He’s on the fast track back to prison. The South African Olympian’s manslaughter verdict has been overturned, with an appeals court finding him guilty of the 2013 murder of girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp. It said the lower court incorrectly applied the rule of dolus eventualis to determine whether the 29-year-old knew death would likely result from his actions: He shot Steenkamp four times through a locked bathroom door. Currently under house arrest after a year behind bars, Pistorius must now return to court for re-sentencing.
The Presidential Daily Brief
Federal authorities report 14 people have been killed and 17 others injured at the Inland Regional Center, a non-profit service provider for the disabled, after masked assailants opened fire. Two suspects, a man and a woman, were killed by police who remain in an active search concerning a potential explosive device. A third possible suspect is in custody. Emerging reports indicate the shooting may have been sparked by a dispute at a party. The incident reignited debate over gun rights, with Hillary Clinton calling for legislative action to reduce gun violence.
The British House of Commons voted in favor of launching airstrikes in Syria, 397-223, against what PM David Cameron called ”medieval monsters.” Meanwhile, the German Bundestag is likely to approve similar plans on Friday. Those fleeing the region, meanwhile, offer hope that ISIS is losing its grip on both land and recruits. While Assad credits Russia’s intervention, reports indicate that the people ISIS needs to build state-like institutions are put off by violence and the increasing reality that the group doesn’t control a “state” for the world’s Muslims.
She’s laying the groundwork. Despite some iffy economic data — job growth is strong but inflation is still dragging — Fed Chair Janet Yellen says that her confidence in the economy is holding steady. That puts the probability of a December rate rise at above 75 percent, according to some analysts, and Yellen warned that waiting too long is dangerous and could “inadvertently” put the U.S. back into a recession. Meanwhile, the Fed will be monitoring all available economic data — if the economy starts backslide, it could put a rate rise on the backburner.
Putin’s not gonna be happy. The North Atlantic Treaty Organization has extended membership rights to this southeastern European state, despite repeated warnings from Russia that such a move would destabilize the region. Formerly a part of Yugoslavia, the 650,000-strong Balkan country has been vying for membership since 2009. The move, likely to be cemented at a summit of alliance leaders next July in Warsaw, sends a clear message to the Kremlin that NATO will expand eastward, even if Russia says it’s a step in the wrong direction.
The military’s stranglehold is easing. Following last month’s historic electoral win for her National League for Democracy, the Nobel laureate is working with Myanmar leadership to discuss the handover. In meetings with outgoing President Thein Sein and army chief Min Aung Hlaing, both men vowed to help ensure a smooth transfer of power. While Suu Kyi is constitutionally barred from being president, she will be in charge, and a good rapport with military leaders is key to the NLD’s tenure, which begins early next year.
They’re in search of better results. The Sunnyvale-based tech firm’s board is meeting this week to discuss retaining its 15 percent share in Chinese Internet giant Alibaba — currently valued at $32 billion — and instead selling off its flagging online businesses. CEO Marissa Meyer, who helped stabilize the company but has fallen behind competitors in the race for breakthrough projects and advertising dollars, may also face the chop. If the core business goes on the market, Yahoo expects to find interest from both private equity firms and Silicon Valley neighbors.
Four hanged over school attack in Peshawar. (BBC)
Iraq says U.S. ground troops not needed to fight ISIS. (DW)
Venezuelan election anticipation sparks violence. (FT) sub
Black Friday U.S. gun background checks break record. (USA Today)
Migrants arriving by sea near one million mark for year in Europe. (Al Jazeera)
This will get a lot of likes. The Facebook founder and wife Dr. Priscilla Chan have penned a letter to their newborn daughter Max — born last week — pledging to “leave the world a better place” for her generation by donating 99 percent of their company stock, currently about $45 billion, to charity throughout their lives. Just days after announcing a new green tech investment fund with Bill Gates, the couple also launched the Chan Zuckerberg Foundation, which will focus on “personalized learning,” curing disease and community building.
Was it the real thing? A nonprofit funded by Coca-Cola has fallen flat amid allegations that the beverage giant was too involved in its operations. Coke pulled its $1.5 million funding, leading the Global Energy Balance Network to announce that it’s disbanding effective immediately. The nutritional organization had been set up to combat obesity, but leaked emails reportedly suggested that the drinks firm was hoping to position GEBN as an authority on health and obesity, which critics feared would be used to downplay bubbling concerns about soda’s health risks.
They’re narrowing in because it’s time for a change. Rather than giving millions to private groups that focus on myriad projects, major donors like the Ford Foundation, MacArthur Foundation and Gates Foundation are looking at more effective ways to improve the world with all their cash. Some are trying a more hands-off approach, where money is doled out to organizations but not micromanaged, allowing recipients to focus more on results than process. And others are giving more cash to fewer projects in hope that bigger bets will yield better results.
Oscar hopefuls are lost in a nuclear wasteland. Revving up for awards season, the National Board of Review left Steve Jobs, Joy and Brooklyn in the dust, instead honoring George Miller’s lauded action film Mad Max: Fury Road with its highest award of the year. Other top picks from the organization of academics, filmmakers and students included popular boxing flick Creed and N.W.A. biopic Straight Outta Compton. While the N.Y.-based group’s nods traditionally kick off awards season, odds are that its top pick will be left for dead in Tinseltown.
Kobe Bryant can’t catch a break. The retiring Lakers legend played his last game in hometown Philadelphia last night only to see the 76ers end the longest losing streak in U.S professional sports history — 28 straight losses since March — by beating Los Angeles 103-91. Bryant started off hot but finished with just 20 points on 7-26 shooting, leaving to a standing ovation from relieved Sixers fans. The loss drops L.A. to 2-15 and the bottom of the Western Conference, while giving Philly some much-needed confidence.