Famed Paralympian and Olympian Oscar “Blade Runner” Pistorius has been sentenced to five years in prison for the culpable homicide — aka manslaughter — of girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp. The prosecution wanted a minimum of 10 years. But Judge Thokozile Masipa said sentencing is a balance between retribution, deterrence and rehabilitation. In sending Pistorius down, Masipa said she wanted to convey an appropriate message to the community, but not one so severe that it lacks an element of mercy.
The Presidential Daily Brief
Children think they look like toys, but they’re far from playful. Ukraine dropped cluster bombs on Donetsk, according to Human Rights Watch, wounding six and killing a Swiss International Red Cross worker, in an attempt to flush out Russian rebels. Russia likely used the bombs — banned by several nations — as well. Both sides have been accused of executing combatants in the field, but HRW says it now has evidence that Ukraine used the scattering on the rebel-held eastern city, a claim Ukrainian officials deny.
One soldier died and another was injured when a 25-year-old Islamic “radical” allegedly ran them down in a Quebec parking lot. The suspect, Martin Rouleau, gave chase and flipped his car before being fatally shot by police. Rouleau had increasingly radicalized after converting to Islam last year. Was he acting on behalf of ISIS, which has encouraged attacks in Western countries? That remains unclear, but he was on national security’s radar, and authorities had reportedly seized his passport.
It seems more can be done. After two Dallas nurses fell ill from contact with Ebola victim Thomas Eric Duncan, the CDC has issued new guidelines. The voluntary procedures, based on strict protocols used for years by Doctors Without Borders, include completely covering all skin and changing all protective gear under careful supervision. Meanwhile, Nigeria and Senegal have been declared Ebola-free, and the three hardest-hit countries — Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone — have begun receiving much-needed medical supplies.
The grisly discovery of seven murdered women in northwest Indiana could be just the beginning of a string of murders stretching back 20 years. Convicted sex offender Darren Deon Vann, 43, confessed to meeting a 19-year-old woman in a Motel 6 and choking her with his hands, and then a cellphone cord. Upon arrest, Vann reportedly told authorities where to find the bodies of six other women and described crimes that may date back over two decades.
The computing giant is looking forward to a very happy — and lucrative — holiday season. Its fourth-quarter results trounced forecasts with a reported $42.1 billion in revenue and 12 percent growth for its strongest showing in almost two years. This included a 16-percent jump in U.S. iPhone sales. Earnings grew 20 percent, and net income was up 13 percent, hitting $8.5 billion. The only bad news? Its iPad sales, off seven percent from the previous quarter, continue to slide.
Total’s oil chief dies in Moscow plane crash. (France 24)
Protesters, Hong Kong officials prepare to meet. (DW)
UK flights weather Hurricane Gonzalo winds. (The Guardian)
Cell transplant allows paralyzed man to walk again. (BBC)
China a wild card in global economy. (NYT)
Former New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani joined demonstrators last night to protest the Metropolitan Opera’s debut of the “Death of Klinghoffer,” an opera they say distorts history and condones terrorism. The opera features the murder of wheelchair-bound Leon Klinghoffer onboard the Achille Lauro cruise ship by members of the Palestinian Liberation Front in 1985, which critics complain gives a platform for the attackers and is anti-Semitic. But the Met vehemently denies these charges about an opera widely regarded as a musical masterpiece.
Take the money and scram. The Social Security Administration has reportedly paid millions in benefits to suspected Nazi war criminals. Some hid in the U.S. after World War II, taking new identities and American citizenship, but were later found and deported. A legal loophole allowed them to continue collecting benefits — in some cases, as part of a deal to get them to leave quickly. One deportee’s son believes his dad is still entitled to the money, but a congresswoman disagrees and is demanding the loophole be closed.
The Dominican-born king of fashion, favored by starlets and socialites, died at his home in Connecticut on Monday. Over a half-century, de la Renta’s style and influence spread widely, from glittering red carpets to the White House. He dressed nearly every modern first lady, including Jackie Kennedy, Nancy Reagan and Michelle Obama. “There is no one on Earth who makes a woman feel more beautiful than Oscar de la Renta,” model Karlie Kloss said.
Want a Walter White or Jesse Pinkman with a tiny bag of fake crystal meth? Breaking Bad action figures are available at Toys R Us. But some parents aren’t happy about it. One Florida mom — a fan of the hit TV series — has started a petition to stop the toys from being peddled to kids. Store officials say the dolls are intended for adults, but they’re reportedly right next to G.I. Joe and Super Mario Brothers dolls. Put that in your pipe and smoke it.
They’ll never be “Royals.” Two Bay Area radio stations have banned Lorde’s hit in support of their home team until after the World Series. Lorde says the song — Kansas City’s unofficial anthem — was inspired by a National Geographic photograph of George Brett, who led the Royals to their only World Series win in 1985. In response, Kansas City’s KZPT will play “Royals” every hour in the run-up to tonight’s series opener. They don’t care that the Giants aren’t caught up in their love affair.
Step away from the vending machine. New research suggests that guzzling a 20-ounce soda every day can trim as much as 4.6 years off your life. The study of 5,300 adults found that cells of regular soda drinkers exhibited shorter chromosome ends, indicating a diminished ability to regenerate — just like those of smokers. The study’s senior author explains, “The extremely high dose of sugar that we can put into our body within seconds … is uniquely toxic to metabolism.”