TIME society

Walmart Employee to Celebrate 103rd Birthday

Jeremy Charles—Jeremy Charles

He's been at the store since 1983

Loren Wade has been working at Walmart since 1983, and on Saturday, the retail giant will celebrate his 103rd birthday with a party in his honor. The World War II veteran is a full-time associate at the Winfield, Kansas store, where he works in the lawn and garden department.

“The company seems to like me and I appreciate it so much if they still let me work,” Wade told a local FOX affiliate. “They are so good to me. It’s a great company”

The party is expected to feature free cake, hot dogs, chips and drinks, according to the Winfield Daily Courier.

TIME Music

Nicki Minaj and Taylor Swift Have Officially Made Up

Our national nightmare is over

Nicki Minaj appeared on Good Morning America on Friday morning and declared her short-lived beef with Taylor Swift officially squashed. The singers had been taking swipes at each other on social media since the nominations for MTV’s 2015 Video Music Awards were announced.

“I spoke to Taylor Swift yesterday on the phone,” Minaj said on GMA. “She was super, super sweet. She apologized. She said, ‘You know, look, I didn’t understand the big picture of what you were saying. But now I get it.’ So, we’re all good.”

The feud began on Tuesday after Minaj’s wildly popular “Anaconda” had been snubbed by the VMAs and she wrote a series of tweets about some of the nominated videos that Swift believed were directed at her. The situation escalated when Swift responded and Kim Kardashian and old Swift foe Katy Perry joined the fray as well. Swift apologized to Minaj on Thursday.

[ABC News]

 

TIME animals

Alligator Found Roaming the Streets of New York City

It was taken to animal control

New York City streets are no stranger no unwelcome and unexpected visitors, but they received a rather unusual one on Thursday when an undersized alligator was discovered roaming around Manhattan.

It’s unknown where the creature came from, but the police that found the alligator brought it to animal control, the New York Times reported. The picture distributed by the NYPD’s 34th precinct made it clear that humans would likely have little to fear from the alligator, given its size:

TIME russia

Russian Bombers Delivered Up Close And Personal July 4th Message to U.S.

Russian bombers
Maxim Shipenkov—EPA Russian TU-95 MS bombers and missile carriers above the Kremlin, during the rehearsal for the Victory Day military parade at the Red Square in Moscow, in May 2015.

The pilots brought the nuclear-capable aircraft within 40 miles of the California coastline

In a scene straight out of a bizarro Top Gun sequel, Russian bomber pilots tried their hand at keeping up foreign relations when they flew just 40 miles from the California coast earlier this month.

When intercepted by U.S. fighter jets, the Russian pilots delivered the following message, according to the North American Aerospace Defense Command: “Good morning, American pilots. We are here to greet you on your Fourth of July Independence Day.” The bombers later retreated before entering U.S. airspace.

Though a NORAD spokesman stopped short of declaring the move a threat, he did call it “potentially destabilizing,” because the Russian Tu-95 “Bear” bombers have nuclear capabilities and had not previously announced their intent to fly so close to U.S. soil. That same day, Russian president Vladimir Putin sent congratulations to President Obama on the celebration of America’s independence.

[CNN]

TIME Turkey

American BASE Jumper Dies in Parachute Accident

Ian Flanders
Anadolu Agency/Getty Images American base jumper Ian Flanders seen in Turkey before accident.

Ian Flanders was 37

A BASE-jumping exhibition in Turkey ended in tragedy on Tuesday when 37-year-old American Ian Flanders fell to his death in the country’s Erzincan province. His legs had reportedly gotten tangled in the lines of his parachute. He had been jumping from an altitude of 8,200 feet.

Flanders became the 264th BASE jumper to die since record-keeping began, according to CBS. Two others — Dean Potter and Graham Hunt — died in Yosemite National Park in May.

At the time of his death, Flanders had been working on a documentary about the rash of deaths in the BASE-jumping community.

[USA Today]

TIME Crime

Sandra Bland’s Voicemail from Prison: ‘I’m Still Just at a Loss’

"How did switching lanes with no signal turn into all of this, I don’t even know"

Nearly two weeks after Sandra Bland was arrested during a traffic stop and subsequently died while in police custody, another new development has been made public. In a recording obtained by an ABC affiliate and confirmed by a local judge, the 28-year-old Bland called a friend from prison hours after her first court appearance on July 11—the day after her arrest.

“I’m still just at a loss for words honestly at this whole process,” the 28-year-old Bland said in the 22-second voicemail. “How did switching lanes with no signal turn into all of this, I don’t even know.”

Texas State trooper Brian Encinia pulled Bland over for failing to switch lanes without signaling on July 10. The encounter quickly escalated when Bland refused to extinguish her cigarette and the officer threatened to forcibly remove her from her car, later saying he would use his taser if she did not comply. Three days after the arrest, Bland was found dead in her jail cell from an apparent suicide. Despite the initial assessment, a Texas district attorney said that the death will be treated “as it would be in a murder investigation.”

Bland’s 22-second voicemail is one of three calls she made following her court appearance, in which her bail for allegedly assaulting Encinia during the stop was set at $5,000. The other two were placed to her sister and a bail bondsman.

[ABC News]

Read next: Everything We Know About the Sandra Bland Case

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TIME Canada

Watch a Canadian Cop Posing as a Disabled Man Receive Charity

He was undercover to catch a thief but instead was granted unexpected acts of kindness

After a pair of knifepoint robberies in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside neighborhood, a Canadian police officer was sent into the neighborhood undercover as a disabled person in an effort to apprehend the perpetrator. Instead of uncovering any wrongdoing, however Staff Sergeant Mark Horsley received unexpected acts of kindness while carrying out “Operation Wheelchair.”

Claiming to have suffered a brain injury that rendered him partially paralyzed and unable to count properly, Horsley relied on the kindness of others to deal with him fairly—everyone did. The 30-year police veteran said that no one attempted to rob or shortchange him, instead offering aid, money and prayers to the wheelchair-bound cop.

The operation did not ultimately lead to any arrests.

[CBC News]

TIME weather

Watch a Massive Tornado Rip Through Illinois

Illinois Severe Weather
Steve Davis—AP Multiple grain bins lie toppled over each other on July 17, 2015 in Cameron, Ill., the morning after a tornado swept through the city.

There were no significant injuries

A huge twister in northwest Illinois touched down around 7:30 p.m. on Thursday evening, bringing with it winds of more than 110 m.p.h. and multiple vortexes. Despite the size and force of the tornado, the Illinois state police reported no deaths or serious injuries.

The small unincorporated community of Cameron, home to approximately 600 residents, bore the brunt of the storm with some 50 homes sustaining damage. A nearby town also lost electricity and Governor Bruce Rauner activated an emergency operations center in Springfield to deal with the fallout from the tornado. See footage of the storm here:

 

TIME space

NASA Probe Reveals Close-Up on Pluto’s Surface

“Pluto is just as geographically active as any other place we’ve seen in the solar system”

Two days after NASA released its first images from the New Horizons spacecraft, a team of the organization’s experts revealed new details about Pluto’s surface and atmosphere, as well as new close-up images of the dwarf planet.

In addition to the mountain ranges unveiled on Wednesday, NASA also provided details on the plains of Pluto, including one region dubbed “Sputnik Planum,” a large, crater-free area that is likely no more than 100 million years old. Among the other distinguishing features of dwarf planet’s surface are hills, pitted surfaces, troughs and dark material within those troughs.

“Pluto is just as geographically active as any other place we’ve seen in the solar system,” said Randy Gladstone, New Horizons co-investigator at Southwest Research Institute in San Antonio. The experts also discussed the numerous craters on the planet’s surface, many of which have been partially destroyed, likely by erosion.

The scientists say that they will know much more about Pluto’s surface in a month or two, once further data has been processed and analyzed.

TIME viral

Watch This Scary Amusement Park Ride Malfunction

No one was injured

Two people were left frightened but ultimately unharmed when a a cable on a Wisconsin amusement park ride snapped just before the pair was to be launched approximately 200 feet in the air at 60 miles per hour.

The bizarre incident was caught on camera, with one spectator observing, “The ropes are looking a little frayed” just moments before the cable snapped altogether. Though the comment may have been made in jest (someone also asked whether the woman and teenage boy who were about to be launched had signed their insurance forms), it proved remarkably prescient.

The amusement park has forced the operators of the ride, dubbed “The Catapult,” to shut it down.

[CBS News]

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