US senators on rare visit to Moscow ahead of Putin-Trump summit

US ambassador to Russia Jon Huntsman and US Senator Richard Shelby get into a car following a meeting with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov in Moscow, Russia July 3, 2018. (REUTERS/Sergei Karpukhin)
Updated 03 July 2018
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US senators on rare visit to Moscow ahead of Putin-Trump summit

  • The US delegation is in Russia until Thursday, ahead of the summit planned in Helsinki on July 16
  • Republican US senators met with Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on a rare visit to Moscow

MOSCOW: Republican US senators met with Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on a rare visit to Moscow Tuesday ahead of a summit between the countries’ presidents Vladimir Putin and Donald Trump.
The US delegation is in Russia until Thursday, ahead of the summit planned in Helsinki on July 16, at a time of high tension between Russia and the West.
“We recognize that the world is better off, I believe, if Russia and the US have fewer tensions, get along a little better, maybe put aside some differences,” Senator Richard Shelby said during Tuesday’s meeting with Lavrov at the Russian foreign ministry.
“We are competitors, but we don’t necessarily need to be adversaries,” said Shelby, a Republican senator from Alabama, in televised comments.
“We’re hoping that coming out of the Putin-Trump meeting in Helsinki, it will be the beginning, maybe, of a new day,” Shelby added. “We will have to wait and see.”
Lavrov, speaking in English, said he hoped that the US senators’ visit “will symbolize the resumption of relations between the (US and Russian) parliaments.”
“I think the resumption of dialogue is going to be a very timely event on the eve of the forthcoming meeting between the two presidents,” he added.
Lavrov also congratulated the delegation on the forthcoming US Independence Day and wished them well on hosting the 2026 FIFA World Cup. Russia is currently hosting this year’s tournament.
The senators then met with representatives of the Duma, the lower house of the Russian parliament.
“I am here not to accuse Russia of anything, I am here to try to find ways to improve relations,” Shelby told Russian lawmakers, according to a transcript published on the Duma website.
For his part, Duma speaker Vyacheslav Volodin welcomed the delegation and thanked US ambassador in Russia Jon Huntsman for the “initiative of inter-parliamentary dialogue.”
The US senators are due to meet with the upper house of the Russian parliament later Tuesday.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said there was no plan for the senators to meet Putin.
He said the Kremlin was “very satisfied” that the senators were visiting Russia.
“We are convinced that inter-parliamentary links are one of the most important factors in bilateral ties,” he told reporters.
Moscow and Washington announced the summit date after Trump’s National Security Adviser John Bolton met with Putin in Moscow last week.
The head-to-head between the US and Russian leaders will follow a delicate NATO summit in Brussels.
Trump has expressed scorn for the alliance and is expected to upbraid European NATO members for not spending enough on their own defense.


Drifter charged in stabbing death of champ golfer in Iowa

Updated 18 September 2018
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Drifter charged in stabbing death of champ golfer in Iowa

  • Celia Barquin Arozamena was found in a pond at Coldwater Golf Links in Ames, about 50 kilometers north of Des Moines
  • A police dog tracked Barquin’s scent to a temporary camp along a creek near the golf course, where a suspect was apprehended

AMES, Iowa: A homeless man attacked and killed a top amateur golfer from Spain who was playing a round near her university campus in central Iowa, leaving her body in a pond on the course, police said Tuesday.
Collin Daniel Richards, 22, has been charged with first-degree murder in the death of Celia Barquin Arozamena, a student at Iowa State University.
Barquin was found Monday morning in a pond at Coldwater Golf Links in Ames, about 30 miles (50 kilometers) north of Des Moines. Police were called to the golf course around 10:20 a.m. to investigate a possible missing female after golfers found a golf bag with no one around it.
Officers found Barquin’s body some distance from the bag, with several stab wounds to her upper torso, head and neck, according to the criminal complaint filed Tuesday against Richards.
A police dog tracked Barquin’s scent to a temporary camp along a creek near the golf course, where Richards had been living in a tent, the complaint said. Officers found Richards with several fresh scratches on his face consistent with fighting, and a deep laceration in his left hand that he tried to conceal, it said.
An acquaintance of Richards told investigators that the suspect had said in recent days that he had “an urge to rape and kill a woman” while they were walking on a trail near the course, the complaint said. A second acquaintance told police that Richards arrived at his home on Monday appearing “disheveled and covered in blood, sand and water.” He bathed and left with his clothes in a backpack.
Investigators later recovered two pairs of shorts with blood stains and a knife that Richards allegedly gave to two other people after the slaying, the complaint said. Those two individuals were driving Richards out of town after the slaying, but he asked them to drop him off near the camp so he could get his tent and that’s when officers arrested him, it said.
Barquin was the 2018 Big 12 champion and Iowa State Female Athlete of the Year. The university said the native of Puente San Miguel, Spain, was finishing her civil engineering degree this semester after exhausting her eligibility at Iowa State in 2017-2018.
She was one of the most accomplished players in Cyclone golf history, the university said. In April, she became the second women’s golfer at Iowa State to earn medalist honors at a conference tournament when claiming the 2018 Big 12 Championship. She did it with a three-shot victory.
Barquin, who was ranked No. 69 nationally by Golfweek, ended her career as a Cyclone with a fourth-straight NCAA Regional appearance and earned All-Big 12 Team honors for the third time — the second player in Iowa State’s history to do so.
She became the third Cyclone women’s golfer to compete in the US Women’s Open Championship, the university said. The team announced Tuesday it was pulling out of the East & West Match Play in Ann Arbor, Michigan, to be with friends and family and to grieve their loss.
Iowa State President Wendy Wintersteen said in a statement on Twitter that she was “deeply saddened to learn of the tragic death” of Barquin, describing her as a “dedicated civil engineering student” and an “acclaimed golfer with a bright future.”
Head women’s golf coach Christie Martens said in a release that Barquin was “loved by all her teammates and friends” and was an “outstanding representative of our school.”
“We will never forget her competitive drive to be the best and her passion for life,” Martens said.