Nation and world news briefs

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Stone appeals denial of prison delay over coronavirus fears

Republican operative Roger Stone asked a federal appeals court to delay the start of his prison term until Sept. 3 from July 14 because of the coronavirus pandemic, after the trial judge denied his earlier request.

Stone, sentenced to 40 months behind bars for lying to Congress during the Russia investigation, filed an emergency request with the U.S. Court of Appeals in Washington on Monday seeking to overturn the decision last month by U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson, who said Stone must be treated like every other felon.

Current conditions inside federal prisons would “render Stone at grave risk of serious complications if infected with Covid-19,” according to the appeals court filing.

Jackson extended Stone’s surrender date by two weeks and ordered him to remain confined to his home during that time. But Stone said on Monday he needed the full amount of time he requested to minimize the potential health risks he’d face from being locked up during the pandemic.

The government didn’t oppose Stone’s request, which cites his age, 67, and an underlying medical condition that could put him at greater risk if he contracted the virus. Jackson noted that in similar cases the Justice Department had opposed so-called compassionate release from jails where there isn’t yet an outbreak, even when an inmate older than Stone had the same condition.

—Bloomberg News


International student visas at risk as schools go solely online

International students will not be issued new visas to enter the U.S. if the university they want to attend holds courses entirely online, according to new federal guidelines.

Those on existing visas who wish to remain in the U.S. must transfer to a school with in-person instruction or attend an institution that offers both remote and on-campus learning, the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency said Monday.

The moves are a setback for universities that have depended heavily on international students — many of whom pay full tuition — to buttress their finances. With students from abroad potentially facing U.S. immigration hurdles, schools are anticipating a decline in enrollment from this group.

The guidelines are “not as favorable as we would have hoped,” said Rachel Banks, senior director for public policy and legislative strategy at Nafsa: Association of International Educators. “It’s more troubling for a continuing student who is here and at a school that’s made a decision or perhaps makes a decision a month from now that they need to be online.”

In March, ICE allowed students to retain visa eligibility as many colleges moved classes entirely online when the coronavirus pandemic hit.

The ruling isn’t a good message to send to international students, said Sarah Spreitzer, director of government and public affairs for the American Council on Education, which represents more than 1,700 colleges and trade groups.

“It’s basically saying if all of a sudden your school is going to pivot to all online courses because of another spike in infections, you’d need to leave the country immediately,” she said.

—Bloomberg News


5-year-old Michigan girl ‘alert’ after being shot in head by brother

REDFORD TOWNSHIP, Mich. — A 5-year-old girl is “alert and conscious” after being shot in the head, police say, by her little brother, 4, early Monday at their Redford Township home.

Police describe the shooting as accidental. It was about 1:40 a.m. when they responded to a report of shots fired on the 26500 block of Plymouth Road.

Medics took the girl to a hospital, where police say she’s listed in stable condition.

No one has been taken into police custody, said Capt. Al DiPrima, a spokesman for the Redford Police Department. But police have recovered the handgun they believe was involved in the shooting.

The children’s parents are cooperating, police said.

—The Detroit News


Armed 11- and 13-year-old charged with breaking into cars in South Carolina, authorities say

COLUMBIA, S.C. — Two children were charged with breaking into cars in a Columbia neighborhood and they were found with a stolen gun, the Richland County Sheriff’s Department said Monday.

An 11- and 13-year-old face multiple charges for a series of car break-ins, the sheriff’s department said in a news release.

Deputies on patrol in the Summit subdivision saw the kids walking around at 4 a.m. on July 2, according to the release. That’s near the intersection of Two Notch Road and Clemson Road, as well as the Village at Sandhill shopping center.

The sheriff’s department said when deputies questioned the children, they supplied law enforcement with false information before running away.

During a search, deputies said they found “a stolen handgun, two BB guns, rubber gloves and burglary tools, among other items that would later be reported stolen from car break-ins on Summit Centre Circle and Summit Parkway,” according to the release.

Both kids were charged with two counts of auto-breaking, and vandalism, the sheriff’s department said.

While the 11-year-old was released to his father, the teen was taken to the juvenile wing of Alvin S. Glenn Detention Center where he was also charged with unlawful carry of a pistol, and possession of stolen weapon, according to the release.

Information was not available if anyone else would face charges for being involved in the car break-ins.

—The State (Columbia, S.C.)