A Washington state motorist was required to explain the meaning of his vanity license plate, after a mistaken complaint claimed it was obscene. Tony Cava's plate, GOES211, is a reference to his favorite movie, Spinal Tap, but a complainant demanded the state's license-plate committee revoke it, saying the plate insinuates that "his penis grows to 11 inches in length." Cava won his case, a state official said, after proving "the complaint was, pardon my pun, a stretch."
A 93-year-old former SS guard on trial in Germany says that while he did watch as people were killed at the Auschwitz concentration camp, he did not have a direct role in their murders.
— BBC R4 World Tonight (@BBCWorldTonight) April 21, 2015
Known as the "Bookkeeper of Auschwitz" who counted the money stolen from new arrivals, Oskar Groening is on trial for being an accessory to the murder of at least 300,000 Jews. If found guilty, he could face three to 15 years in prison. Groening spent an hour speaking to the court, giving details about his time at the camp. "I ask for forgiveness," he told the judges. "I share morally in the guilty but whether I am guilty under criminal law, you will have to decide."
Groening admitted in a 2005 BBC documentary that he saw the gas chamber and crematoria, and said he came forward to in an attempt to silence Holocaust deniers. In the 1980s, charges against him were dropped because there wasn't enough evidence to show he was personally involved, but prosecutors believe under a recent ruling that the fact that he worked at Auschwitz is enough to get a conviction. "What I hope to hear is that aiding in the killing machinery is going to be considered as a crime," Auschwitz survivor Hedy Bohm told Reuters. "So then no one in the future can do what he did and claim innocence." Catherine Garcia
In March, ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi was seriously injured in an air strike, and has yet to resume day-to-day control of the organization, sources told The Guardian.
— New York Daily News (@NYDailyNews) April 21, 2015
The strike took place in western Iraq on March 18, a source in Iraq said, and his wounds were life-threatening. Before al-Baghdadi made his slow recovery, concerned ISIS leaders thought he would die, and met to determine who would take his place.
A western diplomat gave The Guardian more details on the air strike, which hit a three-car convoy. It took place between the villages of Umm al-Rous and al-Qaraan, and targeted three leaders from the area; at the time, no one knew that al-Baghdadi was in one of the vehicles. He has been spending most of his time in al-Baaj, 200 miles west of Mosul, because "he knew from the war that the Americans did not have much cover there," a source said. "From 2003 [the U.S. military] barely had a presence there. It was the one part of Iraq that they hadn't mapped out." Catherine Garcia
The Justice Department on Tuesday announced it had opened a civil rights investigation into the death of Freddie Gray, a suspect who suffered a severe spinal injury and died while in police custody in Baltimore.
"Based on preliminary information, the Department of Justice has officially opened this matter and is gathering information to determine whether any prosecutable civil rights violations occurred," a DOJ spokesperson said in a statement.
The 25-year-old Gray died Sunday, one week after his arrest. The Baltimore Police Department suspended six officers while probing the incident, but has so far said it has no idea how Gray sustained the fatal injury. Jon Terbush
You arrive home from work and begin to make that dinner you were mentally preparing all afternoon. You spend thirty minutes chopping vegetables for a beautiful salad, but when you pull the lettuce out of the fridge, the produce bag sags heavily with the weight of that weird green-brown lettuce juice pooled at the bottom.
Developed by the USDA, Cornell University, and the Food Science Institute, Foodkeeper serves two main purposes. It will notify you when groceries are about to expire, and it can answer concerns about food mishandling — questions like, "Can I eat this yogurt I forgot to put in the fridge five hours ago?" Granted, you have to manually input information about your groceries (what was purchased and when) in the app for it work, which is an inconvenience, but it could save consumers big bucks in the long run — and spare them from creepy pantry bug infestations. Stephanie Talmadge
Police detained about 40 people at a nightclub during a party that allegedly included a portrait of Hitler,The Moscow Times reports. Authorities believe the gathering was held to commemorate Hitler's birthday, April 20.
Meanwhile, Dmitry Dyomushkin, leader of the nationalist Risskiye movement, told the Times that the party was held to discuss an upcoming "knife fighting tournament."
An Interior Ministry spokesperson told Russia's RIA Novosti that police seized brass knuckles, knives, and four pistols during the event on Monday. After the partygoers were detained, 17 were charged with petty hooliganism, and the rest were released. Meghan DeMaria
Michele Leonhart, Administrator of the Drug Enforcement Agency, will soon resign, according to CNN and CBS. There appear to be two reasons: first, Leonhart's resistance to lenient Obama administration policy towards medical and legal marijuana, and the recent sex and corruption scandal at the agency.
Of the two, the second is likely the major reason. A recent report from the Department of Justice's Inspector General found that DEA agents had allegedly attended "sex parties" paid for by local drug cartels. In testimony before Congress a week ago, Leonhart did so badly that she created actual bipartisan consensus about her poor leadership.
A replacement administrator has not yet been announced. Ryan Cooper
A Saudi-led coalition has ended its bombing campaign against Yemen's Houthi rebels, according to a statement read Tuesday on the state-owned Arabiya TV.
Dubbed "Storm of Resolve," the month-long bombing campaign began as Yemeni President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi, who had already fled the capital of Sanaa to a redoubt in Aden, fled the country entirely. Though the campaign was ostensibly concerned with aiding the embattled government, it was widely seen as an attempt to head off a perceived threat from Iran, which supports the rebels.
The military campaign will transition into an as-yet undefined mission, called "Operation Restoring Hope," aimed at finding a political resolution to the crisis in Yemen. Jon Terbush