Occupy protesters arrested for building illegal structure

U.S. Park Police arrested several Occupy D.C. protesters who refused to dismantle an unfinished structure they built in a park overnight.

On Sunday morning, police told them they would need a permit and gave them an hour to disassemble it.

When the protesters failed to comply, officers arrested several protesters. After an hours-long standoff, an inspector posted a notice on the wooden structure. Later on, more protesters inside it were arrested.

Legba Carrefour with Occupy D.C. said about 24 people were arrested. By late Sunday, six protesters who had been on the roof of the structure came down aboard a cherry picker.

Police could not be reached for an official arrest count.

Democratic leader to offer compromise on tax cut

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid will announce a new proposal today to extend a payroll-tax cut for 160 million U.S. workers, an ally said.

Sen. Kent Conrad, D-N.D., would not reveal the specifics of the proposal, but said “it will be paid for” and will represent a compromise on Republican and Democratic plans the Senate voted on last week. Neither had the votes to pass.

A spokesman for Reid said Reid, D-Nev., was reviewing the proposal with his caucus and had no comment.

Don Stewart, a spokesman for Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said McConnell didn’t know anything about a new proposal.

Congress has been split on whether to renew the tax cut, which gives workers 2 percentage points off the 6.2 percent rate they usually pay.

Democrats want to extend the tax cut for employees and also cut the taxes paid by employers. They would pay for the proposal by raising taxes on income exceeding $1 million.

Their proposal failed to get the 60 votes required to overcome a filibuster last week. A Republican measure that would have paid for the tax cut with spending reductions also failed.


Voting results show Russians could be tiring of Putin

Prime Minister Vladimir Putin’s party struggled to hang on to its majority in Russia’s parliamentary election, results showed today, suggesting voters were wearying of him.

Rival parties and election monitors said even a result of about 50 percent was inflated, alleging ballot-stuffing and other violations at the polls.

Putin wanted to see his United Russia party do well in Sunday’s election as a sign of popular support for his return to the presidency in a vote now three months away. Despite the setback, he was still expected to have little trouble reclaiming the position he held from 2000 to 2008.

Putin has systematically destroyed any potential challengers and most Russians do not see any credible alternatives, despite growing dissatisfaction with his strongman style.

PHNOM PENH, Cambodia

Khmer Rouge leaders face questioning at trial today

Three senior leaders of Cambodia’s brutal Khmer Rouge regime will be questioned at a U.N.-backed tribunal for the first time today over their roles in the deaths of an estimated 1.7 million people when their movement held power in the 1970s.

The trial began last month with opening statements, and this week the court is expected to focus on charges involving the forced movement of people and crimes against humanity.

After the Khmer Rouge captured Phnom Penh on April 17, 1975, they began moving an estimated 1 million people from the capital into the countryside in an effort to create a communist agrarian utopia.

The defendants are accused of crimes against humanity, genocide, religious persecution, homicide and torture stemming from the group’s 1975-79 reign of terror. All have denied wrongdoing.

They include Khieu Samphan, 80, a former head of state , and Nuon Chea, 85, the group’s No. 2 leader. The third defendant, Ieng Sary, 86, has said he will not participate in the trial until a ruling is issued on a pardon he received in 1996.

– From news service reports