TIME States

California Becomes First State to Ban Plastic Bags

(SACRAMENTO, Calif.) — Gov. Jerry Brown has signed legislation imposing the nation’s first statewide ban on single-use plastic bags.

Brown on Tuesday signed the bill by Democratic state Sen. Alex Padilla of Los Angeles.

Plastic bags will be phased out of large grocery stores starting next year and convenience stores and pharmacies in 2016. The legislation is meant to encourage consumers to bring their own bags and as a way to reduce litter.

The bill preserves more than 100 local plastic bag bans, including in San Francisco and Los Angeles. Grocers support the ban because it sets a statewide standard and allows them to charge consumers a 10 cent fee for using paper bags.

Plastic and paper bag manufacturers opposed to the legislation say it will result in lost manufacturing jobs in California.

TIME

Oklahoma Man Charged With Murder in Beheading

(OKLAHOMA CITY) — Authorities have charged an Oklahoma man with first-degree murder in the beheading of a Vaughan Foods plant worker.

Cleveland County prosecutor Greg Mashburn announced the charges Tuesday against 30-year-old Alton Nolen. The attack killed 54-year-old Colleen Hufford, and 43-year-old Traci Johnson was repeatedly stabbed. Johnson survived the attack.

Nolen had been fired from the company just before he walked into the plant’s administrative office in suburban Oklahoma City on Thursday and attacked the women. The company’s chief operating officer, who is also a reserve sheriff’s deputy, shot Nolen, stopping the attack, police said.

Nolen’s family says he recently had converted to Islam. Mashburn said federal authorities were still investigating whether there was any connection.

TIME Gaza

Gaza Lions Sent to Jordan After War Damages Zoo

(BEIT LAHIYA, Gaza Strip) — A trio of scrawny lions was brought into Israel from Gaza on Tuesday en route to a better life at a wildlife sanctuary in Jordan after their zoo was damaged in the recent Israel-Hamas war.

The three, a pair of males and a pregnant female, were sedated at Al-Bisan zoo in Beit Lahiya before the big cats were placed in metal cages and loaded onto a truck that transferred them through the Erez border crossing into Israel.

Amir Khalil of the Four Paws International welfare group said the zoo’s animals were in urgent need of care after the 50-day war. He said the zoo was badly damaged and more than 80 animals died as a result of the fighting.

Al-Bisan is one of five makeshift zoos in Gaza that have spotty animal welfare records.

Most of the zoo animals in Gaza have been hauled into the isolated territory through smuggling tunnels linking the territory to Egypt. In one famous scene captured on film, Gazans used a crane to lift a camel over the border fence by one of its legs as the animal writhed in agony.

Israel and Egypt have imposed a blockade on Gaza since 2007, when the Islamic militant group Hamas seized power there.

Last year a pair of newborn lion cubs died shortly after they were proudly unveiled by Gaza’s Hamas rulers.

Gaza’s main zoo once turned to improvised taxidermy to keep its deceased animals on exhibit while another painted stripes on donkeys to try and make them look like zebras.

TIME Companies

PayPal to Separate From eBay in 2015

The logo of online payment company PayPal is pictured during LeWeb 2013 event in Saint-Denis, France on Dec. 10, 2013.
The logo of online payment company PayPal is pictured during LeWeb 2013 event in Saint-Denis, France on Dec. 10, 2013. Eric Piermont —AFP/Getty Images

(SAN JOSE, Calif.) — PayPal is splitting from EBay Inc. and will become a separate and publicly traded company next year.

The separation is expected to occur in the second half of 2015.

EBay said Tuesday that its board decided that the separation was the best path for growth and shareholder value creation for each business.

Dan Schulman, the president of the enterprise growth group at American Express, will be the new president at PayPal, effective immediately. The 56-year-old will become PayPal’s CEO once the separation takes place.

TIME Afghanistan

Afghanistan, U.S. Sign Long-Awaited Security Pact

Ashraf Ghani Afghanistan
Afghan President Ashraf Ghani looks on as he listens to teachers during his visit to the Amani High School in Kabul on Sept. 30, 2014. Wakil Kohsar—Pool/Reuters

Update: Sept. 30, 11:37 a.m. ET

(KABUL, Afghanistan) — Afghanistan and the United States signed a security pact on Tuesday to allow U.S. forces to remain in the country past the end of year, ending a year of uncertainty over the fate of foreign troops supporting Afghans as they take over responsibility for the country’s security.

Afghan, American and NATO leaders welcomed the deal, which will allow about 10,000 American troops to stay in the country after the international combat mission ends Dec. 31. Former Afghan President Hamid Karzai had refused to sign it despite U.S. threats of a full withdrawal in the absence of legal protections for American forces. U.S. officials have said that the delay in the deal’s signing does not affect plans for next year.

President Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai, who was sworn into office a day earlier, told a crowd assembled at the presidential palace in the capital Kabul for the signing ceremony that the agreement signaled a fundamental shift for the positive in the country’s relations with the world.

“This agreement is only for Afghan security and stability,” he said in comments broadcast live on state television. “These agreements are in our national interest. The Bilateral Security Agreement will pave the ground for Afghanistan to take control,” he added.

President Barack Obama hailed what he called a “historic day in the U.S.-Afghan partnership that will help advance our shared interests and the long-term security of Afghanistan,” according to a White House statement.

“This agreement represents an invitation from the Afghan Government to strengthen the relationship we have built over the past 13 years and provides our military service members the necessary legal framework to carry out two critical missions after 2014: targeting the remnants of al-Qaida and training, advising, and assisting Afghan National Security Forces,” it said.

More than a decade after U.S. forces helped topple the Taliban in the wake of the Sept. 11 attacks, Afghanistan is still at war with the Islamic militant group, which regularly carries out attacks, mainly targeting security forces.

Newly appointed Afghan national security adviser Mohammad Hanif Atmar and U.S. Ambassador James Cunningham signed the actual document. A second agreement allowing NATO troops to stay in the country was signed during the same ceremony.

Government Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah, who has assumed a post akin to prime minister after signing a power-sharing agreement with Ghani Ahmadzai, also welcomed the security deal.

“It has been signed after very careful considerations,” he said, adding that “the BSA is not a threat to our neighbors. It will help strengthen peace and stability in the region.”

Abdullah and Ghani Ahmadzai struck the power-sharing agreement earlier this month after a prolonged dispute over alleged voting fraud in June’s presidential runoff. Karzai’s refusal to sign the security pact, and the prolonged uncertainty over who would succeed him, had delayed the signing.

NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen welcomed the agreement, saying it outlined the group’s new mission to train, advise and assist Afghan forces.

“We remain committed to help finance the Afghan security forces through 2017, to help Afghanistan to further strengthen its institutions, and to further develop our political and practical cooperation with Afghanistan through our Enduring Partnership,” he said in a statement.

TIME Australia

Australian Police Arrest 1 in Counterterrorism Raids

Australia Terrorism
A police officer, left, speaks with two people outside of a house where a man was taken into custody during a counterterrorism raid in Seabrook, suburban Melbourne on Sept. 30, 2014 Julian Smith—AP

Police say the raids came after an eight-month investigation that began with a tip from the FBI

(MELBOURNE) — One man was arrested in counterterrorism raids in the Australian city of Melbourne on Tuesday after police said he provided money to a U.S. citizen fighting alongside extremists in Syria.

Hassan El Sabsabi, 23, appeared briefly in a Melbourne court on six counts of intentionally making funds available to a terrorist organization. He did not enter a plea or apply for bail.

El Sabsabi’s arrest comes a week after Melbourne police fatally shot a terror suspect who had stabbed two officers. Federal Police Assistant Commissioner Neil Gaughan said Tuesday’s arrest was not connected to that incident.

Police say the raids came after an eight-month investigation that began with a tip from the FBI. El Sabsabi is accused of giving about $12,000 to a U.S. citizen to fund his travel to Syria, where he is currently fighting, Gaughan said. The two men are not related and know each other primarily through social media, he said.

Gaughan declined to release details about the American in Syria, except to say he’d been fighting there for “a number of months.”

El Sabsabi was not involved in planning an attack, and there was no specific threat to the public, Gaughan said. Police believe he was operating alone, and was about to provide additional funds.

State and federal police officers raided seven properties in Melbourne on Tuesday and collected a large amount of electronic data, Gaughan said.

“This is a terrorism financing case — we didn’t assess there being a significant community safety risk, or a significant risk to our officers,” Victoria Police Deputy Commissioner Graham Ashton said.

Prosecutor Andrew Doyle said the evidence against El Sabsabi includes 25,000 pages of material from social media accounts and 500 telephone calls and messages.

El Sabsabi’s lawyer Trieu Huynh told the court that his client had never been in custody before. He asked that a doctor examine El Sabsabi as soon as possible for a medical condition, which Huynh declined to detail in court.

El Sabsabi said nothing and was ordered to reappear in February. If convicted, he could face up to life in prison.

Earlier this month, Australia raised its terror warning to the second-highest level, citing the domestic threat posed by supporters of the Islamic State militant group.

Prime Minister Tony Abbott told Parliament security agencies know of 100 people within Australia who are supporting terrorist groups overseas through recruitment or funding. He said 630 million Australian dollars ($550 million) in new spending on intelligence, law enforcement and border protection agencies over the next four years would include AU$20 million for the anti-money laundering agency AUSTRAC to help prevent terrorism funding.

“Anyone who supports terrorists is complicit in the dreadful deeds they do,” Abbott said.

Last week, terror suspect Numan Haider, 18, was killed after he stabbed two police officers during a routine meeting outside a Melbourne police station. Both officers are recovering.

TIME White House

Reports: WH Intruder Gets Far Past Front Door

(WASHINGTON) — The intruder who climbed a fence made it farther inside the White House than the Secret Service has publicly acknowledged, the Washington Post and New York Times newspapers reported Monday. The disclosures came on the eve of a congressional oversight hearing with the director of the embattled agency assigned to protect the president’s life.

Citing unnamed sources — three people familiar with the incident and a congressional aide — the newspapers said Omar J. Gonzalez ran past the guard at the front door and into the East Room, which is about halfway across the first floor of the building. Gonzalez was eventually “tackled” by a counter-assault agent, according to the Post, which was first to report the news.

In the hours after the fence-jumper incident, Secret Service spokesman Ed Donovan told The Associated Press that the suspect had been apprehended just inside the North Portico doors of the White House.

The Secret Service also said that night that the suspect had been unarmed — an assertion that was revealed to be false the next day when officials acknowledged Gonzalez had a knife with him when he was apprehended.

Getting so far would have required Gonzalez to dash through the main entrance hall, turn a corner, then run through the center hallway half-way across the first floor of the building, which spans 168 feet in total, according to the White House Historical Association.

Secret Service Director Julia Pierson was scheduled to testify before a House committee on Tuesday for the first time since the Sept. 19 incident. The new details about a far more significant breach were expected to dominate the lawmakers’ inquiries.

A Secret Service spokesman declined to comment on the latest details because of the ongoing investigation.

It was a security lapse that could have had serious consequences, if the intruder had been heavily armed and if the president and his family had been home. No one was hurt in the incident, but it’s not the first involving the White House itself, raising the question whether the latest breach is part of a pattern of delayed reactions to threats to the executive mansion. The Secret Service says that is not the case. And President Barack Obama has confidence in the Secret Service to do its job.

The Post reported over the weekend that the Secret Service did not immediately respond to shots fired at the White House in 2011, amid what the agency describes as uncertainty about where the shots originated. Four days later, it was discovered that at least one of the shots broke the glass of a window on the third level of the mansion, the Secret Service said.

At the time of the 2011 breach, the president and first lady Michelle Obama were away, but their daughters were in Washington — one home and the other due to return that night.

Oscar R. Ortega-Hernandez of Idaho has been sentenced to 25 years in prison for the 2011 incident.

Gonzalez, 42, was arrested Sept. 19 after agents stopped him inside the White House front door.

“The president and the first lady, like all parents, are concerned about the safety of their children, but the president and first lady also have confidence in the men and women of the Secret Service to do a very important job, which is to protect the first family, to protect the White House, but also protect the ability of tourists and members of the public to conduct their business or even tour the White House,” White House spokesman Josh Earnest said Monday.

After the Sept. 19 breach, Pierson ordered a review of the incident and possible changes to security measures at and around the White House. She briefed the president on Thursday.

“The president is interested in the review that they are conducting, and I would anticipate that he’ll review whatever it is they — whatever reforms and recommendations they settle upon,” Earnest said of the Secret Service’s internal review.

Secret Service officers who spotted Gonzalez scaling the fence quickly assessed that he didn’t have any weapons in his hands and wasn’t wearing clothing that could conceal substantial quantities of explosives, a primary reason agents did not fire their weapons, according to a U.S. official briefed on the investigation.

Gonzalez was on the Secret Service radar as early as July when state troopers arrested him during a traffic stop in southwest Virginia. State troopers there said Gonzalez had an illegal sawed-off shotgun and a map of Washington tucked inside a Bible with a circle around the White House, other monuments and campgrounds. The troopers seized a stash of other weapons and ammunition found during a search of Gonzalez’s car after his arrest.

The Secret Service interviewed Gonzalez in July, but had nothing with which to hold him. Gonzalez was released on bail. Then, on Aug. 25, Gonzalez was stopped and questioned again while he was walking along the south fence of the White House. He had a hatchet, but no firearms. His car was searched, but he was not arrested.

“There’s a misperception out there that we have some broad detention powers,” Donovan, the Secret Service spokesman, said. The Secret Service, like other law enforcement agencies, must have evidence of criminal behavior in order to file charges against someone. “Just because we have a concern about someone doesn’t mean we can interview or arrest them or put them in a mental health facility,” Donovan said.

The Secret Service has been trying to rehabilitate its image since a 2012 prostitution scandal erupted during a presidential visit to Colombia.

Earlier this year Pierson met privately with senators after an agent was found drunk in a hotel during a presidential trip to the Netherlands. That incident came just weeks after two agents in Florida were involved in a traffic accident that The Washington Post reported involved alcohol. There were no charges filed against the agents. And Pierson said neither incident was representative of the entire agency.

TIME justice

Grand Jury Gets 2nd Case on Ferguson Officer

(CLAYTON, Mo.) — A county judge on Monday approved a request by prosecutors to let a grand jury review a 2013 drug case in which an arresting officer was the suburban St. Louis police officer who fatally shot 18-year-old Michael Brown last month.

An attorney for Christopher Brooks alleges Ferguson officer Darren Wilson “roughed up” his client after he refused to hand over the keys to a locked car parked in his grandmother’s driveway, where police say they found drug paraphernalia and several ounces of pot.

“Wilson is compromised as a witness,” said defense attorney Nick Zotos, who opposed the request by Prosecuting Attorney Robert McCulloch’s office to shift the drug case to a panel that meets behind closed doors.

It wasn’t clear whether Brooks’ made the allegation against Wilson before or after Brown was killed, and the prosecutor’s office provided no immediate comment.

A police union attorney who has spent decades representing members of law enforcement in court told The Associated Press Monday that he represents Wilson, who is under a grand jury investigation over whether he used excessive force in the August shooting death of Brown.

James P.Towey, general counsel for the Missouri Fraternal Order of Police and a former general counsel for the St. Louis Police Officers Association, said Wilson may be willing to publicly discuss the case in the future. He declined to provide details of the whereabouts of Wilson, who has gone into hiding since Brown’s death.

Wilson, 28, received a Ferguson City Council commendation for his role in Brooks’ arrest in February 2013. Zotos questioned whether the honor was merited.

“We give trophies every day for just showing up,” he said after the brief hearing in St. Louis Circuit Court. “If you play on the team, you get a trophy.”

Zotos wants the marijuana distribution charge against Brooks dismissed because he doesn’t expect Wilson, who did not attend the preliminary hearing, to show up in court.

The same grand jury also is reviewing evidence in the Aug. 9 death of Michael Brown to determine whether Wilson should face criminal charges in a shooting that led to violent protests, hundreds of arrests, the summoning of the Missouri National Guard for security and international attention. McCulloch has said he expects the grand jury to complete its work on the Brown shooting by mid-October or early November, though its term has been extended until January.

The assistant prosecutor, who did not publicly identify himself in court, did not indicate during Brooks’ hearing why the county wants to shift the case to the grand jury.

TIME Afghanistan

U.S. Adviser: Afghanistan to Sign Troop Deal Tuesday

(KABUL, Afghanistan) — A senior adviser to U.S. President Barack Obama said Monday that Afghanistan will sign a deal Tuesday to allow American soldiers to remain in the country past the end of the year.

John Podesta, speaking to a news conference at the U.S. Embassy in Kabul, said he didn’t know if newly inaugurated President Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai would be the official signing the deal for Afghanistan.

Podesta said he would sign it on behalf of the U.S.

The deal will allow about 10,000 American troops to stay in the country after the international combat mission ends on Dec. 31.

The announcement comes after Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai was sworn in Monday as Afghanistan’s new president, replacing Hamid Karzai in the country’s first democratic transfer of power after the 2001 U.S.-led invasion toppled the Taliban.

Moments after Ghani Ahmadzai took the oath, he swore in his election challenger, Abdullah Abdullah, as chief executive, fulfilling a political pledge he had taken to share power and defuse election tensions that had threatened to spark violence between the country’s north and south.

In his first speech, Ghani Ahmadzai called on the Taliban and other militants to join the country’s political process and lay down their weapons. However, extremist violence Monday killed at least 12 civilians and police officers as foreign forces prepare to withdraw from the country at the end of the year.

“We are tired of war,” Ghani Ahmadzai said in a televised address. “Our message is peace, (but) this doesn’t mean we are weak.”

U.S. officials previously had said they expected Ghani Ahmadzai or an official in his government to sign the security agreement with the U.S. shortly after his inauguration. Both Ghani Ahmadzai and Abdullah said during their campaigns they would sign the deal.

TIME Education

California Adopts ‘Yes Means Yes’ Sex-Assault Rule

(SACRAMENTO, Calif.) — Gov. Jerry Brown announced Sunday that he has signed a bill that makes California the first in the nation to define when “yes means yes” and adopt requirements for colleges to follow when investigating sexual assault reports.

State lawmakers last month approved SB967 by Sen. Kevin de Leon, D-Los Angeles, as states and universities across the U.S. are under pressure to change how they handle rape allegations. Campus sexual assault victims and women’s advocacy groups delivered petitions to Brown’s office on Sept. 16 urging him to sign the bill.

De Leon has said the legislation will begin a paradigm shift in how college campuses in California prevent and investigate sexual assaults. Rather than using the refrain “no means no,” the definition of consent under the bill requires “an affirmative, conscious and voluntary agreement to engage in sexual activity.”

“Every student deserves a learning environment that is safe and healthy,” De Leon said in a statement Sunday night. “The State of California will not allow schools to sweep rape cases under the rug. We’ve shifted the conversation regarding sexual assault to one of prevention, justice, and healing.”

The legislation says silence or lack of resistance does not constitute consent. Under the bill, someone who is drunk, drugged, unconscious or asleep cannot grant consent.

Lawmakers say consent can be nonverbal, and universities with similar policies have outlined examples as a nod of the head or moving in closer to the person.

Advocates for victims of sexual assault supported the change as one that will provide consistency across campuses and challenge the notion that victims must have resisted assault to have valid complaints.

“This is amazing,” said Savannah Badalich, a student at UCLA, where classes begin this week, and the founder of the group 7000 in Solidarity. “It’s going to educate an entire new generation of students on what consent is and what consent is not… that the absence of a no is not a yes.”

The bill requires training for faculty reviewing complaints so that victims are not asked inappropriate questions when filing complaints. The bill also requires access to counseling, health care services and other resources.

When lawmakers were considering the bill, critics said it was overreaching and sends universities into murky legal waters. Some Republicans in the Assembly questioned whether statewide legislation is an appropriate venue to define sexual consent between two people.

There was no opposition from Republicans in the state Senate.

Gordon Finley, an adviser to the National Coalition for Men, wrote an editorial asking Brown not to sign the bill. He argued that “this campus rape crusade bill” presumes the guilt of the accused.

SB967 applies to all California post-secondary schools, public and private, that receive state money for student financial aid. The California State University and University of California systems are backing the legislation after adopting similar consent standards this year.

UC President Janet Napolitano recently announced that the system will voluntarily establish an independent advocate to support sexual assault victims on every campus. An advocacy office also is a provision of the federal Survivor Outreach and Support Campus Act proposed by U.S. Sen. Barbara Boxer and Rep. Susan Davis of San Diego, both Democrats.

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