CHICAGO — Rod Blagojevich, Illinois’ 40th governor, was sentenced to 14 years in prison Wednesday for the attempted sale of a U.S. Senate seat, illegal shakedowns for campaign cash and lying to federal agents.
Blagojevich will have to serve just under 12 years under federal rules that say defendants must complete 85 percent of their sentence. Blagojevich is to report to federal prison Feb. 16.
The sentence handed down by U.S. District Judge James Zagel is more than double the prison term given in 2006 to former Gov. George Ryan, who is serving a 6 ½-year sentence in a federal prison in Terre Haute.
“I want to apologize to the people of Illinois, to the court, for the mistakes I have made,” Blagojevich said.
Blagojevich said he thought he was acting in accord with the law when he did things for which he later was convicted.
Anti-vote fraud protests in Russia for third night
MOSCOW — Popular anger against Vladimir Putin’s ruling party and alleged election fraud boiled over into a third straight night of protests Wednesday, and police in Russia’s two largest cities arrested scores of demonstrators.
The demonstrations in Moscow and St. Petersburg appeared to attract fewer protesters than in previous days, roughly 300 in each city, but Russians’ willingness to risk jail time and clashes with police indicated significant tensions.
More than 17,000 people have signed up on a Facebook page calling for a massive demonstration Saturday on Moscow’s Revolution Square. Authorities have sanctioned the rally, but say it has to be limited to 300 participants, so a far larger turnout would almost certainly provoke a harsh police response.
Roadside attack in southern Afghanistan kills 19 on bus
KABUL, Afghanistan — At least 19 Afghan civilians were killed Wednesday when their minibus struck a roadside bomb in southern Helmand province, provincial officials said. The dead included seven women and five children.
The incident occurred in Sangin district. The bus was carrying Afghans from the provincial capital, Lashkar Gah, to Sangin, said a spokesman for the provincial governor.
The incident came a day after a suicide attack killed 55 Shiite Muslim worshipers in Kabul on the holiest day of the Shiite calendar.
Rapid retreat of Chile glacier captured in images
SANTIAGO, Chile — Researchers in Chile released a series of time-lapse photos Wednesday showing the dramatic retreat of a glacier in Patagonia.
The Jorge Montt Glacier is shrinking faster than any other in Chile, with its snout retreating about six-tenths of a mile between February 2010 and January 2011, glaciologist Andres Rivera said.
Rivera said that global warming is a factor and that the glacier also is melting especially quickly because it partly rests in the waters of a growing fjord.
Researchers presented a video showing the glacier’s yearlong retreat through a total of 1,445 time-lapse photos.
The glacier is about 1,100 miles south of Santiago in the Southern Patagonian Ice Field, which blankets a wide swath of the Andes between Chile and Argentina.