Judgment day has caught up with Oscar Pistorius. He’s been found guilty of culpable homicide, aka manslaughter, in the 2013 Valentine’s Day shooting of girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp. Judge Thokozile Masipa said the state failed to convince her that the disabled athlete intentionally killed Steenkamp but found that Pistorius acted “negligently” by firing deadly shots through a toilet door in the “belief that there was an intruder.” The six-time Paralympics gold medalist faces up to 15 years behind bars.
The Presidential Daily Brief
The angry mother of the beheaded journalist has blasted the U.S. government, saying she was “embarrassed and appalled” by its handling of her son’s captivity. She claimed authorities threatened to prosecute her family if it raised a ransom for Islamic State militants and said the freelancer’s freedom “didn’t seem to be in (U.S.) strategic interest.” Obama, meanwhile, is honing plans to train friendly Syrian rebels to take on the 31,500 militants the CIA now believes are wreaking havoc in Iraq and Syria.
Women must wait in the Show Me State. Missouri’s GOP-controlled legislature has increased the mandated waiting time before a woman can get an abortion from 24 to 72 hours by overriding their Democratic governor’s veto. The clock starts ticking after the women receive counseling, and there’s no exception for rape or incest. A dissenting female legislator called it a way to “shame and demean” women into changing their minds, but the bill’s sponsor said a fetus would “like to see” the extra time.
The government strong-armed the Internet search giant into handing consumer data over to the NSA, according to 1,500 pages of unsealed court documents. Released by a federal surveillance court judge yesterday, the papers show that authorities threatened $250,000-a-day fines. While Yahoo lost its 2008 legal challenge to have an expanded U.S. anti-terrorism surveillance law deemed unconstitutional, the tech firm’s lawyer, Ron Bell, hailed the documents’ release as “an important win for transparency.”
Australian officials raise terror alert level to “high” for first time. (SMH)
Harsher EU Russia sanctions now in force. (BBC)
Pakistan devises explosive plan to thwart floods. (DW)
France’s PM Hollande arrives in Iraq to support new government. (France 24)
Authorities capture school shooter T.J. Lane after Ohio prison escape. (ABC)
Freedom cries are leading Scotland to the ballot box next week, but they’ve already inspired one London suburb to vote on independence. South Norwood residents claim — with a grin — to be fed up with government neglect. So they voted yesterday on whether to stay under British rule, join Scotland or declare themselves an independent republic. The results are due later today. While the tongue-in-cheek campaign won’t culminate in secession, it was a timely way of letting aloof politicians know they won’t get off scot-free.
Are women’s cosmetics out of fashion? Marc Jacobs closed out New York’s Fashion Week with a bold new look: no makeup. He sent supermodels Adriana Lima, Kendall Jenner and Gigi Hadid out for their final parade — dressed in neutral-toned militaristic duds — with nothing on their faces but moisturizer. The straight-out-of-bed “fresh faces” were a hit, proving that extreme catwalk looks will never go out of style.
Fossils discovered in Morocco of the largest-known carnivorous dinosaur show it was also a fine swimmer and chomped sharks like nigiri. The partial skeleton of the first-known semi-aquatic dinosaur, Spinosaurus, measured 50 feet long, nine feet longer than Tyrannosaurus rex. A Jurassic Park sequel had Spinosaurus savaging T-Rexes on land. But in light of the seven-foot-tall spines on its back, paddle-like feet and crocodilian head that experts find odd, that scenario’s looking a bit fishy.
We thought their noses were buried in YouTube. Turns out, Gen Y is reading books, and more so than their elders. A Pew Research study shows 88 percent of Americans ages 16 to 29 read a book in the past year, compared with 79 percent of those age 30 and older. And the young’uns who read at least one book typically read 10 books a year, with about 43 percent reading books daily. It seems one shouldn’t judge a generation by its cover.
“We’ve lost our MVP,” declared Miami Manager Mike Redmond, after Brewers pitcher Mike Fiers’ 88-mph fastball hit slugger Giancarlo Stanton under the left eye with devastating effect. The 24-year-old outfielder suffered multiple facial fractures and dental damage, and to add insult, the umpire ruled he’d swung and earned a strike before Fiers also beaned the pinch-hitter. Stanton, set to become the club’s highest-paid player, is probably out for the season and must now set his eyes on recovering.