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Mr. Duncan, the former head of Chicago’s public schools, was a key adviser for the gun-control package the White House released this week in the wake of the Newtown, Conn., elementary-school shootings.

He said those efforts, including 23 executive orders President Obama signed on Wednesday, were a good step. But Mr. Duncan added: “This was only a first step.”


First lady launches new Twitter account: FLOTUS

Trying to find Michelle Obama on Twitter? Try tweeting her at @FLOTUS, which is Washington shorthand for “first lady of the United States.”

Mrs. Obama’s office unveiled her new Twitter identity on Thursday, largely to replace a previous Twitter account under the handle of @Michelle Obama. That account was launched a year ago and run by President Obama’s re-election team. It will now be managed by the Democratic National Committee.

The site’s initial tweet promised updates and pictures. Tweets by the first lady herself will be signed “-mo.”

Followers also were asked to re-tweet that initial message to wish Mrs. Obama a happy birthday. She turned 49 on Thursday.


Chu becomes latest to leave Obama Cabinet

Energy Secretary Steven Chu, whose stormy tenure was marred by his support for loans to Solyndra before the solar-panel maker went bankrupt, will announce his departure from the Obama administration as soon as next week.

Bloomberg News, citing two sources, said a replacement for Mr. Chu has not been identified.

His departure will leave the administration with multiple vacancies in top administration jobs dealing with energy policy. Interior Secretary Kenneth L. Salazar and EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson also are leaving.

Mr. Chu, who said in 2008 that gas prices in the U.S. should rise to European levels to encourage fuel efficiency, faced criticism through much of Mr. Obama’s first term over his support of Solyndra’s $535 million U.S. loan guarantee and other clean-energy projects.

• From wire dispatches and staff reports