TIME Crime

Justice Department Announces $20 Million Cop Body Camera Pilot Program

Police Body Cameras
Damian Dovarganes—AP A Los Angeles Police officer wears an on-body camera Jan. 15, 2014. Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti plans to equip every LAPD officer with a camera.

The funding will pay for body cameras and training

The Obama Administration will launch a $20 million pilot program awarding body cameras to police agencies in an effort to improve the relationship between law enforcement and the communities they serve, officials announced Friday.

The announcement follows riots in Baltimore sparked by the death of Freddie Gray, who died in police custody. Later Friday morning, Baltimore authorities announced that Gray’s death had been ruled a homicide and the six officers who arrested him would face criminal charges.

Body cameras have become a popular policy response to ease distrust between the police and black communities following high-profile police-involved deaths of Gray, Walter Scott, Eric Garner, Michael Brown and others. This week, Gray’s attorney and Hillary Clinton both advocated for the use of body cameras.

The Department of Justice pilot program aims to provide 50 awards to police agencies across the country. Federal officials would purchase body cameras, train the authorities on how to use them and develop tools to evaluate best practices. DOJ said the program is part of President Obama’s proposal to invest $75 million over three years to purchase 50,000 body-worn cameras for police agencies.

TIME public health

Pit Bull Spreads Largest U.S. Outbreak of Pneumonic Plague in 90 Years

Four people got sick in the plague outbreak

The largest outbreak of pneumonic plague in the U.S. in 90 years started with an infected pit bull, according to a new government report.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced Friday that four adults contracted the plague last summer after a middle-aged man’s 2-year-old American pit bull terrier fell ill with a fever and was coughing up blood. The man had the dog put down but a few days later he developed similar symptoms and checked himself into a hospital. After his condition worsened, he was transferred to another medical facility and spent 23 days hospitalized in all before recovering.

Researchers contacted 114 people who had come in contact with the dog or his owner and found three others who had gotten sick. Two were employees of the vet clinic that euthanized the pit bull and the other person had “close contact” with the owner and got the dog’s blood on her hands after it died. All of them reported getting a fever but none became as sick as the owner.

If the fourth case, the woman who had close contact with the owner, was caused by the man and not his pet, it would be the first time someone has contracted the plague from another human since 1924, according to the CDC, and the Colorado cases compose the largest outbreak since then. The illness is very rare in the United States; only 74 cases were reported from 1900 to 2012.

 

TIME Japan

Japanese Premier Dodges WWII, Pushes Trade Deal in Address to Congress

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe speaks to a joint meeting of the US Congress while flanked by Vice President Joseph Biden (L) and House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) (R) in the House chamber of the US Capitol on April 29, 2015 in Washington.
Mark Wilson—Getty Images Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe speaks to a joint meeting of the US Congress while flanked by Vice President Joseph Biden (L) and House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) (R) in the House chamber of the US Capitol on April 29, 2015 in Washington.

Pledges New Military Cooperation

For the first time in history, a Japanese Prime Minister addressed a joint session of Congress Wednesday. And 70 years after the end of World War II, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe avoided an explicit apology for the war’s worst tragedies, focusing instead on the turnaround between the two countries and their efforts to strengthen their military and economic ties.

“The peace and security of the post-war world was not possible without American leadership,” said Abe. “That’s the path for Japan to ally itself with the U.S., and to go forward as a member of the Western world.”

“We support the ‘rebalancing’ by the U.S. in order to enhance the peace and security of the Asia-Pacific region,” he said. “We will support the U.S. effort first, last, and throughout.”

Abe stuck closely to his script and spent much of the speech, titled “Toward an Alliance of Hope,” looking forward. As Congress prepares to debate the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a major trade deal that would affect 12 countries and 40% of the world’s GDP, Abe called for a “successful conclusion” to the multi-party negotiations. “We must take the lead to build a market that is fair, dynamic, sustainable, and is also free from the arbitrary intentions of any nation,” he said. “Long-term, its strategic value is awesome. We should never forget that.”

Abe said the U.S. and Japan would strike a historic deal this summer further uniting the military cooperation between the U.S. and Japan. And he underscored what he said was a peaceful strategy to resolve a simmering fight over disputed territories with China in the South China Sea.

On the darkest time in U.S-Japan relations, WWII, Abe expressed sorrow for Japanese actions. His sentiments received a standing ovation, despite the feeling among some members, including Japanese-American Rep. Mike Honda, that Japan should issue an unequivocal apology for Japan’s subjugation of “comfort women” during the war. Abe said he visited the WWII memorial before the speech and “gasped” after learning that the thousands of gold stars there each represent the lives of 100 fallen soldiers. An American soldier who landed in Iwo Jima sat next to a member of Abe’s cabinet, whose grandfather fought in that bloody battle.

“History is harsh,” said Abe. “What is done cannot be undone. With deep repentance in my heart, I stood there in silent prayers for some time…On behalf of Japan and the Japanese people, I offer with profound respect my eternal condolences to the souls of all American people that were lost during World War II.”

“Armed conflicts have always made women suffer the most,” he added. “In our age, we must realize the kind of world where finally women are free from human rights abuses.”

While a recent poll found that over 70% of Americans had never heard of Abe, his speech revealed a personal familiarity with their country, dropping references to filibusters, Gary Cooper and Abe Lincoln. He noted his time as a student in California eating Italian food and ended his speech quoting Carole King, who sung “a song that flew out and shook my heart.” Acknowledging U.S. aid after a devastating tsunami hit Japan in 2011, Abe said, “Yes, we’ve got a friend in you.”

TIME Marco Rubio

The Marco Rubio Amendment That Could Kill the Iran Deal

Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL).
Andrew Burton—Getty Images Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL).

Sen. Marco Rubio has proposed a change to the Iran nuclear review bill that could unravel a carefully crafted compromise and kill the Obama Administration’s negotiations.

At issue is a one-page amendment from the Florida Republican and 2016 presidential candidate that would certify as part of the deal that Iran’s leaders have publicly accepted Israel’s right to exist as a Jewish state, a proposal earlier pushed by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Earlier this month, President Obama rejected that idea. “The notion that we would condition Iran not getting nuclear weapons in a verifiable deal on Iran recognizing Israel is really akin to saying that we won’t sign a deal unless the nature of the Iranian regime completely transforms,” the president told NPR. “And that is, I think, a fundamental misjudgment. I want to return to this point: We want Iran not to have nuclear weapons precisely because we can’t bank on the nature of the regime changing. That’s exactly why we don’t want to have nuclear weapons.”

Many Republicans support the idea, however, while some influential Democrats, such as New York Sen. Chuck Schumer, have declined to comment on any amendments.

“If it gets offered, that’s a very hard vote because we all support Israel’s right to exist and Iran recognizing that,” says South Dakota Republican Sen. John Thune. “I think that’s awfully hard to vote against but we’ll see how it is structured and if it happens or not.”

After 18 months of negotiations, U.S., Britain, China, France, Russia, Germany and Iran struck a framework agreement on April 2 to limit Iran’s ability to build a nuclear weapon in exchange for reducing economic sanctions. The negotiators now have about two months to meet their June 30 deadline to seal a comprehensive accord and find a compromise to major issues, including the level of enriched uranium Iran is allowed to stockpile and the pace of the repealed sanctions.

The bipartisan Senate bill prevents the president from waiving Congress’ economic sanctions against Iran for up to 52 days after submitting the agreement’s text to Congress. The Obama Administration had pushed back on the congressional oversight but relented after changes to the bill and evidence that the bill would receive a wave of support. On Tuesday, Tennessee Republican Sen. Bob Corker and Maryland Democratic Sen. Ben Cardin announced that their bill has a veto-proof 67 co-sponsors.

But Cardin and others believe that Rubio could upend the bill if he introduces his controversial amendment for a vote. The powerful pro-Israel lobby AIPAC is taking Obama’s side in fear that it might bring the overall deal down, according to Thune. An AIPAC official told TIME that they are requesting senators to “bear in mind” the need to retain consensus and to “refrain from supporting provisions that could harm that bipartisan support.” The official added that AIPAC is supporting the leadership of Corker and Cardin, who says that the Rubio amendment could do three things: derail the bill, hurt the Administration’s negotiations and help Iran. “All three are horrible results,” says Cardin.

Corker urged his Republican colleagues during lunch Tuesday to understand the precious balance of the deal.

“Let’s not snatch defeat from the jaws of victory here,” Corker, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman, told TIME.

Rubio’s office declined to comment.

TIME trade

Meet the Critics of President Obama’s Trade Deal

Barack Obama speaks at a ceremony at CIA headquarters in McLean, Va. on April 24, 2015.
Kevin Dietsch—dpa/Corbis Barack Obama speaks at a ceremony at CIA headquarters in McLean, Va. on April 24, 2015.

Republicans in Congress are poised to give President Obama broad powers to cement a legacy-defining free trade deal with Pacific countries.

Backed by major conservative and business groups, bills to grant the president fast-track authority passed through Republican-led House and Senate committees last week with enough Senate Democratic support for eventual passage, unless the bill changes dramatically on its way to a final vote or Republican support crumbles.

Not every member of the GOP on Capitol Hill is gung ho about the idea. It’s unclear exactly how many, but estimates of GOP opponents range from as few as a dozen to two dozen to as many as 60, according to various news reports. The lower estimates are likely not enough, but the higher ones could sink the bill, which is designed to allow Obama to sign the Trans Pacific Partnership, a 12-country trade deal that would affect about a third of the world’s trade.

Critics fear that fast-track authority would further exacerbate income inequality and cut deeper into a manufacturing sector that bled millions of jobs last decade. Ohio Rep. David Joyce said he doesn’t understand why his fellow Republicans support trade promotion authority (or TPA) — which would limit debate in Congress by allowing the president to negotiate deals that could only be voted up or down without amendment — when they oppose Obama’s negotiations on Iran’s nuclear weapons program.

“I find it sort of humorous that they don’t trust the president on Iran or anything else but they’ll trust him with TPA, which I think could really do severe damage to our country and to manufacturing as a whole,” says Joyce, who counts himself among about a dozen GOP opponents.

Tucked in between Cleveland and Akron and spread into the northeast tip of the state, Joyce’s district boasts a manufacturing economy composed of 1,500 companies responsible for around 65,400 jobs and $930 million in wages, according to his office. “I never believed the president had this authority to begin with,” says Joyce. “So you start with that premise. And then in the last 28 months as I’ve worked the district, I’ve learned more and more manufacturers say this just hasn’t worked for us.”

Some pro-trade economists criticize opponents like Joyce for listening to politically active but less important sectors of their state. Two of the top five industries that gave the most money to Joyce’s reelection campaign last year were manufacturing companies and transportation unions, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. And while the manufacturing sector employs about 13 percent of his state’s workforce, Ohio Democratic Sen. Sherrod Brown, a fierce TPA opponent, tells TIME that the industry “matters to us as much or more than other state in the country.”

“I’m sure Ohio thinks of itself as a manufacturing state,” says Gary Clyde Hufbauer, senior fellow at the Peterson Institute for International Economics. “It’s not. Nobody is today. Manufacturing is down to about 11% of employment in the U.S.”

“There are many strong service industries in the US which will export abroad who are totally underrepresented in the political debate,” he adds. “The political debate is all centered on manufacturing and agriculture. And services, which is two thirds of our economy, is pretty well forgotten.”

The TPP deal the Administration has been negotiating for nearly five years would affect a broad swath of international law concerning a host of issues including those concerning labor, the environment, intellectual property, agriculture, data exclusivity and investor-state arbitration among others. Peter Petri, a Brandeis University professor of international finance whose models have been used by the Chamber of Commerce, says that the Trans Pacific Partnership will set the “benchmark” for global trade rules in relatively new areas in the services, investment and internet industries in which America has a competitive advantage.

“Global rules are becoming steadily less relevant in these areas because they were negotiated 20 years ago,” Petri tells TIME. “So we are heading for anarchy of sorts, with big countries deciding on an ad hoc basis on how to deal with each new technology, transaction and company, based on their narrow, short-term advantage. For the US, this may mean keeping a few more jobs in low-wage industries, but it will frustrate our most important global industries, and probably weaken the world economy for everyone.”

But even by Petri’s calculations the macroeconomic effect for the trade deal would be modest, adding about $77 billion per year to U.S. real incomes by 2025. And there will be winners — sophisticated equipment manufacturers for everything from turbines to medical equipment to heavy earth-moving machines — and losers, including producers of furniture and basic consumer electronics, according to Hufbauer. A Peterson Institute study says the U.S. manufacturing sector will contract by $44 billion, while companies in the services industry will expand by $79 billion.

Brown, who wears a canary in a cage pin to display his solidarity with workers’ rights, argues that TPP will be a disaster, with broad, long-lasting negative consequences for both his state and country.

“Fundamentally what these trade agreements have done is encouraged companies to follow business plans, which were sort of unknown until 20 years ago, where you shut down production in Steubenville or Toledo and move it to Wuhan or Mexico City and sell the products back into the United States,” says Brown.

“They talk about increased exports, but that’s a lot like saying well the Tigers got 5 runs, but the Indians got 7,” adds Brown of the United States Trade Representative office, which has been lobbying Democrats. “So you’ve got to talk exports-imports and every trade agreement we pass, we end up losing more jobs — good-paying manufacturing jobs, often union jobs, sometimes not.”

The debate will only heat up in next several weeks when TPA heads to the floor of the Senate and House. While Boehner and other Republicans in leadership continue to push the bill, Brown will headline an AFL-CIO event in Cleveland on May 4 in protest. Meanwhile Joyce will lay low — he doesn’t plan on attending any trade-specific events back home next week.

TIME Education

University of Florida Suspends Fraternity Over Alleged Insults to Disabled Veterans

"There is no doubt that some of our members engaged in ugly and unacceptable behavior"

The University of Florida suspended one of its fraternities on Friday, after several fraternity members were accused of disrespecting wounded military veterans during an event at a Panama City Beach resort last weekend.

Members of the Zeta Beta Tau fraternity, which was already on probation for hazing during the fall semester, are accused of spitting on veterans, throwing bottles of beer over a balcony and urinating on the American flag, according to a letter sent to University of Florida President Kent Fuchs, the Gainesville Sun reports.

University officials said the chapter was accused of a series of offenses, including obscene behavior, public intoxication, theft, damage to property and physical harm. The fraternity will be suspended from participating in all university activities until the investigation has concluded.

“I am personally offended and disappointed by the behavior that has been described to me,” said student affairs vice president Dave Kratzer, also a retired U.S. Army major general, in a public statement. “This is not representative of our students or of the university.”

Fuchs and the fraternity have apologized to Linda Cope, the founder of the Warrior Beach Retreat, who had organized the gathering of about 60 veterans who fought in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Zeta Beta Tau also posted a statement to its website condemning the frat members’ misbehavior.

“While the details of their actions are still under investigation, there is no doubt that some of our members engaged in ugly and unacceptable behavior,” it reads. “Their actions have no place in ZBT or anywhere, and they will not be tolerated.” The fraternity chapter has suspended all its activities and is cooperating with the investigation, the statement added.

The University of Florida also issued a separate apology earlier Friday:

The University of Florida is extremely concerned about reports of illegal behavior involving our students last weekend in Panama City. Our policies establish standards of conduct, and we are investigating this matter.

We are deeply sorry for any hurt caused to veterans and their families. This is not representative of our students or our university.

Cope told the Gainesville Sun that she is looking forward to the university’s response.

“Nothing else is going to teach these men and women that you don’t treat these heroes with disrespect,” she said.

 

[Gainesville Sun]

TIME White House

Long Wait for Attorney General Nominee Will Soon Be Over

Loretta Lynch
Susan Walsh—AP Attorney General nominee Loretta Lynch is sworn in on Capitol Hill in Washington on Jan. 28, 2015 prior to testifying before the Senate Judiciary Committee’s hearing on her nomination.

Loretta Lynch, the first female African American nominee for U.S. Attorney General, has waited over 160 days for her confirmation vote. On Tuesday, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell announced that her wait would finally be over this week, “hopefully” in the next few days.

The historic hold-up ended as Senate negotiators announced an agreement Tuesday on an anti-human trafficking bill containing abortion language anathema to Democrats. Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid said that Republicans had agreed to their request not to expand the scope of the Hyde amendment, which bars the use of taxpayer funds for abortions, and added that the lengthy debate was a “contrived fight.” Republican leadership said the Senate would take up the Lynch vote as soon as they passed the bill.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell touted the anti-human trafficking bill as a celebratory moment for National Crime Victims’ Rights Week.

“It’s a stark reminder of the countless victims of modern slavery who continue to suffer horrifying exploitation at the hands of human traffickers — a stark reminder of the need to pass the Justice for Victims of Trafficking Act,” he said on the Senate floor Tuesday. “It’s a bill that victims groups and advocates have called ‘the most comprehensive and thoughtful piece of anti-trafficking legislation currently pending.’”

The breakthrough comes after President Obama sharply criticized the Senate Friday for stalling the Lynch nomination.

“Enough,” he said. “Enough. Call Loretta Lynch for a vote, get her confirmed, let her do her job. This is embarrassing.”

TIME Lindsey Graham

The Third Amigo Runs for President

Potential Republican 2016 presidential candidate U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) speaks at the First in the Nation Republican Leadership Conference in Nashua, New Hampshire, April 18, 2015.
Brian Snyder—Reuters Potential Republican 2016 presidential candidate U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) speaks at the First in the Nation Republican Leadership Conference in Nashua, New Hampshire, April 18, 2015.

Senator Lindsey Graham has watched two of his closest friends run unsuccessfully for President. Now, as he gears up for his own bid in 2016, the South Carolina Republican is hoping to use the lessons learned from their experiences to win.

Along with Arizona Senator John McCain and former Connecticut Senator Joe Lieberman, Graham has long been one of the “three amigos” — veteran politicians with an easy camaraderie built on a shared hawkish approach to foreign policy.

But while Lieberman’s bid for the Democratic nomination in 2004 failed to gain momentum and McCain’s primary campaign in 2000 and general election run in 2008 faltered, all three men think the timing may finally be right for Graham.

“The issue of national security will play more of a role in these primaries than anytime since Ronald Reagan was elected in 1980,” says McCain. “That I think is one advantage that he brings to the 20-person primary.”

Despite lackluster early polling numbers, Graham sees a straightforward path to the GOP nomination: staff up, advertise, set up a super PAC and raise $15 million to “get something going” in the crucial first states of Iowa and New Hampshire. Graham says he’ll “probably” make his decision official by late May or early June.

“For a guy like me it’s pretty simple,” says Graham. “I do well in Iowa and finish in the top tier in New Hampshire, I’ll win South Carolina. By the end of South Carolina there are three or four people left at the most.”

As he gets ready to run, Graham has looked to his two friends from the Senate for advice.

It may not help all that much. McCain recognizes that a vote for him in 2008 doesn’t necessarily translate to a vote for Graham. (“The one thing about the people of New Hampshire is they make up their own minds,” he says.) And overall the importance of having Lieberman and McCain by Graham’s side may matter more to members of the media — the return of the three amigos! — than to actual voters in a presidential race already crowded with at least six other formidable current and former Senators and governors.

But Lieberman and Graham have done more than offer an encouraging word. In March, as Graham became more vocal about his intentions, he spoke at a Capitol Hill event run by the Foreign Policy Initiative, a nonprofit think tank run by a former Lieberman staffer. Many staffers on Graham’s Security Through Strength PAC have McCain ties, including its spokesperson and two of its senior political advisers, while Graham’s New Hampshire visits have been shadowed by two other top McCain supporters.

“They’re a lot of McCainiacs up here still,” said Graham Saturday at a New Hampshire GOP conference featuring a score of presidential hopefuls.

McCain, who has reiterated the importance of the New Hampshire primary in his conversations with Graham, says his friend would thrive in the small group format that dominates the early months of jockeying. And Lieberman considers Graham’s humor and straight talk a major asset.

“He won’t hesitate to say things that don’t always poll well,” says Lieberman. “I think that will be very appealing first to Republican primary voters and to a state like New Hampshire.”

In Graham’s mind, both Lieberman and McCain would have reached the White House at some point if it hadn’t been for events largely outside of their control. In 2000 the Gore-Lieberman ticket lost by only hundreds of votes in an election with over 100 million votes cast. “You can’t get any closer,” says Graham. In 2004, Lieberman ran for the Democratic nomination but “time had passed him by.”

In 2000, McCain lost the primary to George W. Bush. Then in 2008, he lost the general election in part because of the collapsing economy and Bush’s unpopularity at the tail end of two terms in the White House. “I don’t think there’s anything John could have done differently,” says Graham.

Graham wasn’t always intent on running. Even among his closest friends, it wasn’t clear that he wanted to pursue the White House until December, a few weeks after he cruised to take a third Senate term following a primary where he torched six challengers. Graham says he had a “long talk” with McCain and called Lieberman to ask him what he thought about making a run to be the 45th President.

“I said to him that there’s nothing to lose,” Lieberman told TIME. “This is not sort of a desperate run to be President. This is, I think, an exploration and a feeling that he wants a larger audience for his ideas.”

“That meant a lot to me,” says Graham of the phone call with Lieberman. “That encouraged me … I know what’s coming my way in terms of the money and scrutiny. I understand that. But what I wanted basically was somebody who I admire, who’s been on the world stage at the highest levels.”

“He really believes I should do it,” he adds. “That made me more likely to do it. I think if he had been sort of patronizing I’d have thought twice about it.”

Then Graham had a “reinforcing moment” in February, when he sat in the aisle of a plane headed from Munich to Andrews Air Force base between Lieberman and former Arizona Senator Jon Kyl, who Graham says is helping form his campaign organization. Graham peppered them with questions for about an hour about how he should run while the other two mentors discussed the financial and personal pressures of running against a tough field in a Twitter-paced media environment. Graham said they urged him to build off of his performance at the Munich Security Conference, which Bret Stephens of the Wall Street Journal called the “most impressive” in a lineup that included Vice President Joe Biden and McCain.

In two phone interviews lasting nearly 45 minutes combined, McCain and Lieberman both proved long-winded in their support of Graham. McCain calls him “like a younger brother to me” and says he’ll “do anything that he asks” when it comes to supporting Graham. Lieberman, who endorsed McCain in 2008 and has not ruled out crossing over again for Graham, says his friend has a “unique” track record of working with Democrats that could prove appealing to independent-minded voters in New Hampshire. While Graham has proved willing to go across the aisle to introduce major bills, introducing with his friends sweeping packages to reform the immigration system and address climate change, he hasn’t always proved successful in closing the deal.

Both Lieberman and Graham see the debates as key opportunities for Graham to shine. Lieberman says he doesn’t think he has ever seen Graham speak with a prepared text, noting that his friend writes by hand only outlines for major speeches. “When they pull out the teleprompter, then we’ve got trouble,” jokes Lieberman.

“He is an incredibly quick study — much quicker than I am,” adds McCain. “He can take an issue and he can digest it … He is really superb on his feet.”

McCain also thinks Graham will benefit from having studied his 2008 campaign. He recalls sitting in a hotel room with Graham as the South Carolina primary results were coming in, looking through maps of the state throughout the night before eking out a 3-percentage-point win over former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee. “He was an immeasurable help in South Carolina,” says McCain. “We had to win that.”

Graham served as McCain’s stress ball, injecting some levity during the campaign’s long hours. In his interview with TIME, McCain claimed that one of Graham’s “favorite flicks” was the raunchy comedy Borat. “I don’t allege that Lindsey is a highbrow,” joked McCain. On the trail, McCain would needle Graham, telling reporters that his favorite restaurant was Olive Garden. On a rare free moment in Florida, McCain sought out the restaurant and the three of them went with their staffs.

“We went to like the first Olive Garden,” says Graham. “It’s like going to Mecca for me.”

“He suffers those jibes quite graciously,” says Lieberman. “John gets a line and he really runs with it.”

Their friendship, built over about a decade of committee hearings and overseas trips, has allowed the “amigos” to see Graham’s negatives too. In a race with more than a handful of strong competitors, both McCain and Lieberman wonder if he can raise enough money. Lieberman notes that Graham’s national recognition levels aren’t that high despite his TV appearances — he’s already been on five Sunday shows this year, more than Senators Rand Paul, Ted Cruz or Marco Rubio, according to Roll Call. And his interest in running hasn’t yet caught up to pollsters. One New Hampshire GOP primary poll in February evaluated 18 candidates, but not Graham, while the South Carolina’s GOP party didn’t put him on its 25-person online straw poll until mid-March.

“I don’t know if he can win the nomination or be President of the United States, but he is one of the most really unusual great American stories in people I have known in my life,” says McCain.

No matter what happens, Graham sees little downside in running for the White House.

“There’s a nobility in trying,” he says.

Read next: Jeb Bush Narrowly Leads Tight Republican Presidential Race, Poll Says

Listen to the most important stories of the day.

TIME China

China Building Runway in Disputed South China Sea Islands

Airstrip construction on Fiery Cross Reef in the South China Sea, seen in a satellite image taken on April 2, 2015.
Reuters Airstrip construction on Fiery Cross Reef in the South China Sea, seen in a satellite image taken on April 2, 2015.

The runway could increase China's influence in the region

China is building a runway capable of handling military aircraft in disputed territory in the South China Sea, according to a recent satellite image released Thursday.

The runway on a reef in the Spratly Islands, an archipelago also claimed in part by Vietnam and the Philippines, could stretch to nearly 10,000 feet and expand China’s influence in a region where at least six countries have overlapping claims. U.S. officials have expressed growing concern over China using reefs to build artificial islands and expand its military presence in the area. China has acknowledged that the islands will serve both civilian and military purposes, according to the New York Times.

President Obama said last week that he had concerns of China using “its sheer size and muscle to force countries into subordinate positions.”

“We think this can be solved diplomatically, but just because the Philippines or Vietnam are not as large as China doesn’t mean that they can just be elbowed aside,” added Obama.

Satellite images detail China's construction activity on Fiery Cross Reef.
EPASatellite images detail China’s construction activity on Fiery Cross Reef.

Construction on the runway appears to have begun in the past few months.

Read next: Veteran Chinese Journalist Gao Yu Sentenced to 7 Years

Listen to the most important stories of the day.

TIME Bizarre

It’s Raining Worms in Norway

And it's not even the first time

Forget cats and dogs. It’s been raining worms in Norway.

Biology teacher Karstein Erstad recently came across “thousands of earthworms” on top of snow at least half a yard deep while skiing on mountains outside Bergen, according to The Local, an English-language European news network.

“It’s a very rare phenomenon,” he said, citing reports he found of worm rainfall in the 1920s. “It’s difficult to say how many times it happens, but it has only been reported a very few times.”

“People have now observed the same phenomenon in many places in Norway,” added Erstad. “It’s very peculiar, I don’t know why so many people have discovered it. I don’t know if there have been some special weather conditions lately.”

[The Local]

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