TIME trafficking

Mastercard Agrees to Withdraw Support from Backpage.com

American Express, Discover, MasterCard and Visa credit cards are displayed for a photograph in New York, U.S., on Tuesday, May 18, 2010. Credit-card firms caught off-guard by U.S. Senate passage of curbs on debit fees are facing what one executive sees as a "volcanic" eruption of legislation, including possible limits on interest rates. Photographer: Daniel Acker/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Bloomberg/Getty Images

As part of an effort to fight sex trafficking

Mastercard has agreed to withdraw as an ad payment option on the adult section of Backpage.com, after Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart asked credit card companies to pull support from a site that is often used for trafficking and prostitution.

The Chicago-area sheriff wrote to Mastercard CEO Ajaypal Banga on Monday requesting the change, and on Tuesday the company agreed to sever ties with the adult section of the site, citing “rules that prohibit our cards from being used for illegal or brand-damaging activities.” American Express has already withdrawn as a payment option. Requests for comment from Visa were not immediately returned.

Further details about Dart’s initiative to fight trafficking by taking on Backpage.com will be announced Wednesday.

If the Sheriff’s effort succeeds, it will become increasingly more difficult for pimps to place ads for sex. Backpage.com charges a small fee to place adult ads, which can cost anywhere from $5 to $17 and bring the website about $9 million in revenue per month, according to Dart’s office, and 1.4 million ads for sex were placed in April alone. Right now, the only way to post an ad is to pay the small fee through Visa, Mastercard or Bitcoin.

“Backpage has significantly lowered the barrier to entry for would-be sex traffickers, giving them easy access to millions of johns while cloaking them in anonymity and putting all risk on the shoulders of their victims. Raising that barrier will lead to less would-be sex traffickers entering the business as well as less victims,” said Dart in a statement.

He added that he asked Visa and Mastercard to “defund this criminal enterprise and join us in the fight to seek justice for sex trafficking victims across the globe.”

TIME celebrities

Ben Affleck and Jennifer Garner Split Up

People broke the news

Bennifer is no more, People magazine has exclusively learned.

Ben Affleck and Jennifer Garner announced their divorce Tuesday, just one day after their 10-year anniversary. “After much thought and careful consideration, we have made the difficult decision to divorce,” the power couple told People in a statement.

Affleck and Garner met on the set of the film Daredevil in 2003, and now have three kids: Violet, 9, Serafina, 6, and Samuel, 3. The Oscar-winning actor and director famously raised eyebrows in 2013 when he described his marriage as “work” when accepting the Best Picture Oscar for Argo.

Read more at People.com

TIME

British Man Breaks Crowdfunding Site Trying to Bail Out Greece

People waving flags at Syntagma square.  Greeks demonstrate
Pacific Press—LightRocket via Getty Images People waving flags at Syntagma square. (George Panagakis--Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images)

But don't hold your breath

A British man has started a crowdfunding site to raise funds for a bailout for Greece, and he’s already raised over $230,000– about 0.01% of what Greece needs.

Thom Feeney, a marketing manager who lives in the U.K., decided he would do his part to solve the Greek financial crisis one Internet user at a time, by asking for donations via crowdfunding site Indiegogo:

The IndieGogo page has since crashed, but Feeney has promised it will be back up and running shortly.

Unfortunately, the campaign ends in a week, and under Indiegogo rules if a fixed-funding project like this one is not fully funded by the deadline, the campaign doesn’t get the money.

And Greece is so deep in the hole that even if the site kept raising over $230,000 per day, CBC reports, it would take 24 years to reach the $2.1 billion goal.

 

TIME public health

California Governor Jerry Brown Signs Mandatory Vaccine Law

Law abolishes exemptions for personal beliefs

California Governor Jerry Brown signed a mandatory school vaccination bill into law Tuesday, abolishing the “personal belief” exemption that many parents use as a loophole to avoid vaccinating their children.

Now, under California law, which is among the strictest in the country, children would not be able to enroll in public school unless they have been vaccinated against diseases like measles and whooping cough. The law includes an exemption for children who have a medical reason to remain unvaccinated (like an immune system disorder) and can prove it with a doctor’s note. Parents who decline to vaccinate their children for personal or religious reasons will have to home-school them or send them to a public independent study program off school grounds.

Students who are unvaccinated because of “personal belief” who are already in public elementary school can stay until they’re in 7th grade, and then the parents will either have to vaccinate them or home-school them. Daycare students can stay until kindergarten, when they have to be either vaccinated or home-schooled. In the fall of 2014, almost 3% of California kindergartners were unvaccinated because of personal belief. Preschools in the most affluent areas are also the least likely to vaccinate, according to the Los Angeles Times.

The bill was proposed after a measles outbreak at Disneyland infected more 150 people, and many needed to be hospitalized. Supporters of the law argue that it is based on medical consensus that vaccinations improve public health. Opponents—who have been picketing outside the California legislature—argue that it’s an attack on personal freedom.

TIME dance

Misty Copeland Becomes First Black Principal Ballerina at American Ballet Theater

First black woman promoted to principal dancer in company's 75-year history

The American Ballet Theater has promoted Misty Copeland to principal ballerina, making her the first black female principal ballerina in the company’s 75-year history.

Copeland, who has been with the company for 14 years and danced as a soloist for 8, is one of the most widely visible ballerinas dancing today, with fame spreading far beyond the ballet world. She has written two books (Firebird, a children’s book, and Life in Motion: An Unlikely Ballerina, a memoir,) presented at the Tony’s, made an ad for Under Armour that got over 8 million views, and was honored this year as one of the TIME 100. Last week, she became the first African-American ballerina to dance Swan Lake at the Metropolitan Opera House.

Under Armour released a statement congratulating Copeland on her promotion, calling her “a woman who is driven not by her detractors, but by her desire to be great.”

“Something that my mother instilled in me, as a biracial woman herself, and me being biracial, was that the world was going to view me as a black woman, no matter what I decided to do,” Copeland said at the TIME 100 gala in April. “I had no idea that that was going to be my truth at some point in my life, when I moved to New York City at 17 years old and joined American Ballet Theater and realized I was the only African American woman in a company of 80 dancers.”

“I never saw a ballerina who looked like me before,” noting that black ballerinas like Raven Wilkinson have mentored her, and inspired her to “try and open up the doors for the history of African American ballerinas that I feel is just not told.”

“And I’m here to be a vessel for all these brown ballerinas who have come before me,” she said.

 

TIME Supreme Court

Supreme Court to Hear Challenge to Union Fee Collection

The Supreme Court Issues Orders On Lethal Injection And Redistricting
Mark Wilson—Getty Images An American flag flies over the U.S. Supreme Court June 29, 2015 in Washington, DC. ( Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

The case could affect 7 million public sector employees in 20 states

The Supreme Court announced Tuesday that it will hear a pivotal case against public-sector unions, deciding whether those unions can collect mandatory fees from non-members who benefit from collective bargaining.

The challenge comes from 10 non-unionized public school teachers in California who argue that paying the fee violates their free speech rights. They’re asking the Supreme Court to overturn a precedent from the 1970s that allows public sector unions to charges fees to non-union workers as long as the funds are not used for political activity.

California teachers’ unions and state Attorney General Kamala Harris have opposed the challenge, while conservative Justices have criticized the union precedent in the past. The case could affect 7 million public sector employees in 20 states, Reuters reports.

[Reuters]

 

TIME White House

Obama’s Approval Rating Cracks 50%

President Obama Joins Mourners At Funeral Of Rev. Clementa Pinckney
Joe Raedle—Getty Images President Barack Obama delivers the eulogy for South Carolina state senator and Rev. Clementa Pinckney during Pinckney's funeral service on June 26, 2015 in Charleston, S.C.

After he sang 'Amazing Grace' on television and had a big week in the Supreme Court

President Barack Obama’s approval rating cracked 50% following a week of dramatic news events, marking the highest ratings for his presidency since 2013.

A CNN/ORC poll found that 50% of Americans approve of Obama’s handling of the presidency, after a week that included Supreme Court decisions on gay marriage and the Affordable Care Act, as well as several statements on race and an emotional eulogy for Rev. Clementa Pinckney, who was killed in the Charleston shooting. Obama rounded out the week by singing “Amazing Grace” on national television at Rev. Pinckney’s funeral Friday.

The poll shows a significant jump since Obama’s 45% approval rating in May, and a dip in his disapproval rating, to 47%. This is the first time his approval rating has hit 50% since May 2013, and the second time his disapproval rating has fallen below 50% in that stretch of time.

The breakdown on specific issues is also going Obama’s way. 52% said they approve of how Obama is handling the economy, which is the first time that particular metric has exceeded 50% in six years of CNN/ORC polling. 55% said they approve of how Obama is handling race relations, up from 50% in May.

Yet there are still persistent challenges for Obama, especially on race. 74% of Americans say racial discrimination against black people is a serious problem in America, up from 47% five years ago– among African-American respondents, that number has jumped from 42% to 80%. And 42% of Americans think that race relations have gotten worse under Obama, compared to 20% who think they’ve gotten better.

[CNN]

TIME Supreme Court

Supreme Court Keeps Texas Abortion Clinics Open for Now

Blocks restrictions from going into effect until the court decides whether to hear appeal

The Supreme Court voted Monday to temporarily block several abortion restrictions in Texas until the court decides whether to take the case on appeal.

The Court voted 5-4 to grant an emergency reprieve from the restrictions, which would have forced many Texas abortion clinics to close. Earlier this month, a lower court upheld the two restrictions, which would have required abortion clinics to meet the same building, equipment and staffing standards that surgery hospitals must meet, and required physicians who administer abortions to have admitting privileges at a local hospital. If upheld, the restrictions would force half the abortion clinics in Texas to close, leaving the state with fewer than a dozen clinics. Justices Stephen G. Breyer, Elena Kagan, Sonia Sotomayor, Anthony M. Kennedy and Ruth Bader Ginsburg were the five majority votes, according to SCOTUSblog.

The Fifth Circuit Court previously sided with the Texas legislature, writing that the restrictions “protect the health and welfare of women seeking abortions,” and adding that “there is no question that this is a legitimate purpose that supports regulating physicians and the facilities in which they perform abortions.” Major medical groups like the American Medical Association say that the restrictions “impede, rather than serve, public health objectives,” and reproductive rights advocates say they’re expressly designed to restrict access to abortion.

“We are grateful the Supreme Court has stepped in to protect women’s access to safe, legal abortion, for now. Restricting or banning abortion blocks women from getting safe medical care,” Planned Parenthood president Cecile Richards said in a statement. “This dangerous law never should have passed in the first place — which is why we need to elect leaders who will champion women’s health and rights.”

The Supreme Court decision does not strike down the restrictions—it merely prevents them from going into effect until the Court decides whether or not to hear an appeal from the clinics. If the law stays as it is, the abortion regulations in Texas will be among the most restrictive in the country.

The Court is also hearing a similar case from Mississippi, involving the requirement that doctors get admitting privileges at a local hospital. If the Court upholds that restriction, the last remaining abortion clinic in Mississippi may be forced to close. The Court may issue a decision on that case as early as Tuesday.

TIME celebrity

Age Gap is the New Wage Gap: Just Ask Top-Paid Female Celebrities

Celebrity Sightings In New York City - June 24, 2015
Raymond Hall—GC Images Actress Jennifer Lawrence is seen walking in Soho on June 24, 2015 in New York City. (Raymond Hall--GC Images)

On average, the women on the Forbes List of 100 Top-Paid Celebrities are almost 10 years younger than the men

Aging rockers, has-been radio personalities, and ex-action stars get paid more than A-list actresses. That’s one major takeaway from Forbes’ annual list of the 100 top-paid celebrities this year.

Two things were apparent from this year’s list: women make up only 16% of the top-paid celebrities in the world, and the ones who do make the list are significantly younger than the men. The average age for men on the list was 42– for women, it was 36. If you take out Judge Judy, who at 72 is an outlier by about 15 years, that average drops to just over 33.

In other words: the pay gap is alive and well, even among the richest celebrities, and while male stars are adept at turning youthful success into a lifetime of fame, female celebrity is far more delicate. The average age for men on the 2015 Forbes list does not include the collected ages of The Rolling Stones, the Eagles, and Fleetwood Mac, all ’70s era bands who made the list (Fleetwood Mac includes two women)– if the ages of these men had been included, the average age for men on the list would have been significantly higher. Older guys like Jimmy Buffett (68) Jackie Chan (61) and Howard Stern (61) make the list, but Meryl Streep (66) and Madonna (56) don’t.

The 16 women on the list earned a combined $409 million, while the combined male earnings topped $4.3 billion. More importantly, many of the women on the list tend to be young and beautiful, while older stars are simply not making the cut. Of the 16 women on the list, only a quarter are over the age of 35 (Sofia Vergara, Jennifer Lopez, Ellen Degeneres and Judge Judy.) The other twelve are much younger, including Jennifer Lawrence (24), Taylor Swift (25) and Lady Gaga (29). Almost half of the 16 women on the list are under 30.

To be clear–it’s not Forbes’s fault there are so few women on their list, they’re just the messenger here. This year they expanded their annual list of top-paid celebrities to include international icons, and restricted it to on-camera talent (which might be why Shonda Rhimes and Oprah aren’t on it). They assembled the list by measuring earnings from June 1, 2014 to June 1, 2015, then subtracted management fees and taxes. That sounds like a fair methodology for determining which celebrities are making the most money.

And yet, women are notably absent. Lots of women who would ordinarily be on the list seem to be taking a little break this year. As Forbes’s Natalie Robehmed explains, in her post about why there are so few women on the list:

Sandra Bullock clocked an impressive $51 million in 2014′s ranking thanks to her solo payday in Gravity, but a quiet 12 months took her out of the running this year. Other seemingly big stars, such as Emma Stone, have yet to see their earnings catch up with their status. Even Melissa McCarthy, who has proven her ability to carry an action/comedy movie solo with Spy, St. Vincent and Tammy failed to break the Celebrity 100′s $29 million barrier to entry.

Of course, there’s also the fact that there’s a pay gap between men and women in most professions, and Hollywood isn’t immune. As Robehmed points out, it’s no coincidence that Jennifer Lawrence and Amy Adams only saw 7% of the profits for American Hustle, while the male actors got 9%. Women are also less likely to be the main character, which means smaller paychecks, and in other countries the gap is even worse– in Bollywood, actresses make about a sixth of what their male co-stars make.

And yet it’s impossible to ignore the age trend at work here. Among the richest celebrities, all the women young, beautiful, and at the top of their game right now– Beyonce, Katy Perry, and Sofia Vergara are all in the prime of their careers. Not so with the richest male celebrities– Jerry Seinfeld hasn’t been on primetime TV in years, and Adam Sandler hit his stride in the early 2000s.

 

In other words: when it comes to top-paid celebrities, the age gap might be just as important as the wage gap.

 

 

 

TIME motherhood

Millennials More Supportive of Working Moms than Previous Generations

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Jasper Cole—Getty Images/Blend Images RM Mother and daughter walking on city street

Much more likely to say that moms who work have just as good relationships with their kids

Working moms are getting more love than ever. Millennials are much more supportive of working mothers than young people in the 1970s and 1990s, and there’s a broader consensus that working moms can have a great relationship with their kids, according to a new study shared exclusively with TIME.

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Researchers at University of California, San Diego and San Diego State University attribute the increased acceptance to a shifting social and economic realities over the last 30 years, in which there are more single moms and few can afford not to work. The study, published Monday in the Psychology of Women Quarterly, analyzed the results of two national representative studies of nearly 600,000 respondents. They found that in 2010, only 22% of 12th-graders thought young children suffered if their mother worked, down from 34% in the 1990s and 59% in the 1970s. Adults also showed an increased tolerance for working mothers, with 35% believing that a child was worse off if his or her mother went to work in 2012, compared with 68% in the 1970s.

The researchers also found that more people believe working moms can have just as good relationships with their kids as moms who stay at home. In 1977, less than half of adults agreed that “a working mother can establish just as warm and secure a relationship with her children as a mother who does not work.” In 2012, 72% agreed with that statement.

“When you have more working mothers, you have to have more acceptance of them,” says Jean Twenge, author of Generation Me and a main researcher on the study. “When people look around and see ‘this is what people do now,’ you have to have more acceptance.”

But in some areas, there appeared to be a bit of a backtracking. In the 1990s, 27% agreed that it was best for the man to work and the woman to stay home, while 32% agreed with that idea in 2010-2013. In the 1990s, 14% thought the husband should make important decisions in the family, but 17% thought so in 2010. Twenge says that probably doesn’t indicate a spike in sexism, but instead might signify an increased perception that marriage is only for a certain kind of person. “It’s possible that this generation sees marriage as something that people with traditional gender roles do,” she says. “They think it’s for more traditional people.”

Twenge says the increased acceptance of working moms isn’t just because millennials have been around more women who work– it’s also part of the millennial tendency towards individualism. “One aspect of individualism is to treat people equally,” she says. “When you treat people as individuals, you’re not going to distinguish between a working mother and a working father.”

 

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