In our news wrap Monday, choking smog filled the air in Chinese cities, prompting pollution warnings. In New Delhi, visibility was down to a mere 200 yards due to the smog. Also, jury selection began for the first of six police officers charged in the Freddie Gray case.
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And in the day’s other news, even as the climate conference convened, a choking smog filled the air in Chinese cities, prompting hazardous pollution warnings. Beijing had its worst air quality of the year, and officials ordered an orange alert, the second-highest level.
Schools suspended outdoor activities, while factories had to cut back on output.
WOMAN (through interpreter):
The smog is a very serious problem. In my opinion, this is the consequence of having too many cars. There should be more measures to fight this.
MAN (through interpreter):
I have installed air filters at home. When I leave home, I put on a mask. And, in my car, I also installed an air purifying system.
And in India, heavy smog also blanketed New Delhi, cutting visibility to a mere 200 yards. Air quality in the Indian capital routinely gets worse in the winter, when more coal fires are burning.
Investigators in Colorado shed no light today on the case against Robert Lewis Dear. He’s accused of killing three people at a Planned Parenthood clinic. There was no discussion of motive as Dear had his first court appearance, via video link from jail. He’s being held on suspicion of murder.
In Baltimore, jury selection began for the first of six police officers charged in the Freddie Gray case. He died in police custody last April, triggering protests and riots. Officer William Porter is charged with assault, manslaughter and reckless endangerment.
And a judge in Chicago set bond at $1.5 million for a white officer charged with murdering a black teenager. Squad car video showed Officer Jason Van Dyke shooting the victim, Laquan McDonald, 16 times. Release of that video led to days of protests.
In Israel, a judge has convicted two Jewish teenagers of beating and burning alive a Palestinian teen last year. The attack in Jerusalem was part of a chain of events leading to the Gaza war. The judge today delayed a verdict for the alleged ringleader of the killings after he filed a last-minute insanity plea.
But the victim’s father vowed to pursue justice.
HUSSEIN ABU KHDEIR, Victim’s Father (through interpreter):
I don’t trust those Israeli courts because they rule differently for Arabs and Israelis. We will pursue them. If the Israeli court won’t try them, we want something more than a life sentence. We will go to the International Court of Justice.
The two convicted minors are expected to be sentenced in mid-January.
Pope Francis spent the final day of his Africa trip in the Central African Republic delivering a message of peace and reconciliation. The pontiff visited Muslims in the capital city, where conflict between Muslim and Christian militias has raged in recent years. He said religion can never justify violence.
Turkey refused today to apologize for shooting down a Russian fighter jet last week, despite the threat of new sanctions by Moscow. In Brussels, the Turkish prime minister met with NATO officials and said again his country’s actions were justified.
AHMET DAVUTOGLU, Prime Minister, Turkey:
If the Russian side wants to talk, and wants to prevent any future unintentional events like this, we are ready to talk anything. If they want to improve relations, normalize relations in all sense, we are ready to talk. But no country can ask us to apologize because of doing our job.
In Paris, Russian President Vladimir Putin charged that Turkey’s real motive was protecting oil supplies coming from Islamic State forces inside Syria. In Washington, the State Department urged both sides to de-escalate tensions.
Back in this country, the Environmental Protection Agency is requiring more ethanol and other renewable fuels in gasoline next year. The rule issued today is a victory for farm states over oil companies and environmentalists. It could also become an issue in Iowa’s presidential caucuses.
And concerns about holiday spending weighed on Wall Street, after Black Friday sales fell from last year. The Dow Jones industrial average lost 78 points to close below 17720. The Nasdaq fell nearly 19 points. And the S&P 500 slipped nine.