Standing down. Russian President Vladimir Putin is taking more steps to ratchet down the tension in eastern Ukraine, asking Parliament on Monday to revoke the authority it gave him in March to send troops into the former Soviet bloc country. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said the move was designed to “normalize” the situation in eastern Ukraine, “and also in connection with the beginning of trilateral talks on the issue.” On Friday, Ukrainian leader Petro Poroshenko declared a cease-fire with pro-Russian separatists battling government forces near the Russian border. Rebel fighters agreed to put down their weapons until June 27. On Monday, the European Union threatened to impose more sanctions on Russia if Putin doesn’t support the peace process. Also on Monday, U.S. President Barack Obama called Putin to personally ask him to urge the rebels to stand down.
Saved. In a sting dubbed Operation Cross Country, the FBI and local law enforcement officials across the country rescued 168 victims of child sex trafficking last week. They arrested 281 pimps who face federal and state charges. The operation spanned 106 cities. The FBI claims its anti-trafficking initiatives have recovered nearly 3,600 children from the streets since 2003. They have convicted 1,450 perpetrators, 14 of which received life sentences. “Targeting and harming America’s children through commercial sex trafficking is a heinous crime, with serious consequences,” FBI Director James B. Comey said in a statement. “Every child deserves to be safe and sound.”
More kidnappings. Islamic militants are suspected of kidnapping 91 more women and children on Saturday from villages in northern Nigeria. Security forces deny the claims, which are being widely reported in Nigerian media. The new kidnapping victims include 60 girls and women and 31 boys, reports say. Aji Khalil, a man allied with a local anti–Boko Haram group said four villagers were killed in the attack that resulted in the abductions. Nigerian news reports claimed 30 people were killed. Villagers whose homes were destroyed fled the area.
Cut off. The Mormon Church on Monday excommunicated a woman who has advocated for women’s rights in the church. A panel of male judges convicted her of apostasy. Katy Kelly, a human rights lawyer who lives in Utah, founded Ordain Women in 2013 in an attempt to push the church to allow women to join its priesthood. Mark Harrison, the Virginia bishop who told Kelly about the panel’s decision said she was not being punished for asking questions or even for believing women should be ordained. “The problem is that you have persisted in an aggressive effort to persuade other Church members to your point of view and that your course of action has threatened to erode the faith of others,” Harrison wrote. Kelly has vowed to keep fighting.
It’s worth it. The Federal Reserve Bank is trying to convince high school students that going to college is worth the expense. In a report issued today, the Fed said despite falling wages overall, college graduates still make more money over their lifetimes than workers who only have a high school diploma. “Investing in a college degree may be more important than ever before because those who fail to do so are falling further and further behind,” the report said. The report focused on return on investment and noted that at 15 percent, for someone with a bachelor’s or associate’s degree, the ROI for college grads more than doubled the 7 percent threshold for a sound investment. But as higher education critics have noted, what you study matters. Engineering majors have a 21 percent return on investment, on average, while education majors have a 9 percent return.