Morocco Amends Controversial Rape Law


Originally posted on World:

Lawmakers in Morocco voted unanimously to amend an article of the penal code so that men who rape underage girls can no longer avoid prosecution by marrying their victims.

The move comes two years after 16-year-old Amini Filali committed suicide following her forced marriage to Moustapha Fellak, about 25 years old, who raped her. She claimed Fellak continued to abuse her, which he denied. Seven months after their marriage, Filali swallowed rat poison.

Her death sparked protests across the country and highlighted the different attitudes toward rape victims in rural and urban communities. One in four women in Morocco is a victim of violence, rights groups say, with the most vulnerable living in the countryside.

In some of the more conservative parts of Morocco, the BBC reports, an unmarried girl or woman who loses her virginity—even if she is raped—is viewed as a dishonor to her family and is no longer…

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Biden Urges Ukrainian President To Sue for Peace


Originally posted on World:

Vice President Joe Biden urged Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych to bring clashes between security forces and protesters to a swift end Thursday, hours before the embattled leader reached a tentative breakthrough with opposition leaders over the increasingly violent two-month standoff.

A Ukraine opposition leader said the odds of violence coming to an end were good, after productive talks with Yanukovych, the BBC reports.”We had the task of halting the bloodshed. The chance [of this] is very high,” said Arseniy Yatsenyuk.

Biden had encouraged Yanukovych to compromise with protestors, warning that “further bloodshed would have consequences for Ukraine’s relationship with the United States,” according to a statement from the White House.

At least two protesters were killed Wednesday.The protests began when Yanukovych pulled out of a treaty with the European Union to forge closer links with Russia.

– Zeke Miller contributed reporting. 

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NFL Player’s Killer Gets 57-Year Prison Sentence


Originally posted on U.S.:

A Florida man was sentenced to 57 years in prison Thursday for killing Washington Redskins star Sean Taylor during an attempted burglary in 2007.

Eric Rivera, 23, is one of five men charged in Taylor’s death, the Associated Press reports. Prosecutors say Rivera was the one who fired the shot that killed the NFL player, when the group broke into his home to steal cash.

Miami-Dade Circuit Judge Dennis Murphy ordered Rivera’s 57-year sentence.

Rivera initially admitted to police that he shot Taylor and his confession was recorded on video. He told police then that he and his accomplices did not expect Taylor would be at home with a knee injury, since the Redskins had a game at the time. During the trial, Rivera claimed that the confession was false and wrongly coerced.

Rivera was initially charged with first-degree murder, but could not receive the death penalty because he was…

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“Jury Decides Not To Indict Randall Kerrick, Officer Who Fatally Shot Jonathan Ferrell”


HUFFINGTON POST/BLACK VOICES

This combination of undated file photos provided by Florida A&M University and the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police shows Jonathan Ferrell, left, and police officer Randall Kerrick. A toxicology report released Friday, Nov. 1, 2013 shows the blood-alcohol level for Ferrell, an unarmed man fatally shot by a Kerrick, a Charlotte police officer was below the legal limit.(AP Photo/Florida A&M University, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police) | ASSOCIATED PRESS

This combination of undated file photos provided by Florida A&M University and the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police shows Jonathan Ferrell, left, and police officer Randall Kerrick. A toxicology report released Friday, Nov. 1, 2013 shows the blood-alcohol level for Ferrell, an unarmed man fatally shot by a Kerrick, a Charlotte police officer was below the legal limit.(AP Photo/Florida A&M University, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police) | ASSOCIATED PRESS

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“FBI questions Hoboken mayor’s aides, sources say” 1


MSNBC

By Michael Isikoff

FBI agents have begun questioning witnesses in the investigation into whether New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie’s aides threatened to cut off Hurricane Sandy relief money to Hoboken unless the city’s mayor backed a billion-dollar development project, three sources with direct knowledge of the probe told NBC News on Wednesday.

Federal prosecutors and agents have also instructed key witnesses to preserve all documents and emails relating to the allegations by Hoboken Mayor Dawn Zimmer, these sources said.

After Zimmer gave her account of the alleged threat to federal prosecutors on Sunday, federal agents questioned Dan Bryan, Zimmer’s chief of staff, and Juan Melli, her communications director, the sources said.

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“Jack Lew to John Boehner: Raise debt ceiling in February”


POLITICO

By Jake Sherman

The Obama administration wants Congress to raise the debt limit in the next 16 days.

Treasury Secretary Jack Lew sent a letter to Speaker John Boehner on Wednesday, saying the “best course of action would be for Congress to “raise the nation’s debt limit “before February 7 to ensure orderly financing of the government.” At the latest, Lew writes, Congress must lift the cap by the end of February.

“When I previously wrote to you in December, I estimated that Treasury would exhaust extraordinary measures in late February or early March,” Lew wrote to Boehner. “Based on our best and most recent information, we believe that Treasury is more likely to exhaust those measures in late February. While this forecast is subject to inherent variability, we do not foresee any reasonable scenario in which the extraordinary measures would last for an extended period of time.”

(Also on POLITICO: Even small ball too much for Congress)

There’s not a ton of time. The House is out of session this week and in session for only two-and-a-half days next week. As of right now, there doesn’t appear to be a plan to lift the debt limit. Asked last week whether Congress would have to deal with the debt limit by late February, Boehner demurred.

Read more: http://www.politico.com/story/2014/01/jack-lew-to-john-boehner-debt-ceiling-102488.html#ixzz2rDTQyfYy