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The grand jury that weighed whether to charge the New York police officer involved in the death of Eric Garner heard from 50 witnesses and saw dozens of exhibits, including four videos, before declining to indict.

After a long investigation, the Department of Justice has found that Cleveland's Division of Police has "engaged in a pattern and practice of using excessive force" because of inadequate training and a lack of accountability, Attorney General Eric Holder said on Thursday.

In a press conference in Cleveland, Holder added that the city and the federal government had reached some understanding on ways they could curb the deficiencies.

And on the 18th try, the Philadelphia 76ers finally snapped their losing streak, beating the Minnesota Timberwolves 85-77 on Wednesday.

Yes, they managed to right the ship to avoid tying the record for worst start to an NBA season and, yes, a win is a win.

The Yemen branch of al-Qaida is threatening to kill a hostage who says he is a British-born American citizen.

Reuters reports the video of the man was first noticed by SITE, an organization that tracks terrorist groups. The video shows a man who says his name is Luke Somers, a 33-year-old journalist allegedly captured in Sanaa back in September.

Reuters adds:

We've written a lot about the emotions that poured out onto the streets of U.S. cities and across the Internet when a grand jury in Staten Island declined to indict the police officer involved in the death of Eric Garner.

Super Typhoon Hagupit is gathering strength in the Western Pacific and threatening to deal another significant blow to the Philippines.

The Weather Channel reports that the tropical cyclone is already significant:

"At 8 p.m. EST Wednesday, the U.S. military's Joint Typhoon Warning Center estimated Hagupit's maximum sustained 1-minute wind speed at 180 mph, putting it in a tie with Super Typhoons Vongfong and Nuri in October as the most powerful typhoon of 2014. Hagupit is now the equivalent of a high-end Category 5 hurricane.

Saying President Obama does not have the authority to wage a war against the so-called Islamic State, Sen. Rand Paul, a Republican from Kentucky, introduced a measure declaring war against the Sunni militant group.

Obama declared a war against the group back in September. Administration officials have said that they believe Obama could order military action against the group, relying on the Authorization for Use of Military Force passed by Congress in 2001.

We're a little late to this news, but we're pointing it out to set the record straight: The White House says immigrants protected under President Obama's executive action will be eligible for Social Security benefits.

A federal appeals court has halted the execution of Scott Panetti, a Texas prisoner convicted in the 1992 murder of his in-laws.

The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals granted a reprieve just hours before the 56-year-old inmate was scheduled to be killed via lethal injection. The court said it needed more time to "consider the late arriving and complex legal questions at issue in this matter."

Kalashnikov, the maker of the world-renowned AK-47, has unveiled a new logo and a new slogan.

In a briefing for reporters, Rostec Corp. said the new branding emphasizes that its weapons are "protecting peace."

"The rebranding is a symbol of changes in the way our business works and our product lines that have been long in the making," Alexei Krivoruchko, Kalashnikov's chief executive, said at Tuesday's unveiling. "The new brand will reflect our main principles: reliability, responsibility and technological efficiency."

Meeting with representatives of nations that have joined the United States in its fight against the so-called Islamic State, Secretary of State John Kerry said the offensive was having "significant impact."

Reuters reports:

Rain has been falling on Southern California.

That's news because the region is now into its fourth year of drought — the worst in centuries — so when the skies finally opened up on Tuesday, the world took notice.

The New York Times reports:

President Obama is likely to nominate Ashton Carter as his next secretary of defense, CNN, The Associated Press, The Washington Post and

For the first time, the captain of the doomed Costa Concordia took the stand to defend himself in an Italian courtroom on Tuesday.

Francesco Schettino said he didn't change the route of the cruise liner to impress a Moldovan dancer he was having an affair with.

Instead, The Associated Press reports:

Militants opened fire on workers at a quarry in northeast Kenya early Tuesday, leaving at least 36 of them dead.

Reuters reports the attack happened near the border with Somalia, where just a week earlier al-Shabab militants hijacked a bus and killed 28 people. The wire service reports:

" 'The militia separated the Muslims, then ordered the non-Muslims to lie down where they shot them on the head at close range,' Hassan Duba, an elder at a nearby village, said.

Lebanese officials say they have detained the wife and son of Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the leader of the so-called Islamic State.

According to the BBC, the two, who were said to be traveling with forged documents, were detained 10 days ago near the Syrian border.

The BBC adds:

"The al-Safir newspaper reported that Baghdadi's wife was being questioned at the Lebanese defence ministry. ...

Elizabeth Lauten, the GOP staffer who criticized President Obama's daughters, has resigned, The Washington Post, NBC News and USA Today are reporting.

The slump of oil prices is continuing to have global economic repercussions.

At home, you may have noticed lower gas prices at the pump, but in other countries more dependent on oil, the effects are serious. Here are five headlines that tell the story:

Ending what had been a weeks-long peace, protesters in Hong Kong tried to storm a government complex on Sunday, sparking violent clashes with police.

As The New York Times reports, police responded with batons and tear gas to repel the protesters. For weeks now, the government and protesters had reached an understanding that allowed protesters to remain while letting government workers — including the territory's chief executive — get to work.

After a day spent meeting with his Cabinet, civil rights leaders and other officials about the mistrust of police in communities of color, President Obama will ask Congress for $263 million in part to equip local police with body cameras.

Update at 6:55 p.m. ET: Other Possible Changes

As the president confirmed his plans at the White House, Attorney General Eric Holder announced he will soon release new guidelines to limit racial profiling by authorities.

Over the past couple of days, we've been reading through the trove of documents released by the prosecutor in the matter of Michael Brown.

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the leader of the Supreme Court's liberal wing, is "resting comfortably" after a heart procedure, the court said in a statement.

Ginsburg, 81, "experienced discomfort during routine exercise" on Tuesday and was taken to a Washington, D.C., hospital. According to the statement, doctors inserted a stent in her right coronary artery to address a blockage.

"She is resting comfortably and is expected to be discharged in the next 48 hours," the statement said.

Update at 10:57 a.m. ET. 'Awake And Demanding Work':

The University of Virginia publicly apologized on Tuesday to a student who told Rolling Stone magazine that she was gang-raped during a fraternity party in 2012.

As we reported, the magazine's harrowing account led to protests and a university ban on fraternities until January.

Sandy Hausman, of NPR member station WVTF, filed this report for our Newscast Unit:

A big winter storm spinning its way across the East Coast of the United States is expected to wreak havoc on Thanksgiving Day travel plans.

The National Weather Service says that travelers from the Carolinas all the way up to New England could see significant snow, and the entire East Coast will see some kind of precipitation.

Weather.com reports:

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Leading up to a grand jury's decision not to charge Officer Darren Wilson in the shooting death of 18-year-old Michael Brown, witness testimony has been hotly debated.

The big question has always been whether Wilson felt threatened and whether Michael Brown had his hands up when Wilson opened fire. St. Louis County Prosecuting Attorney Robert McCulloch hinted last night that some of the more believable testimony showed that Brown was charging officer Wilson.

After sitting through hours of testimony and reading through thousands of pages of documents, a grand jury decided that there was not enough probable cause to indict police officer Darren Wilson in the shooting death of Michael Brown, an unarmed 18-year-old.

Their decision, like the shooting that led up to all this, sparked violent protests overnight in Ferguson, Mo.

This post was last updated at 12:03 a.m. ET.

A grand jury did not indict Ferguson, Mo., police officer Darren Wilson for any crimes related to the death of 18-year-old Michael Brown in August.

Wilson, who is white, shot and killed Brown, who was unarmed and black, in an Aug. 9 incident that has stoked anger and debate in Ferguson and beyond.

(This post was last updated at 11:41 a.m. ET.)

Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel, the highest-profile Republican on President Obama's Cabinet, will step down, once his successor is confirmed by the Senate.

Calling Hagel an "exemplary defense secretary," Obama made the announcement in the State Dining Room of the White House on Monday.

Hagel, a two-term Republican senator, came to the post in February of 2013, the first enlisted combat veteran to lead the Department of Defense.

With a long-term deal still elusive, Western and Iranian diplomats have decided to keep negotiating perhaps all the way into next summer.

For the past year, Western powers and Tehran have been trying to hammer out a deal that would curb Iran's nuclear program in exchange for an easing of sanctions.

Reporting from Vienna, NPR's Peter Kenyon tells us that the length of the extension is still unclear, but it could be anywhere from three to eight months.

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