Students object to Confederate flags on Va. campus
RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - A group of law students at Washington and Lee University is demanding the school banish the Confederate flag from its Lexington campus and repudiate one of its namesakes, Gen. Robert E. Lee.
The students also want the private liberal arts college to end the practice of allowing "neo-Confederates" to march on campus with battle flags during Lee-Jackson day, a Virginia state holiday that falls on the Friday before Martin Luther King Day.
The students known collectively as the Committee vowed civil disobedience if their demands are not met by Sept. 1.
In a letter released to the W&L community, President Kenneth P. Ruscio wrote that university officials "take these students' concerns seriously" and that they would be addressed. He asked provost Daniel Wubah to meet with the students.
Obama disputes GOP version of immigration call
WASHINGTON (AP) - President Barack Obama says he's surprised that House Majority Leader Eric Cantor is accusing him of failing to work with Congress on immigration.
Cantor said after the two men spoke by phone Wednesday that Obama still hasn't learned how to work effectively with lawmakers.
Obama told reporters during a press conference Thursday that they actually had a "very pleasant conversation" and that he called the Virginia Republican to wish him a happy Passover. Obama says there was a mismatch between Cantor's stance in private and public.
Obama supports a bipartisan Senate bill that has stalled in the House, where Republicans prefer a piecemeal approach. Obama said in a statement before their call that Republicans are behind the times on immigration.
McAuliffe, Warner donate funds tied to straw donor
RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - Gov. Terry McAuliffe and U.S. Sen Mark Warner are donating to charity funds tied to a wealthy hotel executive and Democratic fundraiser who pleaded guilty to campaign finance violations.
Sant Singh Chatwal pleaded guilty Thursday in New York to using straw donors to bypass campaign finance limits. He's also given directly to the campaigns of several Democrats besides McAuliffe and Warner.
An adviser to McAuliffe's political action committee said Thursday that the governor will donate $4,300 to a nonprofit that provides free health care to the poor. Chatwal gave to McAuliffe's 2013 gubernatorial campaign.
A spokesman for Warner said the $1,000 Chatwal gave to Warner's campaign in 2012 will be donated to charity.
Last month, McAuliffe donated $2,500 to charity after Washington, D.C., businessman Jeffrey Thompson pleaded guilty to several campaign finance violations.
Chatwal and Thompson were large donors to Hillary Rodham Clinton's 2008 presidential campaign. McAuliffe was Clinton's campaign chairman.
There's been no evidence that Clinton, McAuliffe or Warner were aware of either Chatwal's or Thompson's wrongdoing.
Va. base to be home for embassy training center
RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - Members of Virginia's congressional delegation say Fort Pickett will be the home of a training center for U.S. diplomatic personnel assigned to high-threat areas around the globe.
The announcement was made Thursday by the Obama administration. The Fort Pickett facility will be called the Foreign Affairs Security Training Center.
Gov. Terry McAuliffe says the center will provide training for up to 10,000 students annually. He said the General Services Administration has said the center will create hundreds of jobs and bring federal investment to rural Nottoway County.
Sens. Tim Kaine and Mark Warner said the 2012 deaths in Benghazi and threats to U.S. embassies around the world underscore the need for the training center.
Besides Virginia's U.S. senators, U.S. Reps. Randy Forbes and Robert Hurt delivered the announcement.
U.Va. board to weight tuition increases
ABINGDON, Va. (AP) - The University of Virginia Board of Visitors meets next week to set tuition rates for the next academic year.
The U.Va. administration is proposing a 4.5 percent increase in tuition and mandatory fees for in-state undergraduates. For out-of-state students, a 6 percent increase will be considered.
If approved, a first-year Virginia resident would pay nearly $1,000 more to attend U.Va. The $27,417 cost includes tuition and fees, room and board, among other expenses.
The board will meet on Wednesday at the Southwest Virginia Higher Education Center in Abingdon. Members will be in the region to attend the inauguration of the Donna Price Henry as the eighth chancellor of U.Va. College at Wise.
Judge refuses to toss sentence for ID theft
RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - A federal judge has refused to throw out a Richmond woman's 14-year prison sentence for helping illegal aliens obtain driver's licenses and other identification.
In a four-paragraph opinion Thursday, U.S. District Judge Henry Hudson rejected Cynthia Salamanca's claim that her sentence is unconstitutional. Salamanca cited a 2013 U.S. Supreme Court ruling that any fact that increases a mandatory minimum sentence must be considered by a jury.
Salamanca obtained Social Security cards and birth certificates from U.S. citizens and sold them to illegal aliens, whom she accompanied to the Department of Motor Vehicles and other agencies to get official ID cards. She bribed a DMV employee to assist in the scam.
Salamanca pleaded guilty to seven fraud and identity theft charges.
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