President Obama on Tuesday moved to commute the remaining prison sentence of Chelsea Manning, the former army intelligence analyst convicted of leaking military and diplomatic cables to WikiLeaks in 2010. According to The New York Times, Manning will go free in five months, on May 17, 2017, rather than in 2045, as set forth by her sentencing. Manning has been jailed for nearly seven years and was sentenced to 35 years in prison—the longest sentence ever for a U.S. leak conviction. She twice attempted suicide last year amid her push for the Department of Defense to pay for treatment of her gender dysphoria, including sex-reassignment surgery.
Betsy DeVos, a Republican mega-donor, who president-elect Donald Trump has selected to head up the Department of Education suggested during her confirmation hearing on Tuesday that schools could keep guns in case of grizzly bears. “You can't say definitively today that guns shouldn't be in schools?” Senator Chris Murphy asked. DeVos responded by referring to a rural school in Wapiti, Wyoming that had to ward off grizzly bears according to Senator Mike Enzi from the state. She said she'd "imagine" the school had guns to defend against bears. But DeVos added: "If the question is around gun violence and the results of that, please know that my heart bleeds and is broken for those families that have lost any individual due to gun violence."
Disgraced health technology company Theranos Inc. failed a second inspection of its lab facilities before closing down in October – and it didn’t bother to disclose it to investors or patients, the Wall Street Journal reported Tuesday night, citing sources close to the matter. Having already had its testing license for a California lab revoked over testing problems that put patients’ health in “immediate jeopardy,” the company may now face additional sanctions, the report said. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services finished its inspection of the second of the company’s two labs in Scottsdale, Arizona, on Sept. 29, according to the report. After finding “deficiencies” there, Theranos reportedly devised a plan to correct the deficiencies, but that plan was later rejected by regulators, who proposed further sanctions instead. The company continued to carry out testing at the facility even after the problems were uncovered, until announcing on Oct. 5 that the company would cease medical testing, according to the report.
After the problems were uncovered last year, the company announced that it was voiding years’ worth of blood-test results over flawed testing, with many patients having received false diagnoses. The Silicon Valley blood-testing company is also reportedly under criminal investigation by federal prosecutors, who believe the company misled investors and government officials about its healthcare technology. As part of the sanctions already imposed on the company, CEO Elizabeth Holmes has been hit with a two-year ban from the blood-testing industry.
The Secret Service has agreed to pay more than $24 million in a lawsuit brought by more than 100 black Secret Service agents who alleged racial bias. The lawsuit, which focused on the treatment of black agents from 1995 to 2005, alleged that the Secret Service routinely gave promotions to less qualified white agents and discriminated against black candidates, fostering an atmosphere of racial bias. The plaintiffs in the case will now receive compensation, with the eight original plaintiffs getting sums as high as $300,000 each. But the deal will not require the Secret Service to admit to any wrongdoing. Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson, who was involved in the negotiations for the case, said in a statement released Tuesday night that the settlement was “simply the right thing to do.” “I am pleased that we are able to finally put this chapter of Secret Service history behind us,” Johnson said.
Just days before President-elect Donald Trump takes office, he has the honor of having a newly discovered species of moth named after him. Evolutionary biologist Vazrick Nazari, who named the new species Neopalpa donaldtrumpi, said he was inspired by “the resemblance of the scales on the frons (head) of the moth to Mr. Trump’s hairstyle” in the Zookeys scientific journal. In addition to the amusing similarity, however, Nazari said there was a more serious issue at stake as well – conservation efforts, which he said may be under threat by the new administration. “With the new administration taking office very soon, and the uncertainties about what is going to happen to the [Environmental Protection Agency], I thought perhaps this would be a good opportunity to bring wider attention to the fact that we have so many fragile ecosystems and protected areas in the U.S. that still house undiscovered and undescribed species of plants and animals, and we absolutely need to continue protecting them,” Nazari told the Huffington Post on Tuesday.
Entertainment Tonight reported on Tuesday that the NFL told Superbowl halftime singer Lady Gaga that she could not "say anything or bring anything up about the election, or mention Donald Trump" during her performance. Now, the NFL is saying that story was false and that the singer was given no kind of instructions. "It's false," Natalie Ravitz, senior vice president of communications for the NFL told CNN. "This is unsourced nonsense from people trying to stir up controversy where there is none. The Super Bowl is a time when people really come together. Lady Gaga is focused on putting together an amazing show for fans and we love working with her on it; we aren't going to be distracted by this." Lady Gaga was an ardent supporter of Hillary Clinton's campaign.
In addition to commuting the bulk of Chelsea Manning’s sentence, President Obama on Tuesday granted a full pardon to retired Marine Gen. James Cartwright for lying to the FBI about his conversations with reporters. The general pleaded guilty in September 2016 to falsely denying he was the source of leaks on details about the so-called Stuxnet computer virus, which the U.S. government reportedly used to sabotage centrifuges at an Iranian nuclear facility in 2008 and 2009. Cartwright was set to be sentenced on Tuesday but instead received his pardon.
‘Obama’s General’ Lied in Leaks Case >
Gambian President Yahya Jammeh declared a state of emergency in the country on Tuesday after refusing to relinquish the office to opposition leader Adama Barrow, who won an election last month. Barrow was due to be sworn in as president on Tuesday but now the supreme court will rule on Jammeh's challenge to the election results. Pro-democracy activists in Africa were excited when Jammeh was defeated as his government gained a reputation for torturing and killing perceived opponents.
Instead of boycotting President-elect Donald Trump’s inauguration, civil-rights icon Rep. John Lewis should be thanking the Republican Party for ending slavery, Maine’s Republican Gov. Paul LePage said Tuesday. Appearing on WVOM Maine radio’s George Hale and Ric Tyler Show, the firebrand governor addressed Lewis’s claims that Trump is not a “legitimate” president, LePage fired back: “John Lewis ought to look at history. It was Abraham Lincoln that freed the slaves. It was Rutherford B. Hayes and Ulysses S. Grant that fought against Jim Crow laws. A simple ‘thank you’ would suffice.” The governor also called upon Maine congresswoman Chellie Pingree to resign if she boycotts the inauguration, adding, “For some reason, the left has become so hateful and so, they are trying to bully us out of believing our constitution.”
Police in Orlando on Tuesday night said they captured the suspect in a fatal shooting of one of their fellow officers after a week-long manhunt. The suspect, identified as 41-year-old Markeith Loyd, was wearing body armor and carrying two handguns when he was surrounded by a SWAT team on Tuesday, Orlando police Chief John Mina announced at a press conference. Loyd is accused of killing Lt. Debra Clayton outside a WalMart on Jan. 9, when Clayton approached him in connection with the death of his pregnant ex-girlfriend. Another officer, Norman Lewis, was killed in a car accident during the manhunt for Loyd. “I believe that our entire community is going to breathe a sigh of relief at this point. They will sleep better knowing tonight that... this maniac is off the streets,” Orange County Sheriff Jerry Demings said at the news conference. Hundreds of police officers had joined the manhunt for Loyd, and a $100,000 reward was offered for information leading to his arrest. The U.S. Marshals Service also added Loyd to their list of the most wanted fugitives on Tuesday, just hours before he was captured. In addition to charges for Clayton’s death, Loyd faces first-degree murder charges in the death of his ex-girlfriend.