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Showing posts from November, 2015
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Protests Continue In Russia And Turkey

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Demonstrators, holding a Syrian opposition flag and a defaced poster of Russia's President Vladimir Putin, shout slogans during an anti-Russian protest in Istanbul, Nov. 27, 2015. A slogan in Turkish and Russian on the poster reads: "Killer Putin!" Reuters/Murad Sezer Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan was burned in effigy Friday during a protest as tensions continue to mount between Ankara and Moscow, AFP reported. Anti-Turkey rallies were held in Moscow and Crimea with shouts of “down with ISIS [the Islamic State group]” as Erdogan again warned the Kremlin over its actions in the region and Moscow backed away from the idea of a grand coalition to fight ISIS.

“It is playing with fire to go as far as mistreating our citizens who have gone to Russia,” Erdogan said Friday, commenting on reports that Turkish businessmen had been detained in Russia. “We really attach a lot of importance to our relations with Russia ... We…

Hundreds of Russian truck drivers head to Moscow for protest

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By Irina Titova


ST. PETERSBURG, Russia (AP) -- Hundreds of the Russian truck drivers who have been protesting around the country were driving their rigs toward Moscow on Sunday to demand that the government cancel a new road tax, one protest leader said.
The truck drivers, many of whom own and operate their vehicles, say the hefty road tax for long-distance haulers threatens to put them out of business. They have little faith that the money will go toward maintaining Russia's notoriously bad roads.

Alexander Rastorguyev, one of the leaders of the protesting drivers in St. Petersburg, said Sunday that more than 200 trucks were driving toward Moscow to take part in a demonstration on the outskirts of the capital on Monday. He said they would be joined by others from other parts of Russia.

In some regions, however, local authorities have blocked trucks from traveling to Moscow. Rastorguyev said he was unable to join the St. Petersburg truckers because he was detained by police for severa…

Montenegro's NATO Bid

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By Charles Recknagel

Pro-Russian parties in Montenegro are stoking unrest in an apparent bid to sabotage Podgorica's hopes of receiving an invitation from NATO next week to join the alliance.

For weeks, pro-Russian protesters led by the right-wing New Serbian Democracy (NOVA) party, have taken to the streets of Podgorica to demand the resignation of Prime Minister Milo Djukanovic and either snap elections or an interim government.

Djukanovic, who refuses to step down, has accused Russia and Serbia of instigating the turmoil in the run-up to the meeting of NATO's foreign ministers in Brussels on December 1-2.

He has suggested the goal is to make Montenegro look unstable, discouraging NATO from taking it in. The alliance itself has not committed to issuing an invitation but has offered Podgorica strong encouragement in its quest to become a member while linking progress to reforms.

Asked by media earlier this month to explain why he accuses Moscow over the protests, Djukanovic said,…

Police engaged in sex acts with hookers and you're footing the bill

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By Steve Russell

One of many problems with policing private sexual conduct is that the government has to gather evidence. Minnesota Public Radio reported that the Minneapolis Police Department has had prostitution cases tossed out on the basis of “outrageous governmental conduct” because the male police officers trolling for cases in massage parlors actually engaged in sex acts to “gather evidence.”

When I was an active judge in Texas, the Houston Police Department was doing the same, but they had an excuse. They were not going for misdemeanor prostitution arrests but rather the felony of keeping a house of prostitution, which required making several prostitution cases at the same location. If officers made a deal and did not go though with it, the owner would catch on. The “outrageous governmental conduct” argument did not work in Texas, so the police were allowed to have their sex and prosecute it too.

“It’s a hard job,” my cousin Ray Sixkiller snickered, “but somebody has to do it.”

Th…

Police bust online gun ring, seize 1,180 guns

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SHANGHAI (Reuters) - Police in China, where gun possession by ordinary people is illegal, have busted an online gun selling operation, seizing 1,180 guns and more than 6 million bullets, the state news agency Xinhua reported on Saturday.

A seven-month investigation that started when police happened across suspected gun parts in a package netted 18 people involved in the sale of guns in China via a website hosted on a U.S. server, Xinhua said.
The gun selling ring had made more than 4 million yuan ($625,537) in profit since 2012, according to a police officer quoted by Xinhua.

The manufacture and sale of guns is strictly regulated in China and individuals can be sentenced to up to seven years in prison if convicted of illegally possessing a gun. With such strict controls, private gun ownership is almost unheard of and gun crime is rare.
In April, police found items believed to be gun components in a package when inspecting a courier service, Xinhu…

Los Angeles considers 'john letters' to fight prostitution

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LOS ANGELES (AP) — A Los Angeles City Hall proposal to send "john letters" to the owners of cars seen in areas known for prostitution has drawn criticism from a California civil liberties group.

The City Council voted Wednesday to have the city attorney's office analyze the proposal to use license numbers to determine who owns the vehicles.

The letters would be written to discourage those who were soliciting prostitutes from returning to the area while posing no harm to those who were there for legitimate reasons, Councilwoman Nury Martinez said.

"If you aren't soliciting, you have no reason to worry about finding one of these letters in your mailbox," she said.

The collection of license plate data is opposed by the nonprofit Electronic Frontier Foundation, the Los Angeles Daily News reported (http://bit.ly/1R8w0Ns).

The San Francisco-based foundation has an ongoing lawsuit against the Los Angeles Police Department and the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Depart…

FBI identifies marijuana distribution ring

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By Alfonso Chardy

A chance encounter in June between a U.S. government source and a drug-trafficking suspect eventually led to the discovery of a hydroponic marijuana distribution ring in South Florida, according to federal court documents in Miami.

It also led to the arrest of an 18-year-old Fort Lauderdale resident, Jordan Campo, who allegedly had links to the drug distribution ring that imported high-grade hydroponic marijuana from California and Colorado, according to a criminal complaint filed by an FBI special agent.


The arrest of Campo in late October opened a window into what could be a national hydroponic marijuana distribution system featuring growers on the West Coast and distributors in South Florida, according to the complaint.

The case against Campo began in June when an FBI informant met a drug-trafficking suspect identified in the criminal complaint only by the initials V.B.

“V.B. was involved in the importation of high-grade hydroponic marijuana from primarily California …

Arrested journalists urge EU not to compromise on rights in Turkey talks

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Istanbul (AFP) - Two Turkish journalists charged with "spying" over their reports about Ankara's alleged arms supplies to Syrian rebels urged the EU on Saturday not to compromise on human rights and press freedom as it looks to Turkey to help stem Europe's migrant crisis.

European Union and Turkish leaders including Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu will meet in Brussels on Sunday in a bid to complete a deal aimed at stemming the flow of refugees from Syria into the bloc.
Turkey hosts more than two million Syrian refugees and is the main gateway for people trying to get to the EU, via the short sea crossing to the Greek islands.
Writing from the Silivri prison near Istanbul, the opposition Cumhuriyet daily's editor-in-chief Can Dundar and Ankara bureau chief Erdem Gul said they hoped the meeting would produce a lasting solution to the crisis "that has concerned and touched all our hearts."
But they added: "We would also hope that your desire to end the c…

Burger King manager: Police erased video of Chicago shooting

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CHICAGO (AP) — A Burger King manager who accuses Chicago police of erasing surveillance video in the case of a black teenager shot last year by a white officer says he has testified before a federal grand jury investigating the shooting. Jay Darshane told the Chicago Tribune (http://trib.in/1Ndp2AT ) that the FBI also took the video recorder containing all of the restaurant's surveillance images.
It's not clear what that video might have shown, but the accusation of tampering has fueled the anger of protesters who say the city, the police and local prosecutors have mishandled the case. After months of refusals, the city released police squad car video of the shooting on Tuesday in response to a judge's order. But both the police chief and the Cook County state's attorney deny the Burger King video was altered.

The Burger King is just yards from where 17-year-old Laquan McDonald fell when the first few rounds struck him. It took just minutes for police to demand to see the…

Thousands attend protests against UK airstrikes on Syria

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Thousands of people gathered outside Downing Street and in cities around the UK on Saturday to protest against the government’s plans to bomb Islamic State targets in Syria.

The protests, organized at short notice by the Stop the War Coalition, followed renewed calls for military action against the terror group in the wake of the attacks in Paris two weeks ago.

Parliament is expected to vote on the issue as early as next week after David Cameron urged MPs to back military action. Jeremy Corbyn, the Labour leader, has said the government has failed to make a convincing case for airstrikes.

A stretch of Whitehall was brought to a near standstill by the protest outside Downing Street, which passed off peacefully. The actor Mark Rylance, musician Brian Eno and the shadow international development minister, Diane Abbott, were among the speakers at the event.

About 4,000 people attended the demonstration. Stop the War said before the event that up to 8,000 people were expected to …

Chicago police union stands by cop charged with murdering teen

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CHICAGO (Reuters) - The main Chicago police union is standing behind the white officer who was charged this week with first-degree murder for gunning down a black teenager. It is facing a backlash from leaders of the city’s black community as a result.

On its website, the Chicago lodge of the Fraternal Order of Police (FOP), has posted a bail fund appeal for the officer, Jason Van Dyke, who is accused of shooting 17-year-old Laquan McDonald 16 times just six seconds after emerging from his patrol car on a street in Chicago on Oct. 20, 2014. An earlier link on the FOP's front page to a GoFundMe campaign was removed after the fundraising site said it violated a policy against its use by criminal defendants.


The FOP also is paying the lawyer representing Van Dyke, Daniel Herbert, himself a former FOP member the union pays to represent Chicago cops in misconduct cases. Funding such a defense is a common practice among U.S. police unions. 
The FOP’s support for Van Dyke appears to have su…

Putin, citing national security, signs Turkey sanctions decree

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By Andrew Osborn and Polina Devitt
MOSCOW (Reuters) - President Vladimir Putin signed a decree imposing a raft of punitive economic sanctions against Turkey on Saturday, underlining the depth of the Kremlin's anger toward Ankara four days after Turkey shot down a Russian warplane.
The decree, which entered into force immediately, said charter flights from Russia to Turkey would be banned, that tour firms would be told not to sell any holidays there, and that unspecified Turkish imports would be outlawed, and Turkish firms and nationals have their economic activities halted or curbed.

"The circumstances are unprecedented. The gauntlet thrown down to Russia is unprecedented. So naturally the reaction is in line with this threat," Dmitry Peskov, Putin's spokesman, said hours before the decree was published.

A senior Turkish official told Reuters the sanctions would only worsen the standoff between Moscow and Ankara.

But aides to Pu…
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