Craig Stephen Hicks, 46, has been charged with three counts of first-degree murder after he allegedly killed three Muslim neighbors in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, on Tuesday night. Deah Shaddy Barakat, 23, of Chapel Hill; Yusor Mohammad, 21, of Chapel Hill; and Razan Mohammad Abu-Salha, 19, of Raleigh were pronounced dead at the scene. All three were college students. Police have not released information regarding Hicks's motive. Hicks identified himself as an atheist and gun owner on Facebook.
NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams has been suspended for six months without pay, effective immediately, according to a memo from NBC News President Deborah Turness. "While on Nightly News on Friday, Jan. 30, 2015, Brian misrepresented events which occurred while he was covering the Iraq War in 2003," the statement read. "It then became clear that on other occasions Brian had done the same while telling that story in other venues. This was wrong and completely inappropriate for someone in Brian's position." Turness later added, "As managing editor and anchor of Nightly News, Brian has a responsibility to be truthful and to uphold the high standards of the news division at all times."
During a taping of his show Tuesday, Daily Show host Jon Stewart announced to the audience that he is retiring sometime "later this year." A statement released shortly afterward from Comedy Central read, "For the better part of the last two decades, we have had the incredible honor and privilege of working with Jon Stewart. His comedic brilliance is second to none. Jon has been at the heart of Comedy Central, championing and nurturing the best talent in the industry, in front of and behind the camera. Through his unique voice and vision, The Daily Show has become a cultural touchstone for millions of fans and an unparalleled platform for political comedy that will endure for years to come. Jon will remain at the helm of The Daily Show until later this year. He is a comic genius, generous with his time and talent, and will always be a part of the Comedy Central family." Stewart has served as host of the Comedy Central program for over 15 years.
The NYPD cop who allegedly shot and killed unarmed black man Akai Gurley in the stairwell of a public housing development in Brooklyn last November has been indicted on unspecified charges. Peter Liang had been on the job for only 18 months and was patrolling the stairwell with his gun drawn, according to NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton, who called the incident "an accidental discharge." The president of the Patrolmen's Benevolent Association, which represents Liang, said, "The fact that he was assigned to patrol one of the most dangerous housing projects in New York City must be considered among the circumstances of this tragic accident."
Apple CEO Tim Cook announced Tuesday that the company is planning to build an $850 million solar farm in California. The company expects the farm to supply all the power necessary for its Silicon Valley operations, which includes its Cupertino headquarters, stores, and data center. Apple is building the farm with First Solar. It is expected to be completed in 2016.
On Tuesday afternoon, family and friends of deceased ISIS hostage Kayla Mueller remembered her at a press conference in Arizona. They said Mueller had tried to keep up her spirits while in captivity, even making origami sculptures for her guards. "Kayla had such great empathy… and it was her greatest strength," said Eryn Street, a family friend of Mueller. Mueller's parents, Carl and Marsha Mueller, did not appear at the press conference.
At least 200 migrants are dead after their boats sank just off the coast of the Italian island of Lampedusa. The boats carrying the migrants had departed from Libya. Only nine people have survived, after each boat capsized. On Monday, 29 migrants died when their boat overturned, and 22 of them succumbed to hypothermia after being picked up by small vessels that were ill-equipped to deal with the scale of the disaster. Europe recently changed its approach to rescuing migrants, replacing an Italian program with Frontex Plus, which has no rescue ships of its own.
Three white men who admitted they were hunting black people have been sentenced to federal prison for their murder of a 47-year-old car-plant worker in Mississippi in 2011. Deryl Paul Dedmon received 50 years, John Aaron Rice was handed 18 1/2 years, and Dylan Wade Butler received seven years. All were charged with the commission of a hate crime. The three beat, ran over, and killed James Craig Anderson. They had also assaulted and harassed homeless black people who they thought would not tell the police.
The ministry of education in Cambodia issued a statement Tuesday imploring teachers to impress upon their students that Valentine's Day is not about losing one's virginity. "Cambodian students take Valentine's Day to mean 'sweetheart day,' and they buy flowers as a way to convince girls to give up their virginity," Education Minister Hang Chuon Naron says in the statement. "In Europe, they give flowers out of friendship on Valentine's Day, to show their love to friends, relatives, and parents." Apparently, Cambodian youth believe the holiday is all about losing virginity. "This year, we are asking teachers to properly advise their students… to stop thinking anymore about Valentine's Day," he said.
The U.S. government's nutrition advisory panel may officially drop cholesterol warnings, according to an early report. The Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee said in a draft report issued in December that cholesterol is no longer a "nutrient of concern." The finding goes against the group's last report five years ago, in which it deemed "excess dietary cholesterol" a public-health concern. The group's final report is due within weeks.
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