HERE ARE THE TOP STORIES
President Obama called for big changes to the criminal justice system in a wide-ranging speech at the NAACP’s annual convention.
The day after announcing 46 commutations for nonviolent drug offenders, Obama laid out “a list of policy proposals that amounted to the most wide-reaching remarks of his presidency on criminal justice and the prison system,” BuzzFeed News’ Darren Sands writes.
“Obama focused on early investment in communities, including proposals that the U.S. spend at least a portion of the $80 billion it costs to incarcerate 2.2 million Americans per year to expanding access to pre-K and summer jobs,” Sands writes.
On “mandatory minimums,” which require certain crimes to be punishable by a minimum number of years in prison, Obama pushed to lower them, “or get rid of them entirely,” in hopes of a sentencing reform bill to reach his desk this year.
In their own words: What U.S. politicians are saying about the Iran nuclear deal.
After receiving the 159-page agreement, lawmakers will have 60 days to review the details and then approve, reject, or take no action on it. “For the White House, selling the deal to Congress, including doubters in the president’s own party, may prove almost as difficult as reaching agreement with Iran,” the New York Times writes.
“We have no illusions about the Iranian regime — or the destabilizing influence Iran continues to have in the region. We must maintain our vigilance.”
— Rep. Nancy Pelosi of California, a Democrat and Minority Leader of the House
“Supporting or opposing this agreement is not a decision to be made lightly, and I plan to carefully study the agreement before making an informed decision.”
— Sen. Chuck Schumer of New York, a Democrat
“This isn’t about Republicans versus Democrats. It’s about right and wrong. And we will fight a bad deal that is wrong for our national security and wrong for our country.”
— Rep. John Boehner of Ohio, a Republican and Speaker of the House
And a little extra.
In addition to a congressional review, the deal faces approval from Iran’s parliament, as well as the United Nations.
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani faces his own challenges back home, where Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, has final say on the accord. However, according to the Wall Street Journal, before agreeing to a deal, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry made sure Iran had the mandate of the supreme leader.
The U.N. Security Council will also need to approve the deal and a resolution is expected “within days,” according to France’s foreign minister.
WE’RE KEEPING AN EYE ON
There’s open revolt as Greece’s parliament votes on austerity measures to prevent the economy from collapsing.
Greece’s left-wing Syriza government, the party of Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, are rushing to pass the new measures agreed upon by European leaders earlier this week, which include pension cuts and higher sales tax rates. Hardliners in the Syriza party were openly against the deal and in a TV interview, Tsipras said he would not step down, despite the open dissent within his own party, according to the Associated Press. Tsipras also criticized the deal, calling it irrational, but said it was the best deal Greece could get and offers a way out of the crisis.
The International Monetary Fund is “now firmly siding with Greece” in a report released yesterday. It “warned that Greece will require far more generous debt relief” than what’s currently offered, according to The Guardian.
The vote will take place midnight Wednesday. “The vote will almost certainly see large numbers of Tsipras' own Syriza lawmakers dissent and vote against the package,” according to the AP. However, the bill is expected to pass.
DID YOU HEAR ABOUT THIS?
The real story behind that video of an abortion doctor talking about the sale of fetal body parts.
Still, scientists who have worked with fetal tissues told BuzzFeed News they are uncomfortable with the seemingly callous tone of the doctor in the heavily edited video. But these scientists argue that research with fetal tissues is conducted ethically and say that fetal cells have played important roles in medical research since the 1960s.
A jury is set to deliberate on the sanity of Colorado movie theater shooter James Holmes.
Lawyers in the trial for Holmes, who has pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity in the 2012 massacre at a Colorado movie theater, gave closing arguments yesterday. Holmes is facing 165 counts of murder and attempted murder, including 24 charges related to the 12 people who died in the shooting.
“If the jury finds Holmes not guilty by reason of insanity, he will be confined to a state mental hospital indefinitely. If he is found guilty, a second phase of the trial will begin to determine whether he should receive the death penalty or life in prison,” BuzzFeed News’ Jim Dalrymple II reports from Aurora, Colorado.
Quick things to know:
A video released yesterday shows the moment Mexican drug lord Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán escaped from a maximum security prison in Mexico over the weekend. (BuzzFeed News)
Oskar Groening, known as the “Bookkeeper Of Auschwitz,” was sentenced to four years in prison for his role in 300,000 murders during the Holocaust. (BuzzFeed News)
Black children were almost four times as likely as white children to be living in poverty in 2013, a new report from the Pew Research Center found. (New York Times)
A 16-year-old who walked for days after surviving a deadly plane crash in Washington state joked that it’s a good thing her dad made her watch Survivor. (Associated Press)
Why choosing the right surgeon matters even more than you know. (ProPublica)
Here are the banks that make the most from overdraft fees. (BuzzFeed News)
Uber for frat boys: how Bellhops is capturing untapped collegiate labor. (BuzzFeed News)
The trailer for Amy Poehler and Tina Fey’s new movie is everything you’d want it to be. (BuzzFeed)
After a great white shark washed up on Massachusetts’ Cape Cod shore on Monday, beachgoers called officials for help. As the 7-foot shark writhed in the sand, marine officials threw buckets of water on it to keep it wet. And before long, the shark was pulled back into the water and swam to safety. Awwww?