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?

TIME People

Bill Clinton Drops a Hint About Chelsea’s Due Date

Clinton Global Citizen Awards at 2014 Clinton Global Initiative
Chelsea Clinton, US Vice Chairman of the Clinton Foundation, walks onto the stage to make a presentation during the Clinton Global Citizen Awards presentations at the Clinton Global Initiative in New York City on Sept. 21, 2014. Ray Stubblebine—EPA

The baby should be arriving in early October

President Bill Clinton is really looking forward to next week. Because by that time, he told CNN, he may be welcoming his first grandchild into the world.

“I hope by the first of October, I’ll be a grandfather,” Clinton said in an interview that aired Sunday. “I can’t wait.”

Chelsea Clinton announced her pregnancy in April, which should make her about eight months along if she followed the typical rule of waiting three months before sharing her pregnancy. Both the former President and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said they are on “baby watch” over the weekend, in anticipation of their first grandchild. During a speech at the Democratic National Committee’s Women’s Leadership Forum on Friday, Clinton said she had been “thinking a lot about family because you know I’m on grandbaby watch.”

The Clintons will be in for another surprise when the baby finally arrives: Chelsea and her husband have opted against learning the sex of the baby before it’s born.

“They want to be surprised,” Bill Clinton said.

[CNN]

TIME Accident

Bus Crash in Delaware Kills 2, Injures 48

Delaware Bus Crash
Passengers from a tour bus are treated for injuries near the overturned bus at the Tybouts Corner on ramp from southbound Del. 1 to Red Lion Road in Bear, Del. on Sept. 21, 2014. John J. Jankowski—The Wilmington News-Journal/AP

The bus was traveling from Washington, D.C. to New York

A sightseeing tour bus crashed in Delaware on Sunday, killing two people and injuring 48, police said.

The bus, owned by New York-based company AM USA Express, was traveling from Washington, D.C. to New York City at the time of the crash, Delaware state police said. The names of the passengers who perished in the crash have not yet been released, though police have identified them as a 30-year-old female passenger from Turkey and a 54-year-old female passenger from New York.

The bus overturned near an exit ramp in New Castle, Delaware, according to the preliminary investigation. The bus was a part of a three-day tour hosted by E World Travel and Tours that began on Friday, according to police. Passengers are being treated at several hospitals in the area, and at least a few are reportedly in critical condition.

TIME People

Former IRS Official Says Politics Didn’t Affect Her Work

IRS'S Lerner Invokes Her Constitutional Right To Silence
Lois Lerner, the director of the Internal Revenue Service's (IRS) exempt organizations office, listens during a House Oversight and Government Reform Committee hearing in Washington on May 22, 2013. Bloomberg/Getty Images

Lois Lerner spoke out for the first time since a scandal led to outrage from Tea Party groups

The IRS official at the center of a scandal over alleged targeting of conservative groups says in a new interview that her personal political leanings never impacted her work.

“I didn’t do anything wrong,” Lois Lerner told Politico in an interview published Monday, her first since the scandal broke more than a year ago. “I’m proud of my career and the job I did for this country.”

Lerner was drummed out of the agency and became a lightning rod for conservative criticism after reports detailed how the tax agency gave extra scrutiny to conservative political groups seeking nonprofit, tax-exempt status. Later reports showed liberal groups were also given extra scrutiny, but the issue quickly became a political headache for the Obama Administration.

Congressional Republicans investigating the matter have accused Lerner of letting her liberal political leanings influence her work, but she was unapologetic in the interview.

“What matters is that my personal opinions have never affected my work,” Lerner said.

She again denied being involved in a cover-up by destroying emails saying, “How would I know two years ahead of time that it would be important for me to destroy emails, and if I did know that, why wouldn’t I have destroyed the other ones they keep releasing?”

[Politico]

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