Police in San Francisco made an utterly horrifying discovery on Wednesday afternoon when they were called to investigate a suspicious package in the South of Market area. They found a suitcase filled with dismembered body parts on 11th Street between Market and Mission streets, and more human remains scattered over a three-block radius. The roller-type suitcase was surrounded by garbage and debris, but authorities wouldn't describe where the other remains were found. According to the L.A. Times, police don't know if all of the remains belong to one person, but they have identified a suspect. The San Francisco Chronicle notes, "the case is being treated as a homicide," which is probably a safe bet.
Mitt Romney, the nation's rich but boring ex, wants us to give him another chance, and in a Wednesday night speech at Mississippi State University, he tried to prove he's a changed man. Speaking in the nation's poorest state, Romney said we can end poverty in America by applying "conservative policies that improve America’s education system, promote family formation and create good-paying jobs." He explained part of the solution, according to a Brookings Institution study, is encouraging couples to commit. "We have to make sure our government programs aren't creating incentives for people not to get married," he said. "And they do right now."
A day after Jordan said it's willing to do a prisoner exchange with ISIS, the terrorist group extended its deadline for the swap, saying Jordan must present attempted suicide bomber Sajida al-Rishawi at the Turkish border by sundown on Thursday. In the new message released late on Wednesday, a voice believed to be that of Japanese ISIS hostage Kenji Goto says in English, "If Sajida al-Rishawi is not ready for exchange for my life at the Turkish border by Thursday sunset, 29th of January, Mosul time, the Jordanian pilot Mu’adh al-Kasasibah will be killed immediately." It's unclear whether ISIS is willing to release both hostages, or what will happen to Goto if their demand isn't met.
The sedative midazolam has been used in several botched lethal injections, and now executions in Oklahoma are on hold while the Supreme Court considers whether use of the drug constitutes "cruel and unusual punishment." Several states began using midazolam when other lethal injection drugs became unavailable, but some say it does not properly sedate inmates before they're given drugs that stop their heart and respiration. (One expert testified that inmate Clayton Lockett may have felt "liquid fire" when he was executed following a dose of midazolam.) The stay issued by the Supreme Court delayed the execution of three Oklahoma inmates challenging the state's lethal injection protocol. Charles Warner, a fourth inmate who was initially part of the legal challenge, was executed earlier this month.
South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham treated Attorney General-nominee Loretta Lynch to a blast from the past during her Wednesday confirmation hearing, asking the nation's soon-to-be top lawyer how she would protect the sanctity of two-person marriage if the Supreme Court rules in favor of the rights of same-sex couples to marry.
When the long-awaited inquiry into the painful 2006 death of Alexander Litvinenko began this week, a medical examiner described the Russian spy's autopsy as "the most dangerous post-mortem examination ever undertaken in the western world." To make the story even more engrossing: On his deathbed, Litvinenko accused Russian president Vladimir Putin of murdering him.
The head of Rome's Jewish community got a little more history than he bargained for on Holocaust Remembrance Day, when he was locked in the same concentration camp where his grandparents died, and then arrested while trying to escape. Riccardo Pacifici was doing a live report from Auschwitz for an Italian television station when, suddenly, he and four others found themselves in an abandoned camp with no one around to let them out. After an hour in sub-zero temperatures, they climbed out a window to get out — and were quickly detained by Polish police.
The dramatic Silk Road trial is still ongoing in Manhattan federal court, where 29-year-old tech dude Ross William Ulbricht is charged with several crimes related to running a drug black market on the deep web. If you thought the lead-up to the arraignment was weird, get ready because the trial itself is turning out to be even wackier. Here's some of the weirdest stuff that's happened so far.
Remember Bill Bratton? For about six weeks the police commissioner was ubiquitous, mostly for unhappy reasons. Lately, though, Bratton has pretty much disappeared. The cops went back to work after a two-week slowdown. Crime has stayed low. Political scandals and meteorological-political nuttiness have filled the news pages.
All of which has allowed Bratton to retreat to One Police Plaza and quietly put the finishing touches on his yearlong effort to analyze and reengineer the city’s 35,000-member force. Bratton will unveil his plan Thursday morning at a speech to the New York City Police Foundation. The blueprint will include some previously discussed hardware components, like millions of dollars in new internet capabilities. And some of Bratton’s speech will be about organizational wonkery, changes that are unsexy but integral to how the force functions, including revamping a major Bloomberg-era policing strategy.
While it's difficult to know whom to trust in a post–Blizzard of 2015 world, it's even more difficult to ignore weather forecasts entirely. So, here's what meteorologists are saying about the rest of the week: It's pretty cold, and it's going to stay that way. Also, we might be getting some more snow.