U.S. sanctions separatists
The Trump administration said Friday it will punish 21 people and nine companies with sanctions over Russia’s actions in Ukraine and annexation of Crimea. Eleven of the individuals are Ukrainian pro-Russian separatists, the Treasury Department said. They hold titles such as minister of finance, trade, justice and security in the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic and Luhansk People’s Republic in eastern Ukraine. The U.S. is also targeting several Russian officials, including Andrey Cherezov, a deputy energy minister in President Vladimir Putin’s government.
Report: Top cop helped cartel
The newly appointed national police chief in Honduras, a key ally in the U.S. war on drugs, helped a cartel leader pull off the delivery of nearly a ton of cocaine, according to a confidential security report obtained by the Associated Press. Chief Jose David Aguilar Moran, who was sworn in last week, called off local cops who had just busted a truckload of cocaine escorted by police officers in 2013, the report says. Aguilar, who was working his way up department ranks at the time, ordered the lower-level officers to let the drugs and cops go, which they did. The U.S. street value of the cocaine involved could have topped $20 million. Cartel boss Wilter Blanco, who was running the drugs, was later caught with another cocaine load, extradited to the U.S. and is serving 20 years in U.S. prison.
2,300 prisoners pardoned
A restive region in Ethiopia says it has pardoned 2,345 prisoners as part of the government’s recent pledge to release jailed politicians and others after the most serious anti-government protests in a quarter-century. Oromia region spokesman Addisu Arega said in a Facebook post that more than 1,500 of the prisoners had been convicted, while the rest had been under investigation. They were accused of taking part in violent protests. The government says those pardoned are expected to be released in “a few days” after taking rehabilitation courses.
Ban on ‘Polish death camps’
The lower house of the Polish parliament approved a bill Friday that prescribes prison time for defaming the nation by using phrases such as “Polish death camps” to refer to the killing sites like Auschwitz that Nazi Germany operated in occupied Poland during World War II. The bill passed Friday is a response to cases in recent years of foreign media using “Polish death camps.” Many news organizations are sensitive to the issue and ban the language, but it nonetheless crops up in foreign statements. President Barack Obama used it in 2012, prompting outrage in Poland. Many Poles fear such phrasing makes people incorrectly conclude Poles had a role in running the camps. The bill still needs the Senate’s and president’s OK.
Beacon Journal/Ohio.com wires
World news briefs, Jan. 27: Ethiopia says it pardoned 2,345 political prisoners