Category: Uncategorized



Thursday, April 9, 2015

Police brutality debate rages, Boston Marathon bomber convicted and more in today’s .

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Body Cameras Coming?

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The recent murder charge against a white North Charleston police officer has rekindled a national debate about police brutality against minority communities and whether cops should wear camera vests.

Policeman Michael Slager shot and killed Walter Scott, a 50-year-old black man, over the weekend. It was only after a video emerged of Slager firing eight times at Scott’s back that Slager was arrested and charged. That has many wondering whether Slager would’ve fired had he been wearing a camera vest. North Charleston’s mayor has since ordered 150 body cameras for local police.

30x Guilty

Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was convicted in federal court yesterday for his role in the 2013 Boston Marathon bombings. He was convicted on all 30 counts, many of which – like the use of a weapon of mass destruction – carry the possibility of the death penalty.

Tsarnaev and his older brother Tamerlan killed three people and injured hundreds after detonating pressure-cooker bombs at the finish line of the Boston Marathon. Afterward, the Tsarnaev brothers murdered a university security guard, and Tamerlan was subsequently killed in a shootout with police. The sentencing phase of the trial is expect to begin next week.


Iran Sails to Yemen

Two ships from Iran’s navy appeared near Yemen yesterday, further signaling that Yemen’s apparent civil war could be escalating into a full-scale regional conflict between Iran and Saudi Arabia.

A Saudi Arabian-led coalition has been bombing Iranian-backed Houthis in Yemen since the Houthis forced the exile of Yemeni President Abd Hadi. Foreign Policy has an indispensable piece about how ISIS’s suicide bombings of Shia mosques in Yemen late last month might’ve been a deliberate effort to provoke an “Arab World War.”

Augusta 2015

The most prestigious PGA major championship – The Masters at Augusta National Golf Club – begins today. Of the four majors, The Masters is the only one played on the same course, which it’s fielded since 1934. The New Yorker – a publication not exactly known for its sports coverage – has a superb breakdown of the course, the players, and their odds.


Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Bad weather hinders the Flight 8501 search, a 2-year-old shoots his mother in a Walmart altanki and more in today’s .

10 bodies have been recovered from AirAsia Flight 8501 as bad weather hinders the search for others.

High seas, strong winds and heavy rain have been persisting obstacles for divers, boat crews and aircraft pilots seeking the other bodies and any clues about the cause of the plane’s crash on Monday morning.

Several countries have contributed to the search effort, including Indonesia, Singapore, Malaysia, Australia and the United States, which has deployed the USS Sampson, with the USS Fort Worth preparing for deployment as well.

Background. Operated by a Malaysia-based Indonesian affiliate of AirAsia, the flight was carrying 162 people—mostly from Surabaya, Indonesia—when it lost contact around 6:20 a.m. Monday—less than an hour after takeoff. While heavy winds and lightning strikes were detected in the aircraft’s vicinity, neither should have threatened its safety.

Searchers found wreckage from the plane yesterday, approximately 66 miles from its last known location.

The incident concluded a horrific year for Malaysian airlines in which a passenger jet went missing over the Indian Ocean in March and another was shot down over Ukraine in July.

A 2-year-old boy accidentally shot and killed his mother in an Idaho Walmart yesterday.

The child discharged the handgun after finding it in his mother’s purse. She was licensed to carry a concealed weapon.

The two were shopping with three other children when the incident occurred.

Even Vegas is expecting snow as Americans are preparing to ring in the New Year amid chilly temps.

Exceptionally cold weather will impact revelers in destinations across the country, from Times Square to the Vegas Strip. Winter storm warnings have been issued throughout the Southwest, including parts of California and Texas.

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Another massive cyberattack, John Kerry meets Ukrainian leaders and more in today’s .

As many a 80 million customer records were stolen last week in a cyberattack against health insurance company Anthem.

The exposed information includes names, dates of birth, social security numbers, medical IDs, street addresses, email addresses and employment information, including income data. Credit card information and sensitive medical records are believed to be safe.

Anthem—the second-largest health insurer in the U.S.—immediately reported the attack to the FBI and is fully cooperating in the investigation. The breach ranks among the largest in corporate history and could be the largest ever against a health care company.

Following a significant uptick in cyberattacks in the last year from both cybercriminals and nation-state actors, cybersecurity has become a top priority of the U.S. government.

Secretary of State John Kerry meets Ukrainian leaders in Kiev today.

Joined by German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President François Hollande, Kerry will offer a $16.4 million aid package and discuss the Ukranian government’s military needs in its fight against Russian-backed militants. With the help of Russian tanks, rockets and approximately 1,000 troops, the separatists have taken control of about 200 square miles in eastern Ukraine.

In addition to supplying humanitarian aid, Kerry is expected to press for another cease-fire.

Meanwhile, the White house is considering reversing its opposition to supplying Ukraine with defensive weapons such as anti-tank missiles, battlefield radars and reconnaissance drones.

President Obama and the Dalai Lama will both attend today’s National Prayer Breakfast.

The breakfast, which convenes world leaders in Washington for an hour devoted to faith, marks the first time a U.S. president and the Tibetan leader have appeared at the same public event. Although no official meeting is scheduled between the president and Dalai Lama, the prospect of an interaction has created friction with China, who regards the Dalai Lama as an anti-Chinese separatist. The two leaders have had three previous meetings behind closed doors, each of which drew criticism from China.

In his address to attendees, President Obama will speak about religious freedom.

Friday, February 13, 2015

Cyber Friday, the EU threatens Russia and more in today’s .

Executive Cyber-Decision

President Obama is expected to announce an executive order on cybersecurity today. He’ll be speaking at a cybersecurity conference at Stanford University near Silicon Valley.

The order is a result of the fallout from North Korea’s involvement in the Sony data breach, among dozens of other high-profile breaches last year. But it’s also emblematic of Obama’s larger legislative challenges with Congress. He’s had a hard time getting anything passed, much less cybersecurity legislation.

Trench warfare on Capitol Hill isn’t entirely to blame for the order, though. Tech giants like Google and Facebook see a link between government surveillance and cybersecurity reform, and haven’t lent much support to Obama’s cybersecurity proposals. Chief among Obama’s cyber reforms is increased “information sharing” between companies and the federal government. That sounds nice, but tech companies worry about the prospect of their data winding up at the National Security Agency.

On the other hand, no one’s arguing that our data is secure. The devastating hack of health insurance provider Anthem is just the latest example of our vulnerability.

I’ll Raise Your Promise with a Sanction

The EU will throw down more sanctions on Russia if it doesn’t abide by the ceasefire agreement with Ukraine, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said Thursday.

That statement should say something about Merkel’s confidence in Thursday’s settlement. Ukrainian military officials said that even as Russian President Vladimir Putin was negotiating the deal, Russian forces were moving heavy weapons (missiles and tanks) across the Ukrainian border. The Atlantic had a helpful article about why the settlement isn’t like to hold.

It’s also worth remembering that a similar ceasefire was reached in September of last year, but Russia didn’t exactly hold up its end of the bargain.

We’ll know a lot more about the legitimacy of the agreement when it goes into effect Saturday at midnight.

Crystal Ball Gazing

Johnson & Johnson (J&J) launched three medical research programs Thursday, with the aim of identifying a patient’s predisposition for certain illnesses and treating the problem before it starts.

The research will focus on diseases like cancer, heart disease, Type-1 diabetes, and Alzheimer’s. It will likely cost billions of dollars, but fortunately, J&J has some serious dough at its disposal. The programs will operate under Janssen Research & Development, the pharmaceutical wing of J&J.

J&J isn’t the only one playing the anti-aging game. Google announced last year that it would spend up to $750 million on cancer and Alzheimer’s research.

‘Radiant’ Kids

Information continues to pour out of Chapel Hill, NC about the lives of three Muslim students who were murdered Tuesday. In an NPRinterview, an elementary school teacher who knew the three students called them “radiant.”

Those radiant lives ended abruptly Tuesday when the students were shot in the head at point blank range in their apartment. They were Yusor Abu-Salha (21), her husband Deah Barakat (23) and her sister Razan Abu-Salha (19). Yusor and Barakat were married in December. Barakat was studying to be a dentist and had raised more than $150k for dental relief for Syrian children. The funding total has reportedly ballooned to $230k since the news of their murders.

The elementary school teacher, speaking about Yusor, told NPR, “You know, when we write our comments on report cards, we say ‘they exceeded our expectations.’ She exceeded our expectations.” Yusor had recently traveled to Turkey to provide dental care for Syria refugees.

Craig Stephen Hicks (46) has been charged with first-degree murder in the killings.