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US News Roundup: Trump commutes Blagojevich sentence; Uber closing office in Los Angeles and more

Devdiscourse News Desk | Washington DC | Updated: 19-02-2020 18:44 IST | Created: 19-02-2020 18:29 IST
US News Roundup: Trump commutes Blagojevich sentence; Uber closing office in Los Angeles and more
File photo Image Credit: Wikipedia

Following is a summary of current US domestic news briefs.

Presidential hopeful Bloomberg proposes new taxes, protections to rein in Wall Street

U.S. Democratic presidential candidate Michael Bloomberg on Tuesday outlined a sweeping financial services policy proposal to rein in Wall Street trading, boost consumer protections, increase Americans' access to banking services and a crackdown on financial crime. The left-leaning platform marks a striking turnaround for the former Republican New York mayor and Wall Street investment banker who made his $60 billion fortune in financial services and in the past has criticized reforms introduced following the 2007-2009 financial crisis.

Jury selection set to begin in the murder trial of Robert Durst

Jury selection was due to begin on Wednesday in the Los Angeles murder trial of Robert Durst, the elderly New York real estate scion whose arrest prosecutors say was hastened by his confession to multiple killings in the 2015 TV documentary "The Jinx." Durst, 76, is charged with the December 2000 murder of his long-time confidant, Susan Berman, a writer he is accused of shooting to death because of what she might have known about the unsolved disappearance and presumed to kill off his wife two decades earlier.

Trump commutes Blagojevich sentence, pardons junk bond king Milken

U.S. President Donald Trump came under fire on Tuesday for commuting the sentence of Rod Blagojevich, the ex-Illinois governor convicted of trying to peddle Barack Obama's vacated U.S. Senate seat. Trump also pardoned Michael Milken, once considered Wall Street's "junk bond king," along with six others, and commuted the sentences of another three people. The recipients of clemency had been convicted on charges ranging from defrauding the federal government to theft.

Two firefighters die in blaze at California library: sheriff

Two firefighters died as they tried to put out a blaze at a library in central California late on Tuesday, the sheriff said. Crews reached the library in the city of Porterville soon after 4 p.m., emergency services said.

Weinstein jury concludes the first day of deliberations in rape trial

The jury in former Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein's rape trial finished its first day of deliberations on Tuesday, in a case that has become a milestone for the #MeToo movement. The Manhattan jury of seven men and five women began their discussions after the judge hearing the case warned Weinstein's lead defense lawyer, Donna Rotunno, against talking to the press until jurors have reached a verdict.

Utah Senate votes to decriminalize polygamy among consenting adults

The Utah State Senate voted unanimously on Tuesday effectively to decriminalize polygamy among consenting adults, reducing penalties for practice with deep religious roots in the predominantly Mormon state. The bill, which would treat the offense of plural marriage as a simple infraction on par with a parking ticket, now moves to the Utah House of Representatives, where it is likely to face greater resistance.

The U.S. arrests Mexican citizen in Miami for allegedly acting on behalf of Russia

U.S. authorities in Miami arrested a Mexican citizen who had been recruited by a Russian government official to locate and obtain the license plate number of the car of a "U.S. government source," the U.S. Justice Department said on Tuesday. Hector Alejandro Cabrera Fuentes, a resident of Singapore, was arrested on Sunday after he arrived at Miami International Airport with his wife to take a flight to Mexico City, the Justice Department said in a statement.

Weinstein trial jurors to resume deliberations after his lawyer came under fire

The jury in former Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein's rape trial is expected to continue deliberations on Wednesday, a day after the presiding judge took the former Hollywood producer's lead defense lawyer to task for writing an opinion piece about the case. The Manhattan jury of seven men and five women began their discussions on Tuesday morning after receiving legal instructions from state Justice James Burke.

Uber closing office in downtown Los Angeles

Uber Technologies Inc is closing its office in downtown Los Angeles, where the ride-hailing company employs customer support staff, to focus on its bigger locations. The move was reported earlier on Tuesday by the LA Times newspaper, which also added that the step will result in the elimination of about 80 jobs.

Weinstein's legal problems extend beyond New York criminal trial

A New York jury began deliberations on Tuesday in the rape trial of former Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein. Regardless of the verdict, Weinstein's legal problems are far from over. The producer of "Shakespeare in Love" and "The English Patient" has pleaded not guilty to raping Jessica Mann, a one-time aspiring actress, and sexually assaulting former production assistant Mimi Haleyi. He faces life in prison if convicted of the most serious charge, predatory sexual assault.

(With inputs from agencies.)

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