TODAY's Takeaway: Rumsfeld rumbles, Castro's lawyer speaks out
1. News broke overnight that convicted kidnapper and rapist Ariel Castro was found hanged in his prison cell.
Castro’s lawyer, Craig Weintraub, told TODAY Wednesday morning that authorities twice denied requests for independent psychiatric evaluations of his client, and that he was not on suicide watch.
“I understand that the public in general is probably going to say, 'Well, good riddance,’” Weintraub told Willie Geist. “But this is a human being, we are in a civilized society, and we expect that the person will be protected when they’re institutionalized, and so there is an obligation on the part of the prisons.”
Ariel Castro attorney: He should have been protectedPlay Video
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2. Former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld criticized President Obama’s handling of the Syrian crisis, asserting that the president has lacked vision in his military strategy.
“If there’s anything that’s clear,” Rumsfeld told Savannah, “it’s that they do not have that kind of unity at the present time because of a lack of clarity.”
Rumsfeld on Syria: Do something 'worth doing' or nothingPlay Video
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Syrian Refugees Fleeing Bombings Amass at Closed Turkish Border
Iraqi Troops Engage in Fierce Battle with ISIS
Thousands of Syrians Flock to Turkish Border North of Aleppo
3. As part of NBC’s week-long “Age of Alzheimer’s” series, experts shed light Wednesday morning on a growing trend in research: prevention.
“We have found that the brain changes of Alzheimer’s disease begin maybe 20, possibly 25 years before we expect individuals to develop symptoms of dementia,” Washington University’s Dr. John Morris told TODAY.
New focus for Alzheimer's research: PreventionPlay Video
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4. Could you use your own Mary Poppins? Well, “flying nannies” are actually a thing now, thanks to Etihad Airways. The UAE-based airline is hiring on-board babysitters to provide in-flight child care to passengers.
A gift from above: Nannies for plane passengersPlay Video
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Ryan Eggold on Pinterest, 'The Blacklist,' and being star struck
5. The party drug known as “Molly,” which killed two people over the weekend, is easier for kids to get their hands on than you might think. Jeff Rossen goes under cover to report on just how easy it is, and finds startling results.
Rossen Reports: Party drug 'Molly' is easy to getPlay Video
Pig on a plane?! Airline passengers abusing rules so pets fly for free
NY Attorney General releases report on 'fixed' concert tickets
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6. Viewers asked, and Hoda answered! To provide inspiration for viewers who never step foot in the kitchen (like herself!), Hoda prepared a three-step fish dish. The result: simple success!
“You get your own cooking show!” Kathie Lee said after trying the ponzu-soaked fish.
KLG on Miley Cyrus: Vulgarity doesn't require talentPlay Video
Hoda and Jenna Bush Hager dig into Super Bowl cakes
Hoda remembers Jill Brzezinski-Conley's brave cancer battle
Cassidy Gifford enters the weird world of sports
Vanessa Hudgens performs in 'Grease Live' just after losing her dad
And that's TODAY's Takeaway!