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News Wrap: Protests erupt in Moscow over Navalny conviction

In our news wrap Tuesday, protests against Russian President Vladimir Putin erupted in Moscow after leading activist Alexei Navalny was convicted of fraud. Also, the UN Security Council voted against a resolution offered by Palestinians to end Israeli control in the West Bank and East Jerusalem by 2017.

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  • HARI SREENIVASAN:

    Fresh protests erupted in Moscow this evening, after a leading opponent of Russian President Vladimir Putin was convicted of fraud.

    Alexei Navalny got a suspended sentence of three-and-a-half years, but his brother was sent to prison. Later, Navalny was seen being rounded up by police when he broke the terms of his ongoing house arrest and tried to attend the rally. The demonstration itself drew several thousand people with chants of "Freedom" and "Putin, go away" ringing through the air in Red Square.

  • WOMAN (through interpreter):

    I came here, first of all, because I am against any repression, against politically motivated cases and prosecution for views. I think every person has the right to express his opinion. HARI SREENIVASAN: After nearly two hours, police broke up the protests and detained about 100 opposition supporters. The United States denounced the convictions of Navalny and his brother as another sign of a Russian crackdown on independent voices.

  • There’s word today of a Jordanian pilot who’s being held by Islamic State militants in Syria. Muath al Kasaesbeh was flying a coalition air raid when his plane went down last week. Now the Islamic State’s English-language online magazine has published interview with the captive. In it, he’s asked, “Do you know what the Islamic State will do with you?”  He answers:

    "Yes. They will kill me.'

    The U.N. Security Council has turned back a Palestinian push to end Israeli control in the West Bank and East Jerusalem by 2017. The vote this evening fell one vote short of the nine needed. The resolution called for an independent state, with Palestinians arguing negotiations with Israel have gone nowhere.

    But U.S. Ambassador Samantha Power criticized the Palestinian effort.

    SAMANTHA POWER, U.S. Ambassador to the UN: A staged confrontation in the U.N. Security Council will not bring the parties closer to achieving a two-state solution.

    We voted against this resolution not because we are indifferent to the daily hardships or the security threats endured by Palestinians and Israelis, but because we know that those hardships will not cease and those threats will not subside until the parties reach a comprehensive settlement achieved through negotiations.

  • HARI SREENIVASAN:

    The U.S. had been expected to veto the resolution even if it did pass.

    Back in this country, the third-ranking Republican in the U.S. House said today he regrets addressing a white supremacist group in 2002. At the time, Majority Whip Steve Scalise was a state lawmaker in Louisiana. He initially said he didn't know the group's background. Today, he said — quote — "It was a mistake, and I emphatically oppose the divisive racial and religious views that groups like these hold."

    In his own statement, House Speaker John Boehner said Scalise made an error in judgment, but still has his full confidence.

    Republican Congressman Michael Grimm of New York has announced he's resigning January 5. He pleaded guilty last week to tax evasion, after he'd been reelected to a third term. In a statement last night, Grimm said he can no longer be effective in Congress.

    Former President George H.W. Bush was released from a Houston hospital today after a weeklong stay. A spokesman said he is resting comfortably at home. Mr. Bush is now 90, and is the oldest living former president. He suffers from Parkinson's disease and was admitted to the hospital last week with shortness of breath.

    On Wall Street, stocks were down, partly on profit-taking, and partly on worries about Greece. The government there has called early elections that could unravel an international bailout deal. For the day, the Dow Jones industrial average lost 55 points to close at 17983. The Nasdaq fell 29 points to close at 4777. And the S&P 500 dropped 10 to finish at 2080.

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