Dozens of people were killed in Indonesia following a magnitude-6.4 earthquake off the Sumatra coast. As of early Wednesday morning local time, officials had the death toll at 25 in the country’s Aceh provide. That number is likely to rise. Hundreds of people remain injured, while dozens more are trapped in collapsed buildings. Rescue efforts are underway in the province on the northern end of Sumatra island that experienced a devastating Indian Ocean tsunami in 2004 that killed 120,000 people, triggered by a magnitude-9.2 quake. Officials did not issue a tsunami warning in Wednesday’s earthquake.
Today's News: Dec. 6, 2016
An earthquake in Indonesia, a Georgia execution, and more from the United States and around the world.
—Dozens of people were killed in Indonesia following a magnitude-6.4 earthquake off the Sumatra coast. More here
—The state of Georgia executed William Sallie on Tuesday night, completing its ninth execution of the year. More here
—Bernard Cazeneuve, the French interior minister, has been named prime minister, a day after Manuel Valls announced his presidential run. More here
—We’re live-blogging the news stories of the day below. All updates are in Eastern Standard Time (GMT -5).
Dozens Killed in Indonesia Earthquake
Georgia Executes Ninth Inmate of 2016
The state of Georgia executed William Sallie on Tuesday night, completing its ninth execution of the year. Sallie was convicted of the murder of his father-in-law during a custody dispute in 1990. His lawyers argued in a series of last-minute appeals to the U.S. Supreme Court that his conviction had been tainted by a “patently biased” juror during his original trial. But the eight justices did not act on his appeal and denied his stay of execution without public dissents. The state of Georgia executed him by lethal injection shortly thereafter. Sallie was the 19th person executed in 2016 and the 1,441st person executed in the United States since the Supreme Court revived capital punishment in 1976.
Chicago Removes Donald Trump's Honorary Street Signs
City workers in Chicago have removed Donald Trump’s two honorary street signs posted near the president-elect’s downtown hotel and condominium tower. The City Council voted in November to remove the signs as retaliation for how Trump had negatively portrayed Chicago during the presidential campaign, focusing on gun violence. At several points, Trump called Chicago a “war zone.” Officials said Trump’s rhetoric harms city tourism, which in turn makes it harder for officials to invest in public safety measures. The two signs were removed Sunday. A third had been stolen in October. Meanwhile, an architectural firm said Tuesday it plans to install four gold-colored, giant pig balloons to cover the massive “Trump” name on the side of his tower along the Chicago River. New World Design says the balloons would “provide visual relief to the citizens of Chicago by interrupting the view” of the sign. It’s still unclear how the firm would install the Pink Floyd-like flying pigs.
A Chicago architect has a unique idea to give the city "visual relief" from Trump Tower's giant "TRUMP" sign https://t.co/QkRak36Iji pic.twitter.com/mineGogNNS— DNAinfo Chicago (@DNAinfoCHI) December 6, 2016
U.S. Supreme Court Hands Down Three Unanimous Rulings
The U.S. Supreme Court handed down three unanimous rulings on Tuesday, including a victory for Samsung in an ongoing patent dispute with Apple. The justices also sent the case back to lower courts for further hearing. In State Farm v. U.S. ex rel. Rigsby, the Court sided with two whistleblowing sisters who accused insurance giant State Farm of misclassifying damage to Louisiana homes after Hurricane Katrina. State Farm had urged lower courts to toss out the False Claims Act lawsuit because the whistleblowers’ former lawyer had broken a court seal on the case. But the justices disagreed. “It is proper to infer that, had Congress intended to require dismissal for a violation of the seal requirement, it would have said so,” Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote for the Court. In its third decision, Salman v. United States, the justices broadened federal prosecutors’ power in insider-trading cases. Bassem Salman was convicted after buying stock based on inside information from an extended family member. That family member had received the information from Salman’s brother-in-law, who handled mergers and acquisitions for Citigroup. Salman argued he couldn’t be held liable because his brother-in-law hadn’t benefited from the exchange. The Court upheld Salman’s conviction, citing a lower-court ruling that said gifts of inside information to a family member still violated the law even without a quid pro quo.
Police Dash-Cam Footage Is Public Record, Ohio Court Says
Video footage recorded from police-cruiser dashboard cameras are public records “that cannot be shielded in their entirety,” the Ohio Supreme Court ruled Tuesday. The 7-0 decision came as a result of a case involving a State Highway Patrol chase and crash in January 2015, in which highway patrol officials declined to release the dash-cam video to the Cincinnati Enquirer until May. The court determined that the more than one-hour worth of video should have been released since recordings in their entirety are public records, adding that a case-by-case review would be necessary to determine how much footage, if any, can be exempt on the basis that the footage is critical to law enforcement’s investigation. In the case of the highway-patrol chase, the court found that only 90 seconds of the dash-cam video—which showed the suspect being taken to the cruiser, read his rights, and questioned—could be considered exempt as a “confidential law enforcement investigatory record.” A similar argument regarding whether police officers’ body-camera video also falls under the public record is still under review.
U.S. Supreme Court Sides With Samsung in Dispute With Apple
The U.S. Supreme Court ruled unanimously Tuesday that a lower federal appeals court should reconsider how much money Samsung owes Apple in their dispute over smartphone patent infringement. The case goes back to 2012, when a jury found the South Korean company liable for copying the iPhone design too closely, awarding Apple $930 million in damages. Samsung has contested $399 million of that, saying a lot more than design went into the making of its 11 contested smartphones, including its popular Galaxy, and that awarding Apple all profits gained from those is unfair. The Supreme Court’s ruling has significance in broader corporate law, in that it means companies may not always have to fork over all profits made from similar designs.
Angela Merkel Calls for a Burqa Ban in Germany
German Chancellor Angela Merkel called for a burqa ban “wherever legally possible” Tuesday at the Christian Democratic Union (CDU) party conference, marking an apparent shift in her stance ahead of her bid for reelection next year. “In communication between people, which is of course essential to our living together, we have to show our faces,” Merkel said at the annual conference in Essen, where she was reelected leader of the conservative party. “So the full veil should be forbidden wherever legally possible.” Though members of Merkel’s ruling bloc have voiced support for such a ban in the past, this is the first time Merkel has publicly echoed these calls, having previously cited constitutional challenges. Indeed, a ban would face legal challenges in Germany, whose Basic Law precludes violations of religious freedom. A 2014 report published by the Bundestag reinforced this, noting “individuals do not have the right to be shielded from professions of faith by others.” The issue could emerge during the country’s election in fall 2017, where Merkel faces Alternative for Germany (AfD), a right-wing populist party that has long promoted a burqa ban on the platform that “Islam is not part of Germany.”
The U.S. Will Return 10,000 Acres of Land Taken From Japan After World War II
The U.S. government is giving back land in Japan that it has controlled and used for military training since World War II. The announcement came Tuesday, as Defense Secretary Ash Carter met with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. The Northern Training Area on Okinawa amounts to about 10,000 acres, used primarily by U.S. Marines for jungle-warfare training, and is the largest return of land since 1972, when the U.S. returned the majority of Okinawa. More than 52,000 U.S. troops are stationed in Japan, with about as many contractors and dependents. The presence of U.S. military has been one of the more contentious issues on Okinawa, and in the U.S.-Japanese relationship. This plan has been in the works for about two decades. The formal handover is scheduled for December 21.
Saudi Arabia Sentences to Death 15 Shiites Accused of Spying for Iran
A Saudi court on Tuesday sentenced to death 15 Shiites who were accused of spying for Iran. The move will likely inflame tensions between the Sunni Saudi Arabia Arabia and Shia Iran, which have long been at odds because of religious and ideological differences. Relations have been especially fraught since January, when Saudi Arabia executed Nimr Baqir al-Nimr, a prominent Shia cleric. This is the first time in recent memory that Saudi Arabia has accused its own citizens of spying. The 15 sentenced to death, along with 15 others, were arrested in 2013; their trials began in February. Many of the suspects are former employees of the Saudi defense and interior ministries, according to Reuters. They were accused of setting up a spy ring and passing information along to the Iranian state.
Trump's Victory Tour Heads to North Carolina
President-elect Donald Trump will visit Fayetteville, North Carolina, tonight, the latest stop in his victory tour of states that were crucial to his triumph in the presidential election. Trump is also expected to meet with Rex Tillerson, the CEO of Exxon Mobil, who is reportedly in the running for the position of secretary of state. Others being considered for the post include Mitt Romney, the Trump critic and former GOP presidential nominee, Rudy Giuliani, the Trump loyalist and former New York City mayor, and John Bolton, the former U.S. ambassador to the UN.
Poland's Supreme Court Rejects Extradition of Roman Polanski to the U.S.
Poland’s Supreme Court has upheld a lower court ruling and rejected the government’s request to extradite Roman Polanski, the Oscar-winning filmmaker, to the U.S. over a 1970s-era conviction for raping a 13-year-old girl. Polanski, who is now 82, is a dual Polish-French citizen who lives in France, which has previously declined to extradite him. Tuesday’s ruling means the legal case against Polanski in Poland is all but over. The filmmaker was arrested in 1977 in connection with charges, including the rape of the minor girl. He fled the U.S. the following year on the eve of sentencing. The lower court in Poland, in its ruling last year, said California, where Polanski was convicted, was unlikely to provide him with a fair trial.
Bernard Cazeneuve Is Named New French Prime Minister
Bernard Cazeneuve, the French interior minister, has been named the country’s new prime minister. Manuel Valls, who announced his presidential run on Monday, formally resigned Tuesday. President François Hollande, whose poll numbers are dismal, announced last week he would not seek re-election. Parliamentary elections are next June, and Cazeneuve will be in charge of the Socialist government until then. The new prime minister is perhaps best known for putting in place strict security measures after several high-profile terrorist attacks across the country.