TIME Environment

Winds and Choppy Seas Slow Cleanup of California Oil Spill

More than 9,000 gallons had been cleaned up as of Thursday

(GOLETA, Calif.)—Weather has slowed cleanup efforts at the site of an oil spill that fouled a California shoreline.

The National Weather Service says gusty winds are whipping up waves as high as 4 feet early Friday off Santa Barbara County. Several days of calm seas had helped crews.

A small watercraft advisory was issued overnight and Santa Barbara news station KEYT-TV says oil skimming vessels were brought in late Thursday because of bad weather.

Crews have yet to excavate the section of pipeline that broke Tuesday, spilling an estimated 105,000 gallons of crude. About 21,000 gallons is believed to have made it to the sea and split into slicks that stretched 9 miles along the coast.

As of Thursday, more than 9,000 gallons had been raked, skimmed and vacuumed up.

TIME France

Eiffel Tower Closed as Workers Protest Rise in Pickpockets

eiffel-tower
Getty Images

Paris authorities said petty crime was down compared to last year

(PARIS)—The Eiffel Tower closed to the public Friday as workers protested a rise in aggressive pickpockets around the Paris landmark that attracts thousands of visitors daily.

The walkout came a day after Paris authorities said crime against tourists in the French capital had dropped this year thanks to reinforced police presence and video surveillance.

The company that manages the tower said it did not open Friday because the staff was concerned about petty crime around the site and it is working with police to reach a solution. Crowds of tourists streamed around the monument, unable to reach its viewing towers. The tower is normally open every day of the year but sometimes closes briefly for bomb threats or strikes.

Workers at the Louvre staged a similar walkout in 2012, complaining of a rising problem of pickpockets haunting the famed Paris museum’s vast galleries.

Paris authorities said violent theft was down 25 percent and pickpocketing was down 23 percent in the first four months of 2015, compared with the same period last year, according to numbers released Thursday.

In recent months, city authorities have also broken up several major theft networks, according to Prosecutor Francois Molins, who paid a special visit to the Champs-Elysees tourist district Thursday to show how seriously police are taking crime against visitors.

Paris has also heightened security since the January attacks against the satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo and a kosher supermarket that left 20 dead, including the three attackers.

TIME Crime

U.K. Bomb Maker Sentenced to Life for Killing U.S. Soldier

London taxi driver Anis Sardar, was today convicted in a British court of murdering US soldier Sergeant First Class Randy Johnson eight years ago in Iraq.
British Metropolitan Police Service/AFP/Getty Images London taxi driver Anis Sardar, was today convicted in a British court of murdering US soldier Sergeant First Class Randy Johnson eight years ago in Iraq.

He was convicted Thursday of murder and conspiracy to murder

(LONDON) — A British man was sentenced Friday to life in prison for making a roadside bomb that killed a U.S. soldier in Iraq in 2007.

Anis Abid Sardar, 38, was accused of assembling bombs in Syria that were planted on the western outskirts of Baghdad that year. One of the devices killed Sgt. 1st Class Randy Johnson, 34, of 2nd Stryker Cavalry Regiment. Johnson, from Washington, D.C., died after his armored vehicle struck a bomb on Sept. 27, 2007. Four other soldiers were injured.

He was arrested years later after FBI investigators found his fingerprints on some of the devices. Prosecutors said he was a “highly dangerous man” working with “murderous intent against coalition forces.”

Sardar, a former London taxi driver, was believed to be the first person to be convicted in a British court for fighting in the Iraqi insurgency.

He was convicted Thursday of murder and conspiracy to murder. He had denied all the charges against him, and told the court he became involved in the Iraqi insurgency to protect his fellow Sunni Muslims from Shia militias. He said American soldiers had not been his targets.

But Justice Henry Globe dismissed that and said Sardar had “a mindset that made Americans every bit the enemy as Shia militias.”

Sardar was to life with a minimum term of 38 years.

TIME europe

Why Australia Is Competing In Europe’s Biggest Song Contest

Guy Sebastian of Australia performs on stage during rehearsals ahead of the Eurovision Song Contest 2015 in Vienna on May 20, 2015.
Nigel Treblin—Getty Images Guy Sebastian of Australia performs on stage during rehearsals ahead of the Eurovision Song Contest 2015 in Vienna on May 20, 2015.

Australia joins Israel as a non-European competitor

VIENNA — For the first time in its 60-year history, the Eurovision Song Contest may be won by — Australia.

The land from Down Under is making its debut in Europe’s favorite songfest, invited as a wild card due to its strong fan base. Its entry, Guy Sebastian, is one of the bookmakers’ favorites.

Sebastian is touted as being among the top five contestants along with entries from Sweden, Italy, Russia and Estonia. But all 27 nations contesting the top spot Saturday after surviving the elimination rounds have at least a theoretical chance of walking away the winner.

Still, Australia’s participation is this year’s buzz at the extravaganza, which catapulted into world consciousness last year with the win of bearded Austrian diva Conchita Wurst. A co-host in this year’s competition, she has opted for a small role, so the spotlight stays on this year’s singers.

The Aussies are already stoked, or as Sebastian put it, “bitten by the Eurovision bug.” Australian delegation head Paul Clarke attributed the huge interest among his countrymen in part to the country’s “incredibly strong European presence.”

Delayed TV broadcasts of Eurovision contests have been shown for 30 years in Australia and Eurovision parties are common there. This year it will be shown live in Australia’s early morning hours — and like citizens of other nations vying for the win, Australians can vote for their candidate.

But Europeans also will be watching — and voting. Organizers expect a television audience of about 200 million to tune in globally to the spectacle taking place in Vienna’s sprawling Stadthalle, which has been outfitted with the latest stage and light technology.

Huge public viewing screens have also been set up in key locations throughout the city for those brave enough to ignore Saturday’s predicted cold and windy showers.

The annual competition is supposed to be removed from politics, and fittingly, this year’s theme is “Building Bridges.” Even so, the Ukraine crisis is making its presence felt.

Kiev is not sending a candidate this year. With many in the West viewing Moscow as the aggressor in the Ukraine conflict, Russian contestant Polina Gagarina is raising some eyebrows with her pacifist-themed song, “A Million Voices.”

And in Russia, where propagating homosexuality is against the law and many view Wurst as a threat to traditional family values, the Orthodox Church already is warning of the consequences should Gagarina win, since the winner’s nation usually hosts the next year’s contest.

Tass and other Russian news agencies quoted Patriarch Kirill as saying her victory would bring the contest to Russia “with all those bearded female singers.” Acts such as Wurst’s promote values “repulsive to our soul and our culture,” he declared.

Despite such sentiments, millions saw Wurst’s win last year as a triumph for tolerance. But it was not the first time Eurovision has pushed the boundaries of gender identity.

The 1998 winner was Israel’s Dana International, who had male-to-female gender reassignment surgery before competing. Israel can participate due to its membership in the European Broadcasting Union, the event’s organizer.

If Australia wins, the event will not go Down Under. The Aussies would be invited to compete next year but in a European country.

Even without a change of continents, contest horizons can be further widened this year with a triumph by Polish contestant Monika Kuszynska, who is partially paralyzed and performs from a wheelchair. But hopes of a breakthrough by the Finnish punk band PKN — consisting of one autistic member and three others with Downs Syndrome — were eliminated in a qualifying round.

That means Eurovision will rely this year on its usual mix of eclectic, sometimes vapid and often overwrought techno beats, love songs, ballads and pop tunes.

The Finnish band was taking it all in stride.

“We didn’t make the finals,” drummer Toni Valitalo told Finnish television. “But we won the whole contest.”

TIME France

France Bans Supermarkets From Destroying Surplus Food

Supermarket
Getty Images

The government is trying to reduce food waste by 50 percent by 2025

PARIS — France’s parliament has voted to forbid big supermarkets from destroying unsold food, encouraging them to donate to charities or farms instead.

The amendment on food waste approved by the National Assembly, the lower house of Parliament, late Thursday is part of a larger environmental bill. The overall bill is still under discussion, and will need to go to the Senate for final approval.

The bill would require big supermarket chains to donate unsold goods to charity or for use as animal feed or compost. It also aims at reducing waste in school cafeterias.

Environmental groups welcomed the vote. A trade group said large supermarkets are being disproportionately targeted by the bill.

The government is trying to reduce food waste by 50 percent by 2025.

TIME Hillary Clinton

Archives Show Hillary Clinton Endorsed Tax Breaks for Nonprofits

Democratic presidential hopeful and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton hosts a small business forum with members of the business and lending communities at Bike Tech bicycle shop on May 19, 2015 in Cedar Falls, Iowa.
Scott Olson—Getty Images Democratic presidential hopeful and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton hosts a small business forum with members of the business and lending communities at Bike Tech bicycle shop on May 19, 2015 in Cedar Falls, Iowa.

Clinton endorsed a plan to give tax breaks to nonprofits as her husband's foundation was soliciting donations for a presidential library

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — As first lady in the final year of the Clinton administration, Hillary Rodham Clinton endorsed a White House plan to give tax breaks to private foundations and wealthy charity donors at the same time the William J. Clinton Foundation was soliciting donations for her husband’s presidential library, recently released Clinton-era documents show.

The blurred lines between the tax reductions proposed by the Clinton administration in 2000 and the Clinton Library’s fundraising were an early foreshadowing of the potential ethics concerns that have flared around the Clintons’ courting of corporate and foreign donors for their family charity before she launched her campaign for the 2016 Democratic presidential nomination.

White House documents in the Clinton Library reviewed by The Associated Press show Hillary Clinton and Bill Clinton were kept apprised about a tax reduction package that would have benefited donors, including those to his presidential library, by reducing their tax burden. An interagency task force set up by Bill Clinton’s executive order proposed those breaks along with deductions to middle-class taxpayers who did not itemize their returns. Federal officials estimated the plan would cost the U.S. government $14 billion in lost tax payments over a decade.

In a January 2000 memo to Hillary Clinton from senior aides, plans for a “philanthropy tax initiative roll-out” showed her scrawled approval, “HRC” and “OK.” The document, marked with the archive stamp “HRC handwriting,” indicated her endorsement of the tax package, which included provisions to reduce and simplify an excise tax on private foundations’ investments and allow more deductions for charitable donations of appreciated property. The Clinton White House included the tax proposal in its final budget in February 2000, but it did not survive the Republican-led Congress.

“Without your leadership, none of these proposals would have been included in the tax package,” three aides wrote to Hillary Clinton in the memo, days before she led a private conference call outlining the plan to private foundation and nonprofit leaders.

Federal law does not prevent fundraising by a presidential library during a president’s term. While most modern-day presidents held off until the end of their term, Ronald Reagan, Bill Clinton and George W. Bush allowed supporters to solicit donations while they were still in office, and President Barack Obama is now doing the same.

But in directly pushing the legislation while the Clinton Library was aggressively seeking donations, Hillary and Bill Clinton’s altruistic support for philanthropy overlapped with their interests promoting their White House years and knitting ties with philanthropic leaders. Hundreds of pages of documents contain no evidence that anyone in the Clinton administration raised warnings about potential ethics concerns or sought to minimize the White House’s active role in the legislation.

“The theme here for the Clintons is a characteristic ambiguity of doing good and at the same time doing well by themselves,” said Lawrence Jacobs, director of the Center for the Study of Politics and Governance at the Hubert H. Humphrey School at the University of Minnesota. Jacobs said the Clinton administration could have relied on a federal commission to decide tax plans or publicly supported changes but not specific legislation.

Instead, Jacobs said, “this was a commitment by the Clinton White House to identify options and promote them with no regard to the larger picture.”

Spokesmen for Hillary Clinton’s campaign and the Clinton Foundation declined to comment, deferring to the former president’s office.

A spokesman for Bill Clinton’s office said that his administration was not trying to incentivize giving to the foundation, but instead was spurred by a 1997 presidential humanities committee that urged tax breaks for charities to aid American cultural institutions. Bruce Reed, Bill Clinton’s chief domestic policy adviser at the time, also responded Thursday that the former president “wanted to give a break to working people for putting a few more dollars in the plate at the church. Not for any other far-fetched reason.” Gene Sperling, former economic adviser to both Bill Clinton and President Barack Obama, added that the tax reduction package was “developed at the Treasury Department, endorsed by experts and designed to encourage all forms of charitable giving.”

The Clinton Foundation would not have benefited directly by the tax proposals. The foundation is a public charity and not subject to the excise tax, which applies only to private foundations and is still law. The foundation is also not known to donate appreciated property and stocks to other charities.

But the tax changes would have indirectly helped the foundation — as well as many other U.S. charities — by freeing nonprofits’ investments and donations that otherwise would have gone into tax payments. A reduction of the excise tax would have boosted the assets of private foundations. Higher deductions for appreciated investments and property would have also aided the Clinton Foundation, which accepts non-cash gifts. In 2010, for example, the charity declared more than $5 million in donated securities on its federal tax returns.

By the time the Clinton administration introduced its tax package in February 2000, the foundation had already raised $6 million in donations, according to tax disclosures. Among corporate-tied nonprofits that pledged or donated at least $1 million to the library project through the early 2000s, according to tax documents and published reports, were the Wasserman Foundation, the Roy and Christine Sturgis Foundation, the Walton Family Foundation and the Anheuser-Busch Foundation.

Though Bill Clinton did not take over the nonprofit until after his presidency, he had openly discussed his plans for the organization’s future with New York executives in June 1999. And the foundation’s fundraising was led at the time by a trusted childhood friend, James “Skip” Rutherford, now dean of the Clinton School of Public Service at the University of Arkansas.

Rutherford said he was not aware of the tax proposals and was focused at the time on small donors and likely contributors around Arkansas.

Months before proposing the tax breaks, Clinton White House officials began courting leaders from some of the nation’s most influential charities. In the summer of 1999, aides began discussing the possibility of a White House conference to celebrate American philanthropy at the turn of the millennium.

White House documents at the Clinton Library show that Hillary Rodham Clinton, who was herself a board director of the activist New World Foundation in the 1980s, helped oversee the conference. She and aides quickly shaped preparations for a formal White House event planned for that October.

Wealthy donors and major foundations were enlisted to plan and fund the event. Aides spent weeks in White House meetings with charity officials, culling their suggestions on boosting giving by Americans and eliminating government barriers. Department heads were ordered to identify the nonprofits they worked with and find ways to improve those relationships.

A September 1999 White House list proposing possible “philanthropy heroes” to highlight at the conference included wealthy donors of “large recent gifts,” among them Microsoft’s Bill Gates and his wife, Dell computer founder Michael Dell and investors George Soros and Eli Broad.

They all later donated to the Clinton Foundation through their companies or private foundations. There are no indications that White House officials discussed future Clinton Foundation gifts with any nonprofit. But the White House attention lavished on their concerns, Jacobs said, showed that “the president and the first lady were making tax reform for a specialized, wealthy part of American life one of their top priorities.”

In another September memo, aides told Hillary Clinton she could expect “public and private sector announcements” about tax reductions and “streamlining IRS forms for nonprofits.” The aides asked for her guidance on policy and guest lists. They told her that funding for the event would be absorbed by the Treasury Department and several foundations and donors, among them the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation, the Getty Foundation, AOL and Jill Iscol, a close Hillary Clinton friend and donor who in 2000 was named finance co-chair of the first lady’s New York Senate campaign.

When one aide wrote in an earlier email that Iscol had volunteered to aid the event as “fiscal agent,” another aide replied in a handwritten aside: “Little worried in relation to HRC scrutiny.”

Iscol’s IF Hummingbird Foundation later donated between $250,000 and $500,000 to the Clinton Foundation. Others also became donors to the Clinton Foundation: The Ford Foundation has donated more than $1 million and the MacArthur Foundation and the Mott Foundation have each donated more than $250,000.

In emails and memos, Clinton aides noted strong support among nonprofit interests for tax reductions. A key concern was the annual 2 percent excise tax on foundations’ investments that has been law since 1969. Under the excise tax, which is still law, some foundations are able to reduce the tax to 1 percent, but only by using a complicated system that sometimes leads to larger tax burdens. The Council on Foundations, a national organization of corporate grant-makers, has urged a single lower flat excise tax because the current system is too complicated.

Another voice for tax breaks was the actor Paul Newman, who routed the after-tax profits and royalties from his Newman’s Own food products to charity. An October 1999 Treasury memo to Clinton aides recounts a 1998 meeting between Newman and then-Treasury Secretary Robert Rubin in which the actor lobbied for “increasing the limits on charitable deductions for corporations and individuals.”

After Rubin ordered aides to analyze Newman’s proposal, officials warned “that it would be difficult to increase deduction limits without opening up potential abuses such a complete avoidance of income taxes” by some donors.

When Newman pressed again by letter, officials passed his name along to White House officials, who invited him to the 1999 celebration of philanthropy. Newman’s foundation later donated between $500,000 and $1 million to the Clinton Foundation before his death in 2008.

Two days after the October 1999 Treasury Department memo, the Clintons hosted the White House philanthropy conference. More than 200 guests — including Newman, singer Justin Timberlake and the heads of major U.S. charities — applauded as the Clintons hailed the accomplishments of volunteers and private foundations.

“We need to think about, in government, whether we can do more things to generate more constructive philanthropy,” Bill Clinton told the crowd. Added Hillary Clinton: “There has never been a better time for philanthropy than today.”

That day, a presidential memo from Bill Clinton ordered the heads of all executive departments to convene an interagency task force to find “ways to reduce governmental barriers to innovative nonprofit enterprises.”

In late January, the task force, which included Treasury Department and domestic policy officials, settled on three tax initiatives. They included the two tax breaks for foundations and donors and the third proposal aimed at allowing low and middle-income taxpayers who did not itemize their returns to claim deductions for charity donations over $500 each year.

Hours before Bill Clinton’s State of the Union speech in 2000, Hillary Rodham Clinton led a private conference call with charity and foundation leaders to unveil the plans for tax reduction package. Aides told her the discussion would “underscore the priority you are placing on philanthropic initiatives, show the linkage between this year’s budget initiatives and the White House Conference of Philanthropy, and to further associate you with philanthropy among the nonprofits and foundation community.”

But Bill Clinton’s speech that night mentioned only the aid to middle-class donors. He said nothing about the plan to give tax breaks for foundations and wealthy donors.

The following month, all three proposals were included in the Clinton administration’s 2001 fiscal year budget.

They died in committee.

TIME Washington

Hundreds Protest Washington Police Wounding of 2 Unarmed Suspects

Hundreds of people protesting a police shooting gather outside of City Hall in Olympia, Wash., on May 21, 2015
Rachel La Corte—AP Hundreds of people protesting a police shooting gather outside of city hall in Olympia, Wash., on May 21, 2015

The officer reported he was being assaulted with a skateboard early on Thursday before the shooting

(OLYMPIA, Wash.) — Hundreds marched peacefully in Washington state’s capital city to protest a police shooting that wounded two unarmed stepbrothers suspected of trying to steal beer from a grocery store.

The officer reported he was being assaulted with a skateboard early Thursday before the shooting that left a 21-year-old man in critical condition and a 24-year-old man in stable condition. Both were expected to survive.

The stepbrothers are black, and the officer is white, but Olympia Police Chief Ronnie Roberts said, “There’s no indication to me that race was a factor in this case at all.”

Protesters who turned out Thursday evening held signs that read “Race is a Factor” and “We Are Grieving.”

The two men were identified as Andre Thompson, 24, and Bryson Chaplin, 21, both of Olympia.

“It was terrible,” the young men’s mother, Crystal Chaplin, told KIRO-TV. “It’s heartbreaking to see two of my babies in the hospital over something stupid.”

The shooting is being investigated by a team of detectives from several agencies. Brad Watkins, chief deputy of the Thurston County Sheriff’s Department, said two skateboards were recovered from the shooting scene and an investigation will likely take three to six weeks. The young men had no guns, investigators said.

The crowd of demonstrators rallied first at a park, then marched about a mile to a building that houses the Olympia police headquarters and City Hall. Protesters chanted “Black Lives Matter,” ”No Justice, No Peace” and the names of the young men who were shot.

Olympia police tweeted their thanks to marchers “for keeping the event nonviolent.”

“We are committed to helping our community work through this difficult circumstance and help us understand this tragic event,” the police chief told a news conference Thursday afternoon.

Officer Ryan Donald was among those who responded around 1 a.m. Thursday to a call from a Safeway store, Roberts said. Employees said two men tried to steal beer and then threw the alcohol at workers who confronted the pair.

Officers split up to search for the men. Donald encountered two men with skateboards who fit witnesses’ descriptions, and moments later, he radioed in that shots had been fired, the police chief said.

In radio calls released by police, Donald calls dispatchers once he spots the men, and again to report that he fired shots.

“I believe one of them is hit, both of them are running,” Donald said.

He tells dispatchers that one of the men “assaulted me with his skateboard.”

“I tried to grab his friend,” Donald said. “They’re very aggressive, just so you know.”

He says he has one man, then both, at gunpoint and asks for help.

Seconds later, he shouts, “Shots fired! One down,” and asks for more backup units. He then says the second man has been shot.

The police chief said Donald wasn’t injured but an officer “has the right to defend himself” if a suspect wields an object that could be used as a deadly weapon.

Donald, 35, who is on administrative leave pending the investigation, has been with the department for just over three years. No residents have filed complaints against him, and he was recently recognized by the agency for being proactive on investigations, Roberts said. He worked previously as an Army police officer, the chief said.

The shooting follows a string of high-profile killings of unarmed black men by police, including Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, and Eric Garner in New York City, which set off weeks of protests and a national “Black Lives Matter” movement that has gained momentum across the country.

Olympia Mayor Stephen H. Buxbaum called for calm in the community.

“It deeply saddens me that we have two young people in the hospital as a result of an altercation with an officer of the law,” he said. “Let’s come together to support their needs, the officer’s needs, the needs of the families and our community’s needs. Let’s not be reactive.”

Merritt Long, a retired chairman of the state’s liquor control board, was one of several residents to attend the news conference Thursday.

“Does the punishment fit the crime?” he asked afterward. “Given the seeming epidemic of this happening not only here but in our country, it makes you pause and wonder what’s going on.”

TIME Burma

Burma Rescues Over 200 Boat People

Rescued migrants sit on an Acehnese fishing boat upon arrival in Simpang Tiga, Aceh province, Indonesia, May 20, 2015
Binsar Bakkara—AP Rescued migrants sit on an Acehnese fishing boat upon arrival in Simpang Tiga, Indonesia on May 20, 2015

Southeast Asian countries have been accused of playing "maritime ping-pong"

Burma says its navy has rescued 208 migrants aboard two fishing trawlers off the western coast.

According to the director of the president’s office, Zaw Htay, the migrants are Bangladeshi men.

They were found off the coast of Rakhine state, where most of the Rohingya minority Muslims have been fleeing persecution in the majority-Buddhist nation and thousands became stranded in the Andaman Sea.

Authorities in Burma do not recognize the Rohingya, refer to them as Bengalis and consider them to be illegal immigrants from Bangladesh.

About half of the more than 3,000 migrants who landed on the shores of Indonesia and Malaysia are Rohingya from Burma and the other half from Bangladesh proper. They share the same language and religion.

Htaw says the Burma navy will provide humanitarian assistance, conduct verification and return them to where they came from.

— Aye Aye Win, Yangon, Burma

___

10 a.m. (0300 GMT)

The U.N. refugee agency is estimating that over 3,000 Rohingya and Bangladeshi migrants — or even more — could still be adrift in the Andaman Sea.

The exact numbers are not known, but the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees says it triangulated reports in the media and other sources and estimates the current number could be over 3,000 — or more that no one knows about.

More than 3,000 Rohingya minority Muslims fleeing persecution in Burma and Bangladeshi economic migrants also on the boats with them have already landed in Indonesia and Malaysia, and over 100 in Thailand.

Only Rohingyas are being given a one-year temporary shelter while Bangladeshis face repatriation.

Malaysian navy chief Abdul Aziz Jaafar says four vessels are searching for any migrant ships that could still be out at sea, and three helicopters and three combat boats are on standby.

___

3 p.m. (2200 GMT)

The U.S. military says it is preparing to help countries in the region address the humanitarian crisis of the Rohingya migrants stranded at sea.

Pentagon spokesman Lt. Col. Jeffrey Pool told The Associated Press Thursday that the Department of Defense “is responding to this crisis and taking this seriously. We are preparing to stand up maritime aviation patrols throughout the region and working with local partners to help with this issue.”

It was the first indication that the U.S. military is ready to take direct role. Washington has been urging governments in the region to work together to conduct search and rescue and provide shelter to thousands of vulnerable migrants.

— Martha Mendoza, Santa Cruz, California

____

10 a.m. (1400 GMT)

A bipartisan group of 23 U.S. lawmakers is urging the Obama administration to prevent Southeast Asian seas from becoming a “graveyard” for thousands of Rohingya boat people.

The lawmakers made the appeal in a letter to U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry late Wednesday, ahead of discussions on the crisis between Burma’s government and the No. 2 ranking U.S. diplomat, Anthony Blinken, in Naypyitaw, Burma’s capital.

The members of the House of Representatives said the United States should provide support in search and rescue and humanitarian assistance for migrants in imminent danger in the Andaman Sea after fleeing “systematic repression” in Burma.

The U.S. should also work with Southeast Asian nations and address the “root cause” of the crisis, it says. The letter is strongly critical of President Thein Sein’s government for pursuing “hate-filled” legislation against minorities in Burma. It recommends targeted U.S. sanctions against those who incite violence against the Rohingya if the situation continues to deteriorate.

The top-ranking Republican and Democrat on the House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee are among the signatories of the letter, which was provided Thursday to The Associated Press. Lawmakers provide oversight, but don’t set U.S. foreign policy.

— Matthew Pennington, Washington, D.C.

TIME Washington

Suspect in Killings of Wealthy D.C. Family Arrested

APTOPIX DC Mansion Fire Slayings
Manuel Balce Ceneta—AP A Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives investigator walks out of the fire-damaged multimillion-dollar home in Washington on May 20, 2015

Police have not said why Wint would want to kill 46-year-old Savvas Savopoulos

(WASHINGTON) — A week after authorities said the family was killed in their mansion and it was set on fire.

Daron Dylon Wint, 34, was arrested in northeast Washington shortly before 11 p.m. Thursday, said David Neumann, a U.S. Marshals Service spokesman. D.C. Police Chief Cathy Lanier also confirmed that Wint was in custody.

Police have not detailed why Wint would want to kill 46-year-old Savvas Savopoulos; his 47-year-old wife, Amy; their son, Philip; and housekeeper Veralicia Figueroa. Three of them had been stabbed or bludgeoned before the fire.

Police said Thursday that Wint, a certified welder, worked for Savopoulos’ company American Iron Works in the past. Savopoulos was the CEO of American Iron Works, a construction-materials supplier based in Hyattsville, Maryland, that has been involved in major projects in downtown Washington.

Wint was convicted of second-degree assault in Maryland in 2009 and sentenced to 30 days in jail, court records showed. He also pleaded guilty in 2010 to malicious destruction of property, and a burglary charge in that case was dropped.

Wint was born and raised in Guyana and moved to the United States in 2000, when he was almost 20 years old, according to court records filed in Maryland. He joined the Marine Corps that same year and received an honorable discharge for medical reasons, the records show. Following his discharge, he worked as a certified welder, the records show.

Savopoulos moonlighted as a martial arts instructor and had planned to open a martial arts studio in northern Virginia.

The Savopouloses lived in a $4.5 million home in Woodley Park, where mansions are protected by fences and elaborate security systems and local and federal law enforcement officers are a constant presence, in part because Vice President Joe Biden’s official residence is nearby.

Text messages and voicemails from the Savopouloses to their confused and frightened household staff suggest something was amiss in the house many hours before the bodies were found. Their blue Porsche turned up in suburban Maryland. It too had been set on fire.

TIME South Korea

South Korea Court Suspends Nut-Rage Executive’s Prison Term

The Korean Air executive will be released from jail on Friday

(SEOUL) — A South Korean court has suspended the prison term for the Korean Air chairman’s daughter whose onboard “nut rage” delayed a flight last year.

The Seoul High Court said Friday that Cho Hyun-ah, a former vice president of the airline, did not violate aviation security law when she ordered the chief flight attendant off a Dec. 5 flight, forcing it to return to the gate at John F. Kennedy Airport in New York.

The upper court sentenced Cho to 10 months in prison that will be suspended for two years. The court said she was guilty of using violence against flight attendants.

She’ll likely be freed from prison later Friday. She’s been in prison since her December arrest.

She’d previously been sentenced to one year in prison.

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