violence

Vowing justice for murdered aid worker David Haines, Britain's Prime Minister David Cameron says his killing by extremist group the Islamic State is "an act of pure evil." A video purporting to show Haines' beheading was released Saturday.

Update at 11:50 p.m. EDT

This year's Miss America competition has involved lots of satin and some excellent ventriloquism by Miss Ohio. But it has also involved a public health issue that's been in the headlines over the past week: domestic violence.

And it's not just because it's in the news. Miss New York, Kira Kazantsev — who was crowned Miss America 2015 in Sunday's ceremony — was in an abusive relationship during college.

Marine Corp New York / Creative Commons

I root for the Green Bay Packers...and not casually. As I speak, there's a Green Bay Packers mug nearby, on weekends I wear a Packers cap and use Packers shopping bags. Most disturbingly, in the long, long off-season, I subscribe to services which provide me with daily obsessive updates on anything going on in Packers land. And, I read them even though nothing really is going on. 

CT-N

Advocates for victims of domestic violence are applauding Governor Dannel Malloy's call for the immediate removal of firearms at the time a judge issues a temporary restraining order.

Update, 11 p.m.:

The NFL is bringing in former FBI Director Robert Mueller to investigate how the league handled evidence in the Ray Rice case, a reporter for the league's website said Wednesday night.

The original story continues below:

The National Football League is denying a report that it received a video from police that shows former Baltimore Ravens star Ray Rice punching his then-fiancee, Janay Palmer.

The NFL built its fortunes on a series of ever-expanding TV contracts worth billions of dollars showing hundreds of games to tens of millions of fans. Now a tabloid news shop has brought all conversation about the NFL to a standstill by posting a silent video lasting less than four minutes.

The family of Michael Brown issued a new call for the police officer who shot and killed the 18-year-old to be arrested Tuesday. Supporters of the family held a news conference in Ferguson, Mo., where Officer Darren Wilson had a fatal confrontation with the unarmed Brown one month ago today.

From St. Louis Public Radio, Emanuele Berry reports:

Keith Allison / Creative Commons

The National Football League's punishment for acts of domestic violence is too lenient, according to U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal. He responded to the new video showing former NFL player Ray Rice knocking his then-fiancée unconscious in an elevator.

A leaked video of the altercation between football star Ray Rice and his then-fiancee, Janay Palmer, that took place earlier this year has led the Baltimore Ravens to terminate Rice's contract.

The NFL says Rice has also been suspended indefinitely.

The newly released video shows the couple in an apparent argument before Palmer collapses after being hit in the face. It emerged early Monday, days before Rice's two-game suspension over the incident had been set to end.

During a press conference to mark the end of a two-day meeting of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization in Wales, President Obama said he found "conviction" among U.S. friends and allies that the international community must "degrade and ultimately destroy" the Islamic State.

Obama said the militant Sunni group cannot be contained because it is already causing so much damage.

The United States says it has formed a coalition of 10 countries to help in the fight against the Islamic State in Iraq.

The group consists of the United States plus Britain, France, Germany, Canada, Australia, Turkey, Italy, Poland and Denmark.

The U.S. Department of Justice will launch an investigation into police tactics in Ferguson, Mo., NPR's Carrie Johnson reports, with a focus on looking for a pattern or practice of discriminatory policing.

Carrie says the department was holding off on announcing the investigation until clashes in the town died down:

Speaking in Estonia today, President Obama issued a warning to the extremist group that took responsibility for beheading two American journalists: "We will not be intimidated," Obama said, according to Time. "Those who make the mistake of harming Americans will learn that we will not forget, and that our reach is long, and that justice will be served."

Updated 5:09 a.m. Wednesday:

U.S. officials say the video showing the beheading of a second U.S. journalist by militants of the Islamic State is authentic. "The U.S. Intelligence Community has analyzed the recently released video showing U.S. citizen Steven Sotloff and has reached the judgment that it is authentic," National Security Council spokeswoman Caitlin Hayden said in a statement Wednesday.

Original Post:

The United States conducted airstrikes in Somalia late Monday, targeting the leadership of the al-Qaida affiliate al-Shabab.

Iraqi security forces backed by Shiite militias and U.S. airstrikes have reportedly entered the northern town of Amerli, where Islamic State militants have laid siege to the town for weeks, prompting fears of a sectarian massacre.

Reuters and BBC report that Iraqi Army and volunteer fighters entered the town on Sunday after defeating the Sunni rebels, also known as ISIS or ISIL, east of the city. The Islamic State, which claims to enforce a pure version of Islam, has apparently targeted Amerli because of its large Shiite Turkmen population, seen by them as apostates.

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell has announced new guidelines for how the league will handle incidents of domestic violence and sexual assault. The change in policy, explained an open letter to team owners, comes a month after the NFL was criticized for how it handled player Ray Rice's arrest on domestic violence charges.

The heyday of "war tourism" was probably the 1930s, when a host of intellectuals and artists left the U.S. to bear witness to the Spanish Civil War. Ernest Hemingway wrote about it. George Orwell, just to name another, actually fought in it.

After two weeks of sometimes violent protests, the family of Michael Brown finally took some time to mourn on Monday.

The funeral service for the unarmed 18-year-old killed by officer Darren Wilson was held in a St. Louis megachurch.

Brown's mother, Lesley McSpadden, and his father, Michael Brown Sr., entered the church in silence.

At a rally on Sunday, that's what Brown called for: calm and peace while his son was laid to rest.

Jeff Cohen / WNPR

Hartford Police are still investigating an incident from last week in which a police officer used a stun gun on a city teenager. The family has called the use of force unnecessary.   

Members of community gathered to discuss the incident on Friday night, and Governor Dannel Malloy said he thought the use of the Taser was inappropriate. 

President Obama has ordered a review of federal programs that supply local law enforcement agencies with military weapons and equipment after concerns over how the police handled unrest in Ferguson, Mo., in the aftermath of the shooting death of Michael Brown.

A senior Obama administration official says the president "whether state and local law enforcement are provided with the necessary training and guidance; and whether the federal government is sufficiently auditing the use of equipment obtained through federal programs and funding."

Lorraine Spencer has been watching the news from Ferguson, Mo., where an unarmed black 18-year-old was shot and killed by police, and worrying about her own son's safety. Jermaine is 16 years old and bi-racial, with a dark complexion. He also has autism and wants to be more independent, especially as he nears adulthood.

"It's my worst nightmare," she says. "I have the issue with him not understanding, possibly, a command to put your hands up or to get on the ground. So, yes, it's scary."

Updated at 3:10 p.m. ET

The United Nations is calling for action to prevent what it's describing as a possible massacre in Iraq's northeastern city of Amerli, which has been under siege for two months by Islamic State militants.

The city's population is largely Turkmen Shia, seen as apostates by the hard-line Sunni Islamic State, also known as ISIS or ISIL.

Updated at 3:25 p.m. ET

One day after an Israeli airstrike killed three of its senior military leaders, Hamas says it has executed more than a dozen people in the Gaza Strip, after concluding that they had been spying for Israel.

A four-year-old Israeli boy was also reportedly killed in a mortar attack near the Gaza border.

From Jerusalem, NPR's Jackie Northam reports:

"Hamas confirmed that there were two separate rounds of executions in Gaza for people suspected of collaborating with Israel.

Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel describes a failed U.S. mission into northern Syria earlier this summer to rescue Americans believed held there — including a journalist who was executed earlier this week — as "flawless" despite not recovering the hostages.

"This was a flawless operation, but the hostages weren't there," Hagel told journalists at a Pentagon briefing with Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

The extremist group that carried out the beheading of U.S. journalist James Foley engages in "cowardly acts of violence" and "has no place in the 21st century," President Obama said Wednesday, referring to the videotaped execution carried out by militants with the Islamic State.

Obama also said the group attacks women and minorities, "for no other reason than they practice a different religion."

White House

President Barack Obama said the United States will continue to confront Islamic State extremists despite the brutal murder of journalist James Foley. 

This post was updated at 2:25 p.m. ET.

A video that was released online Tuesday in which the extremist group the Islamic State claimed to behead American journalist James Foley is authentic, according to U.S. intelligence analysts. Foley was abducted in Syria in 2012.

The video was uploaded to YouTube on Tuesday afternoon and later removed; since then, it has resurfaced elsewhere online. The images show Foley kneeling next to a masked militant and reciting comments against the U.S. before being killed.

New Haven Police Officer Responds to Ferguson Shooting

Aug 19, 2014
Chion Wolf / WNPR

The fatal shooting of unarmed 18-year-old Michael Brown last week has led to a series of angry protests in Ferguson, Missouri. As some protests turned violent and police have implemented military tactics there, the issue of race and violence has once again come into the nation’s focus. 

At least six bullets hit Michael Brown, 18, when he was shot to death by a Ferguson, Mo., police officer, according to a preliminary private autopsy report. Only one of those wounds — to the top of the teenager's head — was deemed not survivable by former New York City chief medical examiner Dr. Michael Baden.

Baden and another pathologist hired by Brown's family say they believe that the two bullets that struck Brown in the head "were most likely the last two" to hit him during a confrontation on a street last Saturday.

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