TIME cities

This Drone Video Reveals Downtown LA’s Hidden Architectural Gems

See the City of Angels from a whole new perspective

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Downtown Los Angeles has been undergoing a visible revitalization for years, but this aerial video from a downtown resident shows that many of the city’s gems have been hiding in plain sight.

“One of the things you’re told growing up in New York City is that only the tourists look up,” said Ian Wood, who used a GoPro camera attached to a drone to capture the city. “Now with this project in mind I was looking up and seeing all these amazing things.”

Among the sights in the video are the colorfully-designed tiled tower atop the Los Angeles Public Library, breathtaking murals and street art, and a whole lot of art deco architecture.

Sit back and enjoy.

TIME infectious diseases

Ebola Virus Suspected in Lagos, Nigeria

Members of Doctors Without Borders (MSF) put on protective gear at the isolation ward of the Donka Hospital in Conakry, Guinea on July 23, 2014.
Members of Doctors Without Borders (MSF) put on protective gear at the isolation ward of the Donka Hospital in Conakry, Guinea on July 23, 2014. Cellou Binani—AFP/Getty Images

Samples have been sent to the WHO for testing

The deadly Ebola virus that has killed hundreds across West Africa may have hit Africa’s most populous city, according to a Thursday statement from the country’s ministry of health.

Officials in Lagos, Nigeria are testing a Liberian man after he collapsed at the city’s airport displaying symptoms of the disease. Government representatives also expressed concern because the man worked and lived in Liberia where the disease is prevalent. Blood samples have been sent to the World Health Organization to be tested.

The virus has spread rapidly since an outbreak earlier this year, and health organizations have said they are struggling to control its spread.

In a statement, Nigerian health officials asked that residents “remain calm and take appropriate measures for the prevention and control of the disease.” These prevention measures include avoiding contact with people or animals suspected of having the disease.

While the outbreak has killed hundreds already in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone, it could be especially damaging if it hit Lagos, an urban center with a population of 21 million.

TIME Israel

Birthright Youth Trips Continue As Israel-Gaza Conflict Rages On

There are currently nearly 2,500 youths traveling on Birthright

Updated 6:08 p.m. ET July 22,2014

As airlines around the world are canceling flights to Israel in light of a rocket attack near the country’s main international airport, the Birthright Israel program is carrying on with its mission of sending Jewish youth on free ten-day trips to the country.

Still, nearly a third of people scheduled to join upcoming trips have cancelled their plans since the conflict in Gaza has escalated, according to the organization. Some 2,600 people are currently in Israel on Birthright trips, according to the group, and more than 22,000 have participated over the course of the summer. Only 10 participants have returned early during the past few weeks, though some who recently came back from trips say they would have been unlikely to go given the current environment.

“There would be no way I would want to go on a trip now,” says Heather Paley, who returned to the U.S. from a Birthright trip just as the conflict began to intensify. “It’s a really small country, and I realized when they mentioned places that were being attacked, I was at those places.”

More than 600 people have died in the fighting as of Tuesday, Reuters reports, the vast majority of them Palestinian. One of the Israeli soldiers killed in the conflict was Max Steinberg, a Los Angeles native who enlisted in the Israeli Defense Forces after visiting the country on a Birthright trip.

A Birthright spokesperson, Pamela Fertel Weinstein, says the organization is monitoring the situation in coordination with the Israel Ministry of Education, the Israeli Defense Forces, and other law enforcement organizations. She says that Birthright has maintained a strong safety record as conflicts involving Israel have ebbed and flowed, which she attributed to being “cautious and conservative.”

For all travelers in Israel, including Birthright participants, the cancellations of flights to by American and European carriers may hinder their ability to leave the country. On July 22, the Federal Aviation Administration banned U.S. airlines from flying to Israel for a 24-hour period, and the order could be extended. Several European carriers have cancelled their flights as well. Nonetheless, Weinstein says that the program works with a variety of airlines and hotels to ensure that nobody is left without assistance and lodging in the event of cancellations or delays.

Other tourists are left up to their own devices. Julia May, who cut short a three-week educational program to Israel this month after seeing rockets from the beach, says she was torn between the opposing perspectives of her American friends who thought she was “crazy” to stay in the country and the positive mindset in Israel.

“Even when you’re just a visitor you get this mentality ‘yeah, I can stay through this,’” she says. “But even if you feel safe, you know you’re still in a war zone.”

TIME Israel

FAA Prohibits U.S. Airlines From Flying To Israel

The Delta Airlines Charter at the Ft. Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida on January 2, 2013.
The Delta Airlines Charter at the Ft. Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida on January 2, 2013. Jeff Haynes—Reuters

One flight was diverted to Paris before landing

Updated 7:04 p.m. ET Tuesday

The Federal Aviation Administration on Tuesday blocked all U.S. carriers from flying to Israel’s main airport for 24 hours. The ban comes after a rocket landed about a mile from Tel Aviv’s Ben Gurion International Airport, the FAA said.

“The FAA immediately notified U.S. carriers when the agency learned of the rocket strike and informed them that the agency was finalizing a NOTAM (Notice to Airmen),” the FAA said in a statement. The ban only applies to U.S. air carriers.

Delta Airlines and United Airlines announced that they were indefinitely suspending Israel flights just hours before the FAA ban was handed down. Their decision to do so came after a Delta aircraft en route to Tel Aviv from New York diverted to Paris Monday evening out of a precautionary measure, Delta said Tuesday.

European airlines Lufthansa and Air France also suspended flights, according to a report from the Associated Press. One Lufthansa flight en route to Tel Aviv Tuesday was diverted to Athens, according to the Lufthansa website.

Ben Gurion International Airport has for about five days been exclusively using runway 21 for arriving flights, according to a separate NOTAM issued for that airport. Commerical jets arriving on runway 21 come in over the Mediterranean sea northwest of Ben Gurion before turning southward, according to approach plates for the airport. That may help keep them clear of any danger posed by rockets or other weapons fire from the Gaza Strip, which is to the airport’s southwest.

The FAA ban and the American carriers’ independent cancellations come a day after the U.S. State Department cautioned U.S. citizens against travel to Israel. Israel is currently engaged in a military operation in the Gaza Strip, and violence continues to escalate in that conflict.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netenyahu raised the issue of the FAA flight ban with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry Tuesday. According to a report in the Israeli newspaper Haaretz, the prime minister asked Kerry to intervene so that flights resume, something White House officials said was unlikely. “We’re not going to overrule the FAA when they believe that their security procedures are triggered,” said Deputy National Security Advisor Ben Rhodes.

Danny Saadon, an executive at Israeli airline El Al, told TIME Monday that approximately 25 percent of its expected travelers from America had cancelled or postponed their flights in recent weeks. In an interview, Saadon said that the airline is “still maintaining [its] schedule,” and did not mention any plans to consider canceling flights. El Al has been experimenting with several forms of missile defense systems on its aircraft since 2004, though those are geared more towards defending aircraft from projectiles specifically targeting their aircraft, not from rocket crossfire.

As an Israeli airline, the FAA ban does not apply to El Al.

TIME Race

Study: Little Progress for African-American Men on Racial Equality Since 1970

Rates of incarceration and unemployment remain high

In recent years, the U.S. has celebrated the 50th anniversaries of the March on Washington, the Civil Rights Act and a number of other landmark accomplishments considered pivotal in making the U.S. a better place for African Americans.

But despite a deep reverence for those accomplishments, a new study suggests that African-American men today face such high levels of unemployment and incarceration that they are in little better position when compared with white men than a half-century ago.

The working paper, by University of Chicago researchers Derek Neal and Armin Rick, is based on preliminary findings and has not yet been peer-reviewed.

“The growth of incarceration rates among black men in recent decades combined with the sharp drop in black employment rates during the Great Recession have left most black men in a position relative to white men that is really no better than the position they occupied only a few years after the Civil Rights Act,” the study reads.

The study uses census data to show that more than 10% of black men in their 30s will be incarcerated at some point during a calendar year. This number was around 2% for white males of the same age group.

The study attributes the corrosive impact of incarceration on the African-American community, at least in part, to the institution of more punitive criminal-justice policies.

African-American men also appear to face a more difficult employment situation. More than a third of African-American men between the ages of 25 and 49 lacked employment in 2010.

“The Great Recession period of 2008–2010 was quite bleak for black men,” the study reads. “Recent levels of labor market inequality between black and white prime-age men are likely not materially different than those observed in 1970.”

[FiveThirtyEight]

TIME Basketball

Heat To LeBron: Thanks for The Memories

The basketball star brought the team two NBA titles.

The Miami Heat wished LeBron James farewell with a nostalgic tweet of a photo of the Cleveland-bound NBA star before a crowd of cheering fans.

“Thanks for the memories,” it read.

The Miami sports franchise has many reasons to thank James, not the least of which are two NBA titles.

TIME Drugs

Facing High Demand, Seattle’s Only Legal Pot Shop Already Out of Stock

Seattle Marijuana
Deb Greene (C), the first customer at the Cannabis City retail marijuana store, watches store owner James Lathrop (R) pen a handwritten note on her bag on July 8, 2014 in Seattle, Washington. Cannabis City was the first retail marijuana store to open in Seattle today and one of the first group now operating in Washington state, nearly a year and a half after the state's voters chose to legalize marijuana for recreational use. Elaine Thompson/AP—Getty Images

Cannabis City expects to reopen July 21.

Seattle’s only legal marijuana dispensary is out of pot only three days after opening its doors. The shop, Cannabis City, expects to reopen on July 21, according to a voicemail message for incoming callers.

The shop is one of a few dozen across the state to receive a license to sell marijuana legally in Washington, where a state law legalizing the sell of recreational marijuana went into effect this week.

The store sold 11 pounds of the drug between opening day on July 8 and the end of the day on Thursday, the shop’s owner told the Tacoma News Tribune.

“We knew it was coming,” said owner James Lathrop. “We didn’t have any guaranteed additional deliveries.”

Voters in Washington and Colorado approved marijuana legalization laws in the fall of 2012. Colorado’s law went into effect earlier this year.

TIME Religion

More Muslims Approve of Obama Than Any Other Religious Group

President Barack Obama in Texas
U.S. President Barack Obama the legendary Paramount Theater in Austin on July 10, 2014. Bob Daemmrich—Corbis

Mormons are the least approving group

More than 70 percent of Muslim-Americans approve of President Barack Obama’s job performance, a higher percentage than that of any other religious group, according to data released by Gallup Friday. On the other end of the spectrum, only 18 percent of Mormons said they approve of the President’s performance.

Overall, the data suggests a sharp religious division. Non-Christians are much more likely to approve of Obama’s performance than their Christian counterparts — minorities of Protestants, Catholics and Mormons approve of the President while majorities of Jewish, Muslim, non-religious, and other non-Christian people do so.

The data also show that most Americans continue to identify as Christians, with approximately 50 percent saying they are Protestant and 25 percent saying they are Catholic.

Obama’s approval rating across all groups stands at 43 percent.

The data, complied from 88,000 interviews, was collected during interviews for Gallup’s daily tracking poll during the first six months of 2014.

TIME Transportation

This Map Shows Where Gas is Taxed the Most

A map of gasoline tax in the US. American Petroleum Institute

Drivers in New York pay nearly 69 cents per gallon in taxes

New York drivers pay more in gas taxes than those in any other state, according to a new map from the American Petroleum Institute, a gas industry group. Empire State drivers pay nearly 69 cents in state and federal taxes for every gallon they buy, more than twice as much as Alaska, the state with the lowest rate.

Much like other taxes, gas tax rates vary dramatically from state to state. The federal tax is 18 cents (diesel is closer to 24 cents). In fifteen states the total tax is more than 50 cents per gallon, making it the approximate national average. The tax bottoms out in fuel-rich Alaska at less than 31 cents per gallon.

The federal portion of the gas tax goes into the Highway Trust Fund, where it’s used to build and maintain roads. But the fund has been dwindling as people drive less and cars become more fuel efficient. The Obama Administration has warned that the fund’s balance will be at zero by the end of August.

(Read More: The One Credit Card You Need to Ease Pain at the Pump)

TIME Crime

New Orleans Looks to Turn the Page After Nagin Sentencing

Former New Orleans Mayor C. Ray Nagin leaves court after being sentenced to 10 years in New Orleans, Louisiana
Former New Orleans Mayor C. Ray Nagin leaves court after being sentenced to 10 years in New Orleans, Louisiana July 9, 2014. Jonathan Bachman—Reuters

Political observers say they can now put corruption behind them

When Ray Nagin first ran for mayor of New Orleans, he was elected by a broad coalition eager to see him fulfill his promise to tackle graft in a city notorious for corruption. Now, after being convicted of handing out the very favors he was elected to halt, Nagin was sentenced Wednesday to 10 years in prison on corruption charges—a judgment local political observers say will finally allow the city to move away from its corrupt past.

“Today marks the end of a sad chapter for our city,” current New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu said in a statement to TIME. “The people of New Orleans are turning the page and moving forward.”

Landrieu is not the only New Orleans resident who hopes the sentencing will mark a fresh start for the city. Rafael C. Goyeneche, a local anti-corruption activist who played a role in Nagin’s conviction by helping collect evidence of the former mayor’s involvement in a bribery scheme, said that the conviction and sentencing of corrupt politicians in the wake of Hurricane Katrina means that “risks now exceed the rewards” for officials considering engaging in graft.

Rebuilding efforts after the 2005 hurricane created ample opportunity for corruption as firms bid for lucrative construction contracts to help repair razed portions of the city. “Before Katrina, public officials were more predisposed to commit criminal acts because they weren’t deterred,” said Goyeneche, president of the Metropolitan Crime Commission. “Now there’s a consequence. If you do betray the public trust, you’re more likely than ever to be held accountable and pay a dear price.”

Mike Sherman, a political science professor at nearby Tulane University, said that statements about moving New Orleans into a new era are more than just rhetoric, citing the creation of a new inspector general’s office and reforms to remove the mayor from the contracting process.

Goyeneche adds that public frustration with corruption moved authorities to act. “Before Katrina, people felt a sense of apathy,” he said. “They came back after the storm [and] the mindset became if we’re going to invest all of the time effort and money to rebuild this community, let’s not rebuild it in the image that it was but in the image that it needs to be.”

Still, while Nagin is gone for now, politicians have been known to rise from the political dead in Louisiana, where corruption and scandal seem as ubiquitous as voodoo dolls and Saints shirts. Former Congressman William Jefferson was reelected in 2006 despite a highly-publicized F.B.I. raid that found $90,000 in cash in the congressman’s freezer. And former Governor Edwin Edwards, who served eight years in prison on corruption charges, is now running for congress.

In spite of all this, Sherman believes that Nagin, for one, is done in politics. There’s “not a palpable sense that Nagin has any supporters left,” he said.

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