The U.S. added five Russians to its economic blacklist for alleged human rights violations, the U.S. Treasury Department announced Monday. Among those newly sanctioned is Alexander Bastrykin, the head of Russia’s Investigative Committee and a close aid to Russian President Vladimir Putin. The move, which freezes assets held by American financial institutions and includes a travel ban to the U.S., comes nearly two weeks after the Obama administration announced sanctions against nine individuals and entities in response to Moscow’s alleged interference in the U.S. presidential election, and three days after the release of an unclassified intelligence report connecting Russia to the cyberattacks. Officials say these latest sanctions are not related to the hacking, and instead are linked to violations of the Magnitsky Act, a 2012 law under which the U.S. can apply sanctions to Russian individuals suspected of human-rights abuses.
Today's News: Jan. 9, 2017
Orlando police officer shot, Donald Trump responds to Meryl Streep, and more from the United States and around the world.
—Police in Orlando, Florida, are looking for a man they say shot and killed a police officer early Monday. More here
—A powerful weekend winter storm destroyed the iconic “Pioneer Cabin Tree” in California’s Calaveras Big Trees State Park. More here
—La La Land dominated last night’s Golden Globes, but the awards are likely to be remembered for Meryl Streep’s remarks about President-elect Donald Trump. Trump responded last night—and this morning.
—We’re live-blogging the news stories of the day below. All updates are in Eastern Standard Time (GMT -5).
U.S. Imposes Sanctions Against 5 Russians, Including Putin Aide
Orlando Police Seek Man Who Killed Officer; Second Officer Killed in Crash While in Pursuit
Police in Orlando, Florida, are looking for a man they say shot and killed a police officer early Monday. Master Sgt. Debra Clayton was killed while attempting to detain 43-year-old Markeith Loyd, the department said. John Mina, the Orlando Police Department chief, called Clayton, who had served as an officer for 17 years, “a hero.”
Master Sgt. Debra Clayton, wkd dayshift patrol, will be missed beyond words. She always had a smile/high five 4 every/kid she came across. pic.twitter.com/XUp1Z2RcFY— Orlando Police (@OrlandoPolice) January 9, 2017
A second officer—an Orange County Sheriff’s Office deputy who has not been identified—was killed in a motorcycle crash in pursuit of Loyd, who officials described as armed and dangerous. Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer declared Monday a day of mourning in the city.
California's Ancient and Iconic Pioneer Cabin Tree Has Fallen
A powerful weekend winter storm destroyed the iconic “Pioneer Cabin Tree” in California’s Calaveras Big Trees State Park. The sequoia was believed to have been more than 1,000 years old, and was just one of a few remaining trees that had been tunneled out a century ago as a way to draw tourists to state and national parks in California. Most of these have since fallen, with only three remaining—all operated by private companies now. A heavy storm over the weekend brought flooding to parts of California and Nevada, and it’s believed that a mudslide may be to blame for the tree’s demise. The storm has the potential to be the worst in the past decade, and is expected to bring heavy rains throughout the week. The tree was more than 150 feet tall, with a base about 33 feet in diameter, and the tunnel carved in it was wide enough to drive a car through. The volunteer at the state park who found the tree said visitors had walked through the tunnel as early as that morning. Describing what it looked like now, he said the tree appeared to have “shattered” upon impact.
The historic pioneer cabin tree, which had a tunnel so tourists could drive through it, fell January 7, 2017 in the California winter storm pic.twitter.com/K2cxJzd6MW— Mark Madison (@FWSHistory) January 9, 2017
U.S. Navy Fires Warning Shots at Iranian Vessels
The U.S. Navy fired three warning shots at four Iranian vessels Sunday near the Strait of Hormuz, Reuters reports. U.S. officials told the news agency the incident occurred after the USS Mahan attempted to establish radio communication with Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps requesting that their vessels, which were traveling at high speeds within 900 yards (800 meters) of the American destroyer, slow down. The officials said they did not receive a response, prompting them to set off warning flares and a smoke grenade overhead via helicopter before firing the shots. Such encounters between the U.S. and Iran are not uncommon. The U.S. Navy criticized what it described as an “unsafe and unprofessional encounter” with an Iranian vessel on the Persian Gulf in November after it aimed a mounted gun at an American Naval helicopter. In August, the USS Squall fired a series of warning shots near an Iranian vessel that approached at high speeds in what the Navy also called an “unsafe and unprofessional” encounter, adding that attempted communication with the Iranian boat was unsuccessful.
Twitter Suspends the Account of 'Pharma Bro' Martin Shkreli for Online Harassment
Martin Shkreli, or “Pharma Bro,” the pharmaceutical executive infamous for raising the price of a drug used by HIV patients, has been suspended from Twitter for harassing a female journalist, the social media company confirmed Monday. Shkreli, who is also under investigation for securities fraud, sent Lauren Duca, a New York journalist, a direct message asking if she would like to be his plus one to the presidential inauguration of Donald Trump. Duca, who has criticized Trump in her writing, published a screenshot of the message on her Twitter feed, along with the comment: “I would rather eat my own organs.” Shkreli then called her a “cold you know what” and changed his profile picture to an edited photo of his head pasted on the body of a man seated beside Duca. The journalist then became the target of harassment from the many online trolls who make up Shkreli’s followers, some of whom sent her threatening emails. By Sunday, Shkreli’s Twitter account displayed an error message, which read: “The account you are trying to view has been suspended.” Twitter prohibits targeted harassment of its users, and has recently begun suspending the accounts of people who violate the rule.
Talks Begin to End Cyprus Conflict
Leaders from opposite sides of the decades-long divide in Cyprus have begun Monday the final stages of their negotiations for a peace deal on the island. Both Mustafa Akinci, the Turkish Cypriot leader, and Nicos Anastasiades, his Greek Cypriot counterpart, have been involved in the 18-month-long talks over territorial and security disputes that divide the island’s Turkish north from Greek south. Cyprus has been divided since 1974 when Turkish troops invaded the island. That followed a Greece-supported coup by Greek Cypriots who wanted union with Greece. The UN maintains a buffer zone to prevent fighting. Negotiations this week are expected to finalize much of the discussions from the past year and a half, which have been overseen by Britain, Turkey, and Greece. On Thursday, those countries are expected to join the negotiations in Geneva.
Martin McGuinness Resigns as Northern Ireland's Deputy First Minister
Martin McGuinness, the Sinn Fein leader who is Northern Ireland’s deputy first minister, has resigned over what’s being called the “cash for ash” scandal. The move automatically triggers an election for the UK region. At issue is the Renewable Heat Incentive, launched in 2012, which offered businesses in Northern Ireland cash incentives for using renewable energy. But a flaw in how the plan was devised meant businesses were paid for needlessly using energy. About $170 million was handed out because of the flaw. McGuinness had called on Arlene Foster, Northern Ireland’s first minister who is from the rival Democratic Unionist Party (DUP), to step down over the scandal, saying she was preventing an independent investigation into the scandal. Under the St. Andrew’s agreement, Sinn Fein and the DUP share power in the Northern Ireland assembly.
French Police Arrest at Least 16 in Connection With Kim Kardashian's Robbery
French police arrested at least 16 people in connection with the armed robbery last October of Kim Kardashian West, the reality-TV star, in her Paris apartment. Five men held up Kardashian West, who is married to Kanye West, the hip-hop star, at gunpoint and escaped with more than $10 million in jewelry. Police detained the suspects—the BBC says there were 17; other reports say 16—in coordinated raids across Paris and the south of France. They were reportedly caught following the discovery of DNA at the apartment that was linked to a known criminal. Kardashian West, in a promo for her TV show, Keeping Up with the Kardashians, released over the weekend, said she thought “they're going to shoot me in the back.”
Donald Trump vs. Meryl Streep
La La Land took home seven Golden Globes, a record, last night, and Moonlight, another film that was expected to perform well, was shut out, but the awards are most likely to be remembered for Meryl Streep’s remarks. Streep, who was awarded a lifetime achievement award, discussed her horror at hearing Donald Trump’s remarks about a disabled reporter. “This instinct to humiliate, when it’s modeled by someone in the public platform, by someone powerful, it filters down into everybody’s life, because it kinda gives permission for other people to do the same thing,” Streep said without naming the president-elect. Trump responded almost immediately, telling The New York Times he was “not surprised” that he was being attacked by “liberal movie people.” He expanded on those comments Monday on Twitter, calling the three-time Academy Award winner (and 19-time nominee) “one of the most overrated actresses.”
Meryl Streep, one of the most over-rated actresses in Hollywood, doesn't know me but attacked last night at the Golden Globes. She is a.....— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 9, 2017
Hillary flunky who lost big. For the 100th time, I never "mocked" a disabled reporter (would never do that) but simply showed him.......— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 9, 2017
"groveling" when he totally changed a 16 year old story that he had written in order to make me look bad. Just more very dishonest media!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 9, 2017
Read our coverage of the Globes here.