Good morning, and happy Tuesday. Here are some of the stories we're following today:
1. Death of Robin Williams highlights battle with depression
The acclaimed actor and comedian was found dead in his California home on Monday at age 63. An autopsy is scheduled for Tuesday, but police believe the cause of death was “suicide due to asphyxia.” Throughout his storied 40-year career, Williams’ life was punctuated by cocaine-induced hallucinations and severe depression. Some even speculated he was bipolar, although he never publicly addressed the issue. He was clean for two decades — the time in which he won an Oscar for “Good Will Hunting” and picked up nominations for other big screen hits, including “Dead Poets Society” and “Good Morning, Vietnam.” But he had been to drug rehab at least twice, most recently last month. Read more in NEWS.
Williams’ daughter, Zelda Williams, paid tribute to her father on social media after news of his death reverberated around the world:
2. Violence flares in St. Louis suburb during police protest
The shooting death by a cop of unarmed black teenager Michael Brown has continued to mobilize protesters in Ferguson, Missouri. On Monday night, police used tear gas and fired beanbags to disperse the crowds. It was the second night of violence that included fires and looting of stores. Police said Brown, 18, was shot after a physical confrontation with an officer. Brown’s family disputes that account and their attorney Monday said the teen was “executed in broad daylight.” The FBI has opened an investigation. Read more in NEWS.
3. Probe ongoing in death of race car driver
An autopsy Tuesday revealed Kevin Ward Jr. was killed by massive blunt trauma after he was hit by a car driven by fellow driver Tony Stewart during a race in upstate New York. Ward was struck after getting out of his car during the race — apparently angry that Stewart had earlier collided with him — but there was no evidence that Stewart retaliated by hitting him on purpose, police said. Still, investigators said the probe into what happened isn’t over and that “we continue to gather all information. No criminal charges have been placed against anyone.” Read more at NBC SPORTS.
4. Unproven drugs should be used on Ebola patients: WHO
As the death toll tops 1,000 for the virus ravaging West Africa, the World Health Organization ruled Tuesday that it remains ethical to offer experimental drugs or vaccines to affected patients. The ruling would cover the use of ZMapp, the U.S.-made drug that has so far been given only to the three Western patients, including two Americans, with the disease. Meanwhile, the first death in Europe has been reported after a Spanish priest contracted the disease during his stay in Liberia. He died in a hospital in Madrid. Read more in NEWS.
5. Israel, Hamas remain deadlocked as fragile truce holds
After weeks of intense fighting in Gaza, a temporary truce held for a second day Tuesday with no incidents reported overnight. Hamas is seeking an end to an Israeli-Egyptian border blockade of Gaza, while Israel wants Hamas to disarm. Israel’s airstrikes on Gaza has left neighborhoods decimated, and Palestinians in Gaza were able to leave their homes and shelters amid the cease-fire to see the toll the fighting has taken. Read more in NEWS.
6. Russia sends humanitarian aid to Ukraine, stoking concerns
The West is wary about humanitarian convoys that Russia began sending to eastern Ukraine early Tuesday — believing the aid could be a pretext for direct military intervention. The 280 trucks are reportedly carrying 2,000 tons of grain, baby food, medicine, sleeping bags and generators. NATO said some 45,000 Russian troops have amassed at the border and that there was a “high probability” of a Kremlin military intervention. Russia said the aid, which is expected to arrive Wednesday, would be delivered with the International Committee of the Red Cross. Read more in NEWS.
… What’s trending today?
A humpback whale is now the Big Apple’s biggest guest. A photographer snapped a pic of the massive marine mammal coming up for air along New York City’s coastline, leaving amazed tourists and New Yorkers alike to catch their breaths. Scientists are calling the whale Jerry, and it turns out, the creatures are becoming familiar sightings in the area.