Metro briefs

BY DI STAFF | JULY 30, 2015 5:00 AM

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Grassley takes aim at ISIS artifact sales

A bill proposed by Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, aims to deprive ISIS terrorists of a key source of their funding.

Grassley, the head of the Senate Judiciary committee, partnered with Sens. Bob Casey, D-Pa., and David Purdue, R-Ga., to propose a bill that would restrict the ability of the terrorist network to profit from plundering historic artifacts in the Middle East.

“We need to do everything we can to stop terrorist financing and in the process preserve history,” Grassley said during a call with Iowa reporters.” This bill would cut off a source of funding that promotes terror and instability in Syria and beyond.”

The legislation aims to cut off the terrorist organization’s second-largest funding source. ISIS is located in parts of Syria and Iraq and seeks to establish an Islamic State. Its members are known for their use of social media to broadcast gruesome beheadings.

According to a Wall Street Journal article, Western intelligence sources say the money ISIS generates from the illicit sale of artifacts is surpassed only by oil sales.

The bill, known as the Protect and Preserve International Cultural Property Act, would give the Obama administration greater authority to restrict imports of artifacts from Syria. Usually, such authority would go through UNESCO. But because the United States lacks diplomatic ties with Syria, Grassley and other proponents of the bill say the additional authority is needed.

A companion bill passed the House unanimously by voice vote on June 1. A voice vote means no record of individual votes is taken.  

But passage in the Senate will face an already packed schedule as the chamber looks to join the House in its monthlong recess.

— by Brent Griffiths

And then there were 17

The Republican presidential field has grown to 17 major candidates.

Former Virginia Gov. Jim Gilmore filed paperwork with the Federal Election Commission on Wednesday.

The 65-year-old held one term as governor from 1998 to 2002. Gilmore has previously been a former Army intelligence officer and was the 38th attorney general of Virginia.

Gilmore had a small stint in the 2008 presidential election. He announced his candidacy in January 2007 but dropped out of the race in July 2007 because of a lack of funds.

— by Rebecca Morin

Authorities have accused a Cedar Rapids man of trying to pawn a stolen bicycle.

La Ron Swift, 30, was charged Tuesday with second-degree theft.

According to online documents, Swift attempted to pawn a white bicycle that had been reported stolen the previous day.

The pawnshop was able to positively identify the stolen bike by its serial number.

When speaking with police, Swift reportedly said he bought the bike from an unknown white woman in an alley next to KFC in Cedar Rapids.

He said he paid $200 for the bike.

Second-degree theft is a Class-D felony.

— Bill Cooney

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