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A U.S. airstrike has targeted ISIS terrorist Mohammed Emwazi, also known as “Jihadi John.” Ukraine passed a bill that includes protections for LGBT employees. And Missy Elliott is back.

Last updated on July 3, 2018, at 1:29 p.m. ET

Posted on November 13, 2015, at 9:37 a.m. ET


The U.S. launched an airstrike targeting ISIS killer “Jihadi John.”

U.S. defense officials confirmed the airstrike in Raqqa, Syria, on Mohammed Emwazi — also known as “Jihadi John” — who has been a high-priority target since rising as the terror organization’s notorious on-camera killer, BuzzFeed News reports.

It wasn’t immediately clear if the strike was successful, but officials said there’s a “high degree of certainty” that Emwazi was killed in the attack, The Guardian writes. U.S. defense officials said they were “assessing the results of [the] operation and will provide additional information as and where appropriate,” according to BuzzFeed News.

Emwazi in an ISIS propaganda video.

Emwazi in an ISIS propaganda video.

Emwazi has beheaded multiple hostages in ISIS propaganda videos. Appearing in a black mask, he first gained notoriety last year after the release of a video that showed him beheading American journalist James Foley. In other videos, Emwazi also beheaded American journalist Steven Sotloff, American aid worker Abdul-Rahman Kassig, British aid workers David Haines and Alan Henning, and Japanese journalist Kenji Goto.

James Foley’s mother, Diane Foley, told ABC News that Emwazi’s possible death would be “really small solace to us.”

Twin bomb blasts in Lebanon killed at least 37 people and injured 180 others.

The attack occurred in a suburb of the Lebanese capital of Beirut, when two bombers “blew themselves up in a busy street” in a short distance from each other, BBC News writes. ISIS has claimed responsibility for the attack, though their role has not been confirmed.

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College protests over racial discrimination are spreading across the U.S.

Students at multiple universities “marched in solidarity with [University of Missouri] students and showed their support online,” BuzzFeed News’ Tamerra Griffin writes. Campus-wide protests at the University of Missouri over school administration’s handling of alleged racism have led to the resignation of top officials there.

At Claremont McKenna College in California, Dean of Students Mary Spellman resigned after student protests called for her to step down, BuzzFeed News’ Nicolás Medina Mora writes. On Oct. 25, Spellman sent an email to a Latina undergraduate student implying that students of color “don’t fit our CMC mold.”

Students protesting at the University of Missouri.
Jeff Roberson / AP Photo

Students protesting at the University of Missouri.


Earlier this month, hundreds of students protested at Yale College after a top university official sent an email criticizing political correctness and a fraternity allegedly denied entrance to black women.

Protests over racial discrimination and in support of the movement at the University of Missouri have also sprung up at Ithaca College in upstate New York, Smith College in Massachusetts, and Howard University in Washington, D.C.

What’s next?

The University of Missouri has named a black administrator as its interim president. Mike Middleton, deputy chancellor emeritus of the Columbia campus, was selected after a three-hour closed meeting by the university’s Board of Curators, BuzzFeed News’ Tasneem Nashrulla writes.

During a news conference, Middleton said he would devote the administration’s attention to the demands of the students leading the protests. “It is imperative that we hear all of our students and do everything we can to make them comfortable and safe in our community,” Middleton said.


Ukraine’s parliament passed a nondiscrimination law with protections for LGBT employees.

The law was required by the European Union “for Ukraine to qualify for a program allowing its citizens to travel to the EU without needing visas,” BuzzFeed News’ J. Lester Feder writes. The bill had been rejected twice before by lawmakers opposing the LGBT protections.

Ukraine has been trying create a closer relationship with the European Union for years, a link that has grown in importance since the Ukrainian territory of Crimea was annexed by Russia last year and Russian-backed rebels seized control in eastern parts of the country, Feder writes.

A woman holds a placard reading: “The rights of gays, lesbians, and bisexuals are human rights,” during a demonstration outside the Ukrainian parliament.
Sergei Supinsky / AFP / Getty Images

A woman holds a placard reading: “The rights of gays, lesbians, and bisexuals are human rights,” during a demonstration outside the Ukrainian parliament.

Alleged mobster Vincent Asaro was found not guilty of participating in a 1978 airline heist made famous by the movie Goodfellas.

The 80-year-old was accused of helping to plan a multi-million dollar heist at New York’s John F. Kennedy Airport’s Lufthansa terminal that led to a score of $6 million in cash and jewels. Asaro was facing charges related to racketeering and recruiting men for the heist. A jury acquitted him of all charges, BuzzFeed News’ Salvador Hernandez writes.

The heist was believed to have been planned and executed by associates of New York’s crime families, and was a main storyline depicted in Martin Scorsese’s 1990 film Goodfellas.

Via Giphy / Via

Quick things to know:

  • Kurdish forces entered the Iraqi town of Sinjar. ISIS captured the strategic town in 2014. (BuzzFeed News)

  • A mysterious object from space is headed for a collision with Earth, but scientists say there’s nothing to worry about. (CNN)

  • Aung San Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy party has won a landslide election victory in Myanmar. (BBC News)

  • Doctors at the Cleveland Clinic in Ohio are trying to be the first U.S. team to help infertile women get pregnant with uterus transplants. (New York Times) And more than 100 women are suing after they say a packaging error on birth control left them pregnant. (BuzzFeed News)

  • The eight licensed medical marijuana dispensaries in Oakland are trying to block an open market. (BuzzFeed News)

  • White supremacists love that Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump mentioned the 1950s deportation policy “Operation Wetback” during the last debate. (BuzzFeed News)

  • This week in tech: Vevo launched its own iOS mobile app. (BuzzFeed News) Facebook Messenger is testing a disappearing message option in France. (BuzzFeed News) And this was the week virtual reality became totally normal. (BuzzFeed News)

  • A judge used Taylor Swift lyrics to dismiss the $42 million lawsuit against her song “Shake It Off.” (BuzzFeed News)

  • Missy Elliott dropped her first new video and song in ages and it’s brilliant. (BuzzFeed News) And reverse it: check out this 1997 profile of Missy. (The New Yorker)

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Do you know what happened in the news this week? Take the BuzzFeed News quiz!



Our special guest this week is BuzzFeed News reporter Sapna Maheshwari, talking about some of her favorite stories she read recently:

Americans have been unwittingly signing away their right to join class-action lawsuits in recent years, even though it's “realistically the only tool citizens have to fight illegal or deceitful business practices,” according to the New York Times. The newspaper has a great two-part investigation into how two U.S. Supreme Court decisions in the past five years have allowed companies from American Express to funeral homes to ban class actions in the fine print of contracts, forcing disputes into private arbitration instead. It's made for an opaque, jury-free system that generally favors companies and hurts consumers, sometimes in outrageous ways.

BuzzFeed News has a great piece on how some businesses have been inserting non-disparagement clauses into their terms and conditions, then fining consumers thousands of dollars for bad reviews — legally! Congress is trying to pass a law banning the practice.

And the Tampa Bay Times and the Sarasota Herald-Tribune published an incredible and disturbing investigation into the rise of violent attacks at Florida's state-funded mental hospitals in the face of massive budget cuts. It is so eye-opening and shocking and will give you chills.

Happy Friday

A pair of identical twins recently got married to another pair of identical twins in India. And amazingly, another pair of identical twins officiated the ceremony, BuzzFeed’s Andre Borges writes. Twins. Winning… Twinning.

Facebook / Via Facebook: p.paulraj

This letter was edited and brought to you by Claire Moses and Aaron Edwards. You can always reach us here.

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