TIME Crime

Police Shooting in NYC Housing Project Ruled Homicide

Police Involved Shooting
Oswald Denis of New York stands in front of the National Action Network on Nov. 22, 2014, in New York, after Rev. Al Sharpton spoke about the shooting of Akai Gurley, who was shot by an NYPD officer. Craig Ruttle—AP

(NEW YORK) — Prosecutors should charge a police officer who fatally shot an unarmed man in a dark public housing stairwell, elected officials said Monday after the medical examiner announced that the death was ruled a homicide.

City Councilwoman Inez Barron and Assemblyman-elect Charles Barron met with officials in the Brooklyn district attorney’s office on Monday. Afterward, Charles Barron told reporters he thought the shooting of Akai Gurley last week warrants a criminal charge for Officer Peter Liang.

He said Liang’s use of a police weapon “was reckless endangerment, it was criminally negligent homicide.”

Whether charges are filed would be up to Brooklyn District Attorney Kenneth Thompson, who has called the shooting “deeply troubling” and said it warrants “an immediate, fair and thorough investigation.” His office did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Monday.

In ruling the death a homicide, the city’s medical examiner’s office said its finding that Gurley’s death “resulted in full or in part from the actions of another person or persons,” a gunshot wound to the torso, “does not imply any statement about intent or culpability.”

“… The evaluation of the legal implications of this classification is a function of the district attorney and the criminal justice system,” the medical examiner said in a statement.

Liang and his partner, both rookie officers, were patrolling a pitch-dark stairwell with flashlights late Thursday when Gurley was shot, police said.

Police said the officers walked down the stairs onto an eighth-floor landing. Gurley and his girlfriend opened a stairwell door one floor down after giving up on waiting for an elevator. Police said Liang, patrolling with his gun drawn, fired without a word and apparently by accident, hitting Gurley from a distance of about 10 feet.

Charles Barron said the officers were “well trained” to keep their gun in their holster when there was no apparent danger. “When you pull your gun out and there’s no danger, then you have violated (New York Police Department) policy. And if you discharge that weapon, you did it deliberately because you were scared.”

Instead, he said, the officer should have pulled out only his flashlight and spoken to Gurley and his girlfriend.

In addition, he said another NYPD policy was violated when the two rookies were sent out on patrol, instead of an experienced officer who could guide a rookie.

Police Commissioner William Bratton previously called the shooting in Brooklyn’s gritty East New York neighborhood an apparent accident that claimed a “totally innocent” life.

Several hours after the news conference in front of the district attorney’s office, a group of about a dozen protesters calling for Bratton’s dismissal showed up at the New York University law school where the commissioner was to speak about new approaches to curbing crime.

A few minutes into his speech, they stood up, turned their backs to Bratton, and chanted “Hands up, don’t shoot” and “Bratton must go!”

The commissioner dismissed them, saying, “That’s the entertainment for the evening.”

Gurley’s death comes at a sensitive time in New York. On Staten Island, a grand jury is weighing whether to bring criminal charges against another officer in a chokehold death.

City police often conduct “vertical patrols” inside public housing by going from roofs down staircases that sometimes are havens for crime. Bratton has said the patrols are needed, and the development where Gurley was shot had recently seen a shooting, robberies and assaults.

Liang, 26, has been placed on modified duty. Under standard policy, police internal affairs investigators won’t be able to question him until prosecutors have decided whether to file criminal charges.

Mayor Bill de Blasio met with some of Gurley’s relatives Friday evening. His office declined to comment on the medical examiner’s findings.

TIME Infectious Disease

Salmonella in 10 States Linked to Raw Sprouts

(WASHINGTON) — Raw sprouts are linked to dozens of cases of food poisoning — again.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says 63 people from 10 states concentrated on the East Coast fell ill with salmonella linked to bean sprouts from a supplier in New York City. The CDC says the supplier, Wonton Foods Inc. of Brooklyn, has agreed to stop production for now.

The outbreak is one of three recently linked to raw sprouts. Two listeria deaths and three listeria illnesses were linked to consumption of mung bean sprouts in the Midwest over the summer, and 19 E. coli illnesses were linked to raw clover sprouts in mostly Western states in May.

Raw sprouts are a frequent culprit in foodborne illness because of the moist, warm conditions in which they are grown; there have been more than 30 outbreaks associated with different types of raw and lightly cooked sprouts since the mid-1990s. Federal regulators have warned against eating them at all, advising consumers to always cook them thoroughly and to ask that raw sprouts be left off their plate at restaurants.

The CDC said that 78 percent of those interviewed in the current outbreak reported eating bean sprouts or items containing bean sprouts in the week before they became sick. The CDC and Food and Drug Administration found that Wonton Foods was a supplier to many of the restaurants where those who became sick had eaten.

Wonton Foods “has verbally agreed to voluntarily stop the production and sale of their bean sprouts while they take steps to prevent Salmonella contamination,” the CDC said.

A person answering the phone at Wonton Foods said the company had no comment and declined to give their name.

The illnesses were reported from the end of September to the beginning of November, according to the CDC. People were sickened in 10 states: Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, Montana, New Hampshire, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and Vermont. The one ill person from Montana likely became ill on a trip to the East Coast, the CDC said.

Salmonella illness usually develops 12 to 72 hours after infection and can cause diarrhea, fever and abdominal cramps. The illness lasts around 4 to 7 days, and most people recover without treatment.

TIME

Iran Nuclear Talks to Be Extended Until July

Officials sit around the negotiations table during their meeting in Vienna
Officials sit around the negotiations table during their meeting in Vienna on Nov. 24, 2014. Joe Klamar—Reuters

The move gives both sides breathing space to work out an agreement but may be badly received by domestic skeptics

(VIENNA) — Facing still significant differences between the U.S. and Iran, negotiators gave up on last-minute efforts to get a nuclear deal by the Monday deadline and extended their talks for another seven months.

The move gives both sides breathing space to work out an agreement but may be badly received by domestic skeptics, since it extends more than a decade of diplomatic efforts to curb Iran’s nuclear prowess.

International negotiators are worried that Iran is using its nuclear development program as a cover for developing nuclear weapons and they have imposed economic sanctions on Tehran. Iran denies the charge, saying it is only interested peaceful nuclear programs like producing power.

After a frenetic six days of diplomacy in Vienna, negotiators agreed Monday to nail down by March 1 what needs to be done by Iran and the six world powers it is negotiating with and by when. A final agreement is meant to follow four months later.

Comments by key players in the talks suggested not much was agreed on in Vienna beyond the decision to keep talking. The next negotiating round was set for early December but the venue is unclear.

The decision appears to benefit Iran. Its nuclear program is left frozen but intact, without any of the cuts sought by the U.S. And while negotiations continue, so will dole-outs of monthly $700 million in frozen funds that began under the temporary nuclear deal agreed on late last year that led to the present talks.

British Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond said the sides were giving themselves until March to agree on a text “that sets out in layman’s language what we have agreed to do.” Experts then will be given another four months to “translate that into precise definitions of what will happen on the ground,” he told reporters.

Even the new deadline for a final deal was not immediately clear, with negotiators saying it was July 1, and Hammond fixing it at June 30.

Past talks have often ended on an acrimonious note, with each side blaming the other for lack of a deal. But mindful of hard discussions ahead, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry focused on praise, in an apparent attempt to maintain a relatively cordial atmosphere at the negotiating table.

Kerry, who arrived Thursday and met repeatedly with Iranian Foreign Minister Mohamad Javad Zarif, said Zarif “worked diligently and approached these negotiations in good faith.”

“We have made real and substantial progress and we have seen new ideas surface,” he told reporters. “Today we are closer to a deal that will make the whole world, especially our allies in Israel and the Gulf, safer.”

Hammond and other foreign ministers of the six powers also sought to put a good face on what was achieved. Hammond spoke of “significant progress,” while German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier said only differences about “technical details” remained.

But the length of the extension suggested that both sides felt plenty of time was needed to overcome the disputes on how much Iran needed to restrict nuclear activities that could be used to make weapons in exchange for relief from sanctions imposed over its nuclear program.

“All the people involved here feel that there really is a chance to find out a way to each other and we are going to take that chance,” Steinmeier said about the decision to extend.

But obstacles far from the negotiating table could complicate the process.

Members of the new Republican-controlled U.S. Congress that will be sworn in in January have already threatened to impose additional sanctions on Iran and may well have enough votes to overturn an expected veto of such legislation by President Barack Obama.

New sanctions could very well derail the talks, as Iran has signaled they would be a deal breaker, and Kerry appealed to Congress to “support … this extension.”

In Tehran, hardliners fearful that their country could give away more than it gets under any final deal could increase pressure on Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei to break off talks. The talks extension, however, appears to have the approval of Khamenei, who is the ultimate arbiter in his country.

Among other issues, the two sides are haggling over how many — and what kind — of centrifuges Iran should be allowed to have. The machines can enrich uranium from low, reactor-fuel level, up to grades used to build the core of a nuclear weapon, and their output grows according to how modern they are.

Washington wants deeper and more lasting cuts in the program than Tehran is willing to give.

Suggesting some movement on enrichment differences, Kerry told reporters, “Progress was made on some of the most vexing challenges that we face.”

An extension was widely expected as the deadline approached with neither side having the appetite for new confrontation that would renew the threat of military action against Iran by Israel and potentially the U.S. as well as tighten the sanctions regime on Tehran.

Alluding to that alternative, Kerry declared: “We would be fools to walk away.”

TIME World War II

Swiss Museum to Accept German Collector’s ‘Nazi Art’ Trove

File picture showing the facade of the Kunsmuseum Bern art museum in Bern
The facade of the Kunsmuseum Bern art museum is seen in the Swiss capital of Bern, on May 7, 2014. Arnd Wiegmann—Reuters

The museum will work with German officials to return pieces looted by the Nazis from Jewish owners

BERLIN — A Swiss museum agreed on Monday to accept a priceless collection of long-hidden art bequeathed to it by German collector Cornelius Gurlitt, but said it will work with German officials to ensure any pieces looted by the Nazis from Jewish owners are returned.

German authorities in 2012 seized 1,280 pieces from Gurlitt’s apartment while investigating a tax case, including works by Pablo Picasso and Marc Chagall. Gurlitt died in May, designating Switzerland’s Kunstmuseum Bern as his sole heir.

The museum’s president, Christoph Schaeublin, told reporters in Berlin that the Kunstmuseum Bern had decided to accept the collection after long, difficult deliberations.

“The ultimate aim was to clarify how the Kunstmuseum Bern could meet the responsibilities imposed upon them by the bequest,” Schaeublin said.

Shortly before he died, Gurlitt reached a deal with the German government to check whether hundreds of the works were looted from Jewish owners by the Nazis. Authorities have said that deal is binding on any heirs, and Schaeublin said the museum would undertake extensive research to determine the provenance of the works.

According to an agreement the museum worked out with German authorities, a task force set up by the government will also continue to investigate the background of the art to determine if it was looted, and whom it was looted from.

If no owner can be found for a looted piece, the agreement calls for the work to be exhibited in Germany with an explanation of its origins so the “rightful owners will have the opportunity to submit their claims.”

German officials said all works will remain in Germany until the task force finishes its work. An update on the research is expected “in the course of 2015.”

One of Gurlitt’s cousins has also filed claim, which a Munich court said Monday would have to be sorted out before the collection goes anywhere.

TIME Australia

Charge Filed Against Mom of Newborn Left in Drain

Police suspect the baby was squeezed through the drain’s narrow opening and dropped to the bottom

(SYDNEY) — A 30-year-old Sydney mother has been charged with trying to kill her newborn son by abandoning him in a roadside drain for five days before passers-by heard his cries, police said Monday.

The week-old baby was in serious but stable condition in Westmead Children’s Hospital a day after cyclists found him in a 2.5-meter (8-foot) deep drain beside the M7 Motorway in the suburb of Quakers Hill, police said in a statement.

His mother, Saifale Nai, did not appear in court to answer the attempted murder charge. Her lawyer did not enter a plea and the magistrate formally refused her bail.

Nai will remain in custody until her next court appearance on Friday. She would face a potential maximum sentence of 25 years in prison if convicted.

“Police will allege the baby, believed to have been born on Monday (Nov. 17), was placed into the drain on Tuesday,” the police statement said.

Andrew Pesce, a gynecologist, obstetrician and former president of the Australian Medical Association, said such an ordeal could leave a newborn with long-term problems such as brain damage.

“There would still have to be some concerns about the baby,” Pesce said.

“I would have thought that it wouldn’t have been able to survive for much longer if it didn’t start getting fed,” he added.

He said healthy newborns have reserves to cope with relative malnutrition and often lose 10 percent of their birth weight because their mothers can take a few days before producing sufficient milk.

Helen Polley, a senator in the opposition Labor Party, said the near-tragedy could have been avoided if emergency hatches were rolled out at Australian hospitals, police and fire stations where babies could be safely abandoned.

She called for the repeal of laws that make child abandonment a criminal offense, which she said encourage the problem to be hidden.

Cyclists riding along a bicycle lane beside the motorway heard the baby on Sunday morning.

“We actually thought it was a kitten at first, but when we went down there we could hear exactly what it was — you could definitely tell it was a baby screaming,” cyclist David Otte told The Daily Telegraph newspaper.

It took six men, including three police officers, to lift the 200-kilogram (440-pound) concrete lid that covered the drain, the newspaper said.

Police suspect the baby was squeezed through the drain’s narrow opening and dropped to the bottom.

The baby was found wrapped in a hospital blanket, and police used hospital records to find the mother.

The baby would likely be taken into state care when he was discharged from the hospital, officials said.

TIME justice

Anxieties Mount as Ferguson Waits on Grand Jury

Protestors march in front of the Ferguson Police Department in Ferguson, Mo on Nov. 23, 2014.
Protestors march in front of the Ferguson Police Department in Ferguson, Mo on Nov. 23, 2014. Samuel Corum—Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

(FERGUSON, Mo.) — Despite preparations for a weekend decision in the Ferguson shooting case, the grand jurors apparently need more time to deliberate, and the uncertainty just seemed to feed the anxiety and speculation Sunday in a city already on edge.

More than 3½ months have passed since police Officer Darren Wilson, who is white, killed unarmed black 18-year-old Michael Brown after a confrontation in the middle of a street in the St. Louis suburb. The shooting triggered riots and looting, and police responded with armored vehicles and tear gas.

Many in the area thought a grand jury decision on whether to charge Wilson with a crime would be announced Sunday, based partly on a stepped-up police presence in the preceding days, including the setting up of barricades around the building where the panel was meeting.

The grand jurors met Friday but apparently didn’t reach a decision, and they were widely expected to reconvene on Monday, though there was no official confirmation of that.

During church services Sunday, some pastors encouraged their flocks not to fret.

A choir sang, “We need you Lord right now” at the predominantly black Greater Grace Church in Ferguson. The pastor, Bishop L.O. Jones, referred to the pending grand jury decision briefly.

“Everybody stand to your feet and tell somebody, ‘Don’t be afraid. God is still in control,'” Jones said as church members repeated after him.

The Rev. Freddy Clark of Shalom Church in nearby Florissant told the mostly black interdenominational congregation that “justice will be served” whichever way the decision goes, because God will take care of it.

“None of us are pleased about what happened,” said parishioner James Tatum. “Whatever the verdict is, we have to understand that’s the verdict.”

As they wait, some people have continued daily protests, while speculation has grown that the delays are intentional.

“People feel like it’s been engineered, so that the results wouldn’t come out until after the election and until the weather got cold, and it would be more difficult to protest,” said Susan McGraugh, supervisor of the Criminal Defense Clinic at the Saint Louis University School of Law. “It’s really adding fuel to the fire.”

St. Louis County Prosecutor Bob McCulloch had said he expected a grand jury decision by mid-to-late November. But that’s not ultimately in his control.

The 12-person grand jury deliberates in secret, without McCulloch, and sets its own schedule depending upon when the members are available.

It’s not uncommon for deliberations to take a while in complex cases when, such as in the Brown shooting, self-defense is alleged or there are two widely conflicting versions of events, said Cole County Prosecutor Mark Richardson, who is not involved in the Ferguson case.

Downtown STL Inc., a St. Louis civic group that promotes downtown businesses, told members in an email Saturday that the grand jury will reconvene Monday to continue deliberating. The email did not explain how the group knew that, and McCulloch’s office has not commented on the grand jury’s schedule.

If jurors meet Monday, there is no guarantee they will reach a decision that day, or even this week.

“In the course of their deliberations, if one grand juror convinces the others that ‘Look, we need to hear from an additional witness,’ and they all agree, the prosecutor’s got a duty to bring that witness in,” Richardson said.

When the panel reaches a decision, it will be up to McCulloch to publicize it.

Sunday would have been an opportune time to minimize disruptions from protests, since schools and governments are planning on only a partial work week because of Thanksgiving, said Peter Joy, a law professor at Washington University in St. Louis. He said Monday or Tuesday would still make sense.

But “my belief is that with the holiday, releasing it on Wednesday, Thursday or Friday would produce a negative reaction,” Joy said.

TIME Military

Report: Obama Broadens Mission in Afghanistan

(WASHINGTON) — U.S. troops in Afghanistan may once again engage Taliban fighters, not just al-Qaida terrorists, under new guidelines quietly approved by President Barack Obama, administration officials say.

The armed forces were to limit their operations in Afghanistan to counterterrorism missions against al-Qaida after this year, until Obama broadened the guidelines in recent weeks. The plan comes as the U.S. combat mission in Afghanistan draws to a close, thousands of troops return home and the military prepares for a narrower counterterrorism and training mission for the next two years.

Obama’s decision also means the U.S. can conduct air support when needed.

One U.S. official said the military could only go after the Taliban if it posed a threat to American forces or provided direct support to al-Qaida, while the latter could be targeted more indiscriminately.

“To the extent that Taliban members directly threaten the United States and coalition forces in Afghanistan or provide direct support to al-Qaida, however, we will take appropriate measures to keep Americans safe,” the official said.

The Taliban’s presence in Afghanistan far exceeds that of al-Qaida, adding significance to Obama’s authorization. The president’s decision came in response to requests from military commanders who wanted troops to be allowed to continue to battle the Taliban, the U.S. officials said.

The New York Times first reported the new guidelines. Officials confirmed details to The Associated Press on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss Obama’s decisions by name.

The decision to expand the military’s authority does not impact the overall number of U.S. troops staying in Afghanistan. Earlier this year, Obama ordered the U.S. force presence to be reduced to 9,800 by the end of this year, a figure expected to be cut by half by the end of 2015.

The president wants all U.S. troops to be out of Afghanistan a year later, as his presidency draws to a close.

Some of the Obama administration’s planning for the post-2014 mission was slowed by a political stalemate in Afghanistan earlier this year. It took months for the winner of the country’s presidential election to be certified, delaying the signing of a bilateral security agreement that was necessary in order to keep U.S. forces in the country after December.

In Kabul, officials with the Afghan Defense Ministry declined to comment Saturday, while officials with the presidency could not be reached.

However, Afghan military analyst Jawed Kohistani said the move probably will be welcomed. President Ashraf Ghani’s new administration, upon taking office, immediately signed a deal with the U.S. to allow a residual force of 12,000 foreign troops in the country.

“We have heard from many military officers who are involved in direct fighting with the Taliban and other insurgents that still there is a need for more cooperation, there is need for an ongoing U.S. combat mission and there is need for U.S. air support for the Afghan security forces to help them in their fight against the insurgents,” Kohistani said.

TIME weather

Evacuation Plans Readied as Buffalo Flooding Looms

Erie County Holding Center inmates help pile sandbags to prepare for possible flooding following a massive snow storm in Williamsville
Erie County Holding Center inmates help pile sandbags to prepare for possible flooding following a massive snow storm in Williamsville, N.Y. on Nov. 23, 2014. Mark Blicnh—Reuters

"You prepare for the worst and hope for the best, and that's what we're doing"

BUFFALO, N.Y. — First came the big storm, then the big dig. Now comes the big melt.

Residents of flood-prone areas around Buffalo should move valuables up from the basement, pack a bag and prepare to for the possibility of evacuation as up to 7 feet of melting snow posed the threat of flooding, Gov. Andrew Cuomo warned Sunday.

“Err on the side of caution,” Cuomo said at a news conference in Cheektowaga. “You prepare for the worst and hope for the best, and that’s what we’re doing.”

Across the Buffalo region ? where rising temperatures were expected to approach 60 degrees on Monday ? people took that advice to heart.

In Hamburg, Pete Yeskoot bought a portable generator to make sure his sump pump will keep working once the roughly 80 inches of snow that fell on his property melts. Possessions are up on blocks in the basement and he has food for several days.

“Behind us is an 18-mile creek so everything in the village will come through us at some point, so we have to get ready for the possibility of flooding,” he said. “And given all this snow, we have to expect that this is real.”

Rain fell Sunday, with temperatures rising to 50. It was expected to be even warmer Monday, accompanied by more rain and rising winds, leading to the threat of toppled trees and power outages.

National Guard members spent Sunday clearing storm drains and culverts to facilitate runoff, and shoveling snow off roofs.

The National Weather Service said core samples of the deep snowpack showed it contained as much as 6 inches of water. Forecasters said some stretches of road in urban areas might become submerged under several feet of water if storm drains remained clogged.

The melt could first cause basements to fill up and roads to flood, but another concern was creeks overflowing. In West Seneca, there was already a sewer pump stationed near Michelle Pikula’s house along the Buffalo Creek.

“Hopefully the rain won’t be here until later and this will be a slow thaw, but flooding is our major, major concern here.”

Cuomo said evacuation plans and emergency shelters were being readied in case of flooding Sunday night and Monday. As a backup to Red Cross shelters, Cuomo said the state would have shelters at community colleges and state university campuses.

The state Thruway, which had been closed for 132 miles at the height of the lake-effect storm last week, was entirely open Sunday. All driving bans were lifted except in Lackawanna, where snow-removal crews worked to open up streets that had become parking lots with hundreds of abandoned, buried vehicles.

TIME Education

New Jersey Looks at ‘Yes Means Yes’ College Policy

Laura Dunn
Laura Dunn executive director of the sexual assault survivors’ organization SurvJustice poses for a picture near a church in her neighborhood in Washington on Nov. 11, 2014 Manuel Balce Ceneta—AP

TRENTON, N.J. — You think the attractive woman at the party who has been chatting you up all night is ready to take things to the next level. She seems to be throwing all the right signals.

But if things turn sexual, are you sure that will hold up under legal scrutiny?

That’s a question at the center of a national debate surrounding “yes means yes” — more accurately called affirmative consent — the policy that requires conscious, voluntary agreement between partners to have sex.

A new proposal in New Jersey makes it the latest state moving to require college campuses to define when “yes means yes” in an effort to stem the tide of sexual assaults.

Whether the policy will reduce assaults remains unclear, but states and universities across the U.S. are under pressure to change how they handle rape allegations.

California adopted a similar measure in August, and New York’s governor directed the State University of New York system to implement a similar standard. New Hampshire lawmakers are also considering it.

Supporters and critics agree the measure could encourage students to talk openly and clearly about sex and that a culture of “yes means yes” — an affirmative agreement compared with the “no means no” refrain of previous decades — could help address the issue of campus sex assaults.

Laura Dunn, executive director of the sexual assault survivors’ organization SurvJustice, said she was raped as an undergraduate at the University of Wisconsin in 2004, after a night of drinking at a party by two men and fellow members of the crew team. She agreed to be identified by The Associated Press.

Dunn believes such a standard could have helped her case during campus judicial proceedings, which failed to find wrongdoing. Her experience led her to become an advocate for sexual assault survivors, she said.

“Had they had an affirmative consent standard they would have realized I would never have consented,” she said.

But skeptics of the policy raise questions — many of which have yet to be settled because the standard is new and it is unclear how many cases have been subjected to the standard— about whether it offers enough protections to the accuser and accused alike.

Affirmative consent standards could unfairly shift the burden of proof to the accused, critics say, pointing out that any sexual contact could then be ruled inappropriate absent some proof of consent.

Some critics also say they could prove to be unfair to victims, who may themselves facing a heavier burden during campus tribunals under Title IX — widely known as the law governing the role of men and women in athletics, but which also aims to protect students from sexual discrimination — which currently defines the standard as “unwelcome and offensive touching.”

Yes means yes “sounds so darn good,” said Wendy Murphy, an adjunct professor at New England Law and an attorney handling sex assault cases. “(But) it doesn’t get better than ‘unwelcome and offensive.'”

Some students, though, express skepticism over the “unwelcome and offensive” standard, saying it fails to convey the seriousness of sexual assault. Student groups at Harvard started a petition last month to get their university to adopt affirmative consent language.

“We certainly agree with the university’s desire to address a wide range of behaviors through their policy,” said Jessica Fournier, a member of Our Harvard Can Do Better, one of the groups organizing the petition. “However, we believe referring to these acts simply as ‘unwelcome’ does not encapsulate the severity of these actions.”

Nationally, reports of forcible sexual offenses on campus rose from 3,443 in 2011 to 4,062, according to the Education Department. In New Jersey, the figure rose from 78 in 2011 to 83 in 2012, the most recent year available. That’s because of increased reporting of crimes due to a culture change and greater support for victims, said Paul Shelly of the New Jersey Association of State Colleges and Universities. Indeed, only 13 percent of forcible sexual assault victims reported the crime to police or campus authorities, according to a 2007 National Institute of Justice study.

What changed, experts said, are students’ attitudes.

“It’s great that it’s receiving this attention, but it’s not a new issue. I think what’s fueling it are student protests about how their institutions have mishandled cases,” said Sarah McMahon, the co-director of Rutgers’ Center on Violence Against Women and Children.

In New Jersey, state Sen. Jim Beach introduced legislation since the debate was making waves nationally. The bill that would withhold state funds from colleges and universities unless they adopt an affirmative consent standard is still waiting for its day in committee.

“We saw what happened in California, realized that it was a problem not only in California but in New Jersey and other campuses around the country,” Beach said. “So we thought that if we did that we would certainly accomplish raising awareness of the entire problem.”

Skeptical supporters said the policy needs to be coupled with education in order for it to succeed.

“The policy is not a magic bullet,” McMahon said.

TIME Afghanistan

Afghan Officials Say Suicide Bomber Kills Some 45

(KABUL, Afghanistan) — Afghan officials say that a suicide bomber has killed “at least 45″ people in an attack on a volleyball tournament in the country’s east.

Mokhis Afghan, spokesman for the provincial governor of Paktika province, bordering Pakistan, says the attack happened during an inter-district tournament attended by a large crowed in the Yahyakhail district late Sunday afternoon.

The suicide bomber was on foot in the crowd, he says.

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