January 14, 2017
From Washington, this is VOA news. I'm David Byrd reporting.
A sharp rebuke and call for reform in the Chicago Police Department. The U.S. Justice Department, that is, says police officers in the windy city violated the constitutional rights of residents for years, permitted a racial bias against blacks, used excessive force and even killed people who did not pose threats.
In a scathing report following a year-long investigation, U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch said Friday that the problems in Chicago were due to what she called "systematic deficiencies."
"CPD does not give its officers the training they need to do their jobs safely, effectively, and lawfully. And it does not adequately review use of force incidents to determine whether force was appropriate or lawful, or whether the use of force could have been avoided altogether."
The Justice Department began investigating the nation's third largest police force in December of 2015 after the release of dash-cam video that showed a white police officer shoot a black teenager 16 times as he walked holding a small folded knife.
The release of the video caused widespread outrage and cost the city's police commissioner his job.
Japan's Takata Corporation has agreed to plead guilty to criminal wrongdoing and pay $1 billion in fines for concealing a defect in its airbags that caused the largest auto safety recall in U.S. history.
Takata inflators were found to explode under high force and spew shrapnel into automobile passenger compartments.
At least 16 people were killed and hundreds of others were injured by those airbags.
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U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson says every precaution is being taken to make sure that next Friday's inauguration of Donald Trump as president is safe and secure.
In a briefing Friday, Johnson said though no specific threat has been received, heavy security will be in place.
"There will be some 28,000, approximately 28,000 officials dedicated to the security of next week's events."
Johnson told reporters that 99 groups have planned demonstrations for inauguration day, both for and against the president-elect. He said special hard perimeters that allow only official vehicles have been set up in the light of truck attacks last year in Nice, France, and Berlin, Germany.
Donald Trump's incoming national security adviser, Michael Flynn, reportedly had several telephone conversations with Russia's ambassador on the day that President Barack Obama ousted 35 Russian diplomats and imposed other sanctions in response to Moscow's apparent attempts to influence last year's election.
A Trump spokesman told reporters Friday that Flynn and the ambassador communicated on December 28 and discussed setting up a call between Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin after Trump takes office next Friday.
One day after the sanctions and the expulsion of dozens of Russian officials from the U.S., Putin said he had no plans to retaliate. Trump, who has repeatedly praised the Russian president, applauded Putin's decision.
A senior U.S. defense official said Friday that Iraqi forces have captured the Ninevah province council building from the so-called Islamic State terror group in the battle for Mosul.
Acting Assistant Secretary of Defense Elissa Slotkin called the capture "both a symbolic and significant operational victory."
Also Friday, Iraqi special forces stormed Mosul University, taking control of a neighborhood to the northeast as well as some parts of the campus.
The Syrian army said Friday that Israel launched a missile strike on a Syrian military air base near Damascus that caused a series of explosions.
In the statement, the army accused Israel of aiding what it called "terrorist groups" in Syria with the bombing.
The Israeli military did not release a comment about the reported attack on Friday.
Israel has been accused of launching several attacks against weapons systems and positions held by the Lebanese militant Hezbollah since Syria broke into civil war six years ago.
A mixed day on Wall Street, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average down but the S&P500 and NASDAQ up. European and Asian markets were higher.
I'm David Byrd in Washington.
That's the latest world news from VOA.