HERE ARE THE TOP STORIES
The debate over symbols of the Confederacy in the U.S. is intensifying.
Following an order by Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley, the Confederate battle flag and three other symbols of the Confederacy were taken down from the Capitol grounds in Montgomery yesterday. This comes as a debate that began in South Carolina over removing lingering symbols of the Confederacy continues to spread nationally, with efforts underway in Mississippi, Virginia, Kentucky, and Tennessee. Here are some of the symbols that are being challenged and removed across the U.S.
“The most immediate political consequence of the massacre of nine people in Charleston’s historic Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church has been a backlash against the alleged killer’s most cherished symbol,” BuzzFeed News’ Adam Serwer writes in this piece on the history and meaning of the Confederate flag and why states across the U.S. are taking down the flags.
And a little extra.
The Justice Department is likely to file federal hate crimes charges against Dylann Roof over the Charleston murders, according to the New York Times. Roof already faces nine charges of murder over the killings, but the Times reported that federal officials feel obliged to lay their own charges because of the horrific and racist nature of the killings.
But “matters of public policy took a back seat to mourning Wednesday as hundreds of people filed through the State House” for the wake of Rev. Clementa Pinckney, a state senator and pastor of the church. That evening, the church’s Wednesday night bible study resumed, a week after the killings. "It is a powerful testimony that they are able to come," interim pastor Norvel Goff said of the relatives of Myra Thompson, one of the victims.
WE’RE KEEPING AN EYE ON
The U.S. Supreme Court has seven remaining decisions.
The court is scheduled to rule on seven more cases for this term. The Wall Street Journal has a good guide to six of those cases, including those concerning health insurance subsidies under the Affordable Care Act, recognition of same-sex marriage performed in other states or countries, the drug used in death penalty executions, and congressional redistricting.
Opinions are due today and the court is expected to release decisions again on Friday and perhaps next week. With several days remaining, “it looks like the court is saving the best for last” as in prior years, the Journal writes. In regards to health care, “if the court rules against the Obama administration, about 8.6 million people could lose their subsidies under the Affordable Care Act,” the Los Angeles Times writes.
For more, follow BuzzFeed News legal editor Chris Geidner on Twitter for the latest updates.
DID YOU HEAR ABOUT THIS?
Meet the mysterious new hacker army freaking out the Middle East.
The “Yemen Cyber Army” seemed to appear out of thin air to carry out one of the most audacious attacks of the year. “Like many hacking outfits, the group has no spokesperson and releases few details. By its name, we are led to assume it’s based in Yemen — currently caught in a bloody proxy war between Saudi Arabia and Iran — but there is no proof,” BuzzFeed News’ Sheera Frenkel writes in this investigation.
The Netherlands must reduce its greenhouse gas emissions, says a court ruling that could set a precedent for other countries.
A Dutch court ordered the state to reduce emissions by at least 25% within five years to protect its citizens from the dangers of climate change in the world’s first climate liability suit, according to The Guardian. “Before this judgement, the only legal obligations on states were those they agreed among themselves in international treaties,” said Dennis van Berkel, legal counsel for Urgenda, the group that brought the suit.
When does a private tragedy become a public pastime?
Six months ago, a teenager was burned alive in her car in a tiny Mississippi town. Jessica Chambers was murdered last December and police say they still don’t know who killed her or why, but people from all over the U.S. still convene on forums and in Facebook groups and claim to want #JusticeForJessica. “Instead, they’ve terrorized her formerly sleepy hometown with their relentless demands for answers to their specious theories,” BuzzFeed News’ Katie J.M. Baker writes.
Quick things to know:
A U.S. Senate committee is probing America’s largest for-profit foster care firm, National Mentor Holdings. Mentor was the subject of a BuzzFeed News investigation.
President Obama announced changes to the U.S. hostage policy, saying the government won’t prosecute families over ransom. (NPR) One congressman has called the changes “nothing more than window dressing.” (BuzzFeed News)
The U.S. Senate passed a bill giving Obama expanded authority to complete a massive 12-nation trade deal. (The Guardian)
Convicted Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev addressed his victims for the first time, saying “I would like to now apologize to the victims and to the survivors.” (BuzzFeed News)
A second arrest was made in connection with the escape of two prisoners in New York. Prison guard Gene Palmer is accused of smuggling tools to the two inmates, who are still on the loose. (BuzzFeed News)
Republican Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal is running for president. He’s a social conservative and a former GOP rising star. (BuzzFeed News)
The future is here: Lexus designed a hoverboard. But for now, it only works in a controlled environment. (USA Today)
Bonus! We’ve been celebrating the release of the BuzzFeed News app with daily mini-news quizzes and today is the last day. (Don’t worry, the weekly quiz will still happen tomorrow.) Take today’s quiz!
Ever seen a baby panda? Not like a furry, bubbly baby panda but an actual newborn panda? Well, you’re in luck. Twin cubs were born at the Giant Panda Research Base in Chengdu, China, on Tuesday, and they’re the weirdest, cutest little things.