Afghan tax idea
draws ire in D.C.
Lawmakers are advancing legislation to withhold $5 in foreign aid to Afghanistan for every $1 in taxes imposed by President Hamid Karzai’s government on U.S. goods taken out of the country.
Democratic Sen. Patrick Leahy says he has seen some “stupid things” from Afghanistan’s government, but the threat of exit tax on American property goes “beyond the pale.”
Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham said talk of such taxes after 12 years of U.S.-led stabilization efforts was “ridiculous.”
The legislation was included as an amendment to the Senate’s 2014 foreign operations bill. A Senate Appropriations subcommittee passed it by voice vote Tuesday.
death toll rises
Rescuers with shovels and sniffer dogs chipped away at collapsed hillsides Tuesday as the death toll rose to 94 from a strong earthquake in a farming region of northwest China.
Just one person was listed as missing and 1,001 as injured in Monday morning’s quake near the city of Dingxi in Gansu province.
About 123,000 people were affected by the quake, with 31,600 moved to temporary shelters, the provincial earthquake administration said on its website. Almost 2,000 homes were completely destroyed, and about 22,500 damaged, the administration said.
The quake toppled brick walls and telephone lines, shattered mud-and-tile-roofed houses and sent cascades of dirt and rock down hillsides, blocking roads and slowing rescue efforts by crews trying to reach remote areas.
Authorities have identified a 36-year-old Las Vegas police officer killed in a fall while trying to rescue a stranded hiker on Mt. Charleston northwest of the city.
Police say David Vanbuskirk was killed Monday night while responding to an area just above Mary Jane Falls.
Las Vegas police assistant sheriff Joseph Lombardo says the area was too difficult to access by foot, so rescuers used a helicopter to hoist the hiker to safety. Vanbuskirk became separated from the hiker at some point during the rescue and fell from a cliff.
Lombardo didn’t say how far the officer fell.
on U.S. passports
A federal appeals court has declared unconstitutional a law allowing Americans born in Jerusalem to list Israel as their birthplace on their U.S. passports.
The three-judge panel said Tuesday that the 2002 law impermissibly infringes on the president’s exercise of the power to recognize foreign governments.
The case was brought by parents of an American boy named Menachem Zivotofsky, who was born in a Jerusalem hospital soon after the law was passed. The parents wanted to list Israel as his birthplace, but the U.S. has refused to recognize any nation’s sovereignty over Jerusalem since Israel’s creation in 1948 — so the boy’s U.S. passport only says “Jerusalem” as his birthplace.