Only in America
October 18, 2011

Mark Grapin of Fairfax County, Va., says his local building department laughed him off the phone when he asked if he needed a permit to build a tree house for his sons. It was only after Grapin spent $1,400 and six weekends building the arboreal hideaway that a county inspector — tipped off by complaining neighbors — decided the tree house violated local zoning laws. Grapin spent $1,800 seeking a zoning variance, only to be denied. Now, he might have to tear the tree house down. "I don't have the heart for it," Grapin says. "I'm gonna go pay some day laborers and hide... while they take a saw to it." The Week Staff

9:34 p.m. ET

For the first time in 33 years, the 1.1-mile high Wolf volcano in the Galapagos Islands erupted early Monday.

Located on Isabela Island, the volcano, the highest point in the Galapagos, is not near a populated area, Galapagos National Park said on Twitter. While the island is home to the world's only species of pink iguanas, Reuters reports, the lava is flowing down the southern face of the volcano, and the endangered iguanas live on the opposite side and are expected to be safe. The lava will likely make its way to the sea and could harm marine life, the Geophysics Institute said, and it's possible ash will travel to populated areas of the island. Catherine Garcia

8:44 p.m. ET
Win McNamee/Getty Images

Two of B.B. King's daughters say that their father was poisoned by his business manager and personal assistant in order to hasten his death, allegations that his estate's attorney says are "defamatory and libelous."

Brent Bryson told The Associated Press that King received 24-hour care and was monitored by medical professionals "up until the time that he peacefully passed away in his sleep" earlier this month at the age of 89. King's daughters, Karen Williams and Patty King, say that manager and estate executor LaVerne Toney and personal assistant Myron Johnson prevented family members from visiting King, and Patty King witnessed Johnson putting drops of an unknown substance on her father's tongue over the course of several months. The sisters had previously told a court that large sums of money were missing from King's bank accounts and Toney hired her own relatives to work for King.

An autopsy on the late musician was performed on Sunday, and it will take up to eight weeks for the rest results to come back. "This is extremely disrespectful to B.B. King," Bryson said. "He did not want invasive medical procedures. He made the decision to return home for hospice care instead of staying in a hospital. These unfounded allegations have caused Mr. King to undergo an autopsy, which is exactly what he didn't want." Catherine Garcia

natural disasters
7:58 p.m. ET

A tornado that hit the town of Ciudad Acuna, Mexico, Monday morning killed at least 13 people, while across the border 12 people are reported missing after severe flooding in Texas.

The tornado in Ciudad Acuna, a town of 125,000 people across from Del Rio, Teas, struck as children were headed to their school buses, CBS News reports. A baby in its carrier was ripped from its mother's arms and 400 homes were destroyed, authorities said, and 300 people are hospitalized for injuries. "There's nothing standing, not walls, not roofs," Edgar Gonzalez, a spokesman for the city government, said.

In Texas, 2,000 people had to evacuate from their homes during heavy rains, which hit towns along the Blanco River in the central part of the state especially hard. One man, Jonathan McComb, was hospitalized after his home came off its foundation and struck a bridge as the water carried it down the river. His wife and two children are among the dozen people missing after the flooding. Catherine Garcia

7:02 p.m. ET
Ricky Rhoads/Getty Images

The city of Cleveland will announce as early as Tuesday that it reached a settlement with the Justice Department over what it called a pattern of unconstitutional policing and excessive use of force, sources told The New York Times on Monday.

The details were not shared, but in previous cases, the Justice Department told cities they needed to allow independent monitors to oversee the changes made inside their police departments, revise their use-of-force policies, and improve their training, the Times reports. In December, the Justice Department released a report on the Cleveland Division of Police, with investigators saying officers unnecessarily used deadly force, used excessive force against mentally ill people, inappropriately used stun guns and chemical sprays, and in one case officers kicked a black man in the head while he was handcuffed and on the ground, but did not mention using force in their report.

Over the weekend, hundreds protested in Cleveland after a judge on Saturday found a white police officer, Michael Brelo, not guilty of manslaughter after a 2012 incident where he climbed on the hood of a vehicle and fired several times at an unarmed black couple, Malissa Williams and Timothy Russell, sitting in their car. Catherine Garcia

This just in
3:01 p.m. ET
Olivier Douliery/Getty Images

Iraq and Iran are rejecting Defense Secretary Ash Carter's claim on Sunday that "Iraqi forces just showed no will to fight" against ISIS, which allowed the terrorist group to overtake Ramadi.

"Carter was likely given incorrect information because the situation on ground is different," Saad al-Hadithi, a spokesman for Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi, told The Associated Press. "We should not judge the whole army based on one incident."

Iran's Gen. Qassim Soleimani, meanwhile, told Iran's Javan that America didn't help stop ISIS from advancing on Ramadi.

Carter made the comments on ISIS during a CNN interview. "They were not outnumbered. In fact, they vastly outnumbered the opposing force," Carter said in the interview, which aired Sunday. "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." Meghan DeMaria

Rest in peace
2:04 p.m. ET

President Obama and Defense Secretary Ash Carter honored America's late soldiers at Arlington National Cemetery on Monday. In his speech, Obama noted that it is the first Memorial Day in more than 10 years that the U.S. "is not engaged in a major ground war."

"We do know what your sacrifice means to us, to this nation, and to a world that still depends so much on American men and women in uniform for its security," Carter said of fallen soldiers at the event. He also noted that almost 200,000 American service members are overseas.

Obama laid a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, adding that "our men and women in uniform still stand watch, still serve, still sacrifice, around the world." —Meghan DeMaria

This just in
1:43 p.m. ET
Spencer Platt/Getty Images

An unnamed source with "direct knowledge" of the deal told The New York Times on Monday that Charter Communications is close to finalizing an agreement to buy Time Warner Cable for about $55.1 billion in cash and stock.

If the deal is approved, Charter would pay about $195 a share, which is about 14 percent higher than Time Warner Cable's closing stock price on Friday. And as the Times notes, it's also 47 percent higher than Charter's bid to buy Time Warner Cable last year.

If Charter acquires Time Warner Cable, its main investor, billionaire John Malone, would "break into the top tier of the American broadband industry," the Times reports.

Sources "familiar with the matter" told Bloomberg the deal could be announced as early as Tuesday. Meghan DeMaria

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