TIME Crime

What We Know About Virginia Shooting Victims Alison Parker and Adam Ward

Both had bright futures ahead, colleagues say

Virginia journalists Alison Parker and Adam Ward were killed Wednesday morning in an on-air shooting by a man who authorities say was a disgruntled ex-employee of WDBJ, the news station where they worked. Authorities have identified Vester Lee Flanagan (known on air as Bryce Williams) as the alleged shooter, and have said he shot himself and was taken to hospital, where he later died. A third shooting victim, Vicki Gardner, was in stable condition after surgery.

Both Parker and Ward were beloved employees of WDBJ, and both were involved in long-term relationships with other members of the WDBJ team.

Parker, 24, was described a “rockstar” by her teammates, with a bright future ahead of her at WDBJ. A 2012 graduate of James Madison University, Parker was quickly climbing the ladder at the station.

“She really has done a wonderful job reporting and filling in anchoring,” WDBJ anchor Kimberly McBroom said on-air after the shooting. “You throw anything at that girl and she could do it.” Parker had recently completed an extensive investigation on child abuse, available here.

McBroom also said Parker was a good friend to her after she lost her father, bringing food to her home and consoling her through her grief. According to her bio on WDBJ’s website, Parker loved kayaking, community theater, and playing with her parents’ dog.

“My grief is unbearable,” her father Andy Parker told the Washington Post. “Is this real? Am I going to wake up? I am crying my eyes out. I don’t know if there’s anybody in this world or another father who could be more proud of their daughter.”

Her father told the Post that while Parker was ambitious about journalism, she never tried to get into dangerous situations. “Some journalists want to be right out there covering ISIL. She did not want that,” he said. “She was not keen on jumping into a middle of a firefight someplace.”

Parker was dating WDBJ anchor Chris Hurst, and the two had moved in together and were planning to get married. Hurst took to Twitter to express his loss.

Parker worked frequently with Ward, 27, a cameraman whom colleagues described as fun-loving and reliable. “He proved himself to be just a fine photojournalist, and the kind of guy who [when he] was on his way home from work and heard about something breaking, he would just turn around and go do it,” said WDBJ general manager Jeffrey Marks in the stations on-air remembrance of Ward and Parker.

Ward, a proud alum of Virginia Tech, was engaged to Melissa Ott, a morning producer at WDBJ. He was planning to follow her to Charlotte, N.C., where she was moving for a new job. Photos on his Facebook page show him proposing to her in Washington, D.C. last year.

TIME feminism

This Graphic Shows Why We Still Need Women’s Equality Day

There's still plenty of room for progress 95 years after women got the right to vote

Wednesday is Women’s Equality Day, which celebrates the 95th anniversary of when American women finally won the right to vote in 1920.

That victory came after decades of activism by suffrage activists like Susan B. Anthony, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, and Lucretia Mott. The 19th amendment, which granted women the right to vote, was passed by Congress in 1919, and was ratified by the states in 1920—but not without some drama. By March of 1920, 35 states had approved the 19th amendment, one state shy of the two-thirds needed to pass. Many of the southern states were opposed to women’s suffrage, and the vote came down to Tennessee. Tennessee’s state legislature was divided 48-48 on whether women should be allowed the vote, but that tie was broken by 24-year old lawmaker Harry Burn. He had apparently received a letter from his mother urging him to “be a good boy” and vote for women’s rights.

Ninety-five years later, women are voting more than men but hold political office in much smaller numbers. While women have outstripped men in voting booths since 1980, women still make up just about 20-25% of elected officials at the state and federal level. Check out this graphic to see a more detailed breakdown of how women are represented in politics 95 years after they got the right to vote. Much of the data has been collected by the Center for American Women and Politics at Rutgers University.

Women.Equality.Day

Read next: The Day Women Went on Strike

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TIME 2016 Election

Fox News Chief Calls Donald Trump’s ‘Attack’ on Megyn Kelly ‘Unacceptable’

A simmering war between the presidential candidate and the cable network escalates

Fox News chairman and CEO Roger Ailes slammed Donald Trump’s “unprovoked attack” on Megyn Kelly as “disturbing” and “unacceptable” on Tuesday, demanding the Republican presidential candidate apologize for comments about the popular TV host he has been criticizing ever since the first GOP debate this month.

“I could not be more proud of Megyn for her professionalism and class in the face of all of Mr. Trump’s verbal assaults,” Ailes said in a statement. “Her questioning of Mr. Trump at the debate was tough but fair, and I fully support her as she continues to ask the probing and challenging questions that all presidential candidates may find difficult to answer.”

Trump sparred with Kelly after her tough questioning during the Aug. 6 debate. That led to days of attacks from Trump, taunts he continued when she returned to her primetime show The Kelly File after a vacation this week.

In a statement responding to Ailes, Trump said he “totally” disagrees. “I do not think Megyn Kelly is a quality journalist,” he said in the statement reported by Politico.”I think her questioning of me, despite all of the polls saying I won the debate, was very unfair.”

See Ailes’ full statement below:

“Donald Trump’s surprise and unprovoked attack on Megyn Kelly during her show last night is as unacceptable as it is disturbing. Megyn Kelly represents the very best of American journalism and all of us at FOX News Channel reject the crude and irresponsible attempts to suggest otherwise. I could not be more proud of Megyn for her professionalism and class in the face of all of Mr. Trump’s verbal assaults. Her questioning of Mr. Trump at the debate was tough but fair, and I fully support her as she continues to ask the probing and challenging questions that all presidential candidates may find difficult to answer. Donald Trump rarely apologizes, although in this case, he should. We have never been deterred by politicians or anyone else attacking us for doing our job, much less allowed ourselves to be bullied by anyone and we’re certainly not going to start now. All of our journalists will continue to report in the fair and balanced way that has made FOX News Channel the number one news network in the industry.”

TIME climate change

Here’s What Those Weird Blue Clouds Mean

Photographs of noctilucent clouds appearing in the night sky over Britain on July, 2009.
Jamie Cooper—Getty Images Photographs of noctilucent clouds appearing in the night sky over Britain on Jul. 15, 2009.

They could be related to climate change

If you’ve noticed some strange blue clouds in the night sky recently, you’re not alone. Uncharacteristically blue nighttime clouds, usually seen over polar regions, have been visible as far south as Colorado and Northern California in recent years.

The clouds, known as “noctilucent clouds” or NLCs, glow blue at night because tiny ice crystals 50 miles (80 km) above the earth are reflecting sunlight from the other side of the planet, according to SFGate. And some scientists say the glowing blue clouds may be yet another effect of climate change.

The vast majority of scientists agree that climate change is real, but NLCs are a good example of how sometimes the secondary effects of climate change may not yet be completely understood. It’s not clear exactly what the glowing clouds have to do with a changing climate, though there are some theories being discussed. One is that methane emissions can create water droplets at high altitudes, which can lead to NLCs, SpaceWeather.com’s Tony Phillips told SFGate. Another idea is that as the Earth’s surface is heating up, the higher layers of the atmosphere (like the mesosphere, where NLCs form) are actually getting colder, allowing the tiny ice crystals for form, University of Colorado Professor Gary Thomas told NASA in 2003.

So if you see blue clouds glowing at night, it may be yet another effect of climate change.

TIME Crime

The Spectrum of Choice: Sex Industry Veterans Speak Out

Four women talk to TIME about their experiences in the sex industry

Not everyone who works in the sex trade is a victim. Yet a significant portion of women who work in the sex trade are coerced in some way. And sex trafficking (commonly defined as recruitment, coercion or transport for the purposes of sexual exploitation), is rampant.

According to a 2014 report from the UN-backed International Labor Organization, 4.5 million people are trafficked for sex, generating $99 billion a year in revenue from forced sexual exploitation. Of the 208 human trafficking prosecutions pursued by the Department of Justice in 2014, 190 were for sex trafficking, according to a State Department report on trafficking released in July. That’s over 91%.

In some cases, especially in the United States, the line between trafficking and consensual sex work can get blurry. “I feel myself to be in between trafficking and having a choice,” says Kimmy,* a former prostitute serving time in Cook County jail on unrelated charges. She says she was pimped out by her former boyfriend. “I didn’t realize I was being sold or that I was being pimped…He wasn’t all bedazzled out with rings and fur coat and big car. He was just regular, a regular person.”

“Prostitution is sneaky,” she continued. “I’m so smart but I didn’t know that, you know? I didn’t know that prostitution was prostitution.”

*We’ve changed Kimmy’s first name in order to protect her from possible retribution.

MORE To read TIME’s special report on how one Illinois county is trying a new tactic to curb prostitution and to see more videos, click here.

TIME Crime

The Prostitution Paradox: How One County is Targeting Men Who Buy Sex

"When everybody says 'It's my first time,' that's not true. I'd say about 99% of the people are lying," says Deputy Chief Mike Anton of Cook County, Ill.

It’s rare to see a grown man cry. But in a cigarette-scented hotel room near a Chicago airport, more than a dozen men come and go with wet cheeks and quivering lips. No one had died, no national tragedy had occurred— they had just been caught trying to buy sex.

Across the country, cops are implementing a strategy that has long been debated in Europe: targeting the men who buy sex while trying to help the women who sell it. Some police and scholars say that focusing law enforcement attention on sex buyers reduces demand for prostitution, which strangles the sex industry and curbs human trafficking. But some human rights organizations, most recently Amnesty International, advocate for the decriminalization of all aspects of sex work, including buying sex.

While Amnesty International members were considering whether to recommend decriminalizing sex work altogether, I was with a TIME video team on two buyer-focused sex stings in Cook County, Ill. We thought it would be like an adrenaline-pumping episode of Law & Order SVU, but we were wrong.

MORE To read TIME’s special report on how one Illinois county is trying a new tactic to curb prostitution and to see more videos, click here.

TIME Crime

Watch: This is How a Police Prostitution Sting Works

TIME takes you behind the scenes of a Chicago undercover street sting to arrest "johns"

Since 2009, Cook County, IL has been cracking down on sex buyers and adding social services for prostituted women. Now, they’re coaching law enforcement from around the country to take this new approach: target sex buyers as a way to reduce demand for prostitution.

On a stretch of road near Chicago’s O’Hare airport where prostitutes are known to gather, a female undercover officer stands on the corner in full view of a fellow officer, Officer Dan. He’s responsible for watching her every move. (The officer’s names have been changed to protect their identities and their safety.)

When a car pulls up to her, Officer Dan radios the make and model to his fellow officers waiting in an arrest car. As soon as she makes a deal for sex, usually only a few seconds after the car pulls up, the female officer makes a special gesture and moves away from the car. That’s when Officer Dan radios the order:“it’s a go.”

The john is arrested within seconds, and taken to a holding area. He’ll get an ordinance violation, which is at least a $500 fine, and in many cases their car will be towed, which is another $500, plus a towing fee that’s usually between $200-300. This won’t result in a criminal record, nor will they serve any jail time, unless there’s an open warrant for their arrest on a different charge.

MORE Read TIME’s special report on how one Illinois county is trying a new tactic to curb prostitution and see more videos here.

TIME global health

Amnesty International Votes to Recommend Decriminalizing Sex Work

FILE - In this Friday, May 16, 2014 file photo, a discarded bra lies on the ground outside an informal bar that allegedly employed sex workers after a government raid on the illegal mining camp in La Pampa in the Madre de Dios region of Peru. Amnesty International approved a controversial policy Tuesday, Aug. 11, 2015 to endorse the de-criminalization of the sex trade, rejecting complaints by women’s rights groups who say it is tantamount to advocating the legalization of pimping and brothel owning. (AP Photo/Rodrigo Abd, File)
Rodrigo Abd—AP A discarded bra lies on the ground outside an informal bar that allegedly employed sex workers after a government raid in La Pampa, Peru, on May 16, 2014.

Argues that laws that stigmatize sex workers violate human rights

In a landmark decision Tuesday, Amnesty International voted to recommend the full decriminalization of sex work and prostitution in order to protect the human rights of sex workers.

The resolution recommends a policy that would decriminalize all aspects of adult, consensual sex work, while still classifying coercion into sex work or having sex with a minor as a major human rights violation. The resolution is intended to protect adult sex workers from stigma and abuse by decriminalizing aspects of sex work including buying sex, pimping and operating a brothel.

“Sex workers are one of the most marginalized groups in the world who in most instances face constant risk of discrimination, violence and abuse,” said Amnesty International Secretary General Salil Shetty in a statement. “Our global movement paved the way for adopting a policy for the protection of the human rights of sex workers which will help shape Amnesty International’s future work on this important issue.”

Amnesty International doesn’t have the power to make or enforce laws, but as an international human rights organization Amnesty has been influential on some issues like lobbying against the death penalty and getting political prisoners released.

Amnesty says the new policy on sex work was based on research from the World Health Organization, UNAIDS and UN Women.

But some are not happy with the idea of decriminalizing all aspects of the sex trade, arguing that the move would expand the sex industry, and sex trafficking would grow with it. Critics agree with Amnesty that sex workers themselves shouldn’t face legal consequences, but argue that pimps and sex buyers should.

“By calling for the decriminalization of all facets of commercial sex, including sex- buying, pimping, and brothel-owning, Amnesty is saying they value the rights of exploiters over the exploited,” says Ian Kitterman, policy specialist for Demand Abolition, a group that aims to abolish sex trafficking by ending the demand for paid sex, in a statement. “I fully agree with their belief that more must be done to protect those sold in the sex trade, but it’s equally critical to hold accountable sex buyers, pimps, and traffickers who perpetuate this predatory industry.” He added that many people in sex trade are not there by choice, but by manipulation, coercion or lack of options.

Former President Jimmy Carter sent Amnesty delegates a personal letter urging them to reject the proposal on these grounds, and feminists including Lena Dunham, Meryl Streep and Gloria Steinem signed a letter to the same effect.

TIME fertility

Frozen Eggs Have A Lower Live Birth Rate Than Fresh Eggs, Study Says

An in-vitro-fertilization in progress
BSIP/;UIG/Getty Images An in-vitro-fertilization in progress

You may be less likely to have a baby with a frozen egg than with a fresh one

Parents attempting to start a family using donated or frozen eggs are often told that frozen eggs behave just like fresh ones, but a new study has found that in-vitro fertilization with frozen eggs has a significantly lower live birth rate.

According to a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, IVF cycles that use frozen eggs have a lower live birth rate than cycles done with fresh eggs. Researchers led by Dr. Vitaly A. Kushnir from the Center for Human Reproduction examined data from 11,148 egg donation cycles performed in 380 U.S. clinics in 2013, including 2,227 that used frozen eggs. For each IVF cycle, the live birth rates were 50% with fresh eggs, and 43% with frozen eggs. For each embryo transfer, 56% of embryos created with fresh eggs resulted in a live birth, compared to 47% of embryos created with frozen eggs.

Eggs are frozen using a quick-freeze vitrification process, a development which caused the American Society of Reproductive Medicine to lift the “experimental” label from egg-freezing in late 2012. Eggs can be frozen either to delay the mother’s own fertility, or to donate to another couple. But just because egg-freezing is no longer considered “experimental” doesn’t mean it’s a sure thing.

Read More: What You Really Need to Know About Freezing Your Eggs

Dr. Kushnir says the disparity in live birth rates could be partly explained by the fact that patients tend to start with a larger number of fresh eggs than frozen eggs, since donated frozen eggs are often packaged in smaller bundles. “If you start with 10 embryos rather than 5 embryos, you have a better chance of selecting the best embryo,” he says. “But it could also be that freezing and thawing diminishes the quality of the egg.”

He noted that while freezing eggs is no longer considered “experimental,” it’s still not a foolproof procedure, and emphasized that it tends to be easier to freeze embryos than eggs. “With an egg, its only one cell; it either makes it or it doesn’t,” he says.

This study did not adjust for age or other donor characteristics, which means it’s important to interpret with caution. But it’s the first widespread study that compares live birth rates from frozen eggs to live birth rates from fresh ones. Until now, doctors have relied on anecdotal evidence to reassure their patients that frozen eggs behave exactly like fresh ones, an idea that has contributed to the growing popularity of elective egg-freezing as a method of fertility preservation.

Another important thing to note is that this study measured frozen eggs from egg donors, who tend to be much younger than women who electively freeze eggs for fertility preservation. Egg donors tend to be between 18-25 (the cutoff age for Egg Donor America, one egg donation center, is 29) while women who freeze their own eggs tend to be in their mid-late 30s. Since most doctors think egg quality can decline with age, women who freeze their own eggs might see even lower live birth rates than the donor eggs in this study.

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