Craig Stephen Hicks, the self-described "gun toting" atheist who is accused of killing three Muslim college students, apparently had a history of conflicts with neighbors over parking spaces. Imad Ahmad, a neighbor who lived for a time in the same condominium as slain students Deah Shaddy Barakat and his wife, Yusor Mohammad Abu-Salha, said Hicks complained about once a month that Ahmad and Barakat parked in both visitors' spaces and their assigned spot. "He would come over to the door, knock on the door and then have a gun on his hip saying, 'You guys need to not park here,'" said Ahmad, adding that property managers did not intervene and advised us "to call the police if the guy came and harassed us again." A lawyer for Hicks's soon-to-be ex-wife said, "This man was frustrated day in and day out about not being able to park where he wanted to."
60 Minutes journalist Bob Simon was killed Wednesday night in a car accident on the West Side Highway in Manhattan. His livery cab crashed into a Mercedes and then spun into a pedestrian area near 30th Street, the New York Post reports. The Mercedes driver claimed the cabbie had been driving dangerously. "He swerved into me. He hit me and he looked like he lost control of the car," the Mercedes driver told the Post. Simon had reported for 60 Minutes since 1996. He began his career as a war correspondent in Vietnam, during which he won an Overseas Press Club award for covering Hanoi's 1972 spring offensive. He also spent 40 days as a hostage in Iraq during the Gulf War. During his career, he won 27 Emmy and four Peabody awards. Simon was 73 and leaves behind a wife and a daughter.
Oregon Gov. John Kitzhaber had decided to resign Tuesday in the face of multiple investigations about his fiancée's state work and federal tax forms—then changed his mind Wednesday, according to a report in The Oregonian. Kitzhaber, a Democrat now in his fourth term, had apparently gone so far as to call would-be successor Secretary of State Kate Brown back to Oregon from a conference in Washington, D.C. The governor then met with lawyer Jim McDermott and his fiancée, Cylvia Hayes, both of whom pushed back against the idea of his resignation. Kitzhaber then released a statement Wednesday, saying: "Let me be as clear as I was last week, that I have no intention of resigning as governor of the state of Oregon. I was elected to do a job for the people of this great state and I intend to continue to do so."
After a marathon 17-hour talk, Russia, Ukraine, France and Germany finally reached a ceasefire deal for eastern Ukraine on Thursday. Russian President Vladimir Putin announced during a press conference that the ceasefire will begin Sunday and heavy weapons will be withdrawn. "We have agreed on a ceasefire from midnight 15 February," Putin announced. "The second point that I believe to be extremely important is the withdrawal of heavy weapons from today's line of contact for Ukrainian troops and from the line stipulated in the 19 September Minsk agreements for Donbass rebels." He added, "There is also the political settlement. The first thing is constitutional reform that should take into consideration the legitimate rights of people who live in Donbass. There are also border issues. Finally, there are a whole range of economic and humanitarian issues." Still, German Chancellor Angela Merkel called the deal a "glimmer of hope," adding that "there is very, very much work still to do."
An Egyptian court ordered the release of Al Jazeera journalist Mohamed Fahmy and producer Baher Mohammed on Thursday, demanding that Fahmy pay a $33,000 bail pending a retrial. Both Al Jazeera journalists—along with Australian colleague Peter Greste, who was deported two weeks ago—were initially sentenced to at least seven years in jail on terror-related charges.
Comedy Central is keeping a short list of people to replace Daily Show host Jon Stewart, but the network is not revealing any names, an executive said Wednesday. Doug Herzog, president of Viacom Entertainment Group, declined to name any candidates but said, "there's a short list" of possible contenders to become Stewart's successor. Herzog also dismissed the idea of former Daily Show correspondent John Oliver, who moved to HBO to star in his own show, as the rightful heir to the hit news-satire show. "John Oliver's got a job," Herzog said. "I think he's spoken for." As for whether Stewart will still hold a role on the show, Herzog said that's "TBD," or to be determined. "It's not out of the question." Stewart announced Tuesday that he would leave the show when his contract ends this fall.
As of last week, Amanda Knox is engaged to be married. The groom-to-be is a 27-year-old "lanky rock musician" whom Knox has known since middle school, according to The Seattle Times. Knox is best known for going on trial in Italy for the 2007 killing of her roommate Meredith Kercher. Since moving back to America, she has graduated from the University of Washington, taken up a job at a bookstore, and begun writing for the West Seattle Herald.
Cho Hyun-ah, a former Korean Air executive and daughter of the airline's chairman, has been sentenced to a year in prison for violating aviation law. Cho made headlines last year by throwing a tantrum on a flight after being offered macadamia nuts in a bag instead of on a plate. She also reportedly ordered the chief flight attendant off the flight, forcing the plane to return to its gate at New York's John F. Kennedy Airport. She was found guilty of forcing a flight to change its route, obstructing the captain in the performance of his duties, and forcing a crew member off the plane.
The House of Representatives approved legislation for the construction of the Keystone XL oil pipeline Wednesday despite President Barack Obama's threat to veto the measure. The Republican-controlled House passed the bill, endorsing the Senate's version in a 270-152 vote, and will now send it to Obama, who has said he planned to use his veto pen. The Senate and House would need two-thirds of both chambers to overrule Obama's veto, but vote numbers suggest they do not have enough to do so. The north-south pipeline would bring Canadian oil to the Gulf Coast refineries.
Justice ministry officials said six inmates committed suicide after taking a warden and guard hostage in a 14-hour siege at a Taiwan prison Thursday. The prisoners, who were all convicted of murder, drug-related offenses, burglary, and other crimes, were protesting their sentences as well as alleged abuse and unfair trials, the BBC reports. The six inmates pretended to be sick before taking two guards hostage and stealing four rifles, six handguns, and 200 bullets from the prison's weapons cache, according to Taiwan's Central News Agency. Police negotiated an exchange, trading the prison warden and the head guard for the hostages. Authorities rejected a request for a getaway car, and after a failed attempt to leave the prison, four of the prisoners killed themselves, said Deputy Justice Minister Chen Ming-tang. The other two shot at their bodies and then reportedly shot themselves. Police have not released any evidence to support their statement. No other injuries were reported.
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