The legendary war correspondent and longtime 60 Minutes contributor was killed tonight when the hired car he was riding in crashed in Manhattan. Simon, 73, launched his career with fearless reporting during the Vietnam War and went on to cover conflicts all over the globe over five decades. The veteran CBS reporter was held captive for 40 days by Iraqi forces at the start of the first Gulf War. CNN’s Anderson Cooper called him a “warrior-poet” who turned out unforgettable stories.
The Presidential Daily Brief
Say it ain’t so. The young baseball players feted from the Windy City to the White House for becoming the first all-black U.S. championship team have been stripped of their titles. The adults knowingly violated the rules by allowing kids who lived outside the team’s geographic boundaries to play, according to league officials. The team’s manager was suspended and the administrator removed from his post. The players, needless to say, are heartbroken.
He was a dental student, raising money for an overseas trip to give Syrian refugees medical care. Deah Shaddy Barakat, 23, and his wife, Yusor Abu-Salha, 21, just married in December, and she and her sister, Razan Abu-Salha, 19, were both students at N.C State University. They were murdered by a neighbor Tuesday night, according to investigators who have pegged the motive to an argument over parking. But the possibility that this was a heinous hate crime has sparked a fierce debate.
It’ll cost him $6.5 million, and that’s no exaggeration. NBC is taking its tarnished Nightly News anchor — who reportedly earns $13 million a year — off the air for six months without pay following revelations that he puffed up an Iraq war story about taking enemy fire. NBC News president Deborah Turness called Williams’ memory embellishment “inappropriate.” A fact-checking investigation into questions about his past reporting continues, which may lead to further action.
They tried to save her. American aid worker Kayla Mueller was confirmed dead yesterday, a week after ISIS claimed the 26-year-old was killed by Jordanian airstrikes. Rescue attempts reportedly included a man turning up at the militants’ camp pretending to be her husband. The news comes as Obama asked Congress for official authorization to use force against ISIS. The request doesn’t specifically rule out putting boots on the ground, and it’s sure to spark months of debate.
The growling bear act is wearing thin. The American president told Russia’s leader that further aggression would be costly, encouraging Moscow to come to the negotiating table today with an open mind. Fighting between Ukrainian troops and pro-Russian separatists has flared in recent weeks, pushing for a diplomatic solution, and both sides are reportedly trying to gain ground before anything is put in ink. Leaders from Ukraine, Russia, France and Germany are meeting today in Minsk, where they’ll attempt to secure a ceasefire.
The U.S. wants Europe to cool it. Treasury Secretary Jack Lew called on Athens and its debt holders to seek a “practical and pragmatic” solution to Greece’s bailout crisis before it engulfs the EU. Speaking at the G20 meeting in Istanbul, Lew also warned members against resorting to currency devaluations to boost exports. The finger-wagging comes amid the G20’s pessimistic outlook for global growth and Greece’s talks with finance ministers today, where it is expected to take a hardline approach in bailout renegotiations.
It’s dead on arrival. By a 270-152 vote, the House passed today a Senate-authored bill approving the Keystone XL pipeline, sending it straight to President Obama’s desk where he will likely issue only the third veto of his tenure. With oil prices collapsing, the pipeline’s practical payoffs are diminishing. What’s left is a politically fraught issue that Republicans are using to paint a picture of a jobs-killing president. And it’s only the first of several veto skirmishes expected this year.
Deep space weather satellite inspired by Al Gore launched. (USA Today)
Former Costa Concordia captain sentenced to 16 years jail for disaster. (Reuters)
Two men charged as Australian police foil ‘imminent’ terror attack. (AFP)
Former UNLV coach Terry Tarkanian dies at age 84. (Yahoo)
U.S., UK close embassies in Yemen, encourage citizens to leave. (CNN)
Migrants’ motorboats sink in Mediterranean, killing 200. (BBC)
NY cop indicted in shooting death of unarmed man. (NYDN)
Dominique Strauss-Kahn admits to orgies, not prostitutes. (France 24)
He’s mocked the news long enough. The famed funnyman let it slip while taping yesterday that he will soon step aside, ending 16 years as “the most trusted source in fake news.” Comedy Central confirmed the departure — set for later this year — but reassured viewers the show will go on. The erstwhile soccer stud has changed the way many Americans consume their news by skewering politicians and newsmakers with withering wit. So as fans begin to mourn, Congress will no doubt breathe a sigh of relief.
Step away from the fitness tracker. A new study finds that smartphones can measure the number of steps you take more accurately and consistently than popular wearable devices. Fitness bands showed as much as 22 percent variation in step counts versus just 6 percent for mobile apps. Stashing a phone in your running shorts may be a bit of a drag, but it can save you big bucks on a fancy bracelet. Besides, one third of fitness buffs end up ditching their devices anyway.
Maybe it’s always been here. Scientists are questioning whether the universe really began with a bang. According to a new equation, the universe has always existed as an infinite space filled with quantum fluid made up of yet-to-be-proven massless particles called gravitons. Astrophysicist Brian Koberlein clarifies that the new model doesn’t negate the Big Bang itself, but simply attempts to remove the notion that all existence was created by a singularity. This new equation could impact ongoing attempts to explain why the universe is expanding.
Must they learn every trick in the book? Workers at British hardware chain B&Q are being given copies of bondage blockbuster 50 Shades of Grey ahead of the film’s release on Friday, ostensibly to prepare for customers’ questions about using duct tape and rope as erotic aids. They’ve been told to be discreet, and advised that sales of DIY restraints soared after the book’s success. The rush on homemade bondage gear should last the month as the steamy flick gets tied up with Valentine’s Day.
The remorse tour is under way. Disgraced third baseman A-Rod spent 90 minutes yesterday apologizing to team execs and owner Hal Steinbrenner for using performance-enhancing drugs, leading to his season-long suspension. Rodriguez reportedly initiated the meeting to make amends — not only for cheating but for his heated public denials and lawsuits against Major League Baseball and Yankees medical staff. Next stop? The team hopes the nearly 40-year-old will make peace with the media before suiting up for spring training.