking the NAO to undertake a wider study in 2013 on its severance packages.

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NEW YORK -- British fans of "Downton Abbey" are feeling blue after Tuesday's conclusion of Season 3, even as the U.S. audience eagerly anticipates this third cycle on PBS' "Masterpiece" beginning Jan. 6.

(Any "Abbey" devotees who prefer not to learn what awaits them should stop reading right now)

One of the stars of this wildly popular British costume drama is leaving the series after its third season. Dan Stevens had opted not to continue beyond his initial commitment, the British network ITV confirmed.

His character, Matthew Crawley, has been written out with what ITV called an "untimely and tragic death" in the season finale. That episode will air in the U.S. in February.