10 things you need to know today: March 16, 2015

Heir Robert Durst recorded saying he "killed them all" in HBO documentary, a suspect is charged in Ferguson's police shooting, and more

Robert Durst in his booking photo.
(Image credit: (AP Photo/Orleans Parish Sheriff's Office))

1. Heir Robert Durst arrested on murder charge after implicating himself in HBO documentary

Robert Durst, heir to a New York real estate fortune, was arrested in New Orleans on a murder charge hours before the Sunday airing of an HBO documentary finale in which he implicated himself in three killings. Durst was charged in the 2000 shooting death of family friend Susan Berman, and will be questioned in the disappearance of his first wife, Kathleen McCormack Durst. In the documentary — The Jinx: The Life and Deaths of Robert Durst — Durst went into a bathroom with his mic on, and said to himself that he "killed them all."

The Wall Street Journal The New York Times

2. Suspect arrested in Ferguson police shooting

A 20-year-old suspect, Jeffrey L. Williams, was charged Sunday with shooting two police officers during a protest outside police headquarters in Ferguson, Missouri, last week. Williams was arrested after an extensive manhunt. He told investigators that he fired the shots, but was aiming at somebody else, St. Louis County prosecutor Robert McCullough said. The shooting occurred at the end of a rally calling for police reforms after a Justice Department report slamming local police for discriminating against African Americans.

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3. Putin makes first public appearance in 11 days

Before meeting with Kyrgyzstan President Almazbek Atambaev on Monday, Russian President Vladimir Putin had not been seen in public since March 5. The long absence — a rarity for the leader who likes to project strength — gave rise to conspiracy theories ranging from declining health to a palace coup. At the St. Petersburg meeting, Putin laughed off the speculation, saying life would be "boring without gossip."

The Wall Street Journal USA Today

4. Netanyahu warns backers he could lose Tuesday election

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned supporters at a Sunday rally that he might lose Tuesday's election. A loss or even a narrow win would force Netanyahu and fellow security hawks into a unity government with rivals, marking a sharp reversal of fortunes. In a Sunday radio interview, Netanyahu said that hostile journalists and "foreign powers" were waging a campaign to defeat him. Isaac Herzog, of the center-left Labor Party, and running mate Tzipi Livni, a former peace negotiator, hold a small lead in polls.

The Washington Post

5. Massive protests call for Brazilian president's resignation

Hundreds of thousands of people marched in Brazil on Sunday to denounce corruption and demand the impeachment of President Dilma Rousseff. "Out Dilma," demonstrators chanted. Rousseff was just reelected to a second term in an unusually tight race in October. Her approval ratings have dropped since then as the country heads back into recession this year, with inflation rising and the South American nation's currency hitting a 12-year low.

CNN The New York Times

6. Vanuatu's president requests "immediate help" after cyclone

The president of Vanuatu, Baldwin Lonsdale, appealed for "immediate help" two days after Cyclone Pam slammed into the Pacific island nation. The death toll from the powerful storm, which had sustained winds of up to 185 miles per hour, had reached eight, but was expected to rise as reports came in from remote islands. Ninety percent of Vanuatu's homes were damaged. Lonsdale said the storm "wiped out" years of development, and "everything" would have to be rebuilt.

BBC News The Washington Post

7. Suicide bombers kill 15 in two Pakistan churches

Two suicide bombers attacked two Christian churches in Pakistan on Sunday, killing 15 people. The bombings were the latest attacks on religious minorities for which the Pakistani Taliban have claimed responsibility as worshipers prayed inside, killing 15 people, officials said. It was the latest in a string of assaults against religious minorities. The Pakistani Taliban claimed responsibility. "There will be more such attacks," said Ehsanullah Ehsan, a spokesman for the Islamist group.

8. Facebook reports slight increase in data requests

Facebook reported a slight increase in government data requests over the course of 2014, from 34,946 in the first half of the year to 35,051 in the second half. Requests from the U.S. government fell, while those from some other countries, such as India, rose. Facebook said it restricted 9,707 pieces of content for violating local laws, with 5,832 of those items restricted in India and 3,624 in Turkey. Facebook executive Monika Bickert said the social network would continue to scrutinize such requests "and push back" whenever necessary.


9. Tomb of Saddam Hussein destroyed in battle for Tikrit

Saddam Hussein's tomb reportedly has been destroyed in heavy fighting in his hometown of Tikrit, where Iraqi troops and allied Iranian-backed Shiite militias have regained control from the Islamic State. A video released by The Associated Press appears to show that the tomb has been leveled, although the BBC reports that Saddam's remains were removed last year due to fear that the mausoleum would be destroyed in clashes.


10. Boston breaks winter snowfall record

Boston received 2.9 more inches of snow on Sunday, making this the snowiest winter in the city since records started being kept in 1872. The official total at Logan International Airport was 108.6 inches, one inch more than the previous record set during the 1995-96 winter. And the total could continue to climb — meteorologists say the region could see more snow on Friday and next week.

The Boston Globe

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Harold Maass

Harold Maass is a contributing editor at TheWeek.com. He has been writing for The Week since the 2001 launch of the U.S. print edition. Harold has worked for a variety of news outlets, including The Miami Herald, Fox News, and ABC News. For several years, he wrote a daily round-up of financial news for The Week and Yahoo Finance. He lives in North Carolina with his wife and two sons.