March 16, 2016

Judge Merrick B. Garland got teary-eyed as he accepted President Obama's Supreme Court nomination in a Rose Garden speech on Wednesday, calling the opportunity a "great privilege" for which he is "grateful beyond words."

"This is the greatest honor of my life, other than Lynn agreeing to marry me 28 years ago," Garland said as he choked back tears. "I know my mother is watching this on television and crying her eyes out," he added.

Garland, 63, is the chief judge of the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals and a highly respected moderate judge. Obama is hopeful this pick will satisfy Republicans, who have vowed to block any Obama nominee in favor of letting the next president fill the vacancy left by the late Justice Antonin Scalia. Becca Stanek

4:16 a.m. ET

"We are now just a few weeks from Election Day, which means it's time for every American to perform their civic duty: threatening to move to Canada if their candidate doesn't win," Stephen Colbert said on Thursday's Late Show. "Talk like this happens every four years — Canada is like America's safety school." But can Americans unhappy with President-elect Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump really just made a run for the northern border? Colbert sat down with Toronto-based Canadian immigration lawyer Andrew Cumming to, as he put it, "find out how to turn over a new maple leaf." It isn't a slam dunk, it turns out, but if Cumming is any indication, Canadians really are very polite — and annoying them with Gordon Lightfoot tunes will only get you so far. Peter Weber

3:51 a.m. ET

On Thursday, Britain's Conservative government said that it will posthumously pardon thousands of men convicted of crimes relating to homosexuality, like buggery, gross indecency, and loitering with intent, often in men's restrooms. Homosexuality was decriminalized in the UK in stages between 1967 and 1982, and same-sex marriage was legalized in 2014. John Sharkey, the member of the House of Lords who proposed the forthcoming law, also pushed through a 2009 formal government apology to Alan Turing, the mathematician and World War II codebreaker who was convinced on homosexuality charges in 1952 and committed suicide two years later. Queen Elizabeth II pardoned Turing in 2013, and the new law will be named after him.

Sharkey estimates that some 65,000 men were convicted under the anti-homosexuality laws — lesbian activity was never specifically made illegal in Britain — and 15,000 are still alive. Not all deceased gay men would be eligible for pardon — certain acts, like sexual activity in a public lavatory, are still illegal. Irish playwright Oscar Wilde may or may not be eligible under the new law, because of the particulars of his case, The New York Times notes.

Not all gay rights proponents are satisfied with the new law, including the advocacy group Stonewall, which says it should also automatically pardon living men — they can seek a case-by-case pardon under at 2012 law — and activist George Montague, 93, who was convicted in the 1970s of gross indecency. Watch Montague explain to the BBC below what life was like for gay men in the bad old days, why they congregated in restrooms, and why he wants an apology and would not accept a pardon. Peter Weber

3:01 a.m. ET
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On Friday, British American Tobacco PLC (BAT) offered rival tobacco giant Reynolds American $47 billion for the 57.8 percent of the company it doesn't already own. The price — $56.50 a share, or a 20 percent premium over Reynolds' Oct. 20 closing price — values the American company at $81.3 billion, and the combined cigarette behemoth would pass Altria to become the biggest player in the U.S. market, combining the brands Camel, Newport, Pall Mall, Kent, Dunhill, Lucky Strike, and American Spirit. About $20 billion of the offer would be in cash and the other $27 billion in BAT shares. Peter Weber

2:33 a.m. ET

Marvel's Doctor Strange is coming out next week, and its star, Benedict Cumberbatch, made an appearance (literally) on Thursday night's Jimmy Kimmel Live. The premise of the skit is that Kimmel hired Cumberbatch's Marcus Strange to perform at a children's birthday party. It goes about as well as you'd hope. "I don't understand — are they possessed?" Dr. Strange asked when Kimmel showed him the children. "Basically," Kimmel said. "They ate, like, 50 cupcakes." "All right, I'll vanquish them," Strange replied. "No, no, no vanquishing," Kimmel said. "Just pull a rabbit out of somewhere, do tricks." Cumberbatch's Strange protested that he does not do "tricks," but everybody has a price. And he almost abided by the no-vanquishing rule, too. Watch below. Peter Weber

2:06 a.m. ET
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Witnesses in Kirkuk, Iraq, say that armed militants attacked two police compounds on Friday morning, and they were able to hear gunfire and explosions.

The Islamic State claims their fighters are behind the assault, and the men have also entered a town hall and took control of a hotel, BBC News reports. Iraqi media is saying suicide bombers attacked police stations and a power plant, but security forces were able to protect the properties. They also reported the city is under a curfew until "further notice."

Kirkuk is an oil-rich city 180 miles north of Baghdad and 100 miles away from Mosul, where Iraqi forces on Monday began an offensive to get ISIS out of Iraq's second-largest city. Catherine Garcia

1:48 a.m. ET

The Al Smith Dinner, a white-tie charity event hosted by the archbishop of New York, is a big deal every four years, when, traditionally, both major-party presidential candidates show up to mock themselves and roast their opponent. This year is different, because Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton both call New York home and also because the tenor of the campaign is unusually nasty, and Trump's speech drew jeers and boos when he stepped over the line in jabbing at Clinton. Clinton landed some pretty good verbal punches, too. After the event, Cardinal Timothy Dolan, who sat between the two at the dinner, called his seat "the iciest place on the planet."

But maybe that was just in the jocular spirit of the event, named after the first Catholic ever nominated for president. After all, after roasting each other, Clinton and Trump did shake hands — unlike at their debate just 24 hours earlier.

"I was very moved by their interaction together around me, they were very friendly, very uplifting, very complimentary to one another," Dolan told Fox News after the dinner. "I thought the evening accomplished its goals." Reporter Bryan Llenas asked if the cardinal didn't think some of the jokes went too far, and he shrugged. "Ah, who knows? Humor. To each his own, it's a matter of taste…. The fact that we're together, the fact that they shake hands at the end and say, 'see you on the campaign trail,' that's not bad."

Dolan, sadly, did not explain what was going on here. Peter Weber

1:37 a.m. ET
Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration confirmed Thursday that a 50-year-old woman in southern California who was killed in a car accident in September is the 11th known person to die in the U.S. due to defective Takata air bags.

The woman, whose name was not released, was driving a 2001 Honda Civic in Riverside County when the wreck took place. Honda says the vehicle had been included in several Takata recalls, beginning in 2008, and their records show the registered owner was sent at least 20 recall notices, but the air bags were never replaced in the car.

The affected air bags contain a chemical that creates a small explosion that inflates the bags after a crash. When the chemical is exposed for long periods of time to high heat and humidity, it can burn faster than it should, causing a metal canister to explode and shrapnel to come flying out. In the United States, more than 69 million inflators have been recalled. Catherine Garcia

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