The News You Need To Read This Morning

Prosecutors drop Adnan Syed’s charges, Uvalde parents protest the school board, and we speak to the founder of Fat Bear Week.

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Prosecutors dropped all charges against Adnan Syed; Hae Min Lee's family still wants answers

Adnan Syed looks on in a crowd of reporters with cameras

Prosecutors in Maryland dropped charges against Adnan Syed on Tuesday, over 20 years after he was first convicted for the murder of his ex-girlfriend Hae Min Lee.

Syed's murder conviction was vacated by a judge in September after prosecutors unusually asked for his release, citing evidence that had not been previously disclosed to his defense team, including two other potential suspects and unreliable cellphone data that they heavily leaned on during the trial. Nearly a month after the murder conviction was vacated, Baltimore State's Attorney Marilyn Mosby said that new DNA testing excluded Syed as a suspect.

Steve Kelly, the Lee family's lawyer, said they learned about Syed's case being dismissed through the media on Tuesday. "By rushing to dismiss the criminal charges, the State's Attorney's office sought ... to prevent the family and the public from understanding why the State so abruptly changed its position of more than 20 years," Kelly said.

Syed’s attorney Erica Suter said the dismissal of the case, which was chronicled in the popular podcast Serial, is "an important step."

"He still needs some time to process everything that has happened," Suter said.

Crimea and Zaporizhzhia

  • Russian intelligence has arrested eight people allegedly connected to the Kerch Bridge explosion, according to NBC News. No one has formally taken responsibility for the blast, but high-level Ukrainian officials have cheered on news of its destruction.

  • The Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant has lost power for the second time in five days, the Washington Post reports. Nuclear experts from around the world have raised concerns about the threat of nearby shelling on the power plant's safety.


Dame Angela Lansbury, star of stage and screen, has died at 96. During her career, Lansbury won five Tony Awards and was beloved around the world for her roles in Bedknobs and Broomsticks, Beauty and the Beast, and Murder, She Wrote.

Noted Republican Tulsi Gabbard has left the Democratic Party. Gabbard, who represented Hawaii’s 2nd Congressional District from 2013 to 2021, has announced she plans to start a self-titled YouTube show.

Activists are supergluing their hands to famous paintings to demand attention on the climate crisis. According to Margaret Klein Salamon, the executive director of Climate Emergency Fund, it's an increasingly popular stunt designed to shatter "a mass delusion of normalcy."

King Charles III's coronation will be held in May 2023, Buckingham Palace announced. It is tradition for there to be a period of mourning observed between the accession of the new sovereign and their coronation.

The recent Uvalde school board meeting was divided: "I am disgusted by this community"

Two people stand on the right side of the frame, speaking into a microphone

Monday night's school board meeting in Uvalde saw a divide among residents. Some were outside supporting and cheering on Uvalde Consolidated Independent School District Superintendent Hal Harrell — while the families of the victims of the mass shooting that killed 19 children and two teachers were inside demanding accountability from him.

On Friday, Harrell announced he would retire, but only after the victims' families called for him to be fired after he hired Crimson Elizondo as a UCISD police officer. Elizondo’s hiring made headlines when CNN uncovered that she was under investigation over her role during the May 24 shooting; body camera footage recorded her saying to another officer, “If my son had been in there, I would not have been outside. I promise you that.”

People outside the school board meeting held signs in support of Harrell. One read, "Thank you Dr. Harrell. We stand with you and we are sick of the blame game." That same night, Kimberly Mata-Rubio, whose 10-year-old daughter, Lexi, was killed in the shooting, tearfully spoke out against Harrell.

"I am disgusted by this community," she said. "How dare you decide now when a job is at stake to come together, but you stay home as we, the families, have been demanding transparency and accountability. How dare you attack those of us who lost our children in the worst way possible."

This absolute unit has been crowned the winner of Fat Bear Week

On the top, a slim summer bear; at the bottom, a fat winter bear

After a week of voting, Bear 747 was declared the winner of Fat Bear Week, the annual knockout-style competition in which the public votes on which bear in Katmai National Park, Alaska, has gained the most weight from summer to fall.

Bear 747, who previously won in 2020, has a "blocky muzzle and a floppy right ear," per his bio, and his fur is reddish brown. Described as a nearly one-ton veteran, he's a large adult male who has gone on to become one of the largest brown bears on Earth, weighing as much as 1,400 pounds, according to Fat Bear Week.

Mike Fitz, the founder of Fat Bear Week and a former Katmai park ranger, told BuzzFeed News, "The bears don’t get anything from Fat Bear Week at all. They don’t know what’s going on. This is an imaginary and virtual competition.”

However, Fitz sees this as an opportunity to get people thinking and learning about bears and their ecosystems. Katmai is home to more than 2,200 brown bears, one of the largest brown bear populations in the world. “It’s important to think about how bears survive, why they survive, what they need to survive, and also to celebrate the ecosystem at Katmai that supports them,” Fitz said.

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