Darren Wilson did not commit a crime. That’s according to a St. Louis County grand jury that found “no probable cause” to bring charges against the white Ferguson police officer who shot and killed an unarmed black teen. Michael Brown’s death sparked weeks of protest and fueled a wrenching debate about racial violence in America, Eugene S. Robinson describes in OZY. The jury deliberated for two days after hearing 70 hours of testimony from 60 witnesses. Despite pleas for peace, the verdict set off a fresh round of violence Monday night as outraged protestors set fire to police cars and looted stores.
The Presidential Daily Brief
Today’s the deadline for a Western coalition to reach an accord with Iran on its nuclear future, but there’s no deal yet. Except, maybe, for a new deadline. The talks in Vienna have lasted nine months, and last-minute scrambling to overcome ideological differences “would be impossible,” according to an Iranian news report. The U.S. may have another de facto deadline in January, when the new Republican Congress — already threatening more sanctions against the Islamic Republic — could scuttle negotiations.
He’s the sole Republican on Obama’s national security crew — but not for long. Hagel, who was asked to step down late last week, has served less than two years. He was never among the president’s closest confidants, and in August he publicly disagreed with the commander in chief over the Islamic State threat. Among the names floated as possible replacements: Michele Flournoy, a former undersecretary of defense who would be the first woman in the post, and Sen. Jack Reed of Rhode Island, a former Army officer.
Regin reins supreme. The devious software has tracked specific targets — if a person of interest booked a flight, and then a hotel room, Regin takes note — while lurking under many levels of encryption and protection. According to Symantec, one of the world’s leading Internet security firms, the malware clearly ties to a nation’s spying — but which country? The company’s short list doesn’t include the U.S., and Regin appears to be most active in Russia and Saudi Arabia. OK, conspiracy theorists, have at it.
In a grim reminder that war still rages in Afghanistan, a suicide bomber detonated at a volleyball tournament in Paktika Province yesterday. About 50 people died and 60 more were wounded, but oddly, no group has taken responsibility. Hours before, the Afghan parliament overwhelmingly approved continued Western military help, letting 12,000 international soldiers stay in the country next year. Along with a newly expanded role for U.S. troops, Sunday’s events show the long conflict is far from over.
The cartel may be losing its grip. U.S. imports from its 12 oil-producing nations have dropped to a 30-year low. And benchmark crude prices have plummeted 30 percent in recent months to $75 a barrel, giving most Americans gas below $3 a gallon . At its Thursday meeting in Vienna, OPEC will decide whether to cut production in order to shore up prices. But the go-go days are over, as one former oil minister observed: “OPEC can’t balance the market alone.”
As tension mounts over the long-awaited grand jury decision in the racially charged shooting in Ferguson, police in Cleveland have shot a 12-year-old black child. Tamir Rice died in a hospital yesterday, after police — responding to a 911 call about a kid waving a “probably fake” firearm — shot the youngster Saturday as he held a pellet gun. Ohio legislators are calling for bright coloring for air guns, like the one held by a black man who was shot in August in the toy aisle of a Dayton-area Walmart.
Israel set to delcare ‘Jewish homeland’ status. (LA Times)
New crew members arrive at International Space Station. (NBC)
Symantec discovers sophisticated cyber-espionage bug. (BBC)
S&P 500 on verge of beating last year’s streak. (FT) sub
Katy Perry cleans up at American Music Awards. (SF Gate)
Following a recent exposé in Rolling Stone about its failure to address rampant sexual assaults on campus, the University of Virginia has suspended all of its fraternities. University president Teresa A. Sullivan also had to rescind the appointment of the former judge hired to investigate the matter when she learned he’d been a member of the fraternity involved in the alleged gang rape which sparked the scandal. Sullivan told alumni and students that the article has “caused all of us to reexamine our responsibility to this community.”
He became a political punchline, an example of everything that was wrong with Washington, D.C., during the city’s worst years. But Mayor Marion Barry, who died Sunday at 78, remained an icon in the African American community as a civil rights activist who pioneered home rule for the city. He’ll always be remembered for the FBI sting video that caught him smoking crack — and for getting re-elected after the ensuing scandal and prison term. Washington will surely be a quieter place without him.
Time for Uber fans to jump on a new bandwagon? The popular ride-sharing app is facing a PR nightmare in the wake of recent controversies over driver pay, user privacy and its own senior executive’s remarks about investigating and embarrassing critical journalists. Even the start-up’s corporate atmosphere of “bro culture” has been under fire. The backlash may not derail its ride to a heady IPO, but for some users, who are ditching the app in favor of friendlier competitors, the bromance seems to be over.
The wizarding world’s most anticipated film since The Deathly Hallows is ready for production. David Heyman, producer of Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them, announced that J.K. Rowling has finished “a wonderful script” for the Potter spin-off. After a secretive set of Twitter clues, this is magical news. What to expect? So far, we know that four-time Potter veteran David Yates will direct, and that the story will follow intrepid “magizoologist” — and future Hogwarts textbook-writer — Newt Scamander, 70 years before The Boy Who Lived.
”Bend it like Beckham” has a totally new meaning. New York wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr.’s back-bending, two-fingered, gravity-defying snag of a fifty-yard touchdown pass is already being hailed as the best of the season, the decade and maybe ever. NBC announcer Cris Collinsworth described the grab, which Beckham made after being blatantly fouled, as “absolutely impossible.” Yesterday’s final score against the Cowboys may soon be forgotten, but a feat of athleticism that has Lebron James drooling will never be.