Beau Biden, 46, the eldest son of Vice President Joe Biden, has died of brain cancer, the White House announced yesterday evening. "The entire Biden family is saddened beyond words. We know that Beau's spirit will live on in all of us—especially through his brave wife, Hallie, and two remarkable children, Natalie and Hunter," the vice president said in a statement.
"Beau's life was defined by service to others. As a young lawyer, he worked to establish the rule of law in war-torn Kosovo. A major in the Delaware National Guard, he was an Iraq War veteran and was awarded the Bronze Star. As Delaware's Attorney General, he fought for the powerless and made it his mission to protect children from abuse."
In a separate statement, President Obama offerd his condolences. "Michelle and I are grieving tonight," the statement read. "Beau Biden was a friend of ours. His beloved family – Hallie, Natalie, and Hunter – are friends of ours. And Joe and Jill Biden are as good as friends get."
"Like his dad, Beau was a good, big-hearted, devoutly Catholic and deeply faithful man, who made a difference in the lives of all he touched – and he lives on in their hearts," the statement continued.
Beau Biden was admitted to Walter Reed Medical Center in Bethesda on May 19, CNN reported at the time, but no information was given on what he was being treated for. He was fighting for his life, the Washington Post reported. On Saturday night, he finally lost that battle.
FIFA has provisionally banned 11 individuals from carrying out “any football-related activities on a national and international level” after the U.S. indicted them for alleged corruption. In a statement, FIFA President Sepp Blatter—who is up for re-election later this week—said “such misconduct has no place in football and we will ensure that those who engage in it are put out of the game.” The organization “will continue to work with the relevant authorities and we will work vigorously within FIFA in order to root out any misconduct, to regain your trust, and ensure that football worldwide is free from wrongdoing,” Blatter added.
One United Nations peacekeeper was killed and another wounded after gunmen opened fire in Mali's capital Bamako yesterday, security sources have told the AFP. The two UN soldiers were reportedly Bangladeshi and had been shot while traveling in a UN vehicle from Bamako airport to the southern part of the city, according to a source from MINUSMA, the UN's peacekeeping mission in Mali. “We are seeking clarification and details. This has to be viewed as a terrorist act. The perpetrators are the enemies of peace,” the security source said.
A judge has acquitted Cleveland police officer Michael Brelo of manslaughter in the deaths of an unarmed black couple in 2012. Brelo, along with several other officers, fired a total of 137 rounds at Timothy Russell and his passenger Malissa Williams during a chase. 49 shots were fired by Brelo alone, who climbed onto the hood of Russell’s car and fired 15 rounds, including the last fatal shots. Russell later said he thought gunfire was coming from the car; no weapon was ever recovered.
Yesterday, Nebraska lawmakers voted to repeal the state’s death penalty. Governor Pete Ricketts has said he will veto the measure, but the state legislature is expected to override the veto later next week. Legislative Bill 268 passed by a vote of 32-15 on Wednesday afternoon and works to replace lethal injection with a life-term maximum prison sentence.
President Barack Obama launched his own Twitter account on Monday, the White House confirmed. Under the handle, @POTUS, Obama gained 1.4 million followers within a few hours. "Hello, Twitter! It's Barack. Really! Six years in, they're finally giving me my own account," he wrote in his first tweet. The new account will feature tweets coming exclusively from the president, according to a White House blog post. Obama is currently is following 65 people, including Bill Clinton and George Bush. The president's official feed, @BarackObama, was launched in 2007 and is run by his Organizing for Action staff. Unfortunately, his joining was immediately met by racist responses from some users.
A New York Times report released yesterday found that a secretive Pakistani software company has been allegedly scamming people into paying for fake academic degrees from online schools, according to former insiders, company records, and a detailed analysis of its website. The company, Axact, allegedly uses telephone sales agents to persuade people to enroll in fake courses and, sometimes, to pose as U.S. government officials to follow up and convince customers to buy certifications or authentication documents. Revenue, estimated to be as much as several million dollars each month, is then transferred into offshore companies. Axact is also building a broadcast studio and recruiting prominent journalists to launch its media group Bol, which purports to be funded through its fake diploma scheme, according to the Times.
The Amtrak train derailment that killed at least eight people and sent almost 200 people to the hospital could have been prevented if an automatic train-control system was in place, authorities announced yesterday. The Advanced Civil Speed Enforcement system, which is designed to prevent speeding, was due to be installed in Philadelphia this year, according to National Transportation Safety Board member Robert Sumwalt. Positive Train Control is required by federal law to be implemented into all major passenger and freight railroads, including Amtrak, by the end of this year. Although, this deadline is appearing less and less likely to be met. Train 188 was reportedly speeding at 106 mph before the engineer, identified by law enforcement as 32-year-old Brandon Bostian, applied the emergency brakes and slowed it to 102 mph just seconds before the train derailed.
A new study released earlier this week found there has been a big drop since 2007 in the number of Americans who identify as Christian, according to the Pew Research Center. Though seven in 10 Americans still describe themselves as Christian, more people are identifying with no religion at all. The survey found Americans who call themselves atheist, agnostic, or of no particular faith jumped from 16 percent in 2007 to nearly 23 percent in 2014. In the same period, Christians dropped from 78 percent to just under 71 percent of the population.
North Korea announced over the weekend that it had successfully tested a submarine-launched ballistic missile in the latest show of the Hermit Kingdom's military capability, CBS News reported. As if to punctuate its announcement, hours after it made its claim, North Korea fired three anti-ship cruise missiles into the sea on its east coast, South Korean officials said. Seoul-based experts say Pyongyang's shows of strength are designed to wring concessions from the United States and South Korea in possible talks on denuclearization. Some, however, have argued the report is fake.
A report commissioned by the NFL has found that there was “no deliberate attempt” by the New England Patriots to deflate footballs to gain an advantage over the Indianapolis Colts in the AFC Championship game. However, the report found that a Patriots locker-room attendant and equipment assistant “participated in a deliberate effort” to deflate balls after referees examined them. The report also said “it is more probable than not that Tom Brady... was at least generally aware of the inappropriate activities.” Patriots CEO Robert Kraft says he will “take appropriate actions,” but only because “fighting the league and extending this debate would prove to be futile.” Brady denied knowing anything about deflated balls, but his father still criticized the NFL.
Oregon lawmakers passed a bill yesterday that requires criminal background checks for private gun sales, sending it to Gov. Kate Brown’s desk for her signature. The bill passed the Oregon House in a 32-28 vote after nearly five hours of debate and requires background checks for most private sales and transfers, except between family members such as siblings. Oregon’s measure is the latest victory for supporters of stricter gun laws in the hotly contested subject of gun rights since the 2012 mass shooting in Newtown, Connecticut. Brown has yet to publicly comment on the bill.
Two sports journalists, ESPN’s Michelle Beadle and CNN’s Rachel Nichols, say they were banned from last night’s historic match between Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather. Both have been vocal in calling out Mayweather’s history of domestic violence—a trait they share in common with two other sports writers, Steve Kim and Martin Rogers, who also say their credentials were denied. Kelly Swanson of Mayweather’s public relations team tweeted in response that “no one including ME banned @Rachel_Nichols from covering the fight. She is already credentialed” and “@MichelleDBeadle isn’t even on the press list. She’s credentialed through @HBOboxing. Yes credentialed.”