News in Brief: 4/10/15


Police are accused of using excessive force after a battle with red sandalwood smugglers killed 20 suspects, according to the BBC. Red sandalwood (prized in furniture making) was banned from sale in 2000, but the wood sells for tens of thousands of dollars per tonne, so smuggling is rampant. According to police, they confronted over 100 smugglers Tuesday, who refused to respond and hand over the logs. There has been an outcry over the shooting, as the smugglers did not have firearms (although they may have attacked with axes and sticks).


Michael Slager, a white police officer, has been charged with murder after shooting 50 year old Walter Scott, who is black. Slager pulled Scott over due to a broken taillight, according to Vice news. Scott fled, and Slager pursued him, using his Taser to no effect. He then fired eight shots at Scott, killing him. Slager claims that Scott took his Taser, but a video of the incident apparently shows Slager dropping something by Scott’s body, possibly his Taser, before radioing in the incident.


Dimitris Mardas, the Greek deputy finance minister, has asked Germany for 278.7 billion Euro’s as reparations for damage to the country during World War II, according the Guardian. Sigmar Gabriel, Germany’s economic minister, labeled the reparations as “stupid.” Many people have remarked that Greece owes various countries in the European Union, but mostly Germany, 240 billion Euro’s after being bailed out during the economic crisis. The opposition in Germany did consider paying out a 10.3 billion euro “forced loan” that Germany compelled Greece to pay in 1942.


A high court in Pakistan has charged Jonathan Banks, the former head of the CIA branch in Islamabad, with murder and waging war against the country, according to The Guardian. The court pointed to a drone strike in December of 2009 that killed at least three people. Banks was ousted after charges were brought against him in 2010 by a Pakistani tribesman named Karim Khan, whose brother and son were killed by a drone. He is now residing in the U.S. and unlikely to appear for his court date in Islamabad, making the charges more symbolic than practical.