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News Brief: Week of Oct. 13-19


U.S. troops to leave Syria for western Iraq

All United States troops currently leaving Syria will go to western Iraq where they will continue operating against the Islamic State group, according to Defense Secretary Mark Esper.

The United States withdrawal follows the Turkish invasion of the northern Syrian region and a five-day cease fire between Turkish forces and United States-allied Kurdish forces in addition to United States troops. 

Esper said the troops in Iraq will “help defend Iraq and… perform a counter-ISIS mission as we sort through the next steps. Things could change between now and whenever we complete the withdrawal, but that’s the game plan right now.”

The withdrawal comes with criticism for President Trump, who said on Wednesday, Oct. 16, “It’s time to bring our soldiers back home.” However, the withdrawal means American troops will remain in Iraq and Syria until further notice. 

Fort Worth police officer fatally shoots citizen in her home

The Tarrant County Criminal District Attorney’s Office announced plans to request a murder charge against the former Fort Worth police officer who fatally shot Atatiana Jefferson on Saturday, Oct. 12.

Jefferson was playing video games with her nephew around 2:30 a.m. on Saturday. Police arrived at her house following a neighbor’s call to a non-emergency line expressing concern about open doors to her house. She reached for a handgun from her purse, believing the police to be intruders, before officer Aaron Dean shot her through the window. Body camera footage shows the officers did not identify themselves or knock on the front door.

Dead resigned from his position and was arrested and charged with murder on Monday, Oct. 14. 

Johnson & Johnson recalls baby powder

Johnson & Johnson announced a voluntary recall for their popular brand of baby powder on Friday, Oct. 18 after a low level of asbestos contamination was detected.

The recall comes after federal regulators found a trace amount of asbestos in a single bottle purchase online. The recall affects one lot of product, about 33,000 bottles.

“”[J&J] has a rigorous testing standard in place to ensure its cosmetic talc is safe and years of testing, including the FDA’s own testing on prior occasions — and as recently as last month — found no asbestos,” the company said in a statement.

Customers may return any affected product to Johnson & Johnson to receive a full refund. 


Kim Kardashian calls for clemency of Oklahoma death row inmate 

Kim Kardashian West weighed in Thursday in favor of Julius Jones, an Oklahoma death row inmate who has requested clemency for his murder conviction in 2002, claiming a racist juror tainted the outcome.

Jones was convicted of murder in 1999 for fatally shooting Paul Howell in Edmond, OK. Jones filed an appeal to the Supreme Court after citing a racist juror, but the court rejected his appeal in April 2019. 

Jones filed a clemency petition with the Oklahoma Pardon and Parole Board on Tuesday, Oct. 15, requesting his death sentence be commuted to time served.

Kardashian West tweeted her support for Jones on Wednesday, Oct. 16, to her 62.2 million followers. She asked Gov. Stitt for his consideration, saying, “Yesterday Oklahoma death-row prisoner [Julius Jones] asked the Pardon and Parole Board for clemency.  Please help by asking the Board and [Gov. Stitt] to give careful and thoughtful consideration to his petition.”

Oklahoma unemployment rate unchanged

Oklahoma’s employment rate remained steady at 3.2% throughout September.

The unemployment rate was the same in August of this year and remains below the 3.5% unemployment of the entire United States, according to the Oklahoma Employment Security Commission. The unemployment rate has stayed at 3.2% since May 2019.

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