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Colin Jeffery

Colin Jeffery

White House urges Putin to back down in Crimea

Sunday, 16 March 2014 09:14 Published in National News

WASHINGTON (AP) — The White House says that if Russian President Vladimir Putin doesn't back down in Crimea, he will face penalties from the West that will hurt the Russian economy and diminish Moscow's influence in the world.

White House senior adviser Dan Pfeiffer also says supporting the new Ukrainian government "in every way possible" is at the top of the Obama's administration's priority list.

But action on $1 billion in loan guarantees to Ukraine is on hold because Congress is on a break now.

Pfeiffer tells NBC's "Meet the Press" that Putin has a choice: "Is he going to continue to further isolate himself, further hurt his economy, further diminish Russian influence in the world, or is he going to do the right thing?"

EAST ST. LOUIS, Ill. (AP) — An East St. Louis man is jailed on $1 million bond after being accused in a shooting death last month.

The Belleville News-Democrat reports that St. Clair County prosecutors charged 20-year-old Montrell Spencer this week with first-degree murder.

Authorities say 49-year-old Leon Lucas Junior of East St. Louis was killed February 22nd during an altercation.

Spencer was arrested Monday by officers who responded to a home in connection with a reported domestic dispute. Police say that after being arrested on suspicion of domestic battery, investigators learned he was suspected in Lucas' death.

Online court records don't show whether he has an attorney. He has an unlisted home telephone number.

Bill seeks lower bar for Sunshine Law enforcement

Sunday, 16 March 2014 09:11 Published in Local News

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — Running afoul of Missouri's open government laws could carry a smaller financial penalty but no longer require proof the law was knowingly broken under legislation before a Senate committee.

Officials or agencies now can pay up to $5,000 for a purposeful violation and up to $1,000 for a "knowing" violation. The Senate legislation would reduce the amount of the lesser penalty to $100 and no longer require a violation be committed "knowingly" for there to be punishment.

Supporters say the changes would make enforcement of the Sunshine Law just like that of other statutes.

Organizations representing cities, counties and other local governments are critical. They question levying penalties against people who can be volunteers and who accidently violate an open meeting or public records requirement while serving their communities.

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