One day after pictures emerged of TV personality Nigella Lawson seemingly being choked by her husband, British police have cautioned former advertising executive Charles Saatchi over the incident. Police reportedly questioned Saatchi for five hours Monday. Lawson is a cookbook author who has also been a frequent guest on NPR's Morning Edition.
Earlier Monday, Saatchi, 70, had said that photos showing his hands around his wife's throat during what appears to be an argument on a restaurant's patio had been misinterpreted. The photographs were published in the newspaper Sunday People, an arm of The Daily Mirror.
The images created an uproar in Britain, where several newspapers descended on the story and republished the photographs in online galleries. On Facebook, Lawson's fans posted messages of support to her main profile page, as well as using the comment field of a story on griddles to give Lawson, 53, advice.
Lawson and Saatchi married in 2003. There has been no public statement about the incident from Lawson, but a family spokesman confirmed that "the chef and her children had moved out of their home," CNN reports. Saatchi said Monday that she left to get away from the media around their house.
"Saatchi said the pictures showed a 'playful tiff,'" The Guardian reports. "He told the London Evening Standard - for which he is a columnist - that the pictures gave a 'more drastic and violent impression' of the incident than had been the case."
"About a week ago, we were sitting outside a restaurant having an intense debate about the children, and I held Nigella's neck repeatedly while attempting to emphasize my point," The Standard quotes Saatchi saying today.
A photographer captured the scene from outside the seating area. It was the publication of those photos Sunday that led to Monday's probe by police.
The Mirror quotes a Metropolitan Police spokesman as saying, "This afternoon a 70-year-old man voluntarily attended a Central London police station and accepted a caution for assault."
The altercation also drew the attention of other patrons.
"Onlookers were said to be shocked, saying Ms Lawson appeared to be trying to pacify her husband, placing a hand on his left wrist and at one point kissing him on the cheek," The Standard reports. The newspaper relays this account from a witness: "It was utterly shocking to watch. I have no doubt she was scared. She was very tearful and constantly dabbing her eyes. Nigella was very, very upset."
"Under British law, a caution is a formal warning given to someone who admits a minor offense, the AP reports. "It carries no penalty, but it can be used as evidence of bad character if a person is later prosecuted for a different crime."
Three U.S. Naval Academy football players will face charges in the alleged rape of a female midshipman in 2012, according to reports. Officials at the school, which is governed by military law, say they will send the case to Article 32 proceedings, which could then lead to a court-martial. A date has not been set for the hearings.
The case dates from April of 2012, when the female midshipman reported that she had been sexually assaulted by three men after she went to a party in Annapolis.
"The woman woke up after a night of heavy drinking and later learned from friends and social media that three football players claimed to have had sex with her while she was intoxicated," reports The Capital Gazette, citing a statement from, Susan Burke, the woman's attorney.
"Burke said her client reported the allegations to Navy criminal investigators," the newspaper reports. "The athletes were permitted to continue playing football pending the outcome of the investigation."
The Gazette and other media outlets report that the case was put on hold for a period of time, before being taken up again. The men have not been publicly identified, but the newspaper says that officials placed a hold on one of the men's graduation in light of the investigation.
In recent weeks, the female midshipman's mother spoke to The Washington Post about her daughter's case and accused the Naval Academy of letting her daughter down.
"It's like, to the academy, it never happened, and it was all brushed away," she said.
In late May, the woman's attorney said the midshipman had been "ostracized" on the academy's campus. She also noted that the Navy reopened the investigation after the woman got legal help.
Days before the woman and her attorney took their case to the media in late May, President Obama gave the commencement address at the Naval Academy, using the occasion to speak out against sexual assaults.
The problem of sexual abuse has bedeviled military branches in the United States and elsewhere.
Frustration with charges of sexual assaults and sexist emails sent between officers led Australia's army chief to deliver a fiery and forceful speech against such actions last week.
President Obama will be advised to veto a multi-year farm bill slated to be discussed in the House this week, the White House says. The administration issued a statement on the legislation Monday afternoon, criticizing it for cutting food programs for the poor.
At more than 575 pages, the bipartisan bill introduced by Reps. Frank Lucas, R-Okla., and Collin Peterson, D-Minn., the chairman and ranking member of the House Committee on Agriculture, was .
When it was released in early May, Rep. Lucas called the bill, officially titled the Federal Agriculture Reform and Risk Management Act of 2013, "a responsible and balanced bill that addresses Americans' concerns about federal spending and reforms farm and nutrition policy to improve efficiency and accountability."
The Obama administration doesn't agree, saying today that the "bill makes unacceptable deep cuts in SNAP, which could increase hunger among millions of Americans who are struggling to make ends meet, including families with children and senior citizens."
The White House added that if the bill's sponsors want to make budget cuts, they ought to reduce federal subsidies, such as crop insurance.
"Rather than reducing crop insurance subsidies by $11.7 billion over 10 years, as proposed in the President's Budget," the statement reads, "H.R. 1947 would increase reference prices for farmers by roughly 45 percent and increase already generous crop insurance subsidies at a cost of nearly $9 billion over 10 years to the Nation's taxpayers."
A summary of the bill released by the House Agriculture Committee says the legislation will "eliminate or consolidate over 100 programs," in addition to enacting the "first reforms to SNAP since the welfare reforms of 1996, saving more than $20 billion."
Among those changes, Republicans say, are two moves to keep states from adding more people to the food program than the law was meant to allow. Earlier today, Lucas tweeted a photo of a chart listing those reforms.
When the farm bill was released, Rep. Peterson said he believes "there are more responsible ways to reform nutrition programs," but he added that "the bottom line is that this is the first step in the process and it is past time to pass a five-year farm bill."
Advocates of tougher voter registration standards have racked up wins in recent years — voter ID laws have taken hold across the nation, for example.
But those who believe that government should make voting as easy as possible just gained a significant victory with the U.S. Supreme Court's decision slapping down an Arizona law that required potential voters to prove their citizenship.
In its 7-2 decision, the court ruled that the 1993 National Voter Registration Act, the so-called motor voter law, trumped an Arizona law passed in 2004. The state law demanded that voters produce documentation of their citizenship at the time they registered to vote.
The federal law requires those registering in federal elections only to attest to their citizenship. The process is simple enough that people can register by postcard.
The high court's decision on the Arizona law put an extra bounce in the step of officials at civil and voting-rights organizations.
"We are very, very pleased with the outcome today after several long years of litigation up through the district court and finally to the U.S. Supreme Court," said Nina Perales, vice president of litigation for MALDEF, the Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund. She was among officials from several voting-rights groups who spoke with reporters in a teleconference. "This is not just a victory [for the individuals on whose behalf MALDEF filed suit] but it's a victory for voter registration organizations."
After the Arizona law took effect in 2006, voter registration fell 44 percent in Maricopa County, the state's most populous county, which includes the city of Phoenix. The higher standard not only kept many people of Latino ancestry from registering — Perales told NPR's Nina Totenberg in an interview that 80 percent of those whose voter registrations were rejected were non-Hispanic whites.
But the decision may not have been an unalloyed victory for voting-rights groups. Rick Hasen, an election law expert and law professor at the University of California, Irvine, said the Supreme Court's ruling left states with the ability to wipe the smile off the faces of voting-rights advocates. In an analysis of the court's decision, Hasen wrote:
"To begin with, Justice Scalia provided a road map for Arizona ultimately to win this very case when it goes back to the lower courts. The court wrote that Arizona should go back to the U.S. Election Assistance Commission to ask it to reconsider its request to include the citizenship requirement on the federal form."
Of course, the little-known Election Assistance Commission actually exists more in theory than reality now, as all four of its posts are vacant — a casualty of Washington's partisan animus.
That led another California law professor, Tom Caso at Chapman University, who once served on The Federalist Society's board, to say in a statement:
"The Supreme Court today opened the door to noncitizen voting ... by striking down Arizona's voter registration proof of citizenship requirement. The Court conceded that the Constitution granted Arizona the authority to restrict voting to citizens, but ruled that Arizona's demand for documentation conflicted with a federal voter registration law. In order to ensure that only citizens are allowed to vote, according to the Court, Arizona must submit an application to a federal Commission that has no members for permission to change the federal voter registration application. The Court conceded that it may not have the power to require the Commission, which has no members, to take action on Arizona's application."
While important, the Arizona case isn't the superstar voting-rights case of the current term. That would be Shelby County v. Holder, which challenges Section 5 of the 1965 Voting Rights Act. That section requires certain state and local governments with a history of discrimination against minority voters, particularly African-Americans, to receive Justice Department approval before they change their election laws. That so-called pre-clearance provision could be struck down. The conservatives on the court appeared to be leaning in that direction during the oral arguments.
But Barbara Arnwine, president and executive director of the Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, said she hoped the Arizona decision augured well for the court upholding Section 5.
"They do both fundamentally serve the same purpose," she said of the motor voter and Section 5 laws in the conference call with reporters. "And you would hope if the court was being consistent that they would uphold this law because they serve the same purpose of guaranteeing to Americans, to all citizens, the right to vote unfettered by onerous practices — be they based on discrimination or be they based on unnecessary and unreasonable burdens on the right to vote."
Paula Cooper, 43, left prison Monday morning, decades after she became America's youngest resident of death row at age 16. She had confessed to the 1985 murder of Bible studies teacher Ruth Pelke, 78, in Gary, Ind. Cooper's death sentence was commuted in 1989, after widespread appeals for mercy.
"An appeal from Pope John Paul II, an international campaign to overturn the death sentence and legal challenges helped to spare Cooper's life," reports The Indianapolis Star. "The Indiana Supreme Court commuted the death sentence in 1989 and sent her to prison for 60 years. She earned credits for an early release."
Cooper admitted to killing Pelke as part of a robbery in which she and three other teenage girls went to Pelke's house. Cooper, who was 15 at the time of the murder, said that she used a kitchen knife to cut Pelke more than 30 times. The other girls in the case have already been released from prison.
The case shocked the public, and Cooper's death sentence drew protests and calls to spare her life. One of her supporters was Bill Pelke, a grandson of Ruth Pelke. He tells the AP that his grandmother would have been "appalled" by the thought of a young girl being executed.
Over the years, Pelke became friends with Cooper during her prison sentence. And yesterday, Pelke, who now lives in Alaska but has reportedly traveled to Indiana for Cooper's release, told CNN that he plans to take her shopping when he meets with her.
Saying that Cooper is supposed to call him, Pelke tells CNN, "I told her whenever she got out, I'd treat her. I have a friend who would like to buy her an outfit, and I want to buy her a computer."
The Star reports that Cooper has worked to rehabilitate herself, after some rough years in the first half of her prison sentence.
"I was very bitter and angry, so I was in a lot of trouble. I hated it. But I learned to adapt eventually," Cooper told The Star in 2004. "I decided for myself it was time to really sit down and buckle down and get it, because it wasn't gonna always be there."
Cooper took classes in prison and earned her bachelor's degree. "She also helped train dogs as companions for the disabled and, since 2011, has worked as a tutor," the paper says.
In 1988, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that convicted killers could not be executed in cases where they committed the crime before they were 16. In 2005, the court abolished capital punishment for people under the age of 18, saying that such executions "violate the Eighth Amendment ban on cruel and unusual punishment," as NPR's Nina Totenberg reported.
Back in 1985, Indiana state law allowed for the execution of killers who were age 10 and over. The former prosecutor who worked on Cooper's case, attorney Jack Crawford, says he is now against the death penalty.
"When we asked for it, it was controversial because she was so young," Crawford tells The Star. "But my feeling was that, if the law allowed for imposition of the death sentence on a teenager, this was the case because of the facts. I couldn't imagine a worse set of facts for a defendant. But if it was ever justified, this was the time it was probably justified."