Lawmakers to lose immunity
The lower house of Congress on Tuesday voted overwhelmingly to strip federal lawmakers of criminal immunity. The vote was 376 in favor to 56 opposed, with five abstentions. The bill aims to amend the country’s constitution to make federal senators and deputies subject to the country’s criminal justice system, but still protect lawmakers from being detained for the duration of their terms in office. The proposal now moves to the Senate for consideration.
Jon Stewart to direct film
Jon Stewart is taking time off from The Daily Show to direct a film based on an Iranian-Canadian journalist’s nightmare in a Tehran jail, the Comedy Channel cable network said on Tuesday. The feature film, Rosewater, grew out of interviews that Maziar Bahari gave The Daily Show after he was detained in solitary confinement and subjected to torture for 118 days during the post-election protests that gripped Iran in 2009. Rosewater will be Stewart’s directorial debut.
US complains of drinking
The US thinks the UN has a drinking problem. Ambassador Joseph M. Torsella, who represents the US on the UN’s budget committee, said on Monday that the tense process of negotiating the world body’s annual budget is made more complicated by the number of diplomats who turn up drunk. The UN budget is finalized in December, when holiday parties apparently lead to some revelry spilling over into budget negotiations. The US is making “the modest proposal that the negotiating rooms should in future be an inebriation-free zone,” Torsella said during a private meeting of the budget committee. The US mission released a transcript of his remarks.
Man sentenced for ‘treason’
A former US security guard has been sentenced to nine years in prison for trying to sell photos and other secret information to China’s Ministry of State Security. US District Court Judge Ellen Segal Huvelle sentenced Bryan Underwood on Tuesday in a case she called “half-baked treason” by a person who was not mentally stable. The Department of Justice says Underwood took photographs of restricted areas at the new US consulate in Guangzhou and planned to use them to help China eavesdrop on US officials.
Kia-militant link denied
Kia’s new concept car, the Provo, is designed to provoke comment. However, to many across Britain and Ireland, the name sounds like a celebration of terrorism. British lawmakers appealed Tuesday in the House of Commons for the South Korean car maker to junk the name of its planned mini sports coupe because “Provo” is the street name for the dominant branch of the outlawed Irish Republican Army (IRA). The Provisional IRA killed nearly 1,800 people during its failed 1970-1997 campaign to force Northern Ireland out of the UK. Kia insisted the Provo was named to suggest “provocative,” not IRA bombings and shootings. And in a follow-up statement, Kia said it would be certain not to market any future car as a Provo in the UK or Republic of Ireland. On an Irish news aggregator called the Broadsheet, posters noted that the car’s detailing was in orange, the favored color of the British Protestant majority. “Does my bomb look big in this?” asked one. Another noted the car needs no satellite navigation system, because the car “already knows where you live.”