Child prostitutes rescued by FBI
WASHINGTON (AP) — Declaring child prostitution a “persistent threat” in America, the FBI said Monday that authorities had rescued 105 young people and arrested 150 alleged pimps in a three-day sweep in 76 cities.
The agency said it had been monitoring Backpage.com and other websites as a prominent online marketplace for sex for sale. Backpage.com said that it was “very, very pleased” by the raids and that if the website were shut down to the advertisements, the ads would be pushed to sites that wouldn’t cooperate with law enforcement.
The young people in the roundup, almost all of them girls, ranged in age from 13 to 17.
The largest numbers of children rescued in the weekend initiative, Operation Cross Country, were in the San Francisco Bay and Detroit areas, along with Milwaukee, Denver and New Orleans. The operation was conducted under the FBI’s decade-long Innocence Lost National Initiative. The latest rescues and arrests were the largest such enforcement action to date.
The Justice Department has estimated that nearly 450,000 children run away from home each year and that one-third of teens living on the street will be lured toward prostitution within 48 hours of leaving home.
Jewel heist raises security criticism
PARIS (AP) — Police and staff at a French Riviera hotel are raising questions about security after $136 million in jewels was stolen by a single gunman who came in through a side door and walked out with the loot.
Zakaria Rami, a union representative at the Carlton Intercontinental Hotel in Cannes, said Tuesday that only a handful of unarmed private guards secured the site and police weren’t told that tens of millions of dollars in jewels were on display on the building’s ground floor.
Private security guards are prohibited from carrying weapons in France — that’s reserved for police.
Police say they’re looking into the measures taken to protect the jewels, which belonged to the prestigious Leviev diamond house, owned by Israeli billionaire Lev Leviev.
President offers new deal on jobs
WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama is extending a new proposal to Republicans that he hopes will break the political gridlock on budget negotiations, offering to cut corporate tax rates in exchange for job investments.
White House officials say just because they’re at an impasse with congressional Republicans over reducing the deficit doesn’t mean they shouldn’t look for other areas of agreement. So Obama plans to propose a “grand bargain for middle-class jobs.”
Obama long has called for a cut in corporate tax rates, but previously insisted such business tax reform be coupled with an individual tax overhaul. He’s dropping that demand and says instead that he’s open to the corporate tax cut that that businesses crave. But he wants it to be coupled with a significant investment on some sort of job creation program, such as manufacturing, infrastructure or community colleges.
House Speaker John Boehner’s office said Obama’s proposals were hardly a compromise.
“This proposal allows President Obama to support President Obama’s position on taxes and President Obama’s position on spending, while leaving small businesses and American families behind,” Boehner spokesman Michael Steel said.
City to host Cat Video Festival
GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (AP) — Organizers of the annual international ArtPrize competition in Michigan say an Internet Cat Video Festival will be part of this year’s event.
The free Sept. 27 showing at Rosa Parks Circle in downtown Grand Rapids is being put on by the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis. The art center last year held its inaugural Internet Cat Video Festival, and the museum has a partnership with ArtPrize. Organizers are taking submissions and there will be a People’s Choice award. Plans for the celebration of cat videos were reported Monday by WOOD-TV.
The fifth edition of ArtPrize takes place Sept. 18 to Oct. 6. The competition has $560,000 at stake.
including a $200,000 first prize.
The public picks some winners and there also are juried awards.