10 things you need to know today: April 24, 2015
Obama apologizes for the deaths of two aid workers in a drone strike, the Senate confirms Loretta Lynch, and more
Obama apologizes as U.S. reveals two hostages killed in drone strike
President Obama apologized Thursday for the deaths of a kidnapped American aid worker — Warren Weinstein — and an Italian hostage — Giovanni Lo Porto — in a CIA drone strike targeting al Qaeda militants in Pakistan. The strike occurred in January. CIA officials had conducted hundreds of hours of surveillance at the site. They asserted at the time that only al Qaeda fighters were at the targeted buildings near the Afghan border, and only realized weeks later that the hostages had been killed.
Senate confirms Loretta Lynch as attorney general
The Senate on Thursday confirmed Loretta Lynch to replace Eric Holder as attorney general. The 56-43 vote, with 10 Republicans backing Lynch, made her the first African-American woman to hold the position. Republicans were eager to have someone in the job to replace Holder, and did not challenge her qualifications, but many in the GOP were angered by her support for President Obama's executive actions on immigration. She was nominated in November. Only two other attorney generals have taken longer to be confirmed.
Comcast to drop $45 billion offer for Time Warner Cable
Comcast is dropping its $45 billion bid to take over Time Warner Cable, according to a person familiar with the confidential deliberations. An announcement is expected Friday. Comcast and Time Warner declined to comment on Thursday. U.S. regulators reportedly opposed the proposed deal — Comcast and Time Warner are the nation's two largest cable companies. The Justice Department and the Federal Communications Commission had questioned whether the deal was in the public interest, and the FCC reportedly planned to recommend a hearing before an administrative judge that could have blocked a deal.
Petraeus sentenced to probation for leaking secrets
Former CIA director David Petraeus, a retired four-star Army general, was sentenced to two years of probation, and fined $100,000 after pleading guilty to leaking classified information to his biographer, Paula Broadwell, while they were having an extramarital affair. The fine was more than double what prosecutors requested. "Today marks a 2½-year ordeal because of mistakes I have made," said Petraeus, who once commanded U.S. forces in Iraq and Afghanistan. "I want to apologize for the pain my actions caused."
Michael Brown's family files wrongful death lawsuit
The family of Michael Brown, the unarmed black teen fatally shot by a white Missouri police officer, filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson on Thursday. The suit asks for more than $75,000 in punitive and compensatory damages, saying that the officer, Darren Wilson, "unjustifiably shot and killed" Brown, and was not acting in self-defense, as he claimed. A grand jury declined to prosecute him. A Ferguson spokesman declined to comment on the lawsuit.
Students injured when stage collapses at Indiana high school
Two dozen students were injured, one critically, Thursday night when a stage collapsed during a musical performance at an Indiana high school. The student performers had gathered on a platform at the front of the stage at Westfield High School for the finale of the American Pie rock and roll review when the surface gave way, sending the singers tumbling into the orchestra pit. Witnesses rushed in to lift pieces of the stage and get the students out of the pit.
Student publicly accused of rape sues Columbia
A Columbia University student, Paul Nungesser, publicly accused of rape by a fellow student filed a federal discrimination lawsuit on Thursday, saying the school failed to protect him from what he said was a campaign of harassment by the other student, Emma Sulkowicz. She has carried a mattress around campus as a protest, calling her action artistic expression and making it her senior thesis. The university cleared Nungesser, who says that the sex was consensual, of responsibility for the alleged rape. The lawsuit accuses the New York City school of being an "active supporter" of Sulkowicz's "defamation" of him.
German president calls mass killings of Armenians genocide
German President Joachim Gauck on Thursday described the killing of 1.5 million Armenians by Ottoman Turks as "genocide," altering his country's position as Armenia marks the centennial of the World War I-era atrocities. The U.S. sent Treasury Secretary Jack Lew to the commemoration events, but President Obama has avoided using the term genocide to refer to the killings. Turkey rejects the term genocide, saying the toll has been inflated and the dead were killed in civil war.
Five players ejected for Royals vs. White Sox brawl
Five players were ejected after a bench-clearing brawl during a game between the Kansas City Royals and the Chicago White Sox at Chicago's U.S. Cellular Field on Thursday night. The conflict began when Yordano Ventura fielded a ground ball in the bottom of the seventh inning, and appeared to shout obscenities at the hitter, Adam Eaton. The players approached each other after Ventura threw to first base and Eaton was called out, and their teammates rushed onto the field.
Native American actors walk off Adam Sandler movie set in protest
About a dozen Native American actors and a cultural advisor have walked off the set of Adam Sandler's latest film, The Ridiculous Six, calling the satirical Western's script insulting to women and the Apache culture. The complaints included Native women's names deemed offensive, including Beaver's Breath and No Bra, and a scene in which an Apache woman character squats and urinates while smoking a peace pipe. Actor Loren Anthony, a member of the Navajo Nation, said he had been promised the movie was not racist, but he left Wednesday after "things started getting weird on the set."