Mayor wants body cameras, federal review of police

Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake said Wednesday that she plans to put in place police body cameras by the end of the year and to have the Justice Department review whether the city’s police department has a pattern of excessive force.

Rawlings-Blake’s comments come after the death of 25-year-old Freddie Gray last month while he was in custody.

Also Wednesday, Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan lifted Baltimore’s state of emergency, which was imposed April 27 after violence erupted in the city after Gray’s funeral.


U.S. anticipates Iraqi oil refinery falling into IS hands

U.S. military officials acknowledged that Iraq’s biggest oil refinery is in danger of falling to Islamic State militants and appeared to be setting the stage for its eventual loss, downplaying the refinery’s strategic importance only weeks after building it up.

Less than a month ago, Army Gen. Martin Dempsey, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, had said “the refinery is at no risk right now” and said that Baiji, the town where the refinery is located, “is a more strategic location” than Ramadi, the capital of Anbar province, which also is under siege from the Islamic State.

On Wednesday, Pentagon spokesman Army Col. Steve Warren offered a different view.

“The Baiji refinery is threatened,” he said. “Enemy forces have placed a tremendous amount of pressure on the friendly (Iraqi) forces that are in Baiji. The enemy does have control of some of the refinery now. It’s a tough fight. I don’t know which way it’s going to go.”

Carbon dioxide reaching record levels, NOAA says

Global levels of carbon dioxide, the most prevalent heat-trapping gas, have passed a daunting milestone, federal scientists say.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration says in March, the global monthly average for carbon dioxide hit 400.83 parts per million. That is the first month in modern records that the globe broke 400 ppm, reaching levels that haven’t been seen in 2 million years.

Tax-evading IRS workers rarely faced discipline

Nearly 1,600 IRS workers were found to have willfully evaded taxes over a 10-year period, including some who were responsible for enforcing the nation’s tax laws, a government watchdog said.

It’s a small percentage of the tax agency’s employees – about 160 workers a year out of a workforce of 85,000.

A report by the agency’s inspector general said most were not fired, even though a 1998 law calls for terminations when IRS workers willfully don’t pay their taxes. The penalty must be waived by the IRS commissioner.

– From news service reports