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Minnesota officer charged with second-degree murder in Australian’s death

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The Minneapolis police officer who fatally shot an unarmed Australian woman last July was arrested on Tuesday on charges of second-degree murder and third-degree manslaughter, according to county records.

Mohamed Noor was arrested by the Hennepin County Sheriff’s Office and his bail was set at $500,000, according to county jail records.

Minneapolis’ top prosecutor Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman is expected to announce the charges at a news conference at 2:30 p.m. local time in the July 2017 death of Justine Damond, 40, who was shot by Noor from his patrol car.

Freeman had delayed his decision in December, saying his office needed more time and he did not have enough evidence to charge Noor. The county attorney’s office declined to comment beyond the statement on Tuesday.

Noor has been on paid leave and had declined to be interviewed by Minnesota state investigators. Neither Noor’s attorney, Tom Plunkett, nor the head of the Minneapolis Police Union, Bob Kroll, could immediately be reached for comment.

Plunkett has said that Noor extended his “thoughts and wishes” to Damond’s family and raised concerns about Freeman’s objectivity.

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The attorney for Damond’s family, Bob Bennett, could not be reached on Tuesday. He has said that the family supported the delay in the charging decision as they wanted a thorough investigation.

Damond, who was living in Minneapolis and engaged to be married, had called police about a possible sexual assault near her house and approached the police after their arrival, authorities have said.

The shooting drew condemnation in Minnesota and Australia, where Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull called it “shocking” and “inexplicable.” Then-Minneapolis police chief Jamee Harteau resigned after city officials said procedures had been violated and that Damond “didn’t have to die.”

 Neither Noor, who came to the United States from Somalia as a child, nor Matthew Harrity, another officer in the patrol car, had their body cameras activated, police have said.
Harrity has told investigators that he was startled by a loud sound near the patrol car shortly before Noor fired through the open driver’s-side window, striking Damond. Court documents said a woman slapped the back of the car before the shooting.

Reporting by Todd melby, Writing by Ben Klayman

Report typos and corrections to [email protected].
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Honduran forces fire on students, 5 hurt: officials

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Honduran military police opened fire on protesting students at a university on Monday, wounding at least five, campus and hospital officials said.

Hundreds of students at the National Autonomous University of Honduras were demanding the resignation of the country's president, Juan Orlando Hernandez, after demonstrations against him intensified last week when three people were killed in protests.

"About 40 military police entered the university campus without authorization," Armando Sarmiento, director of institutional development at the Tegucigalpa-based university, told AFP.

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Health care price transparency: Fool’s gold, or real money in your pocket?

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The news is full of stories about monumental surprise hospital bills, sky-high drug prices and patients going bankrupt. The government’s approach to addressing this, via an executive order that President Trump signed June 24, 2019, is to make hospitals post their list prices online so that patients supposedly can comparison shop. But this is fool’s gold – information that doesn’t address the real question about why these prices are so high in the first place.

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2020 Election

Running while brown: How Texas’ Julián Castro is navigating white presidential politics

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By the time his plane touched down in California at the end of a whirlwind week, Julián Castro had set an early political benchmark in the crowded presidential race.

It was early April, and the former mayor and housing secretary had just released a sweeping immigration policy platform, garnering national headlines and widespread praise from immigration reform advocates who went as far as calling his proposals “exactly what we need in this moment.”

Castro was still struggling to break from the pack, but he was the first in the field with a detailed plan to tackle the one issue that could come to define the 2020 presidential campaign. Yet when he sat down for an interview on comedian Bill Maher’s television show, the host instead catalogued Castro’s proposal in terms that the white men also running for president would surely never face.

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