2014 Watch
July 23, 2014
U.S. Congress

Sen. John Walsh (D-Mont.) has mounted a full media response, after The New York Times reported Wednesday that his 2007 master's thesis at the Army War College was extensively plagiarized from other sources. Walsh's explanation: Attributing his mistakes to a severe struggle with post-traumatic stress disorder, following his service in Iraq.

Walsh told The Associated Press that at the time he wrote the paper, he was being treated for PTSD — including symptoms of nightmares and anxiety — and he was simultaneously dealing with the suicide of a fellow veteran. "I don't want to blame my mistake on PTSD, but I do want to say it may have been a factor," Walsh said. "My head was not in a place very conducive to a classroom and an academic environment."

Walsh also said that he has worked through his emotional problems from his service, though he is still taking antidepressant medication.

At the same time, Walsh is still standing by his expertise on national security issues. "My record is defined by my leadership in the National Guard," he told The Billings Gazette. "I excelled on the battlefield. I'm not necessarily an academic. The citations were not done correctly, and I take full responsibility for the paper that I wrote."

Walsh was appointed to the Senate earlier this year, and has been widely viewed as likely to lose to Republican Rep. Steve Daines. However, a recent poll also showed Walsh starting to close the gap, trailing by only a single-digit margin. Eric Kleefeld

ISIS Crisis
May 24, 2015
Chip Somodevilla / Getty Images

Secretary of Defense Ash Carter on Sunday faulted Iraqi troops for allowing the Islamic State to conquer Ramadi, saying the homegrown forces lacked the "will to fight."

"What apparently happened is the Iraqi forces just showed no will to fight," Carter said in an appearance on CNN. "They were not outnumbered. In fact, they vastly outnumbered the opposing force. That says to me, and I think to most of us, that we have an issue with the will of the Iraqis to fight ISIL and defend themselves."

Last weekend, ISIS captured Ramadi as Iraqi troops fled and left behind weapons provided by the U.S. Days later, ISIS overran the ancient Syrian city of Palmyra as well. Jon Terbush

This just in
May 24, 2015
Ricky Rhodes / Getty Images

Cleveland police over the weekend arrested 71 people who participated in largely peaceful protests following the acquittal of a police officer in the 2012 killing of two unarmed black people.

Cleveland Police Chief Calvin Williams said protesters became more "aggressive" throughout the day, adding that officers only intervened when they "became violent and…refused to disperse."

On Saturday a judge acquitted officer Michael Brelo over a 2012 incident in which police, after mistaking the sound of a car backfiring for gunshots, fired 137 rounds into a vehicle, killing both occupants. Brelo climbed onto the car's hood and fired 15 times through the windshield, though the judge ruled prosecutors did not prove those shots killed the couple. Jon Terbush

This just in
May 24, 2015
China Photos / Getty Images

John Nash, the famed Nobel Prize-winning mathematician who inspired the film A Beautiful Mind, died Saturday in a taxi crash on the New Jersey Turnpike. The 86-year-old Nash and his wife, Alicia, were both killed when the driver of their taxi lost control and slammed into a guardrail. Police said they believe neither Nash nor his wife, who were ejected from the vehicle, were wearing seatbelts at the time of the accident. Known for his work in game theory, Nash won the Nobel Prize for economics in 1994. Jon Terbush

Texas Flood
May 24, 2015
Jazz Bishop / Corbis

At least one person died and dozens of states of emergency were declared following widespread flooding across Oklahoma and Texas over the weekend. A firefighter in Claremore, Oklahoma, died while trying to rescue a colleague who became trapped in a storm drain, though the trapped firefighter was able to make it out safely. Flooding in the region forced more than 1,000 evacuations, with officials warning that even more rain on Sunday could trigger potentially "historic" flooding. Jon Terbush

WomenCrossDMZ
May 24, 2015
Chung Sung-Jun / Getty Images

An international coalition of female activists led by feminist Gloria Steinem on Sunday crossed the highly militarized border between North and South Korea in an effort to spotlight the need for reconciliation between the two nations. The group, WomenCrossDMZ, consisted of about 30 participants including Steinem and two Nobel Peace Prize laureates, Mairead Maguire and Leymah Gbowee. "We feel very celebratory and positive that we have created a voyage across the DMZ in peace and reconciliation that was said to be impossible," Steinem said. Jon Terbush

Foreign affairs
May 24, 2015
GORAN TOMASEVIC / Reuters / Corbis

The leader of Burundi's opposition party on Saturday was gunned down in a drive-by shooting in the capital of Bujumbura. Zedi Feruzi, the leader of the party Union for Peace and Development-Zigamibanga, and a bodyguard were shot dead by unidentified gunmen just one day after a grenade attack killed at least two civilians in the same city. Burundi has been rocked by unrest — including a failed coup — for weeks since President Pierre Nkurunziza said he would run for a third term. Jon Terbush

Oops
May 23, 2015
Stefan Rousseau - WPA Pool/Getty Images

The Bank of England apparently needs a refresher on how to keep a classified project…classified.

An editor for The Guardian received an email on Friday, accidentally forwarded by the Bank's head of press, which details plans to research the financial repercussions of a British exit from the European Union. Nicknamed Project Bookend, the not-so-secret work was meant to be carried out by just a few senior officials, and examine how a "Brexit" would affect the country's export's and major cities' economies.

The email noted that any questions from the press should be answered by saying that "there is a lot going on in Europe in the next couple of months…that would be of concern to the Bank."

A note to the Bank's staff on the project: Take a good, long look at the "CC" field before you send any of Project Bookend's results. Also, consider a better name than Project Bookend. Sarah Eberspacher

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