TIME Sexual Assault

Columbia Student Accused of Rape Speaks Publicly for First Time

Paul Nungesser says he has become a pariah on campus

The Columbia University senior accused of rape by fellow student Emma Sulkowicz–who turned her protest against the school’s handling of the case into performance art that has gained national attention–spoke publicly for the first time Monday.

In an interview published by the New York Times, Paul Nungesser said, “People were like, maybe this is a misunderstanding. But the matter of the fact is it’s not a misunderstanding.”

Sulkowicz, who filed a Title IX complaint against Columbia in April, has said that in August 2012, Nungesser hit her, held her down and raped her. Two other students also brought sexual assault allegations against him. None of those allegations resulted in disciplinary action by Columbia against Nungesser.

Nungesser is a foreign student from Germany who will graduate in May. He insists that the sexual encounter he had with Sulkowicz was entirely consensual. “What was alleged was the most violent rape, and that did not happen,” he said. He says he has become a pariah and accuses the university of condoning what he believes to be bullying and mob justice.

Since September, Sulcowicz has been lugging a mattress with her around campus as both an act of protest and as a performance art piece for her senior thesis. She pledged to continue to do so until her alleged rapist leaves campus. Her piece, “Mattress Performance (Carry That Weight),” garnered national attention and furthered the conversation about sexual violence on college campuses.

Read more at The New York Times

TIME Glasgow

6 Feared Dead in Glasgow Garbage Truck Crash

Bin lorry crash
The scene in Glasgow's George Square after it is understood a bin lorry crashed into a group of pedestrians on Dec. 22, 2014. Danny Lawson—PA

Witnesses say the vehicle plowed into a crowd at George Square

At least six people are presumed dead, some of them young children, after a garbage truck in Glasgow, Scotland, drove through a crowded city center and into a hotel Monday, according to witness reports.

“I saw one girl who had been hit, lying on the ground,” said witness Finlay Mair, according to the Telegraph. “She was young, of student age. She just screamed, and screamed, and then fell down again. She had terrible injuries.”

Witnesses say the garbage truck swerved through George Square, a heavily trafficked location in the city center bustling with Christmas shoppers.

Witnesses report seeing young children and a baby in a carriage among the dead. Police have not released information about the health of the driver except to say he was treated at a hospital.

British Prime Minister David Cameron said he’s keeping appraised of events.

https://twitter.com/David_Cameron/status/547061745001701376

[The Telegraph]

TIME Australia

Lost Family Survives on Rainwater for 11 Days in Australian Outback

Steven Van Lonkhuyzen, Timothy Van Lonkhuyzen, Ethan Van Lonkhuyzen, Tom Wagner
In this Dec 22, 2014 photo provided by Queensland Police, Steven Van Lonkhuyzen, left, with his sons Timothy, 5, second left, and Ethan, 7, third left, speaks to farmer Tom Wagner, center, and a park ranger in the remote Expedition National Park, northwest of Brisbane in Australia. APAP

They rationed what little food they had

An Australian father and his two young sons have been rescued after managing to survive for 11 days lost in the remote outback by rationing what food they had and collecting rainwater.

Steven Van Lonkhuyzen, 37, was on a camping trip with sons Ethan, 7, and Timothy, 5, in a national park in Queensland, Australia when their vehicle became stuck. With no cell reception or transportation, Lonkhuyzen rationed food packed for four days and set out plastic containers to collect rainwater, reports the Guardian.

“Steven told me they had some water with them in the car but that they were lucky there was lots of rain while they were stuck out there,” said Acting Superintendant Mick Biachi, who coordinated the police search.

A local rancher heard radio reports of the missing family and recalled having seen the vehicle days earlier. He jumped on a motorbike and drove to find them.

“It’s pretty indicative of the way country people pitch in and help each other,” Bianchi said.

The children were treated at a local hospital, but are expected to make a full recovery.

[The Guardian]

TIME Crime

Shootings by Police Voted Top Story of 2014 in AP Poll

Killings By Police March
Demonstrators march in New York, Saturday, Dec. 13, 2014, during the Justice for All rally and march. In the past three weeks, grand juries have decided not to indict officers in the chokehold death of Eric Garner in New York and the fatal shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo. The decisions have unleashed demonstrations and questions about police conduct and whether local prosecutors are the best choice for investigating police. John Minchillo—AP

Ebola came in second

The killing of unarmed black men Michael Brown and Eric Garner by police officers was voted the top news story of 2014 in a survey of news directors and editors around the country.

Police killings, and the federal investigations and civil unrest they unleashed, came out on top from among the 85 votes cast with 22 first-place votes, in the Associated Press poll. Voters placed the Ebola outbreak in West Africa as second biggest, and the rise of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria third biggest story of the year.

The poll was conducted before the U.S. announced it would re-establish diplomatic relations with Cuba.

These, in order, are the top ten stories of the year as determined by the AP poll.

1. Police Killings

2. Ebola Outbreak

3. Islamic State

4. U.S. Elections and the GOP Wave

5. Obamacare Ongoing Rollout

6. Malaysia Airlines Flight 370

7. Obama’s Executive Action on Immigration

8. Conflict in Ukraine

9. Gay Marriage Wave

10. Veterans Affairs Scandal

TIME Law Enforcement

FBI Inquiry Finds Rampant Mishandling of Evidence

An internal probe found the bureau is holding two tons more drugs than records showed

An internal review of the FBI’s evidence handling procedures found a system rife with serious errors, according to a new report, including evidence mislabeled, mishandled or lost altogether, and in every region of the United States.

The survey of more than 41,000 pieces of evidence found the FBI holding less money but more guns and drugs than records indicated, the New York Times reports. Officials say most problems are the result of the FBI’s move in 2012 from a paper-based to a digital accounting system. The review could complicate criminal prosecutions throughout the U.S.

Read more at the Times

TIME Healthcare

Nonprofit Hospitals Seize Low-Income Patients’ Wages

An investigation reveals the ongoing struggles of people too poor to afford health insurance but no poor enough to qualify for Medicaid

Many hospitals in the U.S. receive tax breaks in exchange for the community service of providing care to those who cannot afford to pay. But hospitals in at least five states employ aggressive debt collectors to garnish the wages of low-income patients with unpaid debts, a ProPublica/NPR investigation revealed Friday.

Hospitals in Kansas, Oklahoma, Nebraska, Alabama and Missouri pass debts along to for-profit collection agencies. People affected tend to be those who earn too much to qualify for assistance in states that rejected the Medicaid expansion in President Barack Obama’s health care law, but not enough to purchase health care on their own. The cost of health care services for the uninsured tend to be significantly higher than for people with health insurance.

Read more at ProPublica

TIME 2016 Election

Rand Paul Breaks with Other 2016 Candidates on Cuba

Georgia Senate Candidate David Perdue Campaigns With Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY)
Rand Paul en. Rand Paul works a crowd during a campaign stop on October 24, 2014 in McDonough, Georgia. Jessica McGowan—Getty Images

The announcement from the White House Wednesday that the U.S. will move to re-establish full diplomatic ties with Cuba sparked a wave of condemnation from the likely Republican presidential candidates with one exception: Sen. Rand Paul.

The Kentucky Republican broke with the rest of the 2016 pack today when he said that President Obama’s decision was “a good idea.”

That fits with Paul’s broader effort to attract younger voters and expand the Republican Party, since younger Cuban-Americans are not as supportive of the trade and travel restrictions as their parents, though it could risk turning off some older Republican voters, especially in the crucial battleground of Florida.

It put him on the same side as former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, the leading contender on the Democratic side, who has argued that the trade embargo was counterproductive.

Here’s a look at what the major Republican contenders had to say about the change in U.S. policy toward Cuba.

Sen. Rand Paul: Supportive

What he said: “If the goal is regime change, it sure doesn’t seem to be working and probably it punishes the people more than the regime because the regime can blame the embargo for hardship. In the end, I think opening up Cuba is probably a good idea.” (WVHU)

What it meant: The libertarian-leaning son of former Rep. Ron Paul—a longtime critic of America’s Cuba policy—Paul is the rare Republican to come out in support of reestablishing diplomatic relations.

Sen. Marco Rubio: Opposed

What he said: “This entire policy shift announced today is based on an illusion. On a lie. The lie and the illusion that more access to goods will translate to political freedom for the Cuban people.” (C-SPAN)

What it meant: A longtime vocal critic of the Castro regime, it’s no surprise Rubio is hewing to his longstanding hardline position. As the son of Cuban immigrants, the likely 2016 presidential hopeful has ideological and personal motivations for his pro-embargo stance.

Former Gov. Jeb Bush: Opposed

What he said: “The beneficiaries of President Obama’s ill-advised move will be the heinous Castro brothers who have oppressed the Cuban people for decades.” (Facebook)

What it meant: A former Florida governor, Bush also has a long history of opposition to the Castro regime and he is sticking to his guns.

Sen. Ted Cruz: Opposed

What he said: “Fidel and Raul Castro have just received both international legitimacy and a badly-needed economic lifeline from President Obama. But they remain in control of a totalitarian police state modeled on their old state sponsor, the Soviet Union.” (Statement)

What it meant: Cruz is a Tea Party favorite who has staked out ideological territory on the far right of his party and been a consistent critic of the Obama administration’s foreign policy.

Gov. Scott Walker: Opposed

What he said: “I think it’s a bad idea. I don’t think there’s been any noticeable change towards making that a more free and prosperous country. There’s a reason why we had the policy in the first place.” (Capital Times)

What it meant: As the governor of Wisconsin, Walker hasn’t had much reason to talk about Cuban policy in the past and has little incentive to break with the party on such a hot-button topic now.

Gov. Chris Christie: No Comment

What he said: Nothing, so far, though he talked at length about his encounters with Philadelphia Eagles fans at a recent football game in a radio interview Thursday morning.

What it meant: With some exceptions, Christie has mostly avoided talking about foreign policy, reflective of his role as governor and head of a group promoting Republican governors.

TIME energy

New York Bans Fracking

After years of debate in the state over the controversial drilling technique

The administration of New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced Wednesday that the controversial drilling technique known as fracking will be banned in the state, citing concerns over risk of contamination to the state’s air and water.

“I cannot support high volume hydraulic fracturing in the great state of New York,” acting Health Commissioner Howard Zucker said. The announcement comes after years of debate over the practice, during which New York has had a defacto fracking ban in place, the New York Times reports.

Fracking employs chemicals and underground explosions to release oil and gas trapped in shale deposits that are inaccessible by conventional drilling techniques. Some environmentalists contend that fracking contaminates groundwater and can contribute to seismic activity, and that increased drilling activity can contribute to air pollution and other environmental problems.

[NYT]

TIME TV

Mythbusters Will Take On The Simpsons

THE SIMPSONS: The Simpson Family.  THE SIMPSONS ™ and © 2013 TCFFC ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
Fox

The bubble-bursting masters will test the assumptions of one of America’s most beloved cartoons

The good people at Mythbusters are turning their skeptical eye next toward a show about a little family from Springfield: the Simpsons.

For the hit Discovery Channel show’s 13th season premiere, Adam Savage and Jamie Hyneman will test assertions and assumptions in some classic moments from the show.

“We set out to test Bart throwing a cherry bomb into the toilet that makes all toilets in the school act like geysers,” Savage says.

They’ll also put to the test the time Homer put himself between a wrecking ball and his house in order to save the structure—with two real life houses to wreck—or not wreck, if somehow Homer’s feat actually works—plus a life-sized Homer replica.

Read more at Entertainment Weekly

TIME Obesity

Law Enforcement Is the Fattest Profession, Study Finds

Policeman in office, portrait
Getty Images

Along with firefighters and security guards

Police officers, firefighters and security guards have the highest rates of obesity of all professions, according to a Wall Street Journal analysis of data from the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.

According to the Journal, 40.7% of police, firefighters and security guards are obese. Other jobs with high obesity rates include clergy, engineers and truckers.

On the other side of the obesity scale is a grouping of economists, scientists and psychologists, with an obesity rate of 14.2%. Other professions with low obesity rates are athletes, actors and reporters.

Read more at The Wall Street Journal

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