Final two California prison escapees caught

California authorities along with the FBI finally caught the last two remaining fugitives who escaped from an Orange County prison last week. Jonathan Tieu, 20, and Hossein Nayeri, 37, were arrested by San Francisco police on Saturday. Bac Duong, 43, who escaped from the prison with Tieu and Neyeri surrendered to authorities Friday. A teacher at the jail, Nooshafarin Ravaghi, 44, was arrested Thursday and charged with providing Google Earth images showing the area around the jail to Nayeri.

The three inmates had been held in a dormitory with about 65 other men in Santa Ana, about 30 miles southeast of Los Angeles. They escaped early Jan. 22 by cutting a hole in a metal grate then crawling through plumbing tunnels and onto the roof of a five-story jail building, the Associated Press reported. They then pushed aside barbed wire and rappelled down using a rope made of bed sheets. Authorities say Duong has been held without bond since last month on charges of attempted murder, assault with a deadly weapon and other charges in a gang shooting.

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Pres. Obama ends solitary confinement for juveniles

President Obama ordered the Bureau of Prisons to terminate the use of restrictive housing for juvenile prisoners. Obama’s order was announced in an op-ed piece in The Washington Post on Tuesday. Obama also said he planned to divert inmates with serious mental illness to alternative forms of housing and to limit the use of “punitive segregation,” the statement said. The move came after a Justice Department inquiry that began last summer and examined the overuse of solitary confinement in American prisons.

Officials concluded that solitary should still be used for the “most violent and disruptive inmates,” a statement said. “But as a matter of policy, we believe strongly this practice should be used rarely, applied fairly, and subjected to reasonable constraints.” The federal prison system is the largest in the country, with 135 prisons and a population of nearly 200,000 inmates. Few of them are juveniles, though. A Justice Department report published Monday said that as of last December, there were just 71. While solitary confinement is now banned for juveniles, the impact of that policy is small because few juveniles are charged with federal crimes. As of last month, there were 71 juveniles in Bureau of Prisons facilities, And as of last September, only 13 of them had been in solitary confinement.

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Iran sanction relief funds could end up in terrorist hands

John Kerry: Some money Iran received will fund terrorism

Secretary of State John Kerry admitted on Thursday that some of the $55 billion in sanctions relief that will be released to Iran under the nuclear deal could ultimately end up in the hands of terrorists. A report from the Congressional Research Service last year revealed that Iranian funding for terrorist groups including Hamas and Hezbollah could be much greater than originally estimated.

Some regional experts claim that Iran’s defense budget could actually be as much as $30 billion and that much of that spending goes unreported, including support for foreign terrorists’ organizations such as Hamas and Hezbollah. He argued that Iran, which is one of the largest state sponsors of terrorism in the world, has a relatively small defense budget compared to other gulf states.

Earlier Thursday, speaking to reporters before a meeting with Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi, Kerry defended the U.S. use of sanctions against Iran following charges by Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif in his interview with CNN’s Christiane Amanpour that the recent sanctions were illegal and that some in the U.S. were “addicted” to sanctions. But he added that “right now, we are not seeing the early delivery of funds going to that kind of endeavor at this point in time.”

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Rapper ‘Killer Mike’ kills it at Univ of South Florida

Michael Render gave an uncensored speech on systematic racism

Recent supporter of “self-proclaimed” socialist and presidential candidate Bernie Sanders, Killer Mike addressed the Tampa community at the University of South Florida, last Wednesday, focusing on the issues of social equality, systematic racism and police brutality. Michael Render who goes by the stage name of “Killer Mike” spoke to a sold-out crowd at USF’s Marshall Student Center’s Oval Theater. Render is well known for his activism on systematic racism and social equality. Render addressed the issues that plagued him growing up and continue to plague the country he loves. Render touched on the issue that Caucasians receive a free pass on several issues including traffic stops.

When asked about what he thought of the message that Render delivered, Jeff Alexander a junior from USF said, “I appreciate that Render is truly passionate about the issues that have stirred up anger in our country as well as in our own communities and now gives me the passion to change my community for the betterment of society.” While Render strongly focused on race relations he did give presidential candidate Senator Bernie Sanders for fighting for family values. He also spent part of his speech on the events of Ferguson saying that if local police have the ability to shoot at will, then local communities should be allowed to hold the police department in check should anything happen.

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Clinton email server held extremely sensitive intel

An internal watchdog group reveals the emails contained on Hillary Clinton’s private home server contained information classified at levels higher than previously known, including levels meant to protect the most sensitive U.S. intelligence. The Intelligence Community Inspector General I. Charles McCullough III sent a letter to leaders on congressional intelligence committees on Tuesday. Two government agencies flagged emails on Clinton’s server as containing classified information, the inspector general said, including some on “special access programs.”

The Clinton campaign along with the State Department continued to deny that any information was handled improperly, saying that the information and emails in question were all retroactively classified. State Department officials noted that the same information can come from multiple sources, not all of which are classified. Two American intelligence officials tell NBC News these are not the same two emails from Clinton’s server that have long been reported as containing information deemed Top Secret. Former CIA Director David Petraeus was sentenced to two years’ probation and fined $100,000 for sharing similarly classified information with Paula Broadwell, his biographer and mistress. State Department spokesman John Kirby said the department is still undergoing its review process.

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SCOTUS to rule on Obama’s immigration reform

The U.S. Supreme Court announced on Tuesday that they will hear the administration’s argument that Obama has the power to change immigration policy without going through Congress. The dispute, to be argued before the court in the coming months with a ruling due by the end of June, will be one of the centerpiece cases of the court’s current term. Obama’s executive action was blocked by lower courts after Texas and 25 other Republican-governed sued to stop it, contending he exceeded his presidential powers under the U.S. Constitution.

The nine justices will review a November ruling by the New Orleans-based 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals that upheld a February 2015 decision by U.S. District Judge Andrew Hanen in Brownsville, a city along the Texas border with Mexico, to halt Obama’s action. With some of his major legislative initiatives suffocated by Republican lawmakers, the Democratic president has resorted to executive action to get around Congress on issues including immigration, gun control and the Obamacare healthcare law. The most recent executive action came this month when he acted unilaterally to expand background checks for certain gun purchases. His executive actions have antagonized Republicans who accuse him of unlawfully taking actions by executive fiat that only Congress can perform.

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GOP Establishment Concede NH and IA

Republican establishment leaders have begun conceding the first two key contests of the presidential race, in Iowa and New Hampshire next month. Trump and Cruz are atop the field in Iowa, where voters caucus Feb. 1. Preference polls find Trump with a commanding lead in New Hampshire, which votes Feb. 9, and Cruz in the mix for second place. The nine others in Republicans race are fighting to emerge from the pack; there’s little sign anyone will drop out before voting begins.

Among them are Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and Ohio Gov. John Kasich. Each is competing for the same pool of center-right voters. Allies of Bush and Kasich in New Hampshire have been trading phone calls in recent weeks, trying to gauge each other’s thinking about staying in the race. Campaign officials say they have felt no direct pressure from party leaders to drop out before the first two contests. GOP leaders are beginning discussions about the need for some of the more conventional candidates to drop out. The risk for the more mainstream candidates is that Trump or Cruz generates momentum in the first two states, and it’s too strong to stop as the race turns to South Carolina and beyond.

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White House officially lifts sanctions on Iran

After receiving confirmation from the IAEA that Iran has completed the required steps in a deal to restrict its nuclear program, President Obama signed an executive order Saturday striking down 20-years of sanctions against Iran for pursuing a nuclear weapons program. The United States agreed to lift the sanctions as part of an international agreement requiring Iran to mothball its nuclear capabilities for a decade or more.

The most significant effect of the executive order is to free up Iranian assets held in the international financial system, estimated to be worth between $50 billion and $150 billion. Obama administration officials have said they believe the value is on the lower end of that spectrum, because of Iran’s international debts and the amount of currency it needs to keep in foreign reserves. Most of the sanctions relief applies to what are known as secondary sanctions — those against non-U.S. citizens doing business with Iran. Primary sanctions — those against U.S. citizens — remain in place.

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Donald Trump and Ted Cruz take the gloves off during GOP debate

Donald Trump and Senator Ted Cruz got personal and strongly clashed during Thursday’s primetime GOP debate. The 2.5-hour event sponsored by Fox Business Network was filled with testy exchanges between the seven candidates on stage. Cruz and Trump are battling for first place in Iowa with less than three weeks until the state’s caucuses, though the businessman has a commanding lead nationally. And with pressure mounting for someone to emerge as an establishment alternative to Trump and Cruz, sparks flew between Marco Rubio and Chris Christie. Trump responded to Cruz’ recent accusation that the businessman “embodies New York values.”

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Convict behind ‘Making A Murderer’ files appeal

Steven Avery, convicted murderer and subject behind Netflix series cites jury bias

Steven Avery, the convicted killer behind the popular Netflix series ‘Making a Murderer’ filed an appeal with the Wisconsin Court of Appeals on Wednesday, challenging his 2007 murder conviction. He filed two motions alleging violations of due process rights in his trial for the 2005 rape and murder of Teresa Halbach. Avery is currently serving a life sentence for her murder. The appeal, filed Monday in an appeals court in Madison, bears Avery’s signature and contains numerous spelling and grammar errors. His new attorney’s name doesn’t appear on it.

The Netflix series sparked renewed interest in Avery’s ongoing case and has led to calls for his release and petition seeking a presidential pardon. President Obama declined because only a Governor can pardon someone convicted of a state criminal offense. Wisconsin prosecutors and law enforcement have accused the show’s directors of cherry-picking the evidence to cast it in a light favorable towards Steven Avery. Avery was convicted in 1985 in the rape of jogger Penny Beerntsen on a beach near her home in Manitowoc, Wisconsin. After serving 18 years in prison he was exonerated based on DNA evidence connecting the attack to another man.

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