TIME Science

Scientists Identify Long-Lost Remains of Early Virginia Settlers

A stone cross marking the grave of a 17t
Mladen Antonov—AFP/Getty Images A stone cross marking the grave of a 17th-century British settler is seen at the archaeological site of Jamestown, Va., on November 22, 2011.

The bodies were buried in the 17th century

Scientists used technology to identify the remains of four early residents of Jamestown, Va., the first permanent English settlement in what would become the United States.

The Jamestown Rediscovery Foundation at Historic Jamestowne and the Smithsonian’s Museum of Natural History announced on Tuesday that the settlers lived—and held high positions—in early English America as far back at 1608. About 100 people settled along the James River in what would become the first English settlement in 1607. The colony, however, was nearly wiped out due to conflict—with Native Americans in the area and with each other—as well as famine and disease. Among the identified remains were those of Rev. Robert Hunt, Jamestown’s first Anglican minister, and Captain Gabriel Archer, a leader among the early settlers and a rival of Captain John Smith. The remaining two, Sir Ferdinando Wainman and Captian William West, were relatives of the governor Lorde De La Warr.

Archeologists with Jamestown Rediscovery have been working to identify the remains since they were found in November of 2013. Scientists from both the Smithsonian and the Rediscovery Foundation examined artifacts from the graves, forensic evidence and technology like CT scans to determine who they were. (There’s a video explaining how here, on their website.) The discovery of the burial site, however, dates back to 2010 when Jamestown Rediscovery uncovered what the organization says is the earliest known Protestant Church in North America. Within that church— in the chancel, considered the holiest part of the building—scientists found the four burial sites that held the remains of these early settlers.

“This is an extraordinary discovery, one of the most important of recent times,” said James Horn, President of the Jamestown Rediscovery Foundation, in a press release. “These men were among the first founders of English America. They lived and died at a critical time in the history of the settlement — when Jamestown was on the brink of failure owing to food shortages, disease, and conflict with powerful local Indian peoples, the Powhatans.”

The church they were buried in is significant, too. According to Jamestown Rediscovery, Pocahontas and John Rolfe were married there.

TIME justice

Obama Administration Could Expand Pell Grant Eligibility to Prisoners

Arne Duncan Obama prisoners pell grants
Brendan Smialowski—AFP/Getty Images Secretary of Education Arne Duncan with President Obama at the White House, in March 2015.

Education Secretary Arne Duncan hinted recently that administration is “developing experimental sites” that would make Pell Grants available to prisoners

The Obama administration could soon unveil a plan that would make federal college grants available to prisoners.

On Monday, Secretary of Education Arne Duncan hinted during a policy speech that the administration is “developing experimental sites” that would, among other things, make Pell Grants available to “incarcerated adults seeking an independent, productive life after they get out of jail.”

The Wall Street Journal reports the announcement could come as soon as Friday, when Duncan and Attorney General Loretta Lynch are slated to make a joint appearance at a prison in Maryland on Friday.

The move would be the latest attempt by the Obama administration to provide opportunities to prisoners that could help reduce the national recidivism rate. According to Inside Higher Ed, six House Democrats introduced a bill in May that would expand Pell Grant eligibility to those behind bars. Congress blocked prisoners from Pell Grant eligibility in the 1990s.

TIME

Poll: Over Half of Americans Are Not Buying the Iran Deal

New CNN poll shows a little over half of Americans want Congress to reject the deal

The Obama Administration’s efforts to sell the Iran nuclear deal to the American public aren’t going over so well, according to a new poll that suggests slightly more than half of all Americans want Congress to reject it.

According to the CNN/ORC poll released Tuesday, 52% of Americans want Congress to vote against the nuclear deal with Iran, while 44% say lawmakers should approve it. Two-thirds (66%) of Republicans called for the deal to be blocked, while 61% of Democrats said it should be approved. Among self-described Independents, 55% want Congress to vote it down.

While the CNN poll could signal there’s more work to be done by the Obama administration to sell the deal, as Vox shows, previous polls indicate varying support for the deal among Americans. A recent Washington Post/ABC poll found that while 56% of Americans surveyed supported the deal, 52% didn’t approve of the president’s “handling of the situation with Iran.” A Pew survey found that 48% of Americans who were aware of the deal disapprove of it, while 38% approve.

Since world leaders reached the historic deal on Iran’s nuclear program in mid-July the Obama administration has been on the offensive trying to get everyday Americans to back the deal. President Obama has talked it up on stops in Africa, during a speech before veterans and an appearance on the Daily Show with Jon Stewart, and he attempted to address a range of concerns during an hour-long press conference at the White House.

Vice President Joe Biden and various cabinet secretaries have also made appearances on Capitol Hill in attempts to rally support for the deal among members of Congress, which was given 60 days to review the deal before a vote to approve or reject it. President Obama has said he would veto any attempt by Congress to block the bill.

1,017 American adults were contacted via telephone between July 22 and 25 for the CNN/ORC International poll. That group included 898 registered voters. The poll’s results for all American adults have a margin of error of plus or minus three percentage points.

[CNN]

TIME White House

White House Responds to Petition Urging Obama to Pardon Edward Snowden

Edward Snowden
Uncredited—AP FILE - This file photo image made from video released by WikiLeaks on Friday, Oct. 11, 2013, shows former National Security Agency systems analyst Edward Snowden smiles during a presentation ceremony for the Sam Adams Award in Moscow, Russia.

“He should come home to the United States, and be judged by a jury of his peers"

The White House responded to a petition calling for President Obama to pardon Edward Snowden on Tuesday by calling for the former National Security Agency contractor to “come home to the United States, and be judged by a jury of his peers.”

Snowden, who released classified government documents detailing the widespread surveillance activities of the U.S. intelligence agencies, fled to Russia soon after the documents were released. The White House commissioned Lisa Monaco, the president’s advisor on homeland security and counterterrorism, to pen the official response, which was posted to the White House’s We the People website.

“If he felt his actions were consistent with civil disobedience, then he should do what those who have taken issue with their own government do: Challenge it, speak out, engage in a constructive act of protest, and — importantly — accept the consequences of his actions,” Monaco writes. “He should come home to the United States, and be judged by a jury of his peers — not hide behind the cover of an authoritarian regime. Right now, he’s running away from the consequences of his actions.”

Snowden’s Russian attorney said in March that the whistleblower would be willing to return to the United States if he was “given a guarantee of a legal and impartial trial.”

A petition to have Snowden pardoned was launched in 2013 and gained a total of 167,954 signatures—well over the 100,000 required to warrant an official response from the White House. “Edward Snowden is a national hero and should be immediately issued a full, free, and absolute pardon for any crimes he has committed or may have committed related to blowing the whistle on secret NSA surveillance programs,” the petition reads.

The White House responded to the petition on Tuesday as a part of a wider effort to clear the backlog of petitions awaiting response on We the People and alter the way the White House responds.

TIME Books

A New Dr. Seuss Book is Out Today

what pet should i get
Random House

"What Pet Should I Get?", a recently discovered Dr. Seuss work, is on sale starting July 28.

What’s that, you say? A new book out today? Why yes, it’s here! Seuss‘s first book in years.

What Pet Should I Get? a recently discovered, unpublished children’s book by beloved author Dr. Seuss is being released on Tuesday, July 28. The book is believed to have been penned at some point between the late 1950s and early 1960s, according to USA Today, and publishers at Random House explain the book’s discovery in its final pages.

The book centers around a brother and sister who set out to a local pet store in search of a furry friend to call their own. The story reportedly features the same brother and sister pair from One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish.

USA Today gives the new tale “three stars out of four” for “mundane” rhymes and a less-than-fantastical plot.

But, parents don’t fret. Kids will surely love “pet.”

 

TIME White House

Obama: If I Ran for a Third Term, I Could Win

"But I can't"

President Obama said that if he could run for a third term he thinks he would win, while calling for African leaders to adhere to term limits during a historic speech before the African Union.

“I actually think I’m a pretty good president. I think if I ran, I could win. But I can’t,” Obama said in Ethiopia on Tuesday. ” There’s a lot that I’d like to do to keep America moving, but the law’s the law.”

President Obama addressed his third term viability while calling on African leaders to step aside when their terms end on Tuesday. During his speech, the first by an American president before the African Union, Obama said when a leader “tries to change the rules in the middle of the game” in order to stay in office it puts a nation’s stability and the future of Democratic progress across the continent at risk. Obama specifically noted recent elections in Burundi, where President Pierre Nkurunziza won a third term. The United Nations has said those elections occurred in an environment that was not “not conducive for an inclusive, free and credible electoral process,” according to the Associated Press.

” The point is, I don’t understand why people want to stay so long. Especially, when they’ve got a lot of money,” Obama said Tuesday, during the final stretch of his historic trip to two African countries. “And sometimes you’ll hear a leader say ‘I’m the only person who can hold this nation together.’ If that’s true, then that leader has failed to truly build their nation.”

Though Obama admitted he thinks he’s done a good job at the helm — something about 49% of Americans agree with, according his most recent CNN approval ratings — he didn’t hesitate to list off the freedoms he’ll gain back when he leaves office.

“I’m looking forward to life after being president,” Obama said. “I won’t have such a big security detail all the time. It means I can go take a walk, I can spend time with my family, I can find other ways to serve. I can visit Africa more often.”

TIME

Rachel McAdams is in Early Talks for Doctor Strange

rachel mcadams
Alessio Botticelli—Getty Images Rachel McAdams is seen on 'Good Morning America' on July 23, 2015 in New York City.

McAdams is considering a role as the female lead in the upcoming Marvel film

Actor Rachel McAdams is in the running to play the female lead in Marvel’s Doctor Strange.

In an interview with the Los Angeles Times, the True Detective star confirmed that she is considering the role in the upcoming film, which is set to star Benedict Cumberbatch.

McAdams, however, told the Times that her considerations for the role are “still super-early days, and I don’t know where that’s gonna go, if it’s gonna go anywhere at all.”

Deadline reports Tilda Swinton and Chiwetel Ejiofor are also slated to star in the film, which will be released in Nov. 2016.

[LA Times]

TIME senior citizens

Seniors Could Soon Use Food Stamps for Grocery Delivery

About 9.3 million seniors lack reliable access to nutritious food

Senior citizens could start using food stamps to pay for groceries to be delivered to their homes.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture recently proposed allowing homebound seniors and disabled persons touse benefits from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program to cover the cost of food delivery from government and non-profit agencies. The Department is currently seeking 20 programs to host the one-year pilot program.

In a conversation with TIME, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said the programs could help more seniors live as independently as his wife’s aunt. He recalled that the 93-year-old did not like the idea of living in a nursing home, but wasn’t able to go to the grocery store on her own because of a broken hip.

“Having services delivered to her enabled her to stay in that home with greater dignity for a longer period of time,” says Vilsack. “I’m sure that there are a lot of Aunt Jessie’s out there that will benefit from this program for a multitude of reasons.”

Seniors have long been able to use services such as Meals on Wheels to have food delivered to their homes, paid on a sliding scale based on their income. But allowing food stamps to be used would open up the program to a lot more seniors. Some experts think it might encourage more seniors to sign up for food stamps as well.

About 9.3 million American seniors are “food insecure,” meaning they don’t have consistent access to nutritious, affordable food, but only about four million of those seniors are on food stamps.

Still, getting seniors enrolled in SNAP can be a challenge. The application process can be cumbersome and many seniors think the benefits aren’t worth the effort—in 2013, the average elderly SNAP recipient received $113 a month in benefits. Katie Jantzi, program manager of the Central Virginia hunger-relief organization FeedMore, says elderly clients—who are already able to use their SNAP benefits to pay for meals if they choose to and fill out the paperwork—face particular challenges when it comes to enrolling in the program.

As an example, she cited an isolated, elderly man living on a fixed income in a rural area with shaky vision and hearing who’s easily confused would likely benefit from having the extra resources that SNAP provides, but getting him through the application process would be difficult.

“He can’t hear on the phone to answer questions, can’t see the application and he can’t drive to the local services department to fill it out in person,” Jantzi explains.

And some seniors are simply too proud to take what they consider to be a government handout, says National Foundation to End Senior Hunger president Enid Borden.

“This is a generation that says, ‘I don’t want a handout,’” says Borden, who is supportive of the USDA’s new plan. “They don’t understand it’s not a handout, it’s a helping hand.”

The pilot program USDA is proposing wouldn’t directly tackle the issue of getting seniors enrolled, though there are existing programs to increase enrollment. Yet those who work in the space, like Ellie Hollander, the national president and CEO of Meals on Wheels, say that addressing senior hunger in every way possible is important.

“Here we have the opportunity to do not only what’s socially and morally right, but what’s economically brilliant,” says Hollander. “We can feed a senior meals on wheels for an entire year for less than the cost of that same senior being in the hospital one day, or in a [nursing home] one week.”

Adds Vilsack, “If you want to reduce health care costs, if you want to avoid unnecessary health care expense, one way to do that is to make sure that senior citizens get adequately nourished.”

TIME White House

President Obama Dines With Relatives in Kenya

KENYA-US-OBAMA
Saul Loeb—AFP/Getty Images US President Barack Obama sits alongside his step-grandmother, Mama Sarah, left, and half-sister Auma Obama, right, during a gathering of family at his hotel in Nairobi on July 24, 2015.

Obama is in Kenya for the Global Entrepreneurship Summit, but made time for family on Friday

President Obama made time to meet with family on the first night of his four-day trip to Kenya and Ethiopia. About three dozen of the President’s relatives joined him for dinner on Friday, including his half sister Auma and his step-grandmother Mama Sarah.

Obama is in Kenya for the Global Entrepreneurship Summit, of which he is co-chair. His trip marks the first time a sitting U.S. president has traveled to both Kenya and Ethiopia, but the trip also has historical significance given Obama’s personal connection to the East African nation. Obama’s father, Barack Obama, Sr., was born in Kenya and later died there. Obama was born in Hawaii.

Per the White House pool report on Friday’s dinner:

Potus, still in suit and tie, was seated in the middle of two long tables filled with relatives, about three dozen in all. Seated to his right was his step-grandmother, Mama Sarah, whom he calls Granny, wearing a [gold]-colored head scarf. To his left was his half-sister, Auma Obama, wearing a white jacket and black blouse. The other relatives were all wearing suits or other appropriately dress clothes. There were a lot of smiles all around.

 

TIME Iowa

This Video of Shadflies Taking Over a Bridge Will Make Your Skin Crawl

You've been warned

The brave souls at the Iowa Department of Transportation battled thousands of shadflies and lived to tell the tale.

It’s hatching season for shadflies, also known as Mayflies, which are aquatic, dragonfly-like insects that hatch in huge swarms, typically in May. They dwell near fresh water, which likely explains why they were drawn to the Savanna/Sabula bridge in Eastern Iowa.

Last weekend, officials were called to the bridge over the Mississippi River to literally plow the massive swarm of flies off, the Iowa DOT explained in a Facebook post. According to one official, the flies were piled as high as their ankles. The swarms of flies also made the road slick, leading to dangerous conditions for drivers.

Watch the video of the ordeal at your own risk.

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