Kiev Burns: New York Times: “Mayhem gripped the center of the Ukrainian capital on Tuesday evening as riot police officers moved on protesters massed behind barriers raised throughout Independence Square, the focal point of more than two months of protests against President Viktor F. Yanukovych. As the attack began just before 8 p.m. local time, the police tried to drive two armored personnel carriers through stone-reinforced barriers outside the Khreschatyk Hotel in the square. But they became bogged down and, set upon by protesters wielding rocks and fireworks, burst into flames, apparently trapping the security officers inside and prompting desperate rescue efforts from their colleagues.” Live-feed.
Bloodiest Day Yet: Associated Press: “Police said six officers were killed in the clashes, and Olha Bilyk, spokeswoman for the Kiev city police, told The Associated Press that seven civilians died, including three who were shot.”
A Push From Putin? Reuters: “The riot police moved in hours after Moscow gave Ukraine $2 billion in aid which it had been holding back to demand decisive action to crush the protests. Nationwide protests against Yanukovich erupted in November after he bowed to Russian pressure and pulled out of a planned far-reaching trade agreement with the European Union, deciding instead to accept a Kremlin bailout for the heavily indebted economy. In what has become a geo-political tussle redolent of the Cold War, the United States and its Western allies are urging Yanukovich to turn back to Europe and the prospect of an IMF-supported economic recovery, while Russia accuses them of meddling.”
CBO on Wage Hike: Wonkblog: “The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office is out with a new report on President Obama’s proposal to raise the minimum wage from $7.25 to $10.10 an hour by 2016, and its most important finding is this: “The increase in the minimum wage would have two principal effects on low-wage workers: The large majority would have higher wages and family income, but a much smaller group would be jobless and have much lower family income.” More specifically, the CBO found that raising the minimum wage to $10.10 an hour (and then indexing it to inflation) would reduce employment by between a very small amount and 1 million workers, with the agency’s best guess being about 500,000 workers. … At the same time, the report finds that about 16.5 million low-wage Americans would see an increase in their earnings as a result of the hike in the minimum wage. A much smaller number of higher-wage earners would also see a jump in income, the CBO said.”
Dunn’s Jailhouse Calls: ABC News: “Prosecutors released audio Monday of several jailhouse calls placed by Michael Dunn—the man at the center of another controversial Florida trial—shedding new light on his mindset in the initial days after he fatally shot 17-year-old Jordan Davis over a confrontation over loud music. ‘I’m the [expletive deleted] victim here. I was the one who was victimized,’ says Dunn, 47, in one of the calls in which he appeared to chuckle while speaking about his predicament. ‘I’m the victor but I was the victim too.’ … Prosecutors accused Dunn of killing Davis in a convenience store parking lot after they got into an argument over loud music. Jurors found Dunn guilty on four of five charges for shooting at Davis’ friends, who were also in the car, as well as firing a gun into a car in the 2012 incident. However, jurors could not agree on the first-degree murder charge for shooting Davis, prompting a mistrial on that count.”
Feds See Sexism in Montanta Criminal System: Los Angeles Times: “The U.S. Department of Justice says it has uncovered ‘substantial evidence’ that sexism in a Montana county attorney’s office has led to prosecutors dropping rape cases and belittling victims. In a 20-page letter sent to Missoula County Atty. Fred Van Valkenburg, federal attorneys said rape victims had been ‘treated with disrespect, not informed of the status of their case, and re-victimized by the process.’ For example, federal officials said, when one mother asked a county attorney why an adolescent boy who assaulted her 5-year-old daughter had only received two years of community service, the attorney responded, ‘boys will be boys.’ Federal investigators added that Missoula prosecutors had failed to pursue “nearly every case” where a mentally or physically disabled woman claimed sexual assault, ‘even in cases where there was evidence such as a confession or incriminating statements by the perpetrator.’ … In response, Van Valkenburg, the county attorney, told the Los Angeles Times that the Department of Justice’s letter sent on Friday was ‘replete with falsities.’”
Deaf Man Says He Was Beaten By Police: CBS News: “An architect is suing a southern California police department after officers placed him in handcuffs, beat him and shocked him with a stun gun–all because they mistook his sign language for threatening gestures, he says. Jonathan Meister, who is deaf and does not speak, was stopped by officers last February as he was retrieving some belongings he had stored on an ex-roommate’s porch…. Someone saw Meister taking the items, thought the situation looked suspicious and called police, the station reports. Officers met Meister on the sidewalk, where he ‘tried to tell them that he was deaf, using gestures to explain that he was there to pick up his stuff, but it didn’t seem like they understood,’ Meister’s attorney Anna Rivera said told CBS Los Angeles. … Officers said he began to struggle when they handcuffed him. … Meister was initially charged with assaulting officers but the charges were later dropped.”
Obama’s New Fuel Rules: USA Today: “President Obama announced Tuesday that his administration will begin developing the next phase of tighter fuel efficiency standards for medium and heavy-duty vehicles. The announcement … follows his State of the Union pledge last month to set new fuel standards for trucks ‘so we can keep driving down oil and imports and what we pay at the pump.’ The president ordered the Environmental Protection Agency and Transportation Department’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to develop and issue new fuel-efficiency and greenhouse gas standards by March 31, 2016. … Although heavy-duty vehicles account for just 4% of registered vehicles on the road in the USA, they account for approximately 25% of road-fuel use and greenhouse gas emissions coming from the transportation sector.”
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