Alleged murderer tries to flee as vote revokes his parliamentary immunity

Rauf Arashukov, a senator representing the Karachayevo-Cherkessia region of Russia’s Northern Caucasus, attends a session of the Federation Council in Moscow on April 12, 2017. (Photo by Peter KASSIN / Kommersant Photo / AFP) /

MOSCOW, Jan 30 (Reuters) – A Russian lawmaker was arrested on Wednesday during a session of parliament. After a failed attempt to flee the chamber, Rauf Arashukov was led away to face questions about two murders.

The dramatic action came after Russia’s senior prosecutor showed up at the plenary session and unexpectedly made the case for the arrest of the 32-year-old Arashukov, Russia’s youngest senator.

The lawmaker tried to leave through the spectator gallery when his colleagues abruptly voted to strip him of his parliamentary immunity, the house speaker said.

“He tried to get up and leave the session. I told him to stay put,” Federation Council Speaker Valentina Matvienko said.

Arashukov was later shown in footage released by the Investigative Committee being led in handcuffs by security officers to a detention facility from a van.

The committee said Arashukov was being questioned as a suspect in the 2010 murders of a youth activist and an adviser to the head of the southern Russian region of Karachaevo-Cherkessiya.

Arashukov denies the accusations, his lawyer was quoted by RIA news agency as saying.

Investigators said Arashukov, who represents the minority Russian Karachaevo-Cherkessiya region in the upper house, was having difficulties with the Russian language and had asked for an interpreter.

Arashukov is the first sitting Russian senator to be detained on murder charges, Bloomberg News said, though Igor Izmestyev was arrested in 2007, the year after he left the senate. Izmestyev received a life sentence for organizing contract killings.

(Reporting by Tom Balmforth; editing by Angus MacSwan)

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Source:: The Mercury News – Nation, World


Camp Fire: Residents in burn area may be forced to leave homes again or risk losing $1.7 billion in funding

PARADISE — Previously passed laws in Butte County and the Town of Paradise allowing Camp Fire victims to live on property with burned debris may jeopardize $1.7 billion in federal funding for debris removal, according to a letter from the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

In a letter dated Jan. 24, FEMA’s Federal Coordinating Officer David Samaniego told California Office of Emergency Services Acting Deputy Director Eric Lamoureux that allowing Paradise and unincorporated Butte County residents to reoccupy their property prior to fire debris and hazardous materials being removed is in contrast to a warning issued in December by Butte County Health Officer Dr. Andy Miller.

“Allowing residents to place temporary housing units/RVs/similar housing structures may impact the justification for (private property debris removal) related activities and federal reimbursement of PPDR costs,” wrote Samaniego in the letter, “as the FEMA approved justification for the reimbursement of PPDR costs is based on State and County’s identified need to ‘eliminate immediate threats to life, public health, and safety.’”

Approximately 130 residents in the Town of Paradise and Butte County combined have already received pull permits for electricity and other utilities, and as of Monday, Lamoureux reported to the Butte County Board of Supervisors that more than 8,100 people had given Right of Entry access to FEMA for the debris removal program.Related Articles

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Source:: The Mercury News – Nation, World


U.S. Sen. Rand Paul gets $580,000 after neighbor broke his ribs

By Andrew Hay | Reuters

A Kentucky jury has awarded U.S. Senator Rand Paul more than $580,000 in damages against a next-door neighbor who broke six of the Republican lawmaker’s ribs in a gardening dispute.

The neighbor, Rene Boucher, 60, pleaded guilty last year to tackling Paul, 56, in November, 2017.

Boucher said he’d “had enough” of the senator’s habit of piling up garden rubbish along the border of their properties in Bowling Green, Kentucky.

Boucher, who received a 30-day prison sentence in June and paid a fine of $10,000, will appeal Wednesday’s verdict, said his lawyer Matt Baker.

“We need to send a clear message that violence is not the answer — anytime, anywhere,” Paul wrote on social network Twitter on Wednesday evening. “We can hold different views,whether it’s politics, religion or day-to-day matters.”

Boucher, who, like Paul, is a physician, said the attack was not politically motivated.

He saw Paul blowing leaves onto his yard with a lawn mower and ran onto his property and tackled him, he said in court documents. The politician caught pneumonia from his injuries.

The jury awarded Paul $375,000 in punitive damages and $200,000 for pain and suffering, plus $7,834 for medical expenses.

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Source:: The Mercury News – Nation, World


Polar vortex hits Midwest: ‘Avoid the outdoors’

By Katie Mettler, Amy B Wang, Angela Fritz and Alex Horton | Washington Post

MADISON, Wis. – Winter. Is. Here.

Across the Midwest on Wednesday, people awoke to a relentless, bone-deep freeze, with extreme temperatures that would have been sobering even without the appendage of a minus sign. It was colder than Alaska’s North Slope in many places, including Park Rapids, Minnesota, where temperatures dropped for three hours to minus-42 degrees, with wind chills of minus-65 – making the city the coldest reporting location in the Lower 48 as of Wednesday afternoon.

The mercury is forecast to rise slightly before plummeting to even colder lows early Thursday.

“Please avoid the outdoors,” Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel cautioned. “If you have to go out, dress in multiple layers. Cover your nose and mouth to protect your lungs from the cold.”

With few exceptions, officials across the Midwest encouraged people to stay indoors at all costs – and for many, there would be little choice but to do so.

From Minnesota to Michigan, the polar vortex brought with it a slew of school closures, mail service interruptions and airline flight cancellations. Scores of restaurants, grocery stores and coffee shops shuttered for the day. In Chicago, “Disney on Ice” and the musical “Hamilton” were among many to go dark Wednesday; in this weather, the show could not go on.

There was ample reason for caution, officials warned. Nearly 90 million people are likely to experience temperatures at or below zero in the Midwest and New England, according to the National Weather Service; 25 million of them will face temperatures below minus-20 – dips that when combined with wind can cause near-instant frostbite.

The historic cold already had been blamed for at least one death, in Minnesota, earlier in the week. With a dangerous, 48-hour deep freeze descending on the Midwest, governors in …read more

Source:: The Mercury News – Nation, World


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