Country responds to bill
Russian legislators have given initial approval to a bill that would impose sanctions on Americans accused of human rights violations. The measure, whose first reading in the lower house of parliament passed by a vote of 431-2, is a response to an American bill that President Barack Obama signed into law later Friday. The U.S. measure opens new export opportunities for Americans wanting to do business in Russia. But one section would punish Russian officials accused of human rights violations. The Russian bill does not specify what criteria would be used to assess human rights violations.
Dog is hero of the day
A dog trapped with other pets in a truck for several days alerted police in London, Ontario, by honking the horn. Police said Friday that the muzzled dog — along with two other dogs and two cats — had been left in deplorable conditions without proper care in the parked truck. The owners were charged Thursday with several counts of cruelty to animals. The animals have been taken in by the Humane Society.
Investigation to restart
A senior U.N. official announced progress Friday in long-stalled efforts to resume a probe of suspicions that Iran may have worked to develop nuclear arms, saying the investigation could be restarted by early next year. Herman Nackaerts of the International Atomic Energy Agency spoke of headway after returning from talks with Iranian officials in Tehran, saying his team was “able to make progress” and the IAEA expects to “start implementing” an agreement on the probe shortly after new talks in Tehran on Jan. 16.
7 sentenced in blaze
A Mexican government official says seven men have been sentenced to long prison terms for their roles in a Monterrey casino fire that killed 52 people last year. The official says a judge in Nuevo Leon state has sentenced six men to 75 years in prison and a seventh to 100 years. Mexican law stipulates that none will serve more than 60 years. Seven others are awaiting trial.
Compiled from wire reports.