TIME

Hornets’ Taylor Banned from Team Activities

Hornets Taylor Arrested Basketball
In a photo provided by East Lansing, Mich., authorities, Charlotte Hornets forward Jeffery Taylor appears in a photo after his arrest, Sept. 25, 2014, in East Lansing, Mich., on domestic assault charges. City of East Lansing/AP

Hornets forward Jeffery Taylor will not be participating in any team-related activities during an NBA investigation into his arrest on domestic assault charges, the team announced Friday.

“As an organization, we understand and appreciate the seriousness of this matter, and will assist the NBA and law enforcement in any way we can until this comes to an acceptable resolution,” the Hornets said in a statement Friday. “We have spoken with Jeffery and his representatives and they fully understand our position.”

NBA spokesman Mike Bass said that the league supports “the Charlotte Hornets’ decision to separate Jeffery Taylor from the team during the investigation.”

East Lansing Police in Michigan said in a press release Thursday the 25-year-old Taylor has been charged with one count of domestic assault, one count of assault and one count of malicious destruction of property. According to the release, police officers responded to an incident at the East Lansing Marriott at University Place around 1a.m. Thursday.

The Hornets open the preseason on Oct. 8 in Philadelphia, the same day Taylor has a pre-trial court date at East Lansing District Court.

Ingham County prosecutor Stuart Dunnings announced the date Friday.

A jury selection for the case is set for Oct. 14, Dunnings said, adding that Taylor also has the option for a bench trial, rather than a jury trial.

Taylor, who is not married, is from Norrköping, Sweden and resides in Charlotte, North Carolina. It is unclear why he was in Michigan.

The prosecutor said the police report will not be released while the incident is under investigation.

The Hornets cancelled a media luncheon with coach Steve Clifford scheduled for Friday so team officials could focus on dealing with the Taylor issue.

Taylor is the latest professional athlete in Charlotte charged in a domestic abuse case.

Greg Hardy, a defensive end for the Carolina Panthers, was convicted July 15 of assault on a female and communicating threats after the woman said he threw her down on a bed of guns and tossed her into the shower.

Hardy is appealing the ruling and a jury trial is set for Nov. 17.

The Panthers removed Hardy from their active roster last week, ending three weeks of indecision regarding his playing status. He played Week 1 and sat out the next game before being placed on the exempt-commissioner’s permission last week after the NFL came under public fire for its penalties in domestic violence cases.

The Hornets have their media day with player availability on Monday and will open training camp Tuesday in Asheville, North Carolina.

A second-round pick in 2012 out of Vanderbilt, Taylor missed most of last year with a ruptured Achilles tendon but is healthy now.

The 6-foot-7, 225-pound Taylor has been competing for the past two seasons with Michael Kidd-Gilchrist for a starting spot at small forward. He played in 26 games with eight starts last season before suffering his injury in late December.

As a rookie in 2012, he played in 77 games with 29 starts. He has averaged 6.6 points and 2.0 rebounds for his career.

Taylor is the second Hornets player involved in offseason incidents.

Rookie guard P.J. Hairston has a court date set for Nov. 14 for a misdemeanor charge of assault and battery following an altercation with a high school basketball player during a pickup game in July. Hairston was issued a summons but police did not arrest him.

In court documents Kentrell Barkley, a senior at Northern Durham High School, said Hairston “punched him twice in the head” during a heated basketball game at the Durham YMCA.

TIME

Teacher Gets 10 Years in Custody in Student Rape

(BILLINGS, Mont.) — A Montana teacher was sentenced Friday to 10 years in custody in a student rape case that led to the censure of a judge who partially blamed the victim.

Stacey Dean Rambold, 55, was resentenced by Judge Randal Spaulding exactly a year after he completed an initial one-month prison term for the crime.

Rambold appeared to grimace as the new sentence was read. He was then handcuffed and led away by deputies, pausing briefly to exchange words with family as he exited the courtroom.

Rambold pleaded guilty to a single count of sexual intercourse without consent in the 2007 incident involving 14-year-old Cherice Moralez, a freshman in his Billings Senior High School business class. She committed suicide in 2010.

The state Supreme Court overturned Rambold’s initial sentence, citing in part comments from Judge G. Todd Baugh who suggested the victim shared responsibility.

Baugh was censured and suspended for 31 days. He’s stepping down when his terms ends in January.

Yellowstone County Attorney Scott Twito said he was pleased with the sentence that included five additional years that were suspended.

“The criminal justice system worked today,” he said.

John Moralez, the father of the victim, had hoped for a longer sentence but said it was better than the one-month previously serviced by Rambold.

During the hearing, Twito asked Judge Spaulding to reject defense attempts to make the victim’s conduct in the case a factor in Rambold’s sentencing.

That included references by the defendant’s attorney to video-taped interviews of the victim recorded by law enforcement prior to her death. Those recordings, which have never been made public, had been cited by Baugh during his sentencing.

Under state law, children under 16 cannot consent to sexual intercourse.

“The last thing we want to do is sit here in the criminal justice system and say, ‘What is the age?’ It doesn’t matter. Fourteen is way too young,” Twito said. “There has to be punishment. … Punishment means prison.”

Rambold’s attorney, Jay Lansing, responded that there was no statute preventing the court from considering Moralez’s conduct. He pointed out that similar objections were never raised by prosecutors during Rambold’s first sentence, and said they were seeking a “do-over,” which Lansing asserted was not allowed under state and federal law.

In a letter to the court, Rambold sought forgiveness and lamented the international publicity his case has generated.

“No one can really appreciate and understand what it feels like to have so many people actually hate you and be disgusted by you,” Rambold wrote. “I do not mention this for the sake of sympathy, but it has been hard.”

Twito asked the court to impose a 10-year prison sentence with another 10 years suspended. That is the same sentence prosecutors sought last year when the case was before Baugh, who instead adopted the much more lenient term suggested by Rambold’s defense attorney.

Without Moralez, their primary witness, prosecutors struck a deal with Rambold that initially allowed him to avoid prison altogether.

Rambold, however, violated that agreement by having unauthorized visits with relatives’ children and entering into a relationship with an adult woman without telling his counselor. As a result, the case was revived and Rambold pleaded guilty last year to the count of sexual intercourse without consent.

During the first sentencing, Baugh suggested the victim had as much control over her rape as the defendant and said she “appeared older than her chronological age.” He gave Rambold a 15-year term with all but one month suspended.

That triggered an appeal from prosecutors and ultimately resulted in the case being reassigned to Spaulding.

Baugh’s comments and the lenient sentence he handed down landed him before the state Supreme Court for disciplinary proceedings, which resulted in a 30-day suspension from the bench and a public censure for his misconduct in the case.

In a sentencing memorandum filed this week, Twito wrote that a tough sentence for Rambold was warranted given his position of authority over Moralez.

“His position of trust as a high school teacher, abuse of that position, and violations against the victim overshadows all mitigating circumstances,” Twito wrote.

TIME

Diamondbacks Fire Manager Kirk Gibson

(PHOENIX) — The Diamondbacks have fired manager Kirk Gibson three years after he won the NL’s manager of the year award for leading Arizona to the playoffs.

The Diamondbacks are assured of at least a tie for the worst record in the majors this season, having lost 96 games entering the final series of the year.

The move came as the Diamondbacks front office restructures under chief baseball officer Tony La Russa following a third disappointing season in a row. Arizona went 81-81 in 2013 and 2012. Former major league pitcher Dave Stewart was hired Thursday as the team’s new general manager.

TIME

Stocks Rise at the End of a Rough Week; Nike Jumps

(NEW YORK) — The U.S. stock market bounced back Friday as investors welcomed good news on the U.S. economy at the end of a turbulent week of trading. Nike jumped after turning in higher profits, leading the Dow Jones industrial average higher.

KEEPING SCORE: The Dow was up 178 points, or 1.1 percent, to 17,124 as of 2:57 p.m. Eastern. The Standard & Poor’s 500 index rose 17 points, or 0.9 percent, to 1,983 and the Nasdaq composite climbed 46 points, or 1percent, to 4,512.

The S&P 500, the benchmark for most mutual funds, remains on track to lose 1 percent this week. The biggest drop came Thursday, the worst day for the stock market since July 31.

A VIEW: A steep drop one day is often followed by gains the next as investors hunt for beaten-down stocks. “After yesterday, it’s only normal to get a little bit back because people tend to buy on the dips,” said Jason Pride, director of investment strategy at Glenmede Trust.

Pride said he expects the market to resume its climb as the economy improves. “I think we’ll continue to grind higher because the economic momentum is still there,” he said. “Maybe the market gets overvalued. So, sometimes a little breather is helpful.”

SURPRISE: After a dismal winter, the U.S. economy expanded at an annual rate of 4.6 percent in the spring, the fastest pace in more than two years, the government reported Friday. Some economists expect the momentum to carry through the rest of the year.

SWOOSH: Late Thursday, Nike said its quarterly net income surged 23 percent thanks to solid sales and lower taxes. Both its earnings and revenue beat Wall Street’s estimates. Nike’s stock gained $9.68, or 12 percent, to $89.41, the largest gain among the 30 big companies in the Dow.

MOVING ON: Famed bond-fund manager Bill Gross, a founder of bond giant PIMCO, is leaving to join Janus Capital. Janus said Gross, who ran the world’s largest bond fund at PIMCO, starts work next Monday. Janus soared $4.17, or 38 percent, to $15.28.

CAJOLING: An investment fund with a stake in Yahoo sent a letter to Yahoo’s CEO urging the company to consider merging with AOL. Jeffrey Smith, who heads Starboard Value, wrote that a deal could save as much as $1 billion and create a more competitive company. Yahoo climbed $1.59, or 4 percent, to $40.53.

EUROPE: Major markets in Europe were mixed. Germany’s DAX slipped 0.2 percent and France’s CAC 40 gained 0.9 percent. Britain’s FTSE 100 index picked up 0.1 percent.

CURRENCIES: The dollar strengthened to 109.10 yen from 108.56 yen in late trading Thursday. The euro fell to $1.2729 from $1.2760.

BOND MARKET: Prices for U.S. government bonds fell, nudging yields up. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note rose to 2.54 percent from 2.50 percent late Thursday.

METALS: In commodity trading, precious and industrial metals made slight moves. The price of gold fell $6.50 to settle at $1,215.40 an ounce. Silver slipped 10 cents to $17.54 an ounce. Copper was little changed at $3.03 a pound.

OIL: Benchmark crude oil for November delivery rose $1.01 to $93.54 a barrel on the New York Mercantile exchange.

TIME Gadgets

Drones Can Now Be Used To Make Movies

The FAA is loosening regulations for select production companies

WASHINGTON (AP) — The government granted six movie and television production companies permission to use drones for filming, an important step toward greater use of the technology by commercial operators, Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx announced Thursday.

Dozens of other industries are lined up to follow Hollywood’s lead. Until now, the Federal Aviation Administration, which is part of the Transportation Department, had banned commercial drone operations with the exception of two oil companies in Alaska.

The FAA permits come with limitations, including that the unmanned aircraft be used only in a restricted area, that they be flown under 400 feet in altitude and that flights last no more than 30 minutes at a time. Nighttime flights are prohibited, and reality television shows or other unscripted events won’t qualify for the permits.

“Today’s announcement is a significant milestone in broadening commercial (drone) use while ensuring we maintain our world-class safety record in all forms of flight,” Foxx said. “These companies are blazing a trail that others are already following, offering the promise of new advances in agriculture and utility safety and maintenance.”

Tony Carmean, a partner in Aerial MOB of San Diego, predicted drones will fundamentally change moviemaking, providing directors with the ability to get shots they could never get before and making films more dynamic. Small drones with video cameras will be able to fly through a building and in and out of windows, for example, he said. They are also far less expensive than hiring a manned helicopter, he said.

Major movie studios “want their hands on this right away,” but have held off using the technology until the FAA gives the go-ahead, he said.

Brendan Schulman, a New York attorney who represents several drone operators and interest groups that have challenged the FAA’s drone restrictions, said he is concerned that limitations attached to the drone permits may be so onerous that their benefits will be outweighed by the cost and the headache of complying.

“I’m worried that it’s too small a step forward and it’s too narrowly limited,” he said.

Kenneth Quinn, an attorney with Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman and a former FAA general counsel, said he expects other industries to oppose some of restrictions imposed on the movie drones, especially requirements that the drone operator have a private pilot’s license and that there be a three-man crew. He said any risk to safety is too small to merit the restrictions.

The FAA is considering 40 requests for exemptions from other commercial entities. Congress and industries that want to use or sell the technology have been pressuring the FAA to relax its ban. Companies want to use drones to monitor pipelines, inspect the undersides of oil platforms and bridges, and spray crops. Amazon and Google want to use them to deliver packages. Wedding videographers, real estate agents, journalists and many others are clamoring to use them as well.

The only previous FAA permits for commercial drone operations were granted to ConocoPhillips and BP, two oil companies that have flown unmanned aircraft in unpopulated areas of Alaska and over the Arctic Ocean. Both permits significantly limited how the drones could be used.

But the commercial drone ban is being undermined daily. Many operators see no harm in flying small, lightweight drones, often no bigger than a backpack, despite FAA warnings that they could collide with manned aircraft or injure people on the ground. Even a congressman who is a member of the House committee that oversees the FAA, Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney, D-N.Y., hired a photographer to produce a video of his wedding using a camera mounted on a small drone.

In 2012, Congress directed the FAA to safely integrate drones of all sizes, from high-flying Global Hawks to small quadrocopters weighing no more than a few pounds, into the national airspace. But the agency has missed several milestones and isn’t expected to meet Congress’ deadline of October 2015 for full integration.

In November, the agency is expected to propose rules commercial operators can follow to fly drones weighing 55 pounds or less. But it could be months or years before the rules are final. Final rules for larger ones are even further off.

The six production companies — Aerial MOB LLC, Astraeus Aerial, HeliVideo Productions LLC, Pictorvision Inc., Vortex Aerial and Snaproll Media LLC — have been working with the Motion Picture Association of America for two years to win FAA approval. A seventh aerial video company that applied with the other companies, Flying-Cam Inc., has been asked by the FAA to supply additional information.

Drones have already been used in in filming some movies overseas, including “Skyfall” and “Transformers: Age of Extinction.”

TIME

Vanishing Marine Will Be Tried on Desertion Charge

(RALEIGH, N.C.) — A U.S. Marine who vanished in Iraq and later wound up in Lebanon will be on trial in military court on desertion and other charges.

A news release Friday says a Marine general has referred 34-year-old Cpl. Wassef Hassoun for a general court-martial. No date has been set.

The case began in June 2004 when Hassoun disappeared from a base in Fallujah, Iraq. He later appeared in as a captive in a photo purported to be taken by insurgents. A few days later, he wound up in Lebanon and was brought home to the U.S. before disappearing a second time.

His defense attorney has said that during the second disappearance he was prevented from leaving Lebanon during court proceedings there. Civilian attorney Haytham Faraj has said the case against Hassoun is almost entirely circumstantial.

TIME

No Charges in Toxic Tea Incident at Utah Eatery

(SALT LAKE CITY) — No charges will be filed in a case involving a woman who nearly died after unknowingly drinking iced tea mixed with chemicals at a suburban Salt Lake City restaurant, prosecutors said Friday.

Prosecutors determined after reviewing an extensive investigation by the South Jordan Police Department that there was no evidence of criminal wrongdoing, Salt Lake County Attorney Sim Gill said Friday in a short news release.

Authorities have said an employee at Dickey’s Barbecue in South Jordan unintentionally put the heavy-duty cleaner lye in a sugar bag, and another worker on Aug. 10 mistakenly mixed it into the iced-tea dispenser.

Later that day, Jan Harding took a single sip of the sweetened iced tea and suffered deep, ulcerated burns to her esophagus. She was hospitalized in critical condition.

Lye, an odorless chemical that looks like sugar, is used for degreasing deep fryers and is the active ingredient in Drano.

Harding, 67, spent nearly two weeks in a Salt Lake City hospital. She has been out of the hospital for weeks and is recovering.

Her attorney, Paxton Guymon, wasn’t immediately for comment.

The Dallas-based Dickey’s Barbecue Restaurants Inc. didn’t immediately have any comment. The company earlier said the incident was isolated and unprecedented in the chain’s 73-year history.

Guymon has said he discovered another lye incident at the restaurant in July. An employee burned herself when she stuck her finger in a sugar container and licked it to test for the chemical cleaner, he said.

Harding was the first person to drink from the chemically laced batch of tea, and no one else was harmed. She said recently in her first public comments that it felt like an all-consuming fire in her mouth.

She said she is recovering but still doesn’t feel like herself. She said doctors say she must undergo additional tests before they can determine what long-term complications she could face.

Harding and her Baptist minister husband, Jim Harding, have said they are not angry with anyone at Dickey’s. They said they are sharing their story in hopes that other restaurants will take measures to prevent something similar from happening, perhaps by adding colored dye to dangerous chemicals.

TIME Iraq

Britain Joins Fight Against Islamic State Group

Prime Minister David Cameron leaves 10 Downing Street before heading to The Houses of Parliament on Sept. 26, 2014 in London.
Prime Minister David Cameron leaves 10 Downing Street before heading to The Houses of Parliament on Sept. 26, 2014 in London. Dan Kitwood—Getty Images

(LONDON) — British lawmakers have voted to join the U.S.-led coalition of nations launching airstrikes on Islamic State group militants in Iraq, committing warplanes to the struggle against the extremists.

Prime Minister David Cameron described the moves as critical to national security, arguing that facing down terrorists has become a matter of urgency.

He made a passionate plea that spelled out the consequences of inaction in drastic terms — noting that the militants had beheaded their victims, gouged out eyes and carried out crucifixions to promote goals from the “Dark Ages.”

The vote was 524-43.

Earlier in the day, Belgium and Denmark also voted to join the coalition.

Britain is expected to deploy Tornado fighters, which are in Cyprus — within striking distance of northern Iraq.

TIME Immigration

U.S.: Most New Immigrant Families Fail to Report

(WASHINGTON) — For nearly three months this summer, the Obama administration carefully avoided answering questions about what happened to tens of thousands of immigrant families caught illegally crossing the Mexican border and released into the United States with instructions to report back to immigration authorities.

Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson and others said they faced deportation. But it turns out that tens of thousands of those immigrants did not follow the government’s instructions to meet with federal immigration agents within 15 days. Instead, they have vanished into the interior of the U.S.

The Homeland Security Department privately acknowledged that about 70 percent of immigrant families failed to report as ordered. The disclosure came during a confidential meeting at its Washington headquarters with immigration advocates participating in a federal working group on detention and enforcement policies.

The Associated Press obtained an audio recording of Wednesday’s meeting and separately interviewed participants.

On the recording, the government did not specify the total number of families released into the U.S. since October. Since only a few hundred families have already been returned to their home countries and limited U.S. detention facilities can house only about 1,200 family members, the 70 percent figure suggests the government released roughly 41,000 members of immigrant families who subsequently failed to appear at federal immigration offices.

The official, who was not identified by name on the recording, also said final deportation had been ordered for at least 860 people traveling as families caught at the border since May but only 14 people had reported as ordered.

The Homeland Security Department did not dispute the authenticity of the recording.

In an emailed statement Thursday, Immigration and Customs Enforcement spokeswoman Gillian Christensen said the no-show figure represented “an approximate snapshot” of cases since May. Christiansen said some people may still report to immigration court hearings, and a “significant” number of deportation cases are still pending before judges.

The AP reported in June that the administration would not say publicly how many immigrant families from Central America caught crossing into the U.S. it had released in recent months or how many of those subsequently reported back to the government after 15 days as directed. The AP noted that senior U.S. officials directly familiar with the issue, including at the Homeland Security Department and White House, had dodged the answer on at least seven occasions over two weeks, alternately saying that they did not know the figure or didn’t have it immediately at hand.

Homeland Security’s public affairs office during the same period did not answer roughly a dozen requests for the figures.

More than 66,000 immigrants traveling as families, mostly mothers and young children, have been apprehended at the border since the start of the budget year in October. Nearly 60,000 of those immigrants are from Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala and cannot be immediately repatriated, so the government has been releasing them into the U.S. and telling them to report within 15 days to the nearest Immigration and Customs Enforcement offices.

Republican lawmakers have been critical of the administration’s decision to release any immigrants caught crossing the border illegally.

“With this administration’s failure to enforce our immigration laws, it is no surprise that 70 percent of the families released take their chances to stay here and don’t show up for their follow-up appointments or court dates,” House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte, R-Va., said.

That previously undisclosed no-show rate led in part to the government’s decision in June to open a temporary detention facility at a federal training center in Artesia, New Mexico.

A second immigration jail in Texas was later converted for families and can house about 530 people. A third such detention center will open in Texas later this year. Before the new facility in Artesia, the government had room for fewer than 100 people at its only family detention center in Pennsylvania.

Immigration advocates have complained that the new detention centers were punishing immigrants who ultimately may win lawful asylum claims to remain in the U.S. In the meeting, they also questioned whether immigration officials had clearly and properly instructed immigrants to meet with federal agents within 15 days.

The ICE official said it was necessary to detain families to ensure they didn’t vanish into the U.S. He encouraged advocacy groups to help find ways to ensure that immigrants reported to federal agents as ordered so the government could begin processing their cases, including any requests to remain in the U.S. legally.

TIME Transportation

Fire at Air Traffic Center Halts Chicago Flights

O'Hare International Airport in Chicago, Ill., Sept. 19, 2014.
O'Hare International Airport in Chicago, Ill., Sept. 19, 2014. Kamil Krzaczynski—EPA

Update: Sept. 26, 11:36 a.m. ET

(CHICAGO) — All flights in and out of Chicago’s two airports were halted Friday after a fire at a suburban air traffic control facility sent delays and cancellations rippling through the nation’s air travel network.

Authorities said the blaze was intentionally set by a contract employee of the Federal Aviation Administration and had no ties to terrorism. More than 850 flights had been canceled in Chicago alone and many more were expected.

The early morning fire forced the evacuation of the control center in Aurora, about 40 miles west of downtown Chicago. Emergency crews found the man suspected of setting the fire in the basement, where the blaze began, with a self-inflicted wound. He was taken to a hospital.

Aurora Police Chief Gregory Thomas said the fire was not a terrorist act. The FBI, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, and local police and fire departments were investigating.

When the center was evacuated, management of the region’s airspace was transferred to other facilities, according to FAA spokeswoman Elizabeth Cory.

Authorities said it was unclear how long the stoppage would last.

Aurora spokesman Dan Ferrelli gave no details on the suspect’s injury, but said in an emailed statement that it was not from a gunshot.

Another employee of the facility was treated at the scene for smoke inhalation. The flames were extinguished by 7 a.m., according to Ferrelli’s email.

Online radar images showed a gaping hole in the nation’s air traffic map over the upper Midwest.

At O’Hare’s Terminal 3, long lines formed at ticket counters as airlines continued to check in passengers.

Waiting by an American Airlines counter, Jon Sciarrini said his homebound flight to Dallas had been delayed, and he didn’t know whether he should wait or try to arrange another flight.

“It’s pretty frustrating — a little like being in purgatory,” the IT specialist said.

It was the second time since May that a problem at one of the Chicago area’s major control facilities prompted a ground stop at O’Hare and Midway international airports.

In May, an electrical problem forced the evacuation of a regional radar facility in suburban Elgin. A bathroom exhaust fan overheated and melted insulation on some wires, sending smoke through the facility’s ventilation system and into the control room.

That site was evacuated for three hours, and more than 1,100 flights were canceled.

The Aurora facility, known as an enroute center, handles aircraft flying at high altitudes, including those approaching or leaving Chicago airports. Air traffic closer to the airports is handled by a different facility and by the control towers located at the airfields.

A computer glitch at a similar facility on the West Coast in April forced a 45-minute shutdown at Los Angeles International Airport.

___

Associated Press Writer Michael Tarm contributed to this report.

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