TIME States

Missouri 5-Year-Old Fatally Shoots Baby Brother

He found the gun lying near the bed, local sheriff said

A nine-month-old boy died Monday after his 5-year-old brother shot him in the head.

The Missouri infant was reportedly in a playpen when his older brother fired a loaded gun that he found near the bed, Nodaway County Sheriff Darren White said, local media KCTV reports.

The boys’ mother told 911 dispatchers her son had been shot with a paintball gun.

When the emergency crew arrived, they discovered he had been shot with a .22 caliber magnum revolver. The shooting, authorities say, was an accident.


TIME state of the union

How Many People Will Watch the State of the Union?

President Obama Delivers State Of The Union Address At U.S. Capitol
U.S. President Barack Obama smiles as he arrives to deliver his State of the Union speech on Capitol Hill in Washington on January 28, 2014. Larry Downing—Pool/Getty Images

Millions, but probably less than have in years past

Like much of network TV, the State of the Union is still important, but it now has a much smaller audience than it once did.

Over the past two decades, an average of 42.3 million people have tuned in to watch the President deliver his annual address on the nation’s status, with peaks and valleys depending on the most pressing issue of the moment. In 2003, a whopping 62.1 million Americans watched President George W. Bush make the case for going to war with Iraq during his late January address. President Obama’s first State of the Union address drew about 52.3 million viewers, according to Nielsen.

And yet, since 2012, the combined number of viewers hasn’t topped 40 million, despite the growing array of channels that host the speech both in English and Spanish. In 2014, President Obama’s speech had one of the smallest combined viewing audiences of the past two decades, with Nielsen reporting that 33.3 million people tuned in to watch.

When it comes to viewing audiences, in general, the State of the Union is no Super Bowl, which drew 111.4 million eyeballs in 2014. In fact, it’s more comparable (in terms of size of audience, of course) to a prime-time show like American Idol which could once draw millions of viewers but now struggles to keep people interested.

That’s not to say President Obama can’t draw a large viewing audience; 34 million people watched Obama’s primetime September speech on the role the U.S. will play in the effort to defeat the Islamic State of Iraq and Greater Syria–about the same number of people that tuned in to watch the Ohio State Buckeyes topple the Oregon Ducks in the College Football Championship game on Jan. 12.

What’s really noticeable given the drop in viewers, is the fact that the way the information is presented has changed drastically– and that the interaction audience members have with telecasts has changed, too. In 2014, the first year Nielsen recorded the social conversations surrounded the event, some 2.1 million tweets were sent out throughout the President’s State of the Union address that year. That’s comparable to the 2.6 million tweets that were sent out during last week’s Golden Globes, which also experienced a drop in viewership despite the boost in social activity.

And consider this: President Obama will also conduct interviews with three people with huge YouTube subscriber counts. Perhaps sometime soon the entire speech will be presented through a Reddit AMA.

TIME cities

Bostonians Dubious About Olympic Bid, Poll Finds

Boston, Mass. Getty Images

A majority are kind of "meh" about the city's bid, according to a new poll

Boston residents are not too excited about the city’s 2024 Olympic bid, according to a new poll.

In fact, the share of Boston residents “excited” about the city’s shot at hosting the Summer Olympics (48%) is almost the same as those who say they’re not excited (43%), a new survey released by Boston’s NPR news station WBUR on Tuesday found.

The poll surveyed just 500 Boston area residents after the city was named one of four identified by the United States Olympic Committee to apply to host the 2024 games, and it had a margin of error of 6.7 percent.

But the numbers will make dispiriting readers for Olympic organizers; only half of those polled said they “support” the Olympic games coming to Boston, and a full third (33%) said they are opposed to them.

The city will need more support from residents if they want to persuade the International Olympic Committee that Boston should host. For next year’s summer games in Rio de Janeiro, WBUR reports, 85% of residents supported the city’s bid.


TIME faith

Duke’s Head of Divinity School Defends Decision to Halt Muslim Call to Prayer

Dean Richard B. Hays said he considered the original decision “ill-advised” in a letter to the Divinity School community

The Dean of Duke University’s Divinity School has defended the school’s decision to scrap plans for a weekly Muslim call to prayer from Duke Chapel’s bell tower.

The decision, announced earlier this week, was reversed Thursday afternoon after objections by some in the evangelical Christian community. In a letter to members of the Divinity School, Dean Richard B. Hays said he supported the school’s about-turn, noting that he considered the decision to allow a call to prayer—which he claimed was made without his knowledge—“ill-advised.”

“Any decision to permit the use of a prominent Christian place of worship as a minaret for Muslim proclamation will, in our time, have immediate global repercussions,” Hays wrote, saying the perspective of Christians of living in Islamic societies should have been taken into account.

He also took time to “lament the flood of angry and even threatening messages” the school has received since the announcement was first made, many of which are in full display on the University’s Facebook page. “Those of us who are Christians do no service to our faith or to God by forming hasty judgments or responding with hatred towards others,” Hays wrote.

Though the school’s approximately 700 Muslim students will continue to use the Chapel basement for worship, they will no longer be invited to sound the adhan from the bell tower before Friday afternoon jummah prayers.

The Chapel meant for the move to be taken as a symbol of religious pluralism and unity, but many did not see it that way, including noted Christian leader Rev. Franklin Graham, who said it was an effort to erase Christianity from the school.

Rev. Luke Powery, the Dean of Duke Chapel, dismissed those claims in an interview with NPR’s Here & Now. “We are obviously a Christian community,” Powery said. “There’s still a vibrant Christian presence on campus, even with our various campus ministries. But at the same time, we serve the whole entire Duke University community, which is very diverse, religiously, culturally, racially.”

TIME Supreme Court

Here’s What the Supreme Court Could Do on Gay Marriage

A couple exchange rings as they are wed during a wedding ceremony at the Broward County Courthouse on Jan. 6, 2015 in Fort Lauderdale, Fla
A couple exchange rings as they are wed during a wedding ceremony at the Broward County Courthouse on Jan. 6, 2015 in Fort Lauderdale, Fla Joe Raedle—Getty Images

The Supreme Court has yet to review any same-sex marriage cases this term, but that will soon change. The nation’s highest court announced Friday that it will review an appeals court decision upholding bans on gay marriage in four states.

That puts the next phase of the fight over gay marriage squarely in the court’s crosshairs, but it doesn’t mean the issue will be settled once and for all. Here are the broad outlines of two possible outcomes.

The Court Rules Definitively on Gay Marriage

Gay marriage is now legal in 36 states and the District of Columbia, but what happens in the remaining states will depend on how the court rules. Given the momentum surrounding the issue of it’s hard for many analysts to see the session ending without the justices affirming that gay couples have the right to marry. If they do, it would play right into the strategy of Freedom to Marry, the national campaign for marriage equality, which has been working to build pressure around the issue so the Court feels obligated to act.

“It is clear that America is ready for the freedom to marry,” Evan Wolfson, president of Freedom to Marry said in a statement to TIME. “Every day that marriage is denied is a day of injury, indignity and injustice…it is urgent that the Court affirm the freedom to marry and equality under the law nationwide without further delay and without leaving any family or state out.”

The Supreme Court’s review could mean gay marriage expands to all states by the summer. But if the court finds no constitutional right, it would mean that states do not have to honor same-sex marriages performed in other states.

The Court Punts on the Issue

Just because the Supreme Court has decided to take up the gay marriage case, it does not automatically follow that they will make a definitive ruling. The court could choose to overturn the bans without finding that there is a constitutional right to gay marriage. Alternately, it could uphold the bans without necessarily finding that there is not a constitutional right to gay marriage.

As an example of how that might play out, consider the court’s decision in the 2013 case overturning a ballot initiative banning gay marriage in California. After agreeing to hear an appeal on the case, the court simply decided that the lower courts were wrong about whether the plaintiffs had standing to pursue a case. The decision did not take a stance on gay marriage itself.

Even though the court has decided to revisit the issue this term, the justices have a number of ways that they can rule on the case without deciding whether there is a right to gay marriage. That would leave the issue to be fought out at the state level and in lower federal courts, continuing the piecemeal fight.

TIME White House

President Obama and Prime Minister Cameron Address Terrorism

President Barack Obama and British Prime Minister David Cameron hold a joint news conference in the East Room of the White House in Washington on Jan. 16, 2015.
President Barack Obama and British Prime Minister David Cameron hold a joint news conference in the East Room of the White House in Washington on Jan. 16, 2015. Carolyn Kaster—AP

Obama also said he would veto any sanctions against Iran that come before a deal is reached

Combating the threat of terrorism topped the agenda of Friday’s joint press conference with President Barack Obama and British Prime Minister David Cameron. Both world leaders denounced recent acts of terror in France and Nigeria, while reaffirming their continuing efforts to combat the Islamic State of Iraq and Greater Syria and Al-Qaeda.

“When the United States and United Kingdom stand together, our nations are more secure and our people are more prosperous,” Obama said.

The two world leaders spoke at length about facing national and cyber security threats, which both said have dominated their talks throughout the two days Cameron has been in Washington. Obama called the United Kingdom one of the U.S.’s “strongest counterterrorism partners,” saying the countries continue to work with their allies to curb the threat of ISIS.

The White House announced Thursday the U.S. and the UK agreed to strengthen cooperation on cybersecurity. Cameron said the two countries “alliance stands strong, rooted in its long history and reinvigorated by the challenges we face today.”

President Obama called the United Kingdom one of the United State’s “greatest friends and strongest allies,” noting the the Prime Minister is one his his “closest and most trusted partners in the world,” noting that there had been much speculation about what the President meant when he called Cameron “bro.”

“We see the world the same way,” Obama said.

Obama and Cameron also spoke against expanding sanctions in Iran, with the President saying he will veto any new sanctions on Iran that are presented before negotiations are done.

“We not get there, but we have a chance to resolve the nuclear issue peacefully,” Obama said. “My main message to Congress at this point is, just hold your fire.”

TIME faith

Duke Won’t Broadcast Muslim Call to Prayer After All

A general view of the Duke University Chapel on campus of Duke University on Oct. 26, 2013 in Durham, North Carolina.
A general view of the Duke University Chapel on campus of Duke University on Oct. 26, 2013 in Durham, North Carolina. Lance King—Getty Images

Instead, students will gather outside of university chapel before the jummah prayer service

Duke University Thursday has reversed its decision to allow Muslim students to broadcast a call-to-prayer from the school’s chapel bell tower starting this Friday.

Instead, the university said Thursday that students will gather outside the chapel before the weekly jummah prayer service, which has been held in the chapel basement every week for the past several years.

“Duke remains committed to fostering an inclusive, tolerant and welcoming campus for all of its students,” said Michael Schoenfeld, vice president for public affairs and government relations, in a statement. “However, it was clear that what was conceived as an effort to unify was not having the intended effect.”

Around 700 of Duke’s 15,000 students identify as Muslims, according to the university. The chant, known as the adhan, had been planned to be “moderately amplified” from the chapel to alert the community of the weekly Friday prayer service.

But the university faced harsh criticism from some in the evangelical Christian community in response to the news, with Baptist minister Franklin Graham taking to his Facebook page to call on alumni to halt donations as long as the broadcast was in effect. On Thursday, Graham cited the Charlie Hebdo terror attacks in Paris in his condemnation of the broadcast of the Muslim call.

“The Muslim call to prayer that has been approved to go out across the campus of Duke University every Friday afternoon for three minutes includes “Allahu Akbar”—the words that the terrorists shouted at the onset of last week’s massacre in Paris,” Graham wrote.

Omid Safi, the director of Duke’s Islamic Studies Center, said on Huffington Post Live Thursday that it was wrong to suggest the call to prayer would somehow exclude Christianity from the school.

“The entire quad, and the entire campus of Duke University is laid out as a cross. And the Christian chapel is the very symbol of Duke University,” he said. “So the kind of fanatical proclamation that Christianity is being erased from Duke’s campus is frankly a poor indication of the intelligence of that argument.”

Requests for comment from the office of Religious Life at Duke were not immediately returned.

TIME faith

Muslim Students at Duke Will Begin Chant of Weekly Call-to-Prayer

Move called unprecedented by one Islamic expert

Members of Duke University’s Muslim Students Association will begin chanting a weekly call-to-prayer from the bell tower of the school’s chapel this Friday, in what one religious expert called a first-of-its-kind development.

The chant, known as the adhan, will be “moderately amplified” from the chapel to alert the community of the weekly Friday prayer service. The Muslim chaplain at Duke Imam Adeel Zeb said in a statement that the call-to-prayer “serves as a reminder to serve our brothers and sisters in humanity.”

“The adhan is the call to prayer that brings Muslims back to their purpose in life,” Zeb said.

Christy Lohr Sapp, the associate dean of religious life at Duke’s chapel, said the broadcasting of the chant “represents a larger commitment to religious pluralism that is at the heart of Duke’s mission.”

“Our goal in Religious Life is to create a place where religious expression is valued and supported and to foster the spiritual development of the various communities on campus,” Sapp said in an email.

In Muslim communities across the globe, the adhan is broadcast up to five times a day—once for each of the five daily prayers. On Friday afternoons, Muslims gather for the congregational Jummah prayer. Princeton University Imam & Muslim Life Program Coordinator Sohaib Sultan called Duke’s announcement is a “wonderful recognition of the religious diversity at Duke,” noting that as far as he knows, the move is unprecedented.

“The Muslim call to prayer is a melodious chant that will be appreciated by anyone, regardless of faith, who has an ear for spiritual songs,” said Sohaib, who also authored the book The Koran for Dummies. “As far as I know this is unprecedented and a welcome first.”

At New York University’s Abu Dhabi campus, students are alerted of the call-to-prayer by Al Fajr clocks, which display prayer times and light up when the call-to-prayer is announced. The campus is located on Saadiyat Island where students can no longer properly hear the call-to-prayer broadcast throughout Abu Dhabi. At Emory University in Atlanta, the school’s Muslim Student Association broadcast the adhan throughout the month of February in 2010 during Islamic Awareness Month.

Not everyone is praising the announcement. Franklin Graham, a Christian evangelist and son of famed evangelical and Baptist minister Billy Graham, slammed Duke’s announcement in a Facebook post.

“As Christianity is being excluded from the public square and followers of Islam are raping, butchering, and beheading Christians, Jews, and anyone who doesn’t submit to their Sharia Islamic law, Duke is promoting this in the name of religious pluralism,” Graham wrote. “I call on the donors and alumni to withhold their support from Duke until this policy is reversed.”

Read next: Meet the German Activist Leading the Movement Against ‘Islamization’

TIME White House

White House Will Call on Congress to Pass Paid-Leave Legislation

A tall security fence stands in front of the White House on Nov. 4, 2014 in Washington.
A tall security fence stands in front of the White House on Nov. 4, 2014, in Washington, D.C. Mark Wilson—Getty Images

The announcement is Obama's latest policy recommendation geared toward the middle class

Correction appended, Jan. 15

U.S. President Barack Obama will continue rolling out policy recommendations that speak to issues facing the middle class ahead of his upcoming State of the Union address on Tuesday, with a call for Congress to pass legislation addressing paid leave.

Obama will be calling on Congress to pass a bill by Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.) and Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.) called the Health Families Act, which would allow Americans to earn up to seven days of paid sick leave every year. He’ll also be urging state and local governments to take up the issue, and will propose $2.2 billion worth of funding to support paid family and medical leave programs in states.

The President will also sign a memorandum that will give federal workers access to at least six weeks of paid family and medical leave. White House senior adviser Valerie Jarrett said in a press call Wednesday that demands for state and local action was not an indication that the White House doesn’t want to work with Congress.

“This isn’t an either or, it’s a both and,” Jarrett said. ” “We think we can do both.”

Obama will announce the new initiatives at a roundtable discussion with a group of women on Thursday. No further details about the event were provided. Jarrett said Wednesday that many of businesses have “failed to keep pace” as both the American workforce and families have evolved.

“If we want to be globally competitive and attract the best workers, we need to figure this out,” she said.

Jarrett announced the upcoming announcement in a post on Linkedin Wednesday evening, a social site geared toward businesses and workers. The proposals follow the model of the President’s call for raising the minimum wage, which had much more traction in some states than on Capitol Hill.

Correction: The original version of this story misstated when President Barack Obama is giving his State of the Union address. It is on Tuesday, Jan. 20.

TIME Crime

Ohio Man Plotted to Attack U.S. Capitol, Feds Say

Authorities say Cincinnati-area men expressed support for ISIS

A man in Ohio has been arrested for allegedly planning to attack the U.S. Capitol and kill government officials, the Justice Department announced Wednesday.

The Cincinnati-area man identified by authorities as Christopher Cornell, 20 and of Green Township, is said to have used an alias and expressed support for the militant group Islamic State of Iraq and Greater Syria (ISIS) on Twitter, which caught the eye of law enforcement officials.

A criminal complaint explains that Cornell began unknowingly communicating with a confidential FBI informant when he allegedly expressed interest in carrying out an attack on the Capitol, which involved him detonating a pipe bomb and shooting government officials. He was arrested after purchasing two semi-automatic rifles and 600 rounds ammunition.

Cornell’s father, John Cornell, told CNN on Wednesday that he did not believe his son could carry out an attack: “I don’t think Chris could hurt a fly. His best friend is our kitty cat, you know what I mean? He’s such a loveable, kind person.” He noted his son had only recently taken interest in Islam, but made no mention of terrorism or ISIS.

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