Thursday, December 14, 2017
News Roundup

House panel to investigate prisoner swap

Washington

House panel to investigate prisoner swap

The House Armed Services Committee will investigate the Obama administration's swap of an American prisoner held for five years for five Taliban leaders that caused a political firestorm over the lack of congressional notification and fears the high-level Taliban could return to the Afghanistan battlefield. "We ought to look at the price," Rep. Howard "Buck" McKeon, R-Calif., chairman of the panel, told reporters after administration officials held a tense 90-minute, closed-door briefing for House Democrats and Republicans on Monday. Officials from the White House, State and Defense departments and the intelligence community defended the exchange of Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, who was captured in June 2009 in Afghanistan after he disappeared from his infantry unit, for five Taliban militants from the U.S. military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. In the week since the deal, lawmakers have raised questions about whether Bergdahl was a deserter and whether the United States gave up too much for his freedom.

Ukraine

Police officers sent to areas in east

As sporadic firefights continued between Ukrainian troops and separatists, the government announced Monday that it was deploying police officers to the east and would fire those who refuse to go. Interior Minister Arsen Avakov said in a statement that he was ordering in the police out of necessity and as "a test of proficiency, spirit and patriotism." He said their willingness to serve in the east will help instill trust in the institution, long seen as corrupt.

Washington

Court defers on visa applications

The Supreme Court ruled Monday that the vast majority of immigrant children who turn 21 while awaiting approval of their families' visa applications must restart a process that takes years. The divided court deferred to the Obama administration's reading of a law passed in 2002 that attempted to bring order to the immigration process, in which there are far more applications than available spots. Justice Elena Kagan said the decision would primarily affect nieces, nephews and grandchildren of citizens and legal permanent residents who are trying to reunite their families.

Oklahoma City

Body returned without heart

The body of an Oklahoma inmate who died after a botched execution of what corrections officials have said was an apparent heart attack was returned from an independent autopsy without the heart or larynx, a state medical official said Monday. The Dallas County Medical Examiner's Office, which is conducting an independent autopsy on the body of inmate Clayton Lockett, retained the body parts, a practice that is not uncommon, said Amy Elliott, a spokeswoman for the Oklahoma Medical Examiner's Office.

Detroit

Automakers will help save city's art

The Detroit Institute of Arts announced Monday that the nation's three major automakers would donate a combined $26 million to help save the city's art collection, bringing the city a step closer to completing a deal aimed at coming out of bankruptcy by fall. The Ford Motor Co. and General Motors each committed to giving $10 million to help the institute raise $100 million to ease pension cuts for city retirees. Chrysler, the smallest of the three U.S. automakers, will contribute $6 million.

Times wires

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