Legendary actor and comedian Bill Cosby has been charged with sexual assault. One of the nation’s most powerful and wealthy entertainers, Cosby has long faced allegations that he drugged and raped dozens of women in cases that stretch back decades. Many doubted Cosby would ever face criminal charges. But on Wednesday, authorities in Montgomery County, Pennsylvania, announced felony charges of aggravated indecent assault against Bill Cosby stemming from an alleged 2004 attack. The indictment alleges Cosby urged Andrea Constand to take pills and drink wine until she was unable to move, after which he assaulted her. This allegedly came after Constand twice rejected Cosby’s sexual advances. Constand reported the incident at the time, but the District Attorney’s Office refused to bring charges, citing a lack of evidence. In the ensuing years, more than 50 women have come forward to accuse Cosby of sexual assault.
Young black men were nine times more likely than other Americans to be killed by police officers in 2015, according to the findings of a Guardian study that recorded a final tally of 1,134 deaths at the hands of law enforcement officers this year.
Despite making up only 2% of the total US population, African American males between the ages of 15 and 34 comprised more than 15% of all deaths logged this year by an ongoing investigation into the use of deadly force by police. Their rate of police-involved deaths was five times higher than for white men of the same age.
Chinese artist Ai Weiwei has set up a studio on the Greek island of Lesbos to highlight the plight of refugees.
The island has been the main point of entry for hundreds of thousands of refugees over the past year and the studio would produce several projects with themes related to the refugee crisis from him and his students, Ai told reporters.
Temperatures at the North Pole may not have topped the freezing mark — there are mixed reports from different weather buoys — but it was an unseasonably warm Wednesday at the top of the globe. The storm system that brought spring-like Christmas warmth, along with deadly floods and tornadoes, to eastern North America swept across the pole with raging winds that sucked warm Atlantic air in its wake.
An international network of buoys sends back data from the high Arctic, and one of those — located at 87.3 degrees north latitude — recorded a high of just under 34 degrees (0.7 degrees Celsius) on Wednesday. But another, located a fraction of a degree further north at 87.5 N, only reported 16 degrees (-8.5 C) — still nearly 50 degrees Fahrenheit above the usual temperature for the end of December.
“So in summary, the forecast warming was qualitatively pretty good even though temperatures at the Pole didn’t reach up to the freezing point,” the University of Washington’s Polar Science Center noted.
At least 980 Iraqis lost their lives in violent attacks during the month of December 2015, around 90 more than November, the UN has said.
The UN Assistance Mission for Iraq, known as UNAMI, said in a statement on Friday that 506 of those killed in December were civilians, while the rest were security forces, including Kurdish Peshmerga and paramilitary troops.
The figures were released a day after 60 Iraqi government and allied fighters were killed in an Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) attack north of Ramadi, the capital of Anbar province.
“The year 2015 has seen thousands of Iraqis killed and injured as a result of conflict and terrorism. This is unacceptable,” Jan Kubis, the special representative of the UN secretary-general for Iraq, said in the statement.
“The Iraqi people have every right to live in peace and tranquillity. The UN continues to deplore this continuing loss of life.”