Russian band calls for U.S. sanctions
Two members of the Russian dissident punk group Pussy Riot came to the Capitol on Tuesday and asked members of Congress to add 16 officials to the list of Russian human rights violators who face U.S. sanctions. Before a throng of cameras and reporters, the women — Nadezhda Tolokonnikova and Maria Alekhina — said Russian President Vladimir Putin's crackdown on human rights was damaging that country. The pair was arrested in 2012 after an obscenity-laced performance criticizing Putin at Moscow's main cathedral. They spent nearly two years in prison, but since their release have continued decrying the lack of freedom in Russia. The 16 people the women want sanctioned include Russia's interior minister. By law, the United States can freeze assets and ban travel to the United States of Russians deemed to be human rights abusers. At least 18 Russians are now on the list.
Uruguay signs off on marijuana plan
President Jose Mujica of Uruguay signed the long-awaited rules for the country's legal pot marketplace Tuesday, beginning a rollout that should stock pharmacies with government-approved marijuana cigarettes for sale by year's end. By putting his government at the center of a legal marijuana industry, Mujica hopes to keep otherwise law-abiding citizens away from organized crime and treat addiction as a public health challenge rather than a law enforcement threat. Opinion polls suggest most Uruguayans are against the pot plan. The rules establish that the state will sell five varieties of pot, with no more than 15 percent THC, the substance that makes people high.
Motorcycle deaths down last year
A cool, wet start to last year kept many motorcyclists off the road, making 2013 only the second year since 1997 that fatal bike crashes have declined, according to a report by the Governors Highway Safety Association. The report projects a 7 percent decrease in the number of motorcyclists killed last year. The final fatality total is expected to be 4,610, down from 4,957 in 2012 and nearly identical to the 2011 figure of 4,612. The association collects statistics from the state safety officers who make up its membership.