Sept. 3, 2015

PENNSYLVANIA

Pittsburgh: Millions embezzled from burial product company

Matthews International Corp. realized it had lost almost $15 million dollars over a multi-year period while completing a financial report. The federal government is investigating a former employee the North Shore company claims took the money, but no charges have been made.

Philadelphia: Weighing the pros and cons of body cameras

Cops in the 22nd District volunteered to take part in a body camera pilot program eight months ago. Police and citizens both behave better when they know they’re being recorded, and complaints against police decrease significantly — as much as 90 percent. But data storage problems pose setbacks, and the law prohibits recording people inside their homes.

Harrisburg: Gov. Wolf nominates new turnpike commissioner

Barry Drew, a former Department of Revenue official, was nominated by Gov. Tom Wolf to succeed Anthony Pratt on the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission. Wolf’s nominee will have to be approved by the Senate.

Statewide: District judges giving up marriage powers

Although they’re not required to, many district judges in the state choose to perform weddings. Yet the number of judges who do is decreasing alongside what seems to coincide with the May 2014 legalization of gay marriage in PA. In particular, judges in Perry County haven’t performed marriages in more than a year.

NATIONAL

Iran nuclear deal moves forward

Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.) became the 34th signature on President Obama’s nuclear deal with Iran on Wednesday. The deal between the U.S., five other powers and Iran agreed to limit Iran’s nuclear capabilities in exchange for relief of billions of dollars in sanctions.

First hearing in Freddie Gray case

The first of two hearings convened on Wednesday morning on how to proceed with the trial regarding the death of Freddie Gray in Baltimore. Six police officers were indicted in the case. Defense lawyers have asked for charges to be dismissed, to remove the lead prosecutor because of  conflict of interest, for the trial to be moved outside Baltimore and to have the officers tried separately.

U.S. launches drone campaign in Syria

The CIA and Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC) are significantly escalating their efforts against ISIS in Syria by launching a secretive drone program that attacks high-value targets. The CIA is employing its Counterterrorism Center to identify targets, while the JSOC carries out airstrikes.

Child ‘Fight Club’

Two former New Jersey day care employees are charged with fourth-degree child abuse for instigating and filming fights between 4- to 6-year-olds at Lightbridge Academy under the guise of a “Fight Club,” like the novel and film. One of the ex-employees is also charged with endangering the welfare of a child. None of the children have serious injuries.

IN OTHER NEWS

Taylor Swift’s ‘very white Africa’

Swift’s picturesque new video for “Wildest Dreams” tells the story of a crew shooting a glamorous colonial-era film in Africa, but it has been criticized for numerous oversights — it overlooks the violence of colonialism entirely and completely excludes people of color.

Woman’s car broken into… by bears

A mother bear and her cub broke into a Tennessee woman’s car. They stole her purse and ate her snacks, trying to fatten up for hibernation.

The daily report was compiled by Stephanie Roman, a PublicSource intern. You can reach her with questions or suggestions at sroman@publicsource.org.