TIME

Possible Malaysia Airline Plane Debris is Being Sent to France

This may be the first trace of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 since it vanished nearly a year and a half ago

Malaysia’s prime minister says debris from an aircraft found on the French island of Reunion will be sent to France for investigation.

Prime Minister Najib Razak said on his personal blog Thursday that a Malaysian team is on its way to the southwestern French city of Toulouse.

The sea-crusted wing part that washed up on the island in the western Indian Ocean may be the first trace of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 since it vanished nearly a year and a half ago.

Najib promised to make any new information public quickly.

Air safety investigators — one of them a Boeing investigator — have identified the component found on the French island of Reunion as a “flaperon” from the trailing edge of a Boeing 777 wing, a U.S. official said.

TIME Israel

Israeli Bulldozers Begin Demolishing West Bank Settlement

Israeli military bulldozers demolish the Dreinoff buildings under an Israeli High Court ruling, in Beit El, north of Ramallah in the occupied West Bank on July 29, 2015.
Mahmoud illean—Demotix/Corbis Israeli military bulldozers demolish the Dreinoff buildings under an Israeli High Court ruling, in Beit El, north of Ramallah in the occupied West Bank on July 29, 2015.

The move is likely to draw international rebuke

(JERUSALEM) — Israeli bulldozers began demolishing a contested housing complex in a West Bank settlement on Wednesday as the prime minister’s office announced the “immediate construction” of some 300 new units at another location in the same settlement and advanced plans for about 500 new units in east Jerusalem.

The move, which is likely to draw international rebuke, comes amid a standoff in the Beit El settlement, to the north of Jerusalem in the West Bank.

The standoff escalated sharply Wednesday, after the Israeli Supreme Court rejected a petition to overturn its initial ruling to demolish a complex in Beit El and ordered the destruction completed no later than Thursday. The complex was deemed illegal because it was under construction without prior Israeli authorization.

The military moved in and removed protesters holed up inside, but hundreds of Jewish settlers gathered at the scene and some fought with Israeli forces, who responded by firing water cannons at the protesters.

Tempers are high among some in the settler community as it marks a decade since Israel’s “disengagement” from the Gaza Strip, when Israel in the summer of 2005 withdrew all its civilians and soldiers from all of the settlements there and also from two in the West Bank.

Israel initially promised to build the 300 housing units in Beit El three years ago, when it ordered the removal of other buildings constructed on private Palestinian land.

The new units announced by Benjamin Netanyahu’s office are both in Beit El and elsewhere, including areas in east Jerusalem, which Israeli leaders say are inseparable neighborhoods of Jerusalem.

They say these neighborhoods will remain a part of Israel under any future peace agreement, but the Palestinians consider them settlements and say construction there is illegal, a position backed by the international community.

In Washington, the U.S. State Department said it was deeply concerned by the new settlement activity and urged “the Israeli government to refrain from unhelpful actions that undercut possibility of a two-state solution.”

“The United States continues to view settlements as illegitimate and we strongly oppose steps to advance construction in the West Bank and East Jerusalem,” Deputy Spokesperson Mark Toner said in a statement.

At the United Nations, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon condemned the announcement of the construction of the new units, “as well as the planning and construction of nearly 500 housing units in a number of settlements in East Jerusalem,” his spokesman’s office said. Ban urged Israel’s government to halt and reverse such decisions “in the interest of peace and a just final status agreement.”

Israel captured the West Bank and east Jerusalem in 1967, and annexed east Jerusalem in a move that is not recognized internationally.

Israeli Education Minister Naftali Bennett, head of a pro-settler party, welcomed the announcement of the new units even as he criticized the top court’s decision.

“The court’s role is to judge; the government’s role is to build,” he said in a written statement. “We will build up the land of Israel, but in a legal and appropriate way.”

But Lior Amichai of Israeli settlement watchdog Peace Now criticized the announcement, saying it was intended to “appease the settlers.”

Also Wednesday, Israel’s Shin Bet security agency and the Israeli police said they filed indictments against two young Israeli activists in connection with last month’s arson attack of the Church of the Multiplication of the Loaves and Fish, a famous Catholic church near the Sea of Galilee. Three additional activists are under arrest in connection with the arson attack.

The Shin Bet and police said the activists were part of an extremist group of Israeli settler youth seeking to bring about religious “redemption.” The group vandalized a number of Christian religious sites in the past two years, tried to disrupt Pope Benedict XVI’s 2014 visit to the Holy Land, and in the past year committed “more significant terrorist attacks of arson” against Palestinian homes in the West Bank, according to the Shin Bet and Israeli police.

A month before the attack on the church, the head of the extremist group, Meir Ettinger, called on his blog for more attacks on Christian religious sites, Israeli authorities said. Israeli authorities have banned him from the West Bank settlements and from Jerusalem for a year.

___

Associated Press writer Cara Anna at the United Nations contributed to this report.

 

TIME Virginia

U.Va. Grads Sue Rolling Stone Over Retracted Rape Article

The article was retracted in April

(RICHMOND, Va.) — Court documents show that three University of Virginia graduates and members of a fraternity profiled in a debunked account of a gang rape in a retracted Rolling Stone magazine story are suing the publication and the article’s author.

The three graduates filed suit Wednesday in U.S. District Court in New York. They are also suing Rolling Stone’s publisher, Wenner Media.

A lawyer for the men said they suffered “vicious and hurtful attacks” because of the inaccuracies in the November 2014 article, which was written by journalist Sabrina Rubin Erdely.

A top U.Va. official dealing with sexual assaults at the Charlottesville school is also suing the school.

Rolling Stone and the author couldn’t immediately be reached for comment Wednesday.

 

TIME Education

The University of Phoenix Is Under Federal Investigation

The main building of the University of Phoenix, part of Apollo Group Inc., is seen in Phoenix on Oct. 14, 2010.
Joshua Lott—Bloomberg/Getty Images The main building of the University of Phoenix, part of Apollo Group Inc., is seen in Phoenix on Oct. 14, 2010.

The online college is under scrutiny for possible deceptive or unfair business practices

WASHINGTON — The University of Phoenix, an online college popular among military veterans, is under federal investigation for possible deceptive or unfair business practices, its parent company the Apollo Education Group announced Wednesday.

The for-profit, publicly traded company is the largest recipient of federal student aid for veterans and often a sponsor at military education and employment events. Since 2009 when the GI bill expanded student aid benefits for veterans, the University of Phoenix has taken in more than $488 million in tuition and fees — a figure that dwarfs nearly every other institution identified as a GI recipient by the Department of Veterans Affairs.

In a filing to the Securities and Exchange Commission, the company told shareholders that it received a “civil investigative demand” from the Federal Trade Commission this week. According to the document, investigators asked for information on a “broad spectrum” of matters, including marketing, recruiting, enrollment, financial aid, tuition, academic programs, billing and debt collection, as well other facets of the business. The filing lists “military recruitment” as one of the areas the FTC is examining.

The filing said Apollo is “evaluating the demand and intends to cooperate fully with the FTC.”

Apollo and the FTC declined to comment further.

The FTC probe is the latest of many state and federal investigations into the for-profit college industry. Critics say many of these colleges are aggressive in recruiting students who qualify for large amounts of federal student aid, including GI money. The credits often don’t transfer to other schools and aren’t recognized by employers.

Industry officials say they are unfairly being scrutinized, and say for-profit schools have expanded education opportunities to communities who wouldn’t otherwise have access.

On July 1, new federal rules went into effect for any school with a career-training program. Graduates have to be able to earn enough money to repay their student loans, or a school risks losing access to financial aid.

TIME States

Search for Missing Florida Teens Stretches Into Sixth Day

Carl Hodges, of Stuart, Fla., right, reads a prayer during a vigil for Austin Stephanos and Perry Cohen on July 28, 2015, in Stuart, Fla. The teenagers have been missing since last Friday when they went out on a boat to go fishing from Tequesta, Fla. A search continues for the boys from the Atlantic waters off Daytona Beach, Florida, north through Savannah, Ga.
Lynne Sladky—AP Carl Hodges, of Stuart, Fla., right, reads a prayer during a vigil for Austin Stephanos and Perry Cohen on July 28, 2015, in Stuart, Fla. The teenagers have been missing since last Friday when they went out on a boat to go fishing from Tequesta, Fla. A search continues for the boys from the Atlantic waters off Daytona Beach, Florida, north through Savannah, Ga.

Fears grow for Perry Cohen and Austin Stephanos, both 14

TEQUESTA, Fla. — Crews pushed the limits of an ever-expanding search zone Wednesday for two teens missing at sea and potentially nearing the boundaries of human survival.

The Coast Guard’s relentless hunt for the 14-year-old fishermen, Perry Cohen and Austin Stephanos, persisted for a sixth day as questions grew over how long it could go. Decision-makers were juggling a mix of “art and science,” Chief Petty Officer Ryan Doss said, trying to balance the knowledge of how long people can survive adrift with the unknowns on whether the boys had flotation devices and drinking water and what their physical condition is.

Still, authorities insisted their search would continue throughout the day.

“There’s been a lot of rumors that the search has been suspended. I just want to refute that,” Capt. Mark Fedor said, speaking on the street where both boys live. “The search has not been suspended. It is still active and open.”

Earlier Wednesday, a U.S. official in Washington had said the Coast Guard was suspending the search.

Fedor was part of a Coast Guard contingent that met with the boys’ families for an hour Wednesday afternoon. Afterward, he declined to elaborate on the search or to answer reporters’ questions, but even a day earlier he acknowledged that with each passing hour, the prospects were direr.

The saga of the two boys from Tequesta, Florida, began Friday. Their parents believed their fishing outing would take them to a local river and waterway, as was the rule in previous solo trips, not the deep waters of the Atlantic. A line of summer storms moved through the area that afternoon, and when the teens didn’t return on time, the Coast Guard was alerted and began their day-and-night search.

The Coast Guard has covered a mammoth search area stretching 32,000 square nautical miles, from the waters off South Florida up through South Carolina. It has proven a frustrating ordeal, with no new clues since the teens’ capsized boat was located Sunday. Sightings of floating objects occasionally spurred hope before being found irrelevant.

Dr. Claude Piantadosi, a Duke University medical professor who authored “The Biology of Human Survival: Life and Death in Extreme Environments,” said finding individuals outside of a boat, simply bobbing in the water, is intensely difficult. The former Navy officer said sailors lost at sea might run an orange streamer 30 to 40 feet behind them to aid being located by air.

“Single people in the ocean are the hardest to pick up,” he said.

Piantadosi, an avid boater and diver, has frequently visited the Atlantic waters where the teens disappeared, and says they are remarkably empty expanses, largely free of anything the boys might be able to grab unto.

“There’s just not that much debris out there,” he said. “Occasionally you’ll find a log or buoy, something like that drifting along, but not very often.”

But the lengthening interval since the boys disappeared does not dispel all hope for them.

In 2005, two South Carolina teens were swept out to sea on their small sailboat during a storm. After searching for them for several days, the Coast Guard and state officials searched began referring to their effort as a recovery operation not a rescue.

Yet the teens were found alive after almost a week at sea. A key difference from the Florida teens, though: They were still aboard their boat.

Each year, Florida waters swallow a small number of boaters who venture out and never return. In 2013, when Florida had 56 boating fatalities, it also had nine missing boaters who were never found and are presumed dead, according to the state Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. Last year, there were 64 fatalities and six missing boaters.

The commission could not break down how many of these accidents happened in the ocean, the Gulf of Mexico or on a lake or river.

Dr. Raj Dasgupta, a critical care doctor at the University of Southern California, said the boys’ experience in the open water may be far different from what some might expect.

“They’re usually not going to be found eaten by sharks like some movies would have you believe. They’re going to have fatigue and muscle cramps and dehydration,” he said. “It’s the worst oxymoron in the world: You’re surrounded by water and there’s no water.”

___

Associated Press writer Alicia A. Caldwell in Washington contributed to this report.

TIME United Nations

Russia Blocks Criminal Prosecution in Malaysia Airlines Crash

UN-SECURITY COUNCIL
Kena Betancur—AFP/Getty Images Members of the UN Security Council vote to establish a tribunal to prosecute those responsible for shooting down flight MH17 during a meeting at United Nations Headquarters in New York on July 29, 2015.

Despite international suspicion, Russia denies that the Malaysian plane was shot down by Russian soldiers or Russia-backed separatist rebels

(UNITED NATIONS) — Russia on Wednesday vetoed a U.N. Security Council resolution that would set up an international criminal court to prosecute those responsible for shooting down a Malaysia Airlines plane over Ukraine a year ago.

The foreign ministers of the Netherlands, Australia and Ukraine attended a meeting over the downing that killed all 298 people on board Flight MH17. The countries are among the five nations investigating the incident, along with Malaysia and Belgium.

Ukraine and the West suspect the plane, traveling from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur, was hit by a surface-to-air missile fired by Russian soldiers or Russia-backed separatist rebels on July 17, 2014. Russia denies that, and state media have alleged the plane was shot down by a Ukrainian missile or warplane.

“Russia has callously disregarded the public outcry in the grieving nations,” U.S. Ambassador Samantha Power said, adding that the United States was among the 18 countries that lost citizens in the disaster. Three countries abstained from the vote: China, Venezuela and Angola.

Wednesday’s vote followed a last-minute effort to lobby Russian President Vladimir Putin, who has said setting up a tribunal would not make sense while the investigation continued.

The Dutch ambassador to the U.N., Karel van Oosterom, tweeted a statement saying Prime Minister Mark Rutte told Putin that “it was preferable to make a decision about the tribunal before the facts and charges have been established precisely in order to avoid politicizing the prosecution process.”

But the Kremlin quoted Putin as saying a tribunal would be “inexpedient” because Russia still has “a lot of questions” about the investigation to which it had little access.

Russia had offered its own draft that demanded justice for those responsible for the crash without calling for a tribunal. Russian Ambassador Vitaly Churkin told the council after the vote that such a tribunal risked not being impartial and being subject to media “propaganda,” and he called past tribunals for the Rwanda genocide and the violence in the former Yugoslavia “expensive.”

The foreign ministers met Wednesday morning with U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, who called for justice and accountability.

A preliminary report released in the Netherlands last year said the plane had no technical problems in the seconds before it broke up in the sky after being struck by multiple objects — a conclusion that experts said likely pointed to a missile strike.

The investigation led by the Dutch Safety Board aims only to determine the crash cause, not to ascribe blame. The probe is being led by The Netherlands because 196 of the victims were Dutch.

A separate probe by the Dutch national prosecutor’s office aims to establishing who was responsible. This investigation includes authorities from Ukraine, Malaysia and other countries whose nationals were among the victims, but Russia is not a participant.

TIME Zimbabwe

Hunters Linked to Killing of Beloved Lion Appear in Court

The men are accused of failing to "prevent an unlawful hunt"

(HARARE, Zimbabwe) — Two Zimbabweans arrested for illegally hunting a lion appeared in court Wednesday. The head of Zimbabwe’s safari association said the killing was unethical and that it couldn’t even be classified as a hunt, since the lion killed by an American dentist was lured into the kill zone.

A professional hunter identified by the Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority as Theo Bronkhorst and his co-defendant, farm owner Honest Trymore Ndlovu, are accused of helping Walter James Palmer hunt the lion. Zimbabwean police said they are looking for Palmer, the American dentist who reportedly paid $50,000 to track and kill the animal.

Zimbabwean prosecutors’ documents accuse Bronkhorst of failing to “prevent an unlawful hunt.” Court documents say Bronkhorst was supervising while his client, Palmer, shot the animal.

During the nighttime hunt, the men tied a dead animal to their car to lure the lion out of a national park, said Johnny Rodrigues, chairman of the Zimbabwe Conservation Task Force. The American is believed to have shot it with a crossbow, injuring the animal. The wounded lion was found 40 hours later, and Palmer shot it dead with a gun, Rodrigues said.

Using bait to lure Cecil the lion is deemed unethical by the Safari Operators Association of Zimbabwe, of which Bronkhorst is a member. The association has since revoked his license.

“Ethics are certainly against baiting. Animals are supposed to be given a chance of a fair chase,” Emmanuel Fundira, the association’s president, said on Tuesday. “In fact, it was not a hunt at all. The animal was baited and that is not how we do it. It is not allowed.”

Palmer, a dentist living in the Minneapolis suburb of Eden Prairie, said in a statement that he was unaware the lion was protected, relying on local guides to ensure a legal hunt.

“I had no idea that the lion I took was a known, local favorite, was collared and part of a study until the end of the hunt. I relied on the expertise of my local professional guides to ensure a legal hunt,” Palmer said in statement through a public relations firm.

Public outrage at the killing grew.

“If, as has been reported, this dentist and his guides lured Cecil out of the park with food so as to shoot him on private property … he needs to be extradited, charged, and, preferably, hanged,” People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals said in a statement Wednesday. The statement, emailed to The Associated Press, came from Ingrid Newkirk, president of the animal rights organization.

Social media — for example on Twitter under #cecilthelion — were also filled with condemnation of the killing of the black-maned lion just outside Hwange National Park in Zimbabwe.

Brokhorst and Ndlovu appeared at the Hwange magistrate’s court, about 435 miles (700 kilometers) west of the capital Harare, to face poaching charges. But the proceedings were delayed because prosecutors are “making their assessments,” defense lawyer Givemore Muvhiringi said.

If convicted, the men face up to 15 years in prison in Zimbabwe.

Ndlovu did not have a hunting permit, the Zimbabwe National Parks and Wildlife Authority and the Safari Operators Association said in a joint statement.

Palmer has several hunts on record with the Pope and Young Club, where archers register big game taken in North America for posterity, said Glenn Hisey, the club’s director of records. Hisey said he didn’t have immediate access to records showing the types and number of animals killed by Palmer, but noted that club records involve legal hunts “taken under our rules of fair chase.”

According to U.S. court records, Palmer pleaded guilty in 2008 to making false statements to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service about a black bear he fatally shot in western Wisconsin. Palmer had a permit to hunt but shot the animal outside the authorized zone in 2006, then tried to pass it off as being killed elsewhere, according to court documents. He was given one year probation and fined nearly $3,000.

Although African game wouldn’t be eligible, Hisey said he alerted the group’s board that Palmer’s ethics were being called into question. He said Palmer’s domestic records could be jeopardized if he’s found to have done something illegal abroad.

Cecil was being studied by an Oxford University research program. He is believed to have been killed on July 1, its carcass discovered days later by trackers.

In America, late-night TV host Jimmy Kimmel paid emotional tribute to Cecil on Tuesday’s “Jimmy Kimmel Live.”

After recounting details of Cecil’s death, Kimmel invited viewers to contribute to a wildlife fund.

“If you want to make this into a positive ” — then, choking up, he halted for a moment to regain his composure — “make a donation and support them. At the very least, maybe we can show the world that not all Americans are like this jack-hole here.”

___

Associated Press reporters Amy Forliti in Bloomington, Minnesota, Brian Bakst in St. Paul, Minnesota, and Frazier Moore in New York contributed to this report.

TIME New York

New York Man Arrested for Attempting to Join ISIS

Arafat Nagi showed active intention of joining the Islamic State group

(BUFFALO, N.Y.) — Authorities in western New York say they’ve arrested a 44-year-old man on a charge of attempting to support the Islamic State group.

U.S. Attorney William Hochul said at a news conference Wednesday morning in Buffalo that authorities were tipped off by a resident who heard Arafat Nagi talking about his jihadi beliefs.

Nagi is due in court later Wednesday to face a charge of attempting to support a terrorist organization. Authorities say his social media posts and travel records were checked out as part of the investigation.

Hochul says Nagi traveled twice to Turkey within the past three years with the intention of joining the Islamic State group. He says Nagi purchased military combat gear, including night-vision goggles.

Police executed a search warrant Wednesday morning at Nagi’s home in the city of Lackawanna.

TIME People

Penn. Congressman Chaka Fattah Indicted in Racketeering Case

Chaka Fattah
Matt Rourke—AP In this May 7, 2015 photo, Rep. Chaka Fattah, D-Pa., speaks at the School of the Future in Philadelphia.

Fattah has been the subject of a long-running federal investigation

(PHILADELPHIA) — Pennsylvania Congressman Chaka Fattah has been indicted on charges he misappropriated hundreds of thousands of dollars of federal, charitable and campaign funds.

The 11-term Philadelphia Democrat was charged Wednesday with racketeering conspiracy, bribery, conspiracy to commit wire, honest services and mail fraud, and other charges.

Fattah has been the subject of a long-running federal investigation. Four others also have been charged, including people who worked for his campaign and congressional staffs.

Fattah’s office had no immediate comment on the charges. It said it would issue a statement shortly.

TIME Football

Patriots Owner Robert Kraft Regrets Not Appealing NFL Penalties

"This was never about doing what was fair and just"

(FOXBOROUGH, Mass.) — New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft says he was wrong to trust the NFL in the deflated footballs case and that he regrets not appealing the penalties against the team.

Appearing at team headquarters Wednesday, a day after NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell upheld a four-game suspension of Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, Kraft angrily targeted the league for its handling of the case.

Kraft said that the league’s claim that Brady trashed his cellphone was just the latest in a series of statements and leaks designed to impugn the integrity of Brady and the team.

Kraft said, “I have come to the conclusion that this was never about doing what was fair and just.”

Brady was suspended four games and the team was docked $1 million and two draft picks after the league found improperly inflated footballs were used in the AFC championship game against the Indianapolis Colts.

Your browser is out of date. Please update your browser at http://update.microsoft.com