Darren Wilson resigned from the Ferguson, Missouri police department yesterday, telling the St. Louis Post-Dispatch it is "the hardest thing I've ever had to do." "I have been told that my continued employment may put the residents and police officers of the City of Ferguson at risk," Wilson wrote in a letter to the department, "which is a circumstance that I cannot allow." Wilson was reportedly in talks to step down for weeks but said he wanted to wait until the grand jury decided whether or not to indict him for shooting and killing Michael Brown. Wilson wrote he hopes resigning "will allow the community to heal" and thanked "all of my supporters and fellow officers throughout this process."
Video of Cleveland police officer Timothy Loehmann shooting a 12-year-old boy with a toy gun shows that the rookie cop opened fire almost as soon as he stepped out of his patrol car. The video released yesterday shows that Loehmann waited just “1 1/2 to 2 seconds” before he fatally shot Tamir Rice, while his partner stayed in the vehicle on Saturday. The caller told dispatchers that the gun was “probably fake” twice, but dispatchers did not convey that information to the responding officers. According to the police report, Loehmann said he told Rice to show his hands three times before he fired.
Officer Darren Wilson will not be charged in the killing of Michael Brown, St. Louis County Prosecuting Attorney Robert McCulloch announced last night. A grand jury decided yesterday morning not to indict Wilson on counts ranging from first-degree murder to involuntary manslaughter. The grand jury reviewed evidence and heard witness testimony for three months after Brown, 18, was gunned down by Wilson on August 9. McCulloch said he will release to the public evidence the grand jury reviewed to make its decision.
“We are profoundly disappointed that the killer of our child will not face the consequence of his actions,” Brown’s family wrote in a statement. “While we understand that many others share our pain, we ask that you channel your frustration in ways that will make a positive change.”
McCulloch said that Brown’s blood was found on the squad car and he was shot after he turned toward Wilson. The officer’s medical examination found “some swelling and redness to his face.” Wilson’s attorneys released a statement saying that “many people will want to second-guess the grand jury’s decision,” and said that their client “would like to thank those who have stood by his side.”
A weekend Bill Cosby performance in Melbourne, Florida both started and ended with a standing ovation for the 77-year-old comedian, accused of molesting or assaulting several women. No one in the audience at Eastern Florida State College stood up to question Cosby about the allegations, which he has avoided discussing thus far and did not address from the stage. On Friday, three more women came forward with their stories of being sexually assaulted by Cosby, in many cases several decades ago.
Global obesity is costing the world economy $2 trillion a year in health costs and lower productivity, according to a study from the McKinsey Global Institute. Obesity ranks far more costly than alcoholism, climate change, air pollution, and drug problems. It falls just behind armed conflict and smoking in terms of the most costly human-generated burdens. The financial loss to obesity is equivalent to Russia’s Gross Domestic Product. According to a study published in The Lancet this year, one third of the world’s population was overweight or obese in 2013.
The city of Toronto is asking a court to order the mobile car-booking service Uber Technologies Inc. to shut down in the city. Uber has been operating in North America's fourth-largest metropolis since 2012 without a proper license, city officials said today in a statement on the Toronto website. The notice cited concerns about Uber’s operations, including a lack of driver training and vehicle inspections, inadequate insurance and increased traffic from the additional cars on the road. Uber, which allows users to summon and pay for rides with their mobile phones, has been bogged down by legal battles and protests around the world as it disrupts established taxi and limousine industries. The startup has expanded to more than 220 cities since it was founded in 2009. Xavier Van Chau, a spokesman for Uber, said in an email that the company wants to sit down with city officials to “find a common-sense approach to regulations that promote public safety.”
Since the early 1980s, men who have sex with men are banned from giving blood in the U.S. due to concerns back then over transmission of HIV. Now, a U.S. advisory panel at the FDA is reportedly poised to recommend for the first time that the ban be partially ended. The American Red Cross says the risk is infinitesimal, and therefore a ban is unjustified. The U.S. will likely adopt a one-year deferral similar to the U.K., Australia, and Canada, which defers men who have sex with other men from giving blood until a year or five years after the last encounter.
Arkansas Gov. Mike Beebe said on Wednesday that he will pardon his son for his felony marijuana charge. His son, Kyle, now 34, was charged in 2003 with possession of a controlled substance with intent to deliver. He already served three years of probation, but recently submitted a formal request for pardon. The Arkansas Parole Board recommended Kyle Beebe for pardon on October 20. "I would have done it a long time ago if he'd have asked, but he took his sweet time about asking,” said Beebe. “He was embarrassed. He's still embarrassed, and frankly, I was embarrassed and his mother was embarrassed.”
The U.S. and China have reached an agreement to drop tariffs on a wide range of technology products, in a deal backers say could cover $1 trillion in trade, and that marks a significant accomplishment amid tensions in the Washington-Beijing relationship. The two nations struck a deal late last evening to expand the Information Technology Agreement, a global technology trade pact, to cover semiconductors, medical devices, Global Positioning System devices, and other newer products. The agreement, reached after marathon negotiations and more than a year of stalled talks, could be ratified in December by members of the World Trade Organization. President Obama unveiled the deal earlier this morning from the APEC summit in Beijing.
Although there were various reports suggesting ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi may have been killed in a coalition airstrike, Iraqi officials said earlier today that he was wounded. Iraq's Defense and Interior Ministries both released statements that al-Baghdadi was wounded in an attack led by Iraqi forces, but they did not elaborate on what types of injuries he sustained. An Interior Ministry intelligence official confirmed to the AP that al-Baghdadi was hit Saturday during a strike on al-Qaim, a border town in the western province of Anbar. Iraqi officials toldThe New York Times that a strike on the town hit a meeting of ISIS leaders, killing many—including possibly two regional governors. Pentagon officials did not provide any information on the strike nor confirm whether al-Baghdadi was wounded. Al-Baghdadi is the self-proclaimed leaders of ISIS, and the U.S. has placed a $10 million bounty on his head.
A federal appeals court today dealt a blow to the same-sex marriage movement by upholding four states’ gay marriage bans, effecitvely reversing district court rulings that had struck down the bans in Michigan, Ohio, Kentucky and Tennessee. The split between the nation’s courts now virtually guarantees that the Supreme Court will step in.
On its way to racking up wins in more gubernatorial races than virtually anyone had forseen, the Republican Party held on to the governor’s mansions in Texas, Florida, Wisconsin, and Ohio, states where the Democrats mounted spirited campaigns and had hoped to make some inroads, especially in Florida. The race in the Sunshine State went down to the wire, pitting incumbent Republican Rick Scott against challenger and former governor Charlie Crist, a former Republican running as a Democrat. In Texas, GOP Attorney General Greg Abbott decisively defeated Democrat Wendy Davis, who made national headlines following a 13-hour filibuster over Texas abortion restrictions in 2013. Abbott takes the reins from Republican Rick Perry, who was governor for 14 years. And in Wisconsin, incumbent Gov. Scott Walker prevailed over Democrat Mary Burke, despite slipping in the polls ahead of the election. Republican Bruce Rauner defeated Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn in President Obama’s adopted home state, dealing a huge blow to Democrats with the upset. The win may be an indicator of the extent of the president’s unpopularity, given that he campaigned in Illinois.
After a disastrous night for Democrats, the Republican Party will take full control of Congress for the first time since Barack Obama was elected president. The GOP picked up seven Senate seats tonight and expanded its majority in the House to its largest margin since Harry Truman was in the White House. “An election that started as trench warfare, state by state and district by district, crested into a sweeping Republican victory,” The New York Times wrote. “Contests that were expected to be close were not, and races expected to go Democratic broke narrowly for the Republicans.” Republicans won in Arkansas, Montana, South Dakota, pulled off an upset in North Carolina, came from behind in Colorado and Iowa, and posted their first victory in West Virginia since 1956. Midterm elections under Obama have been horrific for Democrats. Losses in 2014 and 2010 rival those of Richard Nixon in 1974 and Bill Clinton in 1994 as the most destructive to a president’s party since the end of World War II. Obama will speak to all of this at a 2:50 p.m. press conference in the East Room of the White House.
Voters in Oregon, Alaska, and Washington, D.C. approved ballot measures that allow the use of marijuana by adults, boosting legalization activists who hope to extend their winning streak across the country. Oregon and Alaska join fellow states Colorado and Washington, where voters approved recreational use of pot two years ago. D.C. is on the same path unless Congress, which has review power, blocks the move. In Florida, a ballot measure that would have permitted the use of medical marijuana failed to reach the 60 percent mark required for constitutional amendments.
Republicans prevailed in all of Texas' statewide elections on Tuesday, extending a longest-in-the-nation winning streak that dates back to 1994 and ensuring that while all of the state's top offices will get new occupants, the politics won't change that much. Republicans were poised to win all of the statewide races by more than 20 percentage points, despite tens of millions of dollars spent on high-profile yet ineffective Democratic campaigns, including Wendy Davis' bid for governor and Leticia Van de Putte's race for lieutenant governor. Texans have not elected a Democrat to statewide office since 1994. The wins for the GOP included Republican George P. Bush — the Bush family heir who is widely expected to seek higher office in four years. Bush easily won his bid for land commissioner against Democrat John Cook, a former El Paso mayor.