Dylann Roof, the admitted white supremacist convicted earlier this month of killing nine black Charleston churchgoers, will undergo a second competency hearing before the penalty phase of his trial starts next week. Jurors found Roof, 22, guilty of 33 federal counts, mostly involving hate crimes and obstruction of religion, and now must decide whether he will be sentenced to life in prison or the death penalty. Roof plans to represent himself during the penalty phase, but a standby counsel filed the motion requesting a hearing to determine whether Roof is fit to proceed. A previous competency hearing delayed jury selection in November before Roof was found competent to stand trial.
Source: USA Today
Russian President Vladimir Putin said Monday would be a day of mourning in his country after a Russian military jet crashed into the Black Sea shortly after taking off from Sochi on a flight to Syria, killing all 92 people on board. The victims included soldiers, reporters, and members of a world renowned Russian army choir, the Alexandrov Ensemble, who were on the way to perform for Russian troops. Russia's transport minister said on Sunday that investigators were considering the "entire spectrum" of possible causes for the Tu-154 transport plane's crash, and on Monday he said that the crash was likely due to pilot error or technical failure, not terrorism. The tragedy was the second in a week, following the assassination of Russia's ambassador to Turkey in Ankara.
Source: BBC News
Actress and Hollywood socialite Zsa Zsa Gabor died of heart failure Sunday in her Bel Air mansion. She was 99. Gabor, the most famous of three glamorous sisters from Hungary, appeared in more than 60 TV and feature films. Critics said her best roles were early in her career, in such films as 1952's Moulin Rouge and Orson Welles' 1958 classic Touch of Evil. Later she would be better known for her string of nine marriages, her tabloid-worthy behavior, and her one-liners. "I am a marvelous housekeeper," she once said. "Every time I leave a man I keep his house." In June 1989, she infamously slapped a Beverly Hills police officer who pulled over her Rolls-Royce Corniche convertible for a traffic violation, a scandal she made fun of in the movie The Naked Gun 2 1/2.
Source: Los Angeles Times, The New York Times
Evacuations resumed in Aleppo early Monday, with at least 65 buses carrying 3,500 people out of the last rebel-held enclave in the war-ravaged Syrian city, according to a monitoring group. The United Nations Security Council plans to vote Monday on a draft resolution calling for neutral monitors to oversee the departure of rebels and civilians. Russia had threatened to veto the resolution, but promised to join a unanimous vote after last-minute negotiations, said Samantha Power, the U.S. ambassador to the U.N. The evacuation process in Aleppo was temporarily held up on Sunday, a day after being renegotiated, when five evacuation buses were burned trying to enter government-held villages near Idlib Province.
Source: CNN, Reuters
Walt Disney Co.'s Rogue One: A Star Wars Story dominated the box office in its debut weekend, making an estimated $155 million in the U.S. and Canada. The take amounted to the second biggest December opening ever, behind Star Wars: The Force Awakens last year. That film smashed a host of records, bringing in $248 million domestically in its first weekend. Rogue One, Disney's first spinoff since it bought Lucasfilm in 2012, was never expected to best The Force Awakens. The new movie tells the story of a band of rebel fighters in the lead up to the events involving central characters Luke Skywalker, Princess Leia, and Han Solo in the original 1977 Star Wars.
A car bomb in Kayseri, Turkey, on Saturday killed 13 off-duty soldiers and injured 56 other people traveling on a bus. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan blamed the attack on Kurdish militants from the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK). "The style and goals of the attacks clearly show the aim of the separatist terrorist organization is to trip up Turkey, cut its strength and have it focus its energy and forces elsewhere," he said. "We know that these attacks we are being subjected to are not independent from the developments in our region, especially in Iraq and Syria." Seven people have been arrested in connection to the bombing.
Source: Reuters, Associated Press
A federal jury in South Carolina on Thursday found self-declared white supremacist Dylann Roof, 22, guilty of 33 federal charges in the killing of nine black parishioners at Charleston's historic Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church during a weekly Bible study last year. The charges include deadly hate crimes, obstruction of religion, and firearms violations. Felicia Sanders, one of two survivors of the attack, said she never doubted how the trial would end. "I knew it was going to be guilty, guilty, guilty, all the way through," she said. Roof reiterated his plan to represent himself when the court reconvenes on Jan. 3 to consider whether he should be sentenced to death, or life without parole. He also faces murder charges in state court.
Source: The Post and Courier, NBC News
NBA sideline reporter Craig Sager died Thursday at the age of 65 after a years-long battle with leukemia. Sager, a longtime Turner Sports broadcaster, was known for his unique, colorful suits over a career that spanned more than 40 years. He publicly announced his leukemia diagnosis in 2014, and at the 2016 ESPY awards he emotionally expressed that "over the last two years, I've done everything in my power to live my life as normally as possible but at times, you need support. And I'm so thankful to everyone who has been there for me."
Two schoolgirl suicide bombers killed 56 people and wounded dozens more in a coordinated attack on a crowded market in the northeastern Nigerian town of Madagali on Friday, a local official said. The bombings bore the hallmark of Islamist militant group Boko Haram, which has been waging an insurgency to set up a state adhering to a strict interpretation of Muslim laws in the northeast. There was no immediate claim of responsibility. Yusuf Mohammed, chairman of the local district government, said the bombings left 56 people dead and wounded 57.
President-elect Donald Trump's deal with air conditioning company Carrier traded the manufacturer millions of dollars in special tax incentives in exchange for maintaining factory jobs in Indiana, but it also led the company to automate some of those very positions to cut costs. "We're going to make a $16 million investment in that factory in Indianapolis to automate, to drive the cost down so that we can continue to be competitive," said Greg Hayes, the CEO of Carrier's parent company. "Is it as cheap as moving to Mexico with lower-cost labor? No. But we will make that plant competitive just because we'll make the capital investments there. But what that ultimately means is there will be fewer jobs." Trump claimed the deal would save roughly 1,100 jobs, but the actual number looks to be closer to 800, not including any lost to future automation.
Source: CNN Money, CNBC
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Certain numerology has a strong connection with occultism. Various numbers from time-to-time appear in news articles, and one has to wonder if there isn't some occult significance behind this story.