Five things you may have missed this week


NSA officially ended its phone metadata program, receiving both criticism and praise. | Justin Cross/The Cougar

This week’s events range from a new initiative by the Secretary of Defense to growing protests against the Chicago Police Department and a mass shooting that left at least 14 people dead. Here are five things you may have missed this week.

U.S. Department of Justice starts investigation of Chicago Police Department

Chicago is one of the cities that has recently been facing criticism for police brutality against minorities. A new video surfaced showing Laquan McDonald — a black 17-year-old – who was shot and killed in October 2014 by a white police officer. The video, however, shows no audio from the officer and has a no angle of the shooting taking place. The police officer is now charged with first-degree murder, a year after the incident. Protesters are demanding to know why it took so long for the officer to be charged and the video to be released publicly. In response, Mayor Rahm Emanuel formally asked Garry F. McCarthy, the former Chicago police superintendent, for his resignation. Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan is asking the U.S. Department of Justice to investigate potential civil rights violations by the Chicago police.

New initiative to increase pressure on ISIS

Defense Secretary Ash Carter said the U.S. military will deploy ‘expeditionary targeting force’ to Iraq to launch unilateral raids and “put even more pressure on ISIS…at the invitation of the Iraqi government.” The goal is to gather intelligence, free hostages and kill or capture ISIS leaders, but  there’s no set schedule for when the special operations forces will begin to arrive in Iraq. “We’re at war. We’re using the might of the finest fighting force the world has ever known,” Carter told the House Armed Services Committee. “Tens of thousands of U.S. personnel are operating in the broader Middle East region, and more are on the way.” The operation will involve  “smaller special operations expeditionary units,” not a large number of forces, officials said.

NSA won’t be able to eavesdrop anymore 
At midnight on Saturday, the NSA ended its phone surveillance program. This comes two and a half years after the controversial program was exposed by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden, according to Reuters. The move was mandated by the Freedom Act law six months ago. Analysts must now get a court order to ask telecommunications companies like Verizon Communications to enable monitoring of call-records of specific people or groups for up to six months, according to Reuters. “The act struck a reasonable compromise which allows us to continue to protect the country, while implementing various reforms,” National Security Council spokesman Ned Price said.

Mass shooting kills more than dozen in California 
Fourteen people were killed, and 17 others were injured in a mass shooting in San Bernardino, California, at the Inland Regional Center, on Wednesday morning. Two gunmen— one male and one female—are dead, following a high-speed police chase. A third person has been detained. “These were people who came prepared,” San Bernardino Police Chief Jarrod Burguan told reporters. “They came in with a purpose, with an intent to do something.” Burguan said they still have no information to indicate that this was terrorist-related. “Obviously, at a minimum, we have a domestic terrorist-type situation,” he said. President Barack Obama called for stricter gun control in the wake of the shooting, which is believed to be the deadliest mass shooting in the U.S. since Sandy Hook in December 2012.

E.coli scare is back, reported in several states

A recall that started with an E. coli scare at Costco now spans more than 155,000 items, including salad kits, vegetable trays and other prepared foods in more than a dozen states. Walmart, Sam’s Club, Costco, Albertsons, 7-Eleven, Target and Safeway are among the stores selling contaminated products. Starbucks Corp. pulled its holiday turkey paninis from 1,347 U.S. locations last week, after the sandwiches were tied to the same E. coli recall that struck Costco Wholesale Corp. Nineteen people in seven states have been sickened so far by this outbreak, Bloomberg reports. E. coli infections usually begin three or four days after exposure, and symptoms include abdominal cramping, diarrhea and sometimes nausea and vomiting.

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