Thursday, March 17, 2011
EKB Capsule News...Kentucky...3-18-'11
- Fifty-two year old Croatian-born Azra Bašic (BOSH), a woman who was arrested by U.S. Marshals Tuesday in Stanton, Kentucky made her first appearance in federal court in Lexington Thursday accused of war crimes against ethnic Serb civilians during the Bosnian Civil War in 1992. U.S. Magistrate Judge Robert E. Wier set an April 1st date to decide when to hold an extradition hearing. Assistant U.S. Attorney James Arehart wrote in a complaint requesting extradition that Bašic is wanted in Europe on charges of murder and torture. Bašic is accused of killing at least one person and torturing others at three camps from April to June 1992. Witnesses say Bašic forced one man to drink gasoline, another to drink human blood and carved crosses into the flesh of a third man. Bosnian authorities charged Bašic in January 1993 as an unknown, using witness statements, medical examinations and forensic experts between 1992 and 2001 to identify her. Interpol traced Bašic to Kentucky in 2004 and an international arrest warrant went out in 2006. Witness said the Croatian military took ethnic Serbs from the Cardak settlement around April 26, 1992 and subsequently tortured them.
- Jason Singleton, 34, who is facing murder charges in the death of his wife, 25 year old Angela Frazer Singleton, was indicted by a Pulaski County grand jury March 7th on four counts of kidnapping, one count of first-degree burglary, one count of first-degree criminal mischief and one count of theft by unlawful taking of an automobile. On January 20th, he took several people hostage at the Super Service in Somerset before he surrendered to police after a stand-off of around 20 to 25 minutes. Singleton is now being held on a $500,000 cash or $1 million property bond. When he is extradited to jail in Madison County for murder, Singleton will be held on a $1 million bond.
- Kentucky Senator Mitch McConnell has called on the government to take action against increasing gas prices. After a crackdown on protesters in Bahrain Thursday, oil prices soared more than 3 percent, climbing back above $101 per barrel. The rebellion in Libya has forced the country to halt oil shipments of about 1.5 million barrels per day. Prices are also rising as Japan recovers from its earthquake and tsunami and is expected to boost fuel imports. The U.S., the world's largest oil consumer, reported Thursday that unemployment claims dropped to the lowest level since July 2008, raising hopes that oil and gasoline demand will soon increase. Gasoline pump prices dipped for a third day, to $3.546 per gallon, though the national average is still up about 42 cents per gallon since the middle of February. A gallon of regular unleaded is 75.7 cents more expensive than last year.
- The Senate has passed a bill that will allow the state’s public schools to receive an additional $133 million in federal funding this year. The measure involves a simple fund transfer that shifts $19 million from next year’s higher education appropriation to be used this year. That move, under rules attached to federal stimulus funding, will allow the state to capture the additional money for public schools. A similar measure is pending in the House as part of a bill that includes a proposal to balance the Medicaid budget.
- Thursday, the Harlan County Sheriff's Chaplain Corps, along with deputies and others in the community, came to the fiscal court meeting uninvited after the Corps received an eviction notice last month from Harlan County Judge Joe Grieshop. Attorney Otis Doan tried to speak on their behalf even though they were not on the agenda, but Doan said he had made efforts to be put on the agenda. Things got heated, and Grieshop walked out. After consulting with the county attorney, Magistrate David Kennedy presided over the remainder of the meeting. Grieshop said later he left the meeting because he felt threatened.
- Governor Steve Beshear vetoed one House bill and one Senate bill Wednesday over concerns that the provisions in the bills would be too costly for the state to implement. Beshear vetoed Senate Bill 143, a bill dealing with tax liens and other aspects of the state's uniform commercial code, because parts of the measure conflicted with federal law and would cause problems for county clerks, where tax liens are filed. He also vetoed House Bill 107, which would allow a legislative contract oversight committee to review more executive branch contracts. Beshear said, because the legislature passed Senate Bill 7, which requires more information about contracts to be posted online, HB 107 is not needed.
- In a report to the Food and Drug Administration, the tobacco industry argues menthol cigarettes aren't riskier than regular cigarettes. The industry is trying to defend a lucrative business as the agency weighs whether to ban the minty flavoring. The industry says it believes there's no scientific basis to regulate the menthol any differently. It concludes that menthol cigarettes don't make it easier for people to start, harder for them to quit or raise their risk of disease. An FDA advisory panel says, while menthol cigarettes may not be more risky, use is high among minorities, teenagers and low-income people.
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