TIME justice

Navajo Nation to Receive $554 Million Settlement From U.S. Government

It's the largest settlement ever received by a Native American tribe

The U.S. will pay the Navajo Nation $554 million as the result of a settlement agreement, the largest ever obtained by an American Indian tribe.

The agreement settles a 2006 lawsuit by the Navajo Nation, alleging that the American government improperly handled Indian assets for more than five decades, the New York Times reports.

The Navajo Nation, alongside officials from the Obama Administration, will formally announce the settlement on Friday, from Arizona. The Nation owns about 14 million acres of land, which the federal government oversees, though the tribe said the U.S. has not provided tools and invested the proper resources to foster economic growth.

The Department of Justice said the money will be transferred to the Navajo Nation as quickly as two months from now. The settlement is reportedly part of about $2.61 billion worth of agreements the Obama administration reached with various Indian tribes, in an effort to improve relations between the Federal government and Native tribes.

[NYT]

TIME Egypt

U.N. Agency Investigating Claims of Damage to Ancient Pyramid

Building materials gather dust at the foot of the Djoser Pyramid in Saqqara, Egypt on Sept. 16, 2014.
Building materials gather dust at the foot of the Djoser Pyramid in Saqqara, Egypt, on Sept. 16, 2014 Samuel McNeil—AP

Egyptian media has reported the 4,600 year-old structure has been damaged during an ongoing restoration project

The U.N. Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) is requesting more information from Egyptian authorities on the restoration of the Djoser Pyramid, after Egyptian media reported that the 4,600-year-old pyramid’s facade had been damaged.

Agency officials told Agence France-Presse that the UNESCO World Heritage Centre “sent a letter to the Ministry of Antiquities requesting a detailed technical report on the work.”

The country’s Minister of Antiquities called the claim of damage “baseless,” according to AFP.

[AFP]

TIME movies

Liam Neeson to Make an Appearance in Ted 2

Actor Liam Neeson attends the Universal Pictures and Cross Creek Pictures with The Cinema Society screening of "A Walk Among the Tombstones" at Chelsea Bow Tie Cinemas on Sept. 17, 2014 in New York City.
Actor Liam Neeson attends the Universal Pictures and Cross Creek Pictures with The Cinema Society screening of "A Walk Among the Tombstones" at Chelsea Bow Tie Cinemas on Sept. 17, 2014 in New York City. Stephen Lovekin—WireImage/Getty Images

Ted writer (and voice) Seth MacFarlane tweeted out a hint that the Oscar-nominated star could be in the film

Ted 2 may have added another big name actor to its cast this week, as Seth MacFarlane, the comedian behind the bro-comedy, hinted in a tweet Wednesday that actor Liam Neeson could appear in the upcoming sequel.

http://twitter.com/SethMacFarlane/status/514826880365903872

Not a bad week at all. One can only imagine what’s in store with a talking bear, what with Mark Wahlberg, Morgan Freeman, and Liam Neeson all on the same cast. Knowing MacFarlane’s knack for pop culture references on his television show Family Guy, we’re guessing there will be at least one reference to Taken.

Fortunately, fans on the film have a little less than a year left to wait and see what MacFarlane has come up with. The film is set to come out June 26, 2015, Entertainment Weekly reports.

TIME Syria

U.S. and Allies Launch New Strikes Targeting ISIS Oil Fields

President Obama Delivers Statement On Recent Airstrikes Against ISIS In Syria
U.S. President Barack Obama delivers a statement on the recent air strikes against ISIS on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, D.C., on Sept. 23, 2014 Win McNamee—Getty Images

The Pentagon says the targets included oil refineries that produce about 300 to 500 barrels of petroleum per day

The U.S. and partner forces launched additional strikes in Syria against the Islamic State of Iraq and Greater Syria (ISIS) on Wednesday, the Pentagon said. Forces from the U.S., Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates reportedly launched 13 air strikes against 12 oil refineries controlled by the Islamist group.

“We are still assessing the outcome of the attack on the refineries, but have initial indications that the strikes were successful,” U.S. Central Command said Wednesday. “Producing between 300-500 barrels of refined petroleum per day, [ISIS] is estimated to generate as much as $2 million per day from these refineries. The destruction and degradation of these targets further limits [ISIS’s] ability to lead, control, project power and conduct operations.”

The strikes are a part of the U.S.’s ongoing effort to “degrade and destroy” ISIS, which has claimed responsibility for beheading two American journalists and one British aid worker, among other Western casualties. During a speech at the U.N. General Assembly on Wednesday, President Barack Obama called on more American allies to join in the fight to “dismantle this network of death.”

TIME

John Oliver Gave a Big Boost to Women’s Scholarship Funds

Late Night with Seth Meyers - Season 1
Comedian John Oliver during an interview on June 11, 2014. NBC—NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images

The Society of Women's Engineers calls the bump in funding the "John Oliver bounce"

A scathing segment Sunday from Last Week Tonight host John Oliver brought a welcomed boost in scholarship funds to one Chicago-based women’s organization, the group said this week.

During Oliver’s 15-minute takedown of the Miss America pageant, which claims to be the “world’s largest provider in scholarships for women,” the host mentioned the Society of Women Engineers (SWE) along with other organizations that provide women-only higher-education scholarships for women. An SWE spokesperson told the Chicago Tribune on Tuesday it has received about 15% of its expected annual donations in two days thanks to the HBO host’s plug.

The SWE has provided about $3 million worth of scholarships to women pursuing careers in engineering over the past six years, the Tribune reports. The $25,000 the organization has received this week is said to be going to the group’s scholarship fund.

A spokesperson for the organization dubbed the bump in donations they received after Oliver’s nod the “John Oliver bounce,” a riff on fellow late-night host Stephen Colbert’s “Colbert bump.”

[Chicago Tribune]

TIME Crime

FBI Study Confirms Rise in Active Shootings Over the Past Decade

Members of a Federal Bureau of Investigation SWAT team are seen during an FBI field training exercise at the Landmark Mall on May 2, 2014 in Alexandria, Virginia.
Members of an FBI SWAT team are seen during a training exercise in Alexandria, Va., on May 2, 2014 Brendan Smialowski—AFP/Getty Images

Between 2007 and 2013, about 16.4 active shooter events occurred every year

Mass shootings have increased steadily in the U.S. in recent years, a new study by the FBI found.

The FBI identified 160 “active shootings” in the past seven years, which are defined as incidents in which an individual killed or attempted to kill people in a confined or populated area. The study looked reported shootings between 2000 and 2013. The data, released Wednesday, showed that from 2000 to 2007, there was an average 6.4 active shooter incidents per year. From 2007 to 2013, however, the rate of incidences more than doubled, with an average of 16.4 events annually.

All of the deadliest mass shootings — including the tragedies of Aurora, in Colorado; Virginia Tech; Fort Hood, in Texas; and Sandy Hook, in Connecticut — occurred during that period. About 64 of the events tallied were identified as “mass killings,” given that three or more people died in a single event.

Though the study was not designed to identify motive in the incidences, it did reveal a number of “shooter characteristics.” According to the FBI, the mass shootings were carried out by one person in all but two incidents; the vast majority of school shootings were carried out by students, and only six of all the shooters were women.

The study’s authors noted that the data should be used to help aid law-enforcement agents and the public in responding to such incidents, which have occurred in 40 out of 50 states and D.C. Though proper police response can save more lives, about 60% of the incidents studied were over before officers even arrived on the scene. The shootings in the study resulted in 1,043 people who were killed or wounded.

TIME celebrities

Jersey Shore’s Michael ‘The Situation’ Sorrentino Indicted for Tax Fraud

2013 MTV Movie Awards - Red Carpet
TV personality Mike 'The Situation' Sorrentino attends the 2013 MTV Movie Awards at Sony Pictures Studios on April 14, 2013 in Culver City, California. Jeff Kravitz—FilmMagic

The Sorrentino brothers are accused of failing to properly file taxes between 2010 and 2012

Former star of MTV reality series Jersey Shore Michael “The Situation” Sorrentino was indicted Wednesday alongside his brother Marc Sorrentino for allegedly failing to pay taxes on $8.9 million of income.

We know what you’re thinking: how on earth did a has-been reality star make $8.9 million? We wondered the same. Apparently, “The Situation,” known for his abs and stellar personality, raked in the cash during his peak-Shore years—between 2010 and 2012— largely by exploiting his celebrity status, but failed to pay taxes on the cash he received.

Mike and his brother also launched a series of businesses which the IRS is alleging were used to funnel funds for personal use. Both are facing charges of failing to file tax returns and conspiracy to defraud the United States.

The pair is expected to appear in New Jersey federal court Wednesday afternoon. If convicted, they could face a $250,000 fine and up to three years in prison for the charges they’re facing — as Mike would say, looks like they’ve got themselves a situation.

TIME 2014 Election

Voting Rights Rally Students As North Carolina Senate Battle Heats Up

N.C. House Speaker Thom Tillis, left, talks with voter Donald Parrott of Charlotte outside Precinct 75 at Holy Covenant UCC in Charlotte, N.C., on May 6, 2014 Jeff Siner—The Charlotte Observer/AP

Students at Appalachian State University are among a coalition of folks pushing back against the threat of disenfranchisement in North Carolina

Boone, North Carolina

Correction appended Sept. 24

Appalachian State University played host to Rock the Vote’s 2014 National Voter Registration Day rally and concert on Tuesday, with an eclectic mix of students and local politicians gathered amid brisk September winds on Duck Pond field, a grassy valley near the stadium where the Mountaineers football team plays. “We’re here celebrating our constitutional right to vote,” said Andy Ball, mayor of the town of Boone. “We want to encourage everyone to speak out in this election.”

The message was familiar, but North Carolina is in a unique position this time around. The state is ground zero of the ongoing battle to protect voting rights and the students Appalachian State, nestled in the Blue Ridge Mountains of the Tar Heel state, are the test cases. A sweeping 2013 state voting law that will be in place for the first time during a statewide election, eliminating same-day registration and out-of-precinct voting, and shortening the early voting window by ten days, all changes that could disproportionately impact young people.

“We’re worried,” says Rachel Clay, 21, a student at ASU. “But, there’s a big pushback from grassroots organizations on campus to get students engaged and address misinformation.” Clay is helping to organize a march to the polls during the early voting period, and plans to vote on the first day the polls open—Oct. 23. She was one of many students who voted at the campus’ polling site in 2012, which has been moved by the local board of elections from the centrally located student union to a site further away from undergrads on main campus. The GOP-controlled Watauga County Board of Elections also recently rejected a proposal to have the campus serve as an early voting site, though the campus was home to an early voting site every year since 2008.

On Tuesday, students trickled in and out of to rally ahead of the 2014 Midterm election. They were drawn to the event for different reasons—many had come from grabbing a bite to eat at the nearby student center and were drawn to the music. Others were truly concerned about protecting their right to cast a ballot, and wanted to make sure every student at ASU had the opportunity to have their voice be heard.

Republicans in the state have called the voting law a common sense reform that will help prevent fraud at the state’s polls. In 2016, additional rules are scheduled to take effect that would prevent students from presenting their student identification cards as proof of residence when casting a ballot, as is currently permitted. Voter rights advocates worry the laws changes to early voting and same-day registration will place an undue burden on certain voting blocks including African Americans, low-income voters, the elderly, and young people.

Durham-based advocacy group Democracy NC says the law blocked more than 400 voters from casting ballots during the primary because of the changes to same-day registration and out-of-precinct voting, disruption they predict will be bigger during the Midterm election. That is, however, unless civil rights organization’s last-ditch attempt at judicial intervention proves fruitful. On Sept. 25, the Southern Coalition for Social Justice, the American Civil Liberties Union will represent a collection of North Carolinians in an expedited appeal hearing before the 4th Circuit Court.

In the meantime, the issue of disenfranchisement has become an election issue in the close federal senate contest. Incumbent Democratic Senator Kay Hagan asked the federal government to investigate the new voting law last year, and has created a list-building website encouraging people to vent their frustration about the new law. Her campaign has criticized the Republican nominee Thom Tillis for working to pass the new voting law as speaker of the state House. Tillis defends his vote for the new law as part of an effort to restore confidence in the voting system.

“The mistake the extremists in state legislature made is that their actions have energized people,” says Rev. William Barber president of the North Carolina Chapter of the NAACP and leader of a statewide movement to galvanize voters.

It may take until after the election to find out if this enthusiasm will offset the decline in voter participation because voting will be less convenient this time around. “I’m not a political scientist,” says Anita Earls, the Executive Director of the Southern Coalition for Social Justice, “but I think we’ll see a jump in students voting this year because of their frustration that someone is trying to take their vote.”

Correction: A previous version of this story named the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People among the groups being represented by the Southern Coalition of Social Justice. The NAACP is involved in a separate suit against the state’s voting law.

TIME Soccer

Official Says Qatar Is Too Hot to Host World Cup

FBL-WC2014-QAT-FIFA-TROPHY
A Qatari official stands near the FIFA World Cup trophy following its arrival in Doha, on Dec. 12, 2013. Karim Jaafar—AFP/Getty Images

"Medics say that they cannot accept responsibility with a World Cup taking place under these conditions"

Qatar likely will not be hosting the 2022 World Cup, a top FIFA official said Monday. Why? The country is too hot.

“Medics say that they cannot accept responsibility with a World Cup taking place under these conditions,” Reuters reports FIFA Executive Committee member Theo Zwanziger saying. “I personally think that in the end the 2022 World Cup will not take place in Qatar.”

Qatar leaders have said they will equip stadiums, fan zones, and training areas with advanced cooling systems during the games, but Zwanziger said it won’t be enough.

“They may be able to cool the stadiums but a World Cup does not take place only there,” Zwanziger said.

A Qatari official quickly pushed back in a statement.

“Qatar will host the FIFA World Cup in 2022, despite comments of FIFA Executive Committee member Dr. Zwanziger, which reflect his personal opinion and not that of FIFA,” the official said. “The only question now is WHEN, not IF. Summer or winter, we will be ready. We have proven that a FIFA World Cup in Qatar in the summer is possible with state-of-the-art cooling technology. We have demonstrated that our cooling works in outdoor areas beyond stadiums.”

[Reuters]

TIME Television

Watch South Park Poke Fun at the Washington Redskins Controversy

“It’s derogatory, Mr. Cartman”

South Park is taking a jab at the Washington Redskins, the NFL team that has been under pressure to change a name considered racist by Native American groups.

In a trailer for the 18th season of the Comedy Central cartoon, Eric Cartman has taken advantage of the fact that the Redskins’ trademark was canceled by a federal board, starting a company that uses the team’s name and logo. And in an ironic twist, a cartoon version of Redskins owner Dan Snyder is offended by the use of his team’s name.

“Don’t you see that when you refer to your company as the Washington Redskins it’s offensive to us?” cartoon Snyder says. “It’s derogatory, Mr. Cartman.”

In the ad, which was timed to run during the fourth quarter of the Washington-Philadelphia game on Sunday, Cartman explains that he uses the teams name out of respect. “When I named my company ‘Washington Redskins,’ it was done out of deep appreciation for your team and your people,” he says.

Sound familiar?

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