- In the wake of another police shooting, Mayor Rahm Emanuel called for an immediate review of how the Chicago Police Department trains officers to respond to calls involving people in crisis or with mental-health problems.
But advocates for what's known as crisis-intervention team training say Chicago's program has been "starved" of resources, with only about 15 percent of officers completing the 40-hour course. Advocates say they tried to get meetings with Emanuel early in his first term to stress the importance of the training and ask the city to invest more in it, but were ignored. Illinois' budget crisis also created a lapse, not just in Chicago but elsewhere.
The issue resurfaced last weekend, after officers responding to a domestic disturbance shot and killed a 19-year-old man and a 55-year-old woman. The deaths of Bettie Jones - who police say was accidentally hit by gunfire - and Quintonio LeGrier occurred just weeks after the Department of Justice opened a civil-rights investigation into Chicago police practices.
SEOUL, South Korea
- An apology from Japan's prime minister and a pledge of more than $8 million sealed a breakthrough deal yesterday in a decades-long impasse with South Korea over Korean women forced into Japanese military-run brothels during World War II.
The accord, which aims to resolve the emotional core of South Korea's grievances with its former colonial overlord, could begin to reverse decades of animosity and mistrust between the two thriving democracies, trade partners and staunch U.S. allies. It represents a shift for Tokyo's conservative government and a new
willingness to compromise by previously wary Seoul.
A statement by both countries' foreign ministers said Prime Minister Shinzo Abe "expresses anew his most sincere apologies and remorse to all the women who underwent immeasurable and painful experiences and suffered incurable physical and psychological wounds as comfort women," the euphemistic name given the women.
Historians say tens of thousands of women from around Asia, many of them Korean, were sent to front-line military brothels to provide sex to Japanese soldiers.
It wasn't immediately clear if Abe would be issuing a separate written statement or if it would be directly delivered to the 46 surviving former Korean sex slaves, now in their 80s and 90s.
- When Republican presidential hopeful Ted Cruz first ran for U.S. Senate in Texas, the only thing lower than his name recognition was the expectation that he'd win.
Then the state solicitor general, Cruz amassed a coalition anchored by tea party conservatives and evangelicals on his way to defeating a sitting lieutenant governor who entered the primary with the financial and organizational muscle of the GOP establishment.
Now Cruz is trying to take the model nationwide, even as some of his White House rivals, especially Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, compete for the same voters in a scrambled GOP race.
The son of a Southern Baptist preacher, Cruz will continue his efforts this week with a two-day meeting at a remote Texas ranch that began yesterday and was expected to bring together about 300 Christian leaders and key financial backers for a fundraiser.
Some are already supporting him, while others are undecided, Cruz said.
VANCOUVER, British Columbia
- Relatives of a Syrian boy whose body washed up on a Turkish beach, sparking worldwide concern for the refugee crisis, have landed in Canada Mohammed Kurdi, his wife and their five children arrived in Canada as refugees yesterday, sponsored by Mohammed's sister Tima Kurdi, who wiped away tears as she greeted her relatives at Vancouver airport's arrival gates.
Speaking through his sister, who translated from Arabic, Mohammed Kurdi thanked Canadians and the government for making his dream come true.
"I'm happy! Very happy!" he said in English to a crowd of reporters gathered around the family.
His teenage son Shergo said he was looking forward to going back to school and starting a new life.
- It was a very merry Christmas for fitness-tracking device maker Fitbit.
The company's app was the most downloaded on Apple's app store Christmas Day, a sign that many people couldn't wait to set up their Fitbit trackers after unwrapping them. It also suggests that Fitbit trackers were a hot seller during the holidays, despite increasing competition from Apple's smartwatch and other wearable devices. Investors were pleased, sending shares of the San Francisco company higher yesterday.
The Fitbit app topped Apple's app store in the U.S. on Christmas Day and the day after, according App Annie, which tracks app downloads and rankings. That's far better than last year when the Fitbit app ranked at No. 18 on Christmas Day and No. 15 the day after, according to research from Raymond James & Associates. In a note to clients, Raymond James analyst Tavis McCourt called the numbers "impressive."
While app downloads don't necessarily mean a tracker was sold, McCourt said it's a "good measure of relative sales success."