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News Wrap: Opposition Leader Alexei Navalny Released From Prison in Russia

July 19, 2013 at 12:00 AM EST
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KWAME HOLMAN: Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny was released today, after thousands of demonstrators protested his five-year prison sentence. He was set free by a court in Kirov that had convicted him of embezzling half-a-million dollars worth of timber. Afterward, Navalny said he wasn’t — he hasn’t decided if he’s still running for mayor of Moscow.

ALEXEI NAVALNY, Russian opposition leader (through translator): I am not their pet kitten or their pet kitten or their pet puppy, whom they can first throw out of the elections and say, you will not take part, and then decide, OK, let him in for a month to take part in the elections. I will now return to Moscow, and we will discuss everything with my electoral campaign staff.

KWAME HOLMAN: Navalny is to remain free pending his appeal.

A former CIA station chief convicted in Italy of abducting a terror suspect is or soon will be back to the United States. A State Department spokeswoman announced it today. Robert Seldon Lady was detained in Panama this week, at Italy’s request. He’d been convicted in absentia in the kidnapping of an Egyptian cleric.

A suicide bomber killed at least 22 people in Central Iraq today. At least 50 people were wounded. It happened at a Sunni mosque in Diyala province during Friday prayers. Police found a second bomb nearby. An estimated 200 Iraqis have died in sectarian violence since the Islamic holy month of Ramadan began last week.

In Egypt, thousands of protesters were back in the streets after Friday prayers, in a show of support for ousted President Mohammed Morsi. They waved Egyptian flags and marched through Cairo, demanding Morsi’s reinstatement. Helicopters flown by the military that pushed Morsi out flew above Tahrir Square, brandishing flags as well.

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The U.S. House voted today to reduce the federal government’s power to set school standards. Republicans pushed through a bill that would eliminate testing and teacher evaluation first imposed under the No Child Left Behind law.

Minnesota Congressman John Kline said state and local governments should have the final say over how to improve their schools.

REP. JOHN KLINE, R-Minn.: It is time for the Congress, the House and the Senate to step up and do its job and write new law and get the administration out of the business of writing education policy.

I would hope that Republicans and Democrats would recognize that it is not the role of the administration.

KWAME HOLMAN: Democrats agreed on the need for education reform. But California’s George Miller and others argued that the House bill simply guts federal funding for education.

REP. GEORGE MILLER, D-Calif.: We need every one of those students to be able to be productive and successful and achieving. But that’s not what the Republican bill promises. It grinds down the funding available to these school districts for poor and minority children, for students with disabilities.

KWAME HOLMAN: The House bill is expected to hit a dead end in the Democratic-led Senate.

Billionaire hedge fund manager Steven A. Cohen now faces civil charges in connection with a major insider-trading case. The Securities and Exchange Commission charged him today with failing to prevent the illegal practice at his firm, SAC Capital Advisors. The company said the accusations have no merit. Wall

Street ended the week on a subdued note. The Dow Jones industrial average lost more than four points to close at 15,543. The Nasdaq fell 23 points to close at 3,587. For the week, the Dow gained half-a-percent; the Nasdaq fell 0.3 percent.

Those are some of the day’s major stories.