House okays aid for churches hit by Hurricane
The House of Representatives has overwhelmingly approved legislation that would allow the use of federal money to rebuild churches and synagogues damaged by Hurricane Sandy, despite concern that such aid could violate the doctrine of separation of church and state. The bill, approved last week 354-72, had support from Roman Catholic and Jewish organizations. It was opposed by 66 Democrats and six Republicans. The prospects for the bill in the Senate are uncertain. The Federal Emergency Management Agency has generally refused to provide money to rebuild houses of worship. The House bill adds houses of worship to the list of private nonprofit organizations eligible for disaster relief.
Colo. House passes gun-control bills
Universal background checks and limits on the size of ammunition magazines passed the Colorado House on Monday as lawmakers tried to address recent mass shootings. The bills were among four that the Democratic-controlled House passed amid strong resistance from Republicans. The other bills would ban concealed firearms at colleges and stadiums, and require that gun purchasers pay for their own background checks. The bills now go to the Democratic-controlled Senate.
Lawmaker's body found in barrel
The body of a Russian lawmaker was found cemented in a barrel, and a former government official has been accused of ordering the killing over an $80 million debt, officials said Monday. Mikhail Pakhomov, 37, disappeared last week. He was a member of the local legislature in Lipetsk, a city about 215 miles south of Moscow. Authorities said Yevgeny Kharitonov, a former deputy minister for housing and utilities services in the Moscow region, is being held on suspicion of ordering the killing of Pakhomov.
Amazon fires firm after documentary
Online retailer Amazon reacted to criticism Monday by firing a security company named in a German TV documentary about alleged mistreatment of foreign temporary workers. An Amazon spokeswoman in Germany said in an email to the Associated Press that the company had ended its relationship with Hensel European Security Services. The documentary showed staff of the security company — whose initials spell out the surname of Adolf Hitler's deputy Rudolf Hess — wearing clothes linked to the neo-Nazi scene. The documentary interviewed temporary workers for Amazon who said they were intimidated by security guards.
Nigeria: A little-known Islamic extremist group, Ansaru, claimed responsibility Monday for the kidnapping of seven foreign workers in northern Nigeria, threatening their safety if anyone tried to free them.