The U.S. Secret Service has settled a lawsuit for $24 million with more than 100 former black agents, who sued for racial discrimination. As part of the deal, the service does not admit to wrongdoing, but does end a longtime legal battle over alleged racist hiring practices and work culture. Some agents said the service opted to promote white agents over black ones. After announcing the settlement, the lead attorney for the black agents, Jennifer Klar, told The Washington Post, “At long last... black Secret Service agents will not be constrained by the glass ceiling that held back so many for so long.” Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson, who oversees the Secret Service, called the settlement “simply the right thing to do.” The case concerned alleged discrimination between 1995 and 2005.
—President Obama has commuted the sentence of Chelsea Manning, the Army soldier serving 35 years for leaking classified documents to WikiLeaks. More here
—More than 52 people were killed and 120 wounded Tuesday after a refugee camp was mistakenly bombed by a military jet in Rann, northeastern Nigeria. More here
—We’re tracking the news stories of the day below. All updates are in Eastern Standard Time (GMT -5).
Secret Service Settles $24 Million Racial Discrimination Lawsuit
Orlando Police Capture Alleged Cop Killer
The Orlando Police Department has captured the man suspected of killing one of its officers last week. “We’ve got him!” the department tweeted Tuesday afternoon, announcing Markeith Loyd’s arrest.
We've got him! Markeith Loyd in OPD ICustody. Details to come. Media: stand by for details on press conference. pic.twitter.com/SVjFUEvNak— Orlando Police (@OrlandoPolice) January 18, 2017
Loyd has been wanted by the police since December 13, when he allegedly shot his pregnant ex-girlfriend and injured her brother. On January 9, he allegedly killed Master Sgt. Debra Clayton as she attempted to arrest him for the previous shooting. Loyd has been on the U.S. Marshals Office top 15-most-wanted fugitives list. There was also a $125,000 reward for information that led to Loyd’s arrest.
Obama Signs $500 Million Grant for United Nations Climate Change Fund
In the final days of his time in office, President Obama signed a $500 million grant for the United Nations Green Climate Fund in an effort to assist poorer countries with the effects of climate change. A State Department spokesman told Climate Home the grant helps these nations “transition to a lower carbon economy.” So far, $10 billion has been pledged from countries around the world. While this bring the total amount the United States has given to the fund to $1 billion, it does fall short of the $3 billion that Obama pledged after the Paris Agreement. This is also potentially the last grant the U.S. will give the climate fund considering President-elect Donald Trump’s position on the U.N. and on climate change. During his confirmation hearing, secretary of state nominee Rex Tillerson did not say whether the program will last in the Trump administration, contending the State Department will review all of its climate change programs.
President Obama Commutes Chelsea Manning's Sentence
President Obama has commuted the sentence of Chelsea Manning, the Army soldier serving 35 years for leaking classified documents to WikiLeaks. As my colleague Vann R. Newkirk II writes, Manning was one of 209 people whose sentences were commuted today by Obama in the final days of his administration, and is expected to be freed on May 17.
Janet Napolitano, UC President and Ex-Homeland Secretary, Undergoes Cancer Treatment
University of California President Janet Napolitano was hospitalized Monday after experiencing side effects from her ongoing cancer treatment, her office announced Tuesday. Napolitano, the former Arizona governor who served as Homeland Security secretary in the Obama administration, was diagnosed last August, the statement said, adding she “has consistently performed her wide range of duties at full capacity, without interruption or impact” and is expected to return resume her normal duties “very soon.” She is the first female head of the UC system.
Nigerian Military's Bombing of Refugee Camp Leaves At Least 50 Dead
This post was updated on January 17 at 3:12 p.m ET.
More than 52 people were killed and 120 wounded Tuesday after a refugee camp was mistakenly bombed by a military jet in Rann, northeastern Nigeria, according to Doctors Without Borders, the medical group better known as MSF. A Red Cross worker said at least 20 of those killed were volunteers with the aid group. Major General Lucky Irabor, a Nigerian military commander, said the bombardment was intended to target members of Boko Haram, the Islamist militant group, adding there would be an investigation to determine if the bombing was a tactical error. This is the first time such a mistake has been claimed by the Nigerian military, which Boko Haram previously accused of killing civilians in airstrikes.
Iran's Rouhani Calls Fears of Nuclear Deal's Future 'Empty Talk'
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani called speculation that Donald Trump will upend the Iran nuclear deal “empty talk” Tuesday, adding the U.S. president-elect could not unilaterally renegotiate the 2015 agreement. The landmark accord, under which Iran agreed to shrink its nuclear program in exchange for economic sanctions relief from the U.S., Russia, and others, is considered one of the hallmarks of the Obama administration’s foreign policy. Trump has labeled it a “horrible deal” that needs renegotiating, and his secretary of state nominee, Rex Tillerson, called last week for a “full review” of the agreement. Rouhani voiced optimism over the deal’s future in televised remarks, adding he does not believe Trump, who takes office Friday, “can do much when he goes to the White House.”
German Court Rules Against Outlawing Far-Right Nationalist Party
Germany’s Constitutional Court ruled against outlawing the far-right National Democratic Party (NPD) Tuesday, noting that though the nationalist group’s aims resemble Adolf Hitler’s Nazi party, it poses no risk to German democracy. Though the court acknowledged the party “intends to replace the existing constitutional system with an authoritarian national state that adheres to the idea of an ethnically defined ‘people’s community,’” it added that “it appears to be entirely impossible that the NPD will succeed in achieving its aims by parliamentary or extra-parliamentary democratic means.” Indeed, the estimated 6,000-member party’s influence is limited. During Germany’s last general election, it earned 1.3 percent of the vote—far below the 5 percent required to enter parliament. This is the second attempt to ban the NPD, whose ultranationalist agenda some say violates Germany’s constitution. The NDP celebrated the ruling on social media, declaring it is the only party “confirmed by the Federal Constitutional Court in Germany.”
Putin Says Opponents Are Trying to Delegitimize Trump's Election
Russian President Vladimir Putin has accused unnamed forces of trying to “undermine the legitimacy of the elected president of the United States” by releasing information that suggests Russia interfered in the U.S. election to aid Trump. Russia has denied any such role, and U.S. intelligence agencies, which are unanimous in their consensus about Russia’s actions, have said it’s unlikely Moscow’s hacking had any impact on the actual election results. Trump has reluctantly accepted the intelligence community’s assessment. Putin reiterated Tuesday he did not help Trump win. “I don't know Mr. Trump, I have never met him,” he said. “I don't know what he will do in the international arena, so I have no reason either to attack him, criticize him, or defend him.” He also criticized the release of an uncorroborated dossier that suggests Russian intelligence had compromising information about Trump. The dossier was reportedly ordered by Trump’s Republican rivals in the presidential race, and later by Democrats. Putin said those who ordered the dossier are “worse than prostitutes.”
Authorities Suspend Search for MH370
Officials from Australia, China, and and Malaysia, the three countries that oversaw the search for Malaysian Airlines Flight MH370, said Tuesday they are suspending the search for the aircraft that disappeared in March 2014 with 239 people on board. The three countries said “no new information has been discovered to determine the specific location of the aircraft.” The flight from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing disappeared from radar, but pieces of metal determined to be from the aircraft were found as far away as Madagascar—in a direction opposite to the flight path. Theories about what happened to the plane ranged from terrorism to a rapid fire on board, but nothing definitive was ever determined, ensuring the disappearance of MH370 will rank among the greatest aviation mysteries of all time. Late last year, authorities said the plane probably made a “high and increasing rate of descent” into the Indian Ocean, bolstering the argument the plane ran out of fuel. Families of those on board the plane criticized Tuesday’s decision, saying a continued search was “an inescapable duty owed to the flying public.”
British Prime Minister Theresa May Lays Out Partial Vision for Brexit
British Prime Minister Theresa May says a “Brexit must mean control of the number of people who come to Britain from Europe.” It’s the clearest statement yet of May’s vision of what the UK’s future relationship with the EU will look like after last summer’s historic referendum. May added Britain isn’t seeking “membership of the single market, but the greatest possible access to it.” That, in effect, means the UK will stop “making vast contributions to the European Union every year.” The vote to leave the EU, May said, was not a “moment Britain chose to step back from the world, but to build a truly global Britain.” Parliament, she added, will still get a say on a final deal.