Two inmates escape from Mississippi jail where four escaped last month.
Debt ceiling bill passes major hurdle despite grumblings from far-right.
Iran tries journalists who covered death of woman that sparked mass protests.
Two inmates escape from Mississippi jail where four escaped last month
Inmates Michael Lewis of Jackson and Joseph Spring of Byram, both 31, went missing yesterday from Raymond Detention Center in Hinds County. Lewis had been jailed on vehicle-related charges and Spring was facing charges of burglary and possession of a controlled substance. Lewis was recaptured hours after he was found missing but Spring remains on the loose.
Hinds County Sherriff Tyree Jones said the pair probably escaped through an air duct they accessed through the recreation room.
On April 21, four other inmates, Jerry Raynes, Dylan Arrington, Corey Harrison and Casey Grayson, escaped from the same facility. Arrington, was found dead April 26 in a burned home in Carthage, MS. He is suspected of having killed a motorist to steal his truck following his escape. Grayson was also found dead at a New Orleans truck stop. Raynes was recaptured in Spring Valley, TX, on April 27. The last escapee, Corey Harrison, was rounded up in early May.
The breach in April prompted a federal investigation of security failures at the jail. Sheriff Jones said that Raymond DC had been “poorly built” from the outset and continued to deteriorate. The facility has also experienced chronic staffing issues like many other correctional facilities in Mississippi and throughout the country.
Debt ceiling bill passes major hurdle despite grumblings from far-right
In a 7-6 vote today, the House Rules Committee voted to advance the bill negotiated by Pres. Biden and House Speaker Kevin McCarthy to raise the debt ceiling. Two far-right members of the committee, Reps. Chip Roy (R-TX) and Ralph Norman (R-SC) had threatened to block the bill unless there were more amendments added calling for deeper budget cuts and other policy changes. In this instance, they were unsuccessful.
Both Roy and Norman were assigned to this powerful committee in a compromise McCarthy made with far-right House Freedom Caucus members in order to win the speakership earlier this year. Other members of the Freedom Caucus have also expressed dissatisfaction with the terms McCarthy negotiated on the debt ceiling deal. This could foreshadow a difficult passage in the House, which is set to have a full floor vote on the measure tomorrow.
The clock is still ticking down to a June 5th deadline, beyond which the Treasury says the US will be unable to pay its bills and the country will be in default. Despite the high stakes, some in the Freedom Caucus have threatened to hold up the vote, including the caucus chairman Rep. Scott Perry (R-PA).
Under the rules McCarthy agreed to in order to win his position, any one member of the House can call a vote to challenge his Speakership. This could halt all business in the House for days and push the country into default.
Iran tries journalists who covered death of woman that sparked mass protests
Iran experienced months of intense mass protests last year following the death of Mahsa (or Zhina) Amini in police custody. Amini had been arrested for improperly wearing her hijab, a head covering worn by some Muslim women. Her family say she was beaten to death in custody. Following the anti-government protests, Iran has apparently relaxed enforcement of its laws requiring women to wear a hijab in public at all times.
Two female journalists who broke the Amini story, Niloufar Hamedi and Elaheh Mohammadi, are now on trial. They face charges of “collaborating with the hostile US government” and “propaganda against the establishment”. Their trials are taking place separately behind closed doors. Ms. Mohammadi’s lawyer says he has not even been allowed to speak in court. Ms. Hamedi’s husband reported that the same was true in her proceeding.
Iran has arrested at least 75 journalists since Amini’s death and the protest movement that followed. At least 15 others, aside from Hamedi and Mohammadi, remain in custody.