Arizona Governor Doug Ducey vetoed a bill yesterday that would have prevented law-enforcement agencies from publicly releasing the names of officers involved in shootings for two months. The bill, designed to protect police, was inspired by last year’s unrest following the shooting of an unarmed black teenager by an officer in Ferguson, Missouri. But Ducey said he spoke to police chiefs who said they believed the legislation would only prevent police departments from managing community relations and promote misinformation about involved officers.
Andreas Lubitz, the co-pilot of Germanwings Flight 9525 who apparently deliberately crashed the plane into a French mountainside this week, had apparently sought help for eyesight problems that could have disqualified him from flying, according to two officials who spoke to the New York Times. Lubitz also reportedy underwent treatment for psychological issues and hid aspects of his condition from his employer. An ex-girlfriend of Lubitz's told German media that he was planning an act “that will change the whole system, and then all will know my name and remember it.” Lubitz’s former lover, a stewardess known only as Maria W., told a German newspaper, “I never knew what he meant, but now it makes sense.” A report also claimed that Lubitz’s fiancee, whose last name is Goldbach, had left him the day before the crash, leaving him depressed.
Israel spied on private talks the U.S. held with Iran on nuclear weapons, and gave information to members of Congress in order to gain support against the deal, The Wall Street Journal reported yesterday. Citing senior White House officials, the report claims Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu wanted inside information on the closed-door talks in order to lobby support and build a case against the deal. The White House reportedly discovered the snooping after U.S. intelligence agencies spying on Israel intercepted messages containing details that only could have come from the private talks. The Journal also reported Israel obtained “information from confidential U.S. briefings, informants, and diplomatic contacts in Europe.” Israeli officials denied the report’s claims and said they received intelligence in other ways. On Tuesday, Israeli defense minister Moshe Ya'alon stated that Israel hadn't recieved a formal complaint from the White House, and said it was "a shame there are people who try to create conflict."
An Associated Press report from earlier this week revealed the harrowingly abusive labor practices in the international seafood industry, tracking slave-caught fish on the Indonesian island of Benjina to major American grocery stores such Kroger, Safeway, and Wal-Mart. The AP spoke to more than 40 current and former slaves in Benjina, including men trapped in cages and forced to fish under false documents. Burmese, Cambodian, and Thai migrants are routinely sold as slaves to Thai captains or companies, according to a former broker who spoke on the condition of anonymity. The Thai government has promised reform, including a new national registry of illegal migrant workers, such as the 100,000 working in the seafood industry. Meanwhile, the Indonesian government has issued a temporary ban on most fishing to prevent foreign poachers from fishing in the country’s waters, which has left as many as 1,000 slaves stranded in Benjina.
A malfunctioning hot plate sparked a fire early yesterday that killed seven children from the same Jewish family in a Brooklyn neighborhood, according to police. The children, all aged 5 to 15, were sleeping on the second floor of a single-family house in Midwood. The mother was able to jump out a front window while a daughter, 15, escaped through a side window. The other seven children, however, all died. “This is the largest tragedy by fire that this city has had in seven years,” fire commissioner Daniel A. Nigro said. “It’s a tragedy for this family, it’s a tragedy for this community, it’s a tragedy for the city.” There was only one smoke detector in the home and it was located in the basement.
A San Francisco Catholic church vowed to remove a sprinkler system reportedly used to repel homeless people sleeping in the building’s doorways after a KCBS report on the practice sparked backlash on Wednesday. The San Francisco Archdiocese has apologized for the “misunderstood” and “ill-conceived” method used at Saint Mary’s Cathedral. According to KCBS, “water pours from a hole in the ceiling, about 30 feet above, drenching the alcove” where homeless people tend to gather. “The idea was not to remove those persons, but to encourage them to relocate to other areas of the cathedral, which are protected and safer,” said Bishop William Justice. “It actually has had the opposite effect from what it was intended to do, and for this we are very sorry.” Bishop Justice added the church would work to remove the system by the end of the day.
Penn State University suspended a fraternity after police discovered a private Facebook page where members posted images of partially naked women while they were passed out or sleeping, according to a search warrant obtained by WJACTV.com yesterday. According to the warrant, several members of the Kappa Delta Rho fraternity hosted two private pages that featured photos of drug sales, hazing, and images of victims, who are mostly women, appearing to be sleeping or passed out, said Lt. Keith Robb of the State College Police. The first page, “Covert Business Transactions,” was shuttered after a victim allegedly found out, but it was later replaced with “2.0,” according to the warrant. The page had nearly 150 members including current students and alumni and police said they found about 20 photos for evidence.
It’s been almost two weeks since Russian President Vladimir Putin was last seen in public, sparking rumors concerning his health and grip on power as he canceled meeting after meeting. On Monday, the Kremlin leader stepped back into the spotlight, attending a meeting with Kyrgyzstan President Almazbek Atambayev in St. Petersburg. “It would be boring without gossip,” Putin said, addressing the rumors of his health. Before he appeared Monday, the Kremlin had issued a statement from Putin putting 40,000 troops on full alert for military duty as Russian state news agency’s fumbled in reporting scheduled events ahead of time and that Putin was recovering from the flu.
Texas executed a Mexican Mafia hitman last evening with the state’s second-to-last dose of the lethal injection drug pentobarbital. Manuel Vasquez, 46, was pronounced dead at 6:32 p.m. local time. Vasquez, convicted of killing 51-year-old Juanita Ybarra in San Antonio in 1998, is the fourth person Texas has executed this year, and now the state has only enough pentobarbital for one more execution. Texas has scheduled at least six more inmates to be executed in the next few weeks. It is one of multiple states having difficulties securing lethal injection drugs to continue executions. Utah legalized firing squads for state executions earlier this week.
Forty-seven Republican senators signed an open letter to Iran’s leaders warning them that any deal they cut with the U.S. will only last as long as President Obama is in office. The unusual partisan move when it comes to foreign policy was dismissed by Democrats as a “stunt” that “weakens America’s hand.” Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif called it “propaganda” with “no legal value.” The White House said it “interferes” with negotiations.
President Obama traveled to Selma, Alabama yesterday to mark the the 50th anniversary of Bloody Sunday, the day peaceful protesters led by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. were violently beaten by state troopers as they tried to cross the Edmund Pettus Bridge. The act shocked the nation and eventually led to the passage of the Voting Rights Act in 1965. Former president George W. Bush joined Obama in commemorating the anniversary, along with over 100 members of Congress (about two dozen of whom are Republican) and an estimated tens of thousands of Americans. Obama's speech can be read here.
North Korea described the knife attack on U.S. Ambassador Mark Lippert as “just punishment” for joint U.S.-South Korea military drills. North Korea’s news agency called the attack a valid “expression of resistance” and even referred to the blade that political extremist Kim Ki-jong used as the “knife of justice.” Kim attacked Lippert during an event in Seoul on Thursday. Lippert was left with a 4-inch gash on his face and received 80 stitches during more than two hours of surgery.
When she served as secretary of state, Hillary Clinton used only her personal email account to conduct government business, and she never even had a government email account. Two months ago, Clinton’s advisers began reviewing emails to give to the record-keeping department and handed over 55,000 pages of emails. As required by the Federal Records Act, Clinton’s correspondence was supposed to be retained, and officials say her exclusive use of her personal account was unusual and may have been against regulations.
For the third year in a row, Kentucky Senator Rand Paul won the Conservative Political Action Conference straw poll, CNN reported yesterday. Paul won with 25.7 percent of the vote among the yearly gathering of conservatives that is often seen as an early test of a GOP candidate's support among the conservative base of the party. Gov. Scott Walker of Wisconsin came in second with 21.4 percent support, the biggest jump from the year before, when he came in fifth. Sen. Ted Cruz and retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson clocked in at 11.5 percent and 11.4 percent, respectively while former Florida governor Jeb Bush came in fifth with 8 percent.