Review Category : Top Stories

Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon ‘Thunderstruck’ By Images of Ferguson Police

governor.mo.gov(FERGUSON, Mo.) — Sunday on This Week, Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon, sitting down for an interview in Ferguson, told ABC News’ Martha Raddatz that he was astounded by some of the images that came out of Ferguson depicting what he described as an “over-militarization” of the police force.

“I, all of us were thunderstruck by the pictures we saw,” Nixon said on This Week. “I mean, the over-militarization, the MRAPs rolling in, the guns pointed at kids in the street. All of that I think instead of ratcheting down brought emotion up.”

But Nixon rejected responsibility for failing to quell the ongoing unrest in Ferguson, responding, “I’ve been here almost every day… The bottom line: we’ve been focused on meeting with groups, meeting with the parents, making sure that we were set up and then taking the unprecedented action on Wednesday to replace and to bring in the highway patrol.”

Nixon declared a state of emergency in Ferguson on Saturday and imposed a curfew following days of protests that erupted after an unarmed 18-year-old Michael Brown was shot and killed by a police officer, identified Friday as Darren Wilson.

During his interview on This Week, the governor revealed that the state was caught off-guard by the Ferguson Police Department’s decision to release surveillance video of Brown during an alleged store robbery on the same day they named the officer responsible for his death.

“We were unaware that they were going to release it and we certainly were not happy with that being released. Especially in the way that it was it appeared to you know cast dispersions on a young man that was gunned down in the street,” Nixon told Raddatz.

The security footage, apparently showing Brown committing a robbery at a convenience store just minutes before his death, reignited civil unrest in the town over the weekend. The Police Department claims that they were obligated to release the tape because of requests made by journalists under Missouri’s “Sunshine,” or freedom-of-information law, despite the Department of Justice and federal investigators opposing its release.

The attorney for the Brown family Anthony Gray, who also appeared on This Week, said the family was disturbed by the release of the surveillance video.

“Well, they first of all they were very appalled by it,” Gray said on This Week. “They saw it for the first time, at least a glimpse of it, on nationwide TV. They had requested an opportunity through the attorneys to see any video footage before it was released. That request obviously was not honored. So quite naturally, the reaction was very, on the part of the family, they were very disturbed by it. And I would just point out that no one from the family was given the opportunity to even authenticate that that was actually Mike Brown Jr. in the video.”

“There’s no reason not to believe that it’s him but much like when you identify somebody who is deceased, you have a family member that come in and make a positive ID. And they have not had an opportunity to do that,” Gray added.

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Sammy Watkins Hurts Ribs

Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images(PITTSBURGH) — Buffalo Bills first round draft pick Sammy Watkins left Saturday nights preseason game against the Steelers with a rib contusion in the first quarter and did not return.

Watkins was trying to pull in a pass by EJ Manuel on a quick slant that was low and incomplete. Steelers defender Cortez Allen fell to the ground while trying to make the play and line backer Ryan Shazier jumped to avoid Allen and collided with Watkins’ rib cage.

“I think Sammy will be fine,” Manuel said. “Hopefully he’ll come back and bounce back from whatever little injury he had.”

Watkins walked to the locker room on his own power, but the Bills have still not released any further update after he received X-rays.

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Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon ‘Thunderstruck’ By Images of Ferguson Police

governor.mo.gov(FERGUSON, Mo.) — Sunday on This Week, Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon, sitting down for an interview in Ferguson, told ABC News’ Martha Raddatz that he was astounded by some of the images that came out of Ferguson depicting what he described as an “over-militarization” of the police force.

“I, all of us were thunderstruck by the pictures we saw,” Nixon said on This Week. “I mean, the over-militarization, the MRAPs rolling in, the guns pointed at kids in the street. All of that I think instead of ratcheting down brought emotion up.”

But Nixon rejected responsibility for failing to quell the ongoing unrest in Ferguson, responding, “I’ve been here almost every day… The bottom line: we’ve been focused on meeting with groups, meeting with the parents, making sure that we were set up and then taking the unprecedented action on Wednesday to replace and to bring in the highway patrol.”

Nixon declared a state of emergency in Ferguson on Saturday and imposed a curfew following days of protests that erupted after an unarmed 18-year-old Michael Brown was shot and killed by a police officer, identified Friday as Darren Wilson.

During his interview on This Week, the governor revealed that the state was caught off-guard by the Ferguson Police Department’s decision to release surveillance video of Brown during an alleged store robbery on the same day they named the officer responsible for his death.

“We were unaware that they were going to release it and we certainly were not happy with that being released. Especially in the way that it was it appeared to you know cast dispersions on a young man that was gunned down in the street,” Nixon told Raddatz.

The security footage, apparently showing Brown committing a robbery at a convenience store just minutes before his death, reignited civil unrest in the town over the weekend. The Police Department claims that they were obligated to release the tape because of requests made by journalists under Missouri’s “Sunshine,” or freedom-of-information law, despite the Department of Justice and federal investigators opposing its release.

The attorney for the Brown family Anthony Gray, who also appeared on This Week, said the family was disturbed by the release of the surveillance video.

“Well, they first of all they were very appalled by it,” Gray said on This Week. “They saw it for the first time, at least a glimpse of it, on nationwide TV. They had requested an opportunity through the attorneys to see any video footage before it was released. That request obviously was not honored. So quite naturally, the reaction was very, on the part of the family, they were very disturbed by it. And I would just point out that no one from the family was given the opportunity to even authenticate that that was actually Mike Brown Jr. in the video.”

“There’s no reason not to believe that it’s him but much like when you identify somebody who is deceased, you have a family member that come in and make a positive ID. And they have not had an opportunity to do that,” Gray added.

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Justice Department To Perform Own Autopsy on Michael Brown

Brendan Hoffman/Getty Images(FERGUSON, Mo.) — The Justice Department will perform its own autopsy on the body of Michael Brown as part of its independent investigation into the Missouri teenager’s shooting death, officials announced Sunday.

“Due to the extraordinary circumstances involved in this case and at the request of the Brown family, Attorney General Holder has instructed Justice Department officials to arrange for an additional autopsy to be performed by a federal medical examiner,” the Justice Department said in a statement Sunday.

The autopsy will take place “as soon as possible.”

In addition to the Justice Department’s autopsy, the St. Louis County Medical Examiner and forensic pathologist Michael Baden, who was hired by the Brown family, are conducting their own autopsies.

According to preliminary results from the county’s autopsy, Brown died from gunshot wounds. Justice Department officials will also consider that autopsy in their investigation.

Brown was killed last Saturday when he was shot by a Ferguson police officer, identified by the department as Darren Wilson. The shooting has sparked protests and racial tensions in the city, and the state has since imposed a curfew that began this weekend.

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Alabama Family Catches Record-Breaking Alligator

iStock/Thinkstock(THOMASTON, Ala.) — A 1,000-pound gator is breaking records in Alabama.

Five members of the Stokes family caught this monster alligator Saturday in Thomaston, Alabama.

It took them 10 hours to wrangle the mammoth beast.

Biologists at Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries easily measured the alligator at 15 feet, but weighing it was a big more tricky.

The alligator was so large it destroyed the winch used to lift average-sized alligators.

Eventually, a biologist had to use a backhoe to lift the alligator onto the scale.

It weighed in at 1,011.5 pounds, making the gator the largest ever killed in Alabama.

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Pope Francis Reaches out to China

Buda Mendes/Getty Images(SEOUL, South Korea) — Pope Francis made a strong gesture to reach out to China, saying the Catholic Church is not coming in as conquerors, and the important thing is to walk together.

At a meeting with about 80 of Asia’s bishops on Sunday in Seoul, the Pope called for them to engage with people of different cultures empathetically.

According to ABC’s Joohee Cho, although the Pope did not mention China specifically, the Vatican spokesman said it is goodwill for dialogue with China, considering other Asian countries like North Korea, Vietnam, and Myanmar have no diplomatic ties with the Vatican.

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Young Readers Meet Teen Activist Malala Yousafzai

Andrew Burton/Getty Images(NEW YORK) — They came from Serbia, the Middle East, Chicago, and New York. Fifteen young women with one dream: to meet their idol, teen activist Malala Yousafzai.

“Malala Yousafzai is a giraffe,” Chloe Schneider, 12, wrote in a school essay about how Malala “stuck her neck out” and “taught children all over to stand up and fight for what they believe.”

Malala Yousafzai, the 17-year-old who was shot in the head on Oct. 9, 2012, by the Taliban for advocating for girls education in Pakistan, was in New York for the publication of the young readers edition of her book, I Am Malala.

Chloe was one of more than a dozen young students, ages 7 to 17, selected to be on the set of Good Morning America when Malala was interviewed by ABC News’ Amy Robach. They were chosen because of their involvement with groups like the U.N. Foundation’s Girl Up and Girls Who Code, a non-profit devoted to reaching gender parity in the technology industry.

In the greenroom backstage before the taping, the girls were nervous and excited. They treated Malala like a celebrity. “She’s so pretty,” one girl said. “I wonder what her favorite color is?” asked another. Others whispered, “I hope she’ll sign our books.”

Asked why she believes so strongly in Malala’s cause, Gillian Schneider, 14, said she looks up to Malala because “she showed women and girls all over that they have a voice and when used, they can make a change in the world.”

Elena Avramovic, 13, said, “Malala can be anyone’s idol because everybody deserves the right to an education — girls and boys everywhere.”

All the girls had questions for Malala, including Joyce Gomez, 17, of Girls Who Code, who asked: “How are you so brave?”

“I think that bravery is when you overcome your fears and when you think that yes, you can stand up for your rights and you can speak,” Malala answered. “So I think you all are brave because you are joining these campaigns for education. You are struggling your best. … We just need to recognize the abilities we have, the talents we have and you all are brave.”

Razan Nasser, 13, who attends the UN International School, wanted to know: “What can privileged girls such as ourselves do to help your cause?”

“I think the role of every person in society is very important,” said Malala. “If there is one child that we know about who is deprived of education and who needs our help, I think we should definitely support that child. …There are artists, there are musicians, there are poets and so many other people who can motivate children all over the world through their beautiful voices– to come and continue their learning and stand up for it.”

The young girls took Malala’s words to heart.

“All my life I have had trouble standing up for myself and for other people, and [Malala] inspires me and other people like me to do this no matter the cost,” Chloe said.

Although still in high school, Malala has become an international icon for people of all ages. For the second year in a row, Malala was nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize and should she be awarded, she will be the youngest recipient of the award by over a decade. She also co-founded the Malala Fund.

As the girls gathered their belongings and headed home, they seemed almost awestruck. More than one was heard saying, “I wish I could be more like Malala.”

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Reds Place SP Bailey on DL

Jason Wise/MLB Photos via Getty Images(DENVER) — Starting pitcher Homer Bailey was placed on the 15-day disabled list by the Cincinnati Reds Saturday with a strained right elbow.

Bailey had an MRI that revealed he had a flexor mass injury in his elbow. He will not need surgery and is expected to return to the mound this season.

The 28-year-old Bailey has pitched 145 2/3 innings this season, compiling a 9-5 record, 3.71 ERA, 1.23 WHIP, 45 walks and 124 strikeouts.

The Reds promoted pitcher Dylan Axelrod from Triple-A Louisville to take Bailey’s place.

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US Launches Airstrikes to Help Retake Mosul Dam

iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) — The United States has launched airstrikes around the Mosul Dam in northern Iraq in support of a ground operation by Kurdish and Iraqi forces to retake the strategic dam which was seized by ISIS fighters earlier this month.

The status of the dam has been a concern for Iraq and the U.S. because a breach could release a torrent of water that could flood Mosul and possibly reach as far down as Baghdad.

U.S. officials confirm that fighter planes and drones launched airstrikes near the Mosul Dam. Earlier Saturday, Kurdish local media cited eyewitness reports that airstrikes had taken place by the dam on Friday night.

At the time it was unclear if the airstrikes had been launched by U.S. or Iraqi aircraft.

According to one official “the strikes are in support of ground operations” by Kurdish and Iraqi forces to retake the dam. The official labeled the strikes as significant.

The size of the Iraqi and Kurdish ground operation is unclear, but it would have to be sizable to counter the large number of ISIS fighters located at or near the dam. One U.S. official said it is believed that there are a few hundred ISIS fighters in the vicinity of the dam.

The official said the strikes are allowed by the presidential authorization “to protect US personnel and support humanitarian efforts” that was issued last week. The airstrikes helped slow an ISIS advance on the Kurdish capital of Erbil and helped alleviate the humanitarian crisis of Yazidis trapped atop Mount Sinjar in northwestern Iraq.

On Thursday the Pentagon said that airstrikes could still take place and were authorized for anywhere in Iraq. The Mosul Dam is located 90 miles west of Erbil and 60 miles east of Mt. Sinjar.

Pentagon spokesman Rear Admiral John Kirby said at a news conference “the airstrikes that we have been conducting and authorized to do so are predominantly to protect U.S. personnel and facilities in and around Erbil, although the president was very clear that we have the authority to conduct airstrikes to protect U.S. personnel and facilities anywhere in Iraq, including down in Baghdad.”

Kirby also reiterated that President Obama had said the U.S would help the Iraqi government but “we’re not going to become the Iraqi air force. This is their fight to fight. We’re willing to help to the degree we can.”

While the U.S. has both military and civilian personnel in Erbil, there is not a U.S. presence in Mosul, which is south of the dam. There has been concern that a dam breach could lead to a torrent of water reaching as far south as Baghdad, where the large U.S. embassy is located on the banks of the Tigris River.

Predators conducted airstrikes Friday on ISIS vehicles near the village of Kawju, which had been attacked by ISIS fighters. A defense official said that is the same village where reports emerged Friday that ISIS fighters had killed 80 Yazidi civilians.

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Pope Francis Conducts Mass in Seoul, South Korea

Franco Origlia/Getty Images(SEOUL, South Korea) — Crowds holding yellow and white flags stood cheering in the sunshine as Pope Francis conducted mass in Seoul, where he beatified 124 South Koreans.

Francis spoke of the great sacrifices of the men and women who, in the 18th and 19th centuries, were killed for refusing to renounce their Catholic faith.

Beatification is the first step toward sainthood and ceremonies like this one have taken place with increasing frequency in the last number of decades– a surefire way of drawing media attention to the Catholic church as its church attendance numbers dwindle in the West.

The importance of the ceremony is especially strong in Asia, where the Vatican has its sights set on growth. In the past 50 years, the South Korean Catholics have gone from comprising 1% of the population to 10%.

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