Moving forward. A St. Louis grand jury will start hearing evidence this morning in the shooting that killed African-American teenager Michael Brown on Aug. 9. Jurors will decide whether to charge Ferguson Police Officer Darren Wilson, possibly with murder or some lesser offense. U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, who promised a “fair and thorough” federal investigation of the incident, will visit Ferguson today. His trip followed a quieter night in the St. Louis suburb, which has been rocked by almost nightly violent protests since Brown’s death. Although protestors gathered after dark and police arrested 47, the officers did not resort to using tear gas to disperse the demonstrators. “Tonight, the elders in the community, volunteers, activists, and the clergy came out in large numbers,” Capt. Ron Johnson of the Missouri State Highway Patrol said Wednesday during a press conference. “They walked and talked with people. They urged order.”
Quarantined. Security forces in Liberia have sealed off a densely populated slum in Monrovia over fears Ebola could spread from the neighborhood to other parts of the capital. Looters in the West Point neighborhood raided a clinic over the weekend, carrying off blood-soaked sheets and mattresses from areas where Ebola patients were being treated. Although health workers found all of the patients who fled or were dragged out of the clinic, officials fear the patients’ exposure will spark an explosion of new Ebola cases. Residents say the government isn’t doing enough to protect them or stop the disease’s spread. Following government orders, family members leave bodies of dead loved ones in the street and call to have them collected. But that can take hours, or even days, exacerbating the heartache and risk of infection. Liberia has the highest number of Ebola cases in West Africa and the highest death toll.
Too much rain. Torrential rain near Hiroshima, Japan, triggered a massive mudslide that has killed at least 36 people. The wall of mud plowed over dozens of homes, burying many people alive. Seven people remain missing. Rain also triggered flash flooding in Phoenix, where some areas got more rain on Tuesday than they did all last summer. Rescuers plucked stranded homeowners off roofs and out of vehicles surrounded by rushing water. Officials closed Interstate 17 and two other area highways for several hours due to the flooding. So far, no deaths have been reported.
Short tenure? Pope Francis told reporters who accompanied him on his weekend trip to South Korea that he might only have a few more years to live. The pope, who is 77, made the remarks in talking about his role as leader of the Catholic Church. “I see it as the generosity of the people of God. I try to think of my sins, my mistakes, not to become proud. Because I know it will last only a short time,” he said. Then he added, “Two or three years and then I’ll be off to the Father’s House.” The pope made his comment light-heartedly, and, despite concerns for his health, he shows no sign of slowing down. Francis has delighted church members around the world by making numerous overseas trips in his almost 18 months as pope.