Friday News Bites: Chapel Hill Shooting, Network Shake-ups + More

Happy Friday, everyone. You can’t see it right now, but I’m making very disappointed faces in Brian Williams’ direction. Let’s get started with that and other news stories that caught my eye this week.

NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams is currently on a six-month suspension after admitting he exaggerated some of his reporting on the Iraq War. And then everyone on the internet thought, “Wait, so he’s the only one being punished for lying about that war? Greaaat.”

Brian Williams was my network news dude of choice, so this is frustrating. I’m not sure of his motivation behind his exaggerations, but I’m sure the current TV news climate of encouraged sensationalism doesn’t help.

In other hosting shake-ups: Jon Stewart will be leaving The Daily Show later this year. In case you missed it, here’s Hillary’s post on what might happen next.

(My vote is for Jessica Williams to host, by the way. With periodic guest spots from Bri-Wi? Why not.)

In Other News:

Three Chapel Hill, North Carolina residents — Deah Shaddy Barakat, 23, his wife, Yusor Mohammad, 21, and her sister, Razan Mohammad Abu-Salha, 19 — were shot and killed in their homes on Tuesday. 46-year-old Craig Stephen Hicks has been charged with first degree murder, and police believe a parking dispute may have led to the crime. The victims’ families also wonder if it had to do with their Muslim faith.

Niki Quasney, the Indiana woman who led the call for marriage equality in her state, died on Thursday from ovarian cancer:

Quasney and Amy Sandler challenged Indiana’s ban on same-sex marriage as Quasney neared the end of a years long battle with ovarian cancer. Quasney was diagnosed with ovarian cancer in 2009, so two years later, the couple moved to the town of Munster in northwest Indiana, just south of Chicago, where Quasney grew up. The couple, who have two young daughters, wanted them to grow up near Quasney’s family.

The couple had planned to wait until Indiana recognized same-sex marriage before they got married, but the cancer diagnosis changed that. They obtained a civil union in Illinois in 2011 and married in Massachusetts in 2013 near a cottage they visited regularly. They wanted Sandler listed as Quasney’s spouse on her Indiana death certificate to ensure that Sandler and the couple’s two young children received the death benefits to which married couples are entitled.

Alabama has begun issuing marriage licenses for same-sex couples, though not yet in all counties. Still, progress.

Speaking of strange county-by-county things happening in Alabama: There are only 17 out of 54 counties in the state that contain hospitals where a woman can deliver a baby. That’s… troublesome.

Serial podcast subject Adnan Syed has been granted an appeal by the Maryland Court. If P-Mag writer Susan is right about who did it, Syed needs the appeal.

So, Charles Manson’s wedding is off because his fiancée just wanted his corpse. Yeah, I’m not making that up.


In an attempt for more doctors and researchers to take chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) more seriously, a new report calls for renaming the illness “systemic exertion intolerance disease (SEID).”

As a person who has this chronic illness, I don’t think the name is any better. It makes us sound like we’re intolerant to making an effort — AKA “lazy.” I’m a bigger fan of “chronic fatigue immune deficiency syndrome,” but you know what? Whatever makes people pay attention and try to cure this thing is fine. Get the job done.

Speaking of the immune compromised: Many pediatricians are now dropping patients who refuse to vaccinate their kids.

Meanwhile, on the New York City subway, strange microbes exist:

Researchers at Weill Cornell Medical College released a study on Thursday that mapped DNA found in New York’s subway system — a crowded, largely subterranean behemoth that carries 5.5 million riders on an average weekday, and is filled with hundreds of species of bacteria (mostly harmless), the occasional spot of bubonic plague, and a universe of enigmas. Almost half of the DNA found on the system’s surfaces did not match any known organism and just 0.2 percent matched the human genome.

FitBit lovers, I’m sorry: Your phone is actually more accurate at judging your fitness accomplishments.

And here’s Science! explaining why cats love boxes so much. Which is important info, and don’t try to tell me otherwise.

In Entertainment:

R.I.P. Lizabeth Scott, the film noir actress who died on January 31. She was 92.

Another loss: CBS News correspondent Bob Simon died in a car crash on Wednesday. He was 73. [Auto-loading video]

A painting by French artist Paul Gauguin has been sold for $300 million, making it the most expensive work of art ever sold. Oh, to have that kind of money to throw at art!

Remember BattleBots? The robot-fighting competition will return this summer to ABC.

And finally, here’s a site that will tell you “WTF Should I Do With My Life?” You’re welcome.

Until next time!

By Sara Habein

Sara Habein is the author of Infinite Disposable, a collection of microfiction, and her work has appeared on The Rumpus, Pajiba and Word Riot, among others. Her book reviews and other commentary appear at Glorified Love Letters, and she is the co-manager of Electric City Creative.

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