Daily Briefing

10 things you need to know today: April 30, 2014

Harold Maass
Banned! (AP Photo/Kathy Willens)


NBA bans Sterling over racist comments

The National Basketball Association on Tuesday banned Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling for life and fined him $2.5 million in a dramatic reaction to racist comments he allegedly made in a secretly recorded conversation. Commissioner Adam Silver said he would try to force Sterling to sell his team, a strong-arm move requiring the approval of three-quarters of team owners. Sterling's views, Silver said, "simply have no place in the NBA." [The New York Times]


Oklahoma murderer dies after his botched execution is halted

An Oklahoma death row inmate, Clayton Lockett, died of a heart attack Tuesday night after his lethal injection was botched. Prison officials had called a halt to the execution after Lockett's vein burst when the first of three drugs was administered, preventing the lethal ones from entering his system. Gov. Mary Fallin issued a 14-day stay for the second inmate who was scheduled to die in the state's first double execution since 1937. [USA Today]


Judge throws out Wisconsin's new Voter ID law

A federal judge in Wisconsin has struck down the state's Voter ID law, saying the state failed to demonstrate that voter fraud exists and that the state can take steps to stop it. "The evidence at trial established that virtually no voter impersonation occurs in Wisconsin," District Judge Lynn Adelman said. Another judge threw out a similar law in Arkansas last week. [The Washington Post]


Watchdog looks into allegations of Syria gas attacks

The Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons announced Tuesday that it was sending investigators to Syria to look into allegations that government forces had launched three chlorine gas attacks against rebels in the last month. The watchdog has overseen the destruction or export of 92 percent of the chemical arms Syria has promised to surrender. Chlorine, which has many industrial uses, is not one of the substances on the list. [Reuters]


Gunman wounds six at FedEx sorting warehouse

Witnesses said a FedEx employee who was armed "like Rambo" shot six people at one of the delivery company's sorting facilities, in Atlanta, before shooting himself to death on Tuesday. Two of the victims were hospitalized with life-threatening, close-range shotgun wounds. A FedEx worker said the shooter was wearing black and camouflage. "As soon as I saw guns strapped to his chest and everything," she said, "I knew something was wrong." [Los Angeles Times]


Court explains why it found Amanda Knox guilty

An Italian court that convicted Amanda Knox in January for the 2007 murder of her British roommate, Meredith Kercher, released its reasoning on Tuesday, saying that Kercher's wounds indicated that the man already convicted in the killing, Rudy Guede, did not act alone. The court said it had concluded that Knox, who returned to the U.S. after an earlier conviction was reversed, slit Kercher's throat in rage after the two argued about money. The next step is likely another appeal. [New York Daily News]


Australian firm says missing jet might have crashed near Bangladesh

An Australian geological survey company says its radiation scanning technology found evidence suggesting the missing Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 might have crashed in the Bay of Bengal off Bangladesh, thousands of kilometers from the current search area off Australia. The company, GeoResonance, said it detected a sudden deposit of aluminum — the plane's chief component — on the sea floor after the plane vanished on March 8. [TIME]


Hawaii legislature approves $10.10 minimum wage

Lawmakers in Hawaii made their state the latest to raise its minimum wage, voting late Tuesday to hike the rate to $10.10 an hour from the federal minimum of $7.25 by January 2018. That would bring Hawaii in line with a target wage set by President Obama, whose push for a higher federal minimum wage has stalled in Congress. California, Maryland, Connecticut, and Washington, D.C., have already approved hikes to $10 or more an hour. [Reuters]


Olympic officials express doubts over Rio's preparations for 2016

The International Olympic Committee is getting worried about Rio de Janeiro's readiness for the 2016 Summer Olympics, committee vice president John Coates said Tuesday. He called preparations in the Brazilian city — the first in South America to host the games — "the worst I have experienced." Construction has just begun on a sports complex that will house 11 events. Still, Coates said, "There can be no Plan B; we are going to Rio." [The New York Times]


Next Star Wars movie brings back original cast

Disney has revealed that the cast of the next Star Wars film will include original stars Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford, and Carrie Fisher returning to their original 1977 roles as Luke Skywalker, Han Solo, and Princess Leia. The plot picks up three decades after the story in Return of the Jedi. The movie, which also stars a new crop of actors, is scheduled for world release in December 2015. [CNN]