TIME Crime

Woman Charged With Murder After Her Missing Baby’s Body Was Discovered in a Ditch

The Memphis-area woman's baby was reported missing in January.

A Tennessee woman was charged with first-degree murder on Monday, after the body of her 7-week-old baby was found in a ditch near Memphis over the weekend.

Aniston Walker had been reported missing since Jan. 9, according to the Associated Press, and the body and clothes of the body found on Sunday matched his description. Aniston’s mother Angela Walker has been charged with first-degree murder in the perpetration of a felony for aggravated child neglect and first-degree murder in the perpetration of a felony for aggravated child abuse.

When Aniston was first reported missing in January, Angela reportedly told police that the baby disappeared after she left the baby at home with her 3-year-old child when she took her 5-year-old child to school.

Angela has already pleaded not guilty to aggravated child abuse or neglect, charges for which she was free on $250,000 bond before she turned herself in on Monday. A motorcyclist discovered the body in a ditch on the side of a road in Millington, Tenn. on Sunday.

[AP]

TIME Advertising

Groupon Admits to Alexander Hamilton Presidents Day Gag

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Getty Images

The online deals service says it intentionally said Alexander Hamilton was 'undeniably one of our greatest presidents,' a pseudo-mistake stunt that got the company extensive press coverage over President's Day Weekend

Groupon revealed on Monday that a Presidents Day gaffe that raised eyebrows over the weekend was completely intentional.

In honor of Presidents Day, the Chicago-based e-coupon company offered $10 off any $40 deal for local businesses. “The $10 bill, as everyone knows, features President Alexander Hamilton — undeniably one of our greatest presidents and most widely recognized for establishing the country’s financial system,” reads a statement on the company’s website.

The only problem: Alexander Hamilton, who served as the Secretary of the Treasury under George Washington, was never President. A spokesperson for the company told the Chicago Tribune Monday evening that it was all a gag. “Most Presidents Day promotions make people fall asleep, so we wanted to do something different that was in line with our brand and sense of humor that got people talking and writing about Groupon,” the spokesman wrote in an email to the Tribune.

Whether you consider the stunt dubious or genius, according to the company spokesman the spoof was “an overwhelming success.”

[Chicago Tribune]

TIME Voting

Obama Administration Seeks Voting Rights for Former Inmates

Eric Holder
Attorney General Eric Holder testifying on Capitol Hill in Washington, Jan. 29, 2014. J. Scott Applewhite—AP

Attorney General Eric Holder says laws to the contrary are not only "unnecessary and unjust, but they are also counterproductive"

Attorney General Eric Holder asked state leaders on Tuesday to enact “clear and consistent” reforms that would allow former prison inmates to vote.

“There is no rational reason to take away someone’s voting rights because they committed a crime,” Holder said at a conference at Georgetown University. When laws prevent people from voting, Holder said, the country falls “short of the bedrock promise of equal opportunity and equal justice.”

Holder said it was time to nix laws that disenfranchise those who are no longer under state or federal supervision. He called restoring the right to vote a fundamental part of the prisoner reentry process and said denying voting rights makes it more likely former inmates will commit future crimes.

“These restrictions are not only unnecessary and unjust, they are also counterproductive,” Holder said. “By perpetuating the stigma and isolation imposed on formerly incarcerated individuals, these laws increase the likelihood they will commit future crimes.”

Holder said such laws prevent about 5.8 million people from voting, including 2.2 million African-Americans. One in 13 blacks are banned from voting because of the laws, a ratio that increases to one in five in states like Florida, Virginia and Kentucky. Currently, 11 states deny former prisoners the right to vote, though 23 have enacted laws since 1997 that restore voting rights.

TIME olympics

Beer Fridge Cheers Canadian Olympians at Sochi

Molson beer refrigerator offers free brews when Canadians scan their passports

Canadians competing at Sochi have a leg up on their rivals, at least when it comes to beverages: A beer fridge has reportedly been installed in country’s Olympic House. Canadians love their beer so much that beer company Molson Canadian made a vending machine that made sure nationals could get a free brew at any moment, just as long as they have their passports. Also spotted last year in London and Brussels, the beer fridge works by taking a photo of people’s passports to verify their authenticity, then doling out a cold brew.

Canadian have plenty to toast at the games, too. As of Monday night, they were in a three-way medal tie with Norway and the Netherlands, with seven medals each.

TIME 2016 Election

Marco Rubio Won’t Say if He Smoked Pot

U.S. Senator Rubio, part of the U.S. Senate's "Gang on Eight", speaks during news briefing on Capitol Hill in Washington
Senator Marco Rubio, Republican of Florida, on Capitol Hill in Washington on April 18, 2013 Jason Reed—Reuters

The Republican Senator says his answer is "irrelevant"

Florida Senator Marco Rubio doesn’t want you to know if he ever smoked marijuana. In an interview on Monday, he refused to answer the question posed by a TV reporter, saying that the information could do more harm than good.

“I’ll tell you why I never answer that question,” the Republican Senator said during an interview with Fusion’s Mariana Atencio in Miami. “If I tell you that I haven’t, you won’t believe me. And if I tell you that I did, then kids will look up to me and say, ‘Well, I can smoke marijuana because look how he made it.’”

Rubio, a possible contender for President in 2016, said that in his teen years he made enough “dumb decisions as is” and didn’t need marijuana or alcohol leading to more.

“I know I’m sounding like a 42-year-old dad, but here’s the problem, you can make mistakes at 17 that will be with you the rest of your life,” Rubio said before saying his answer to the question was irrelevant.

[Fusion]

TIME NSA

‘The Day We Fight Back’ Protests NSA Surveillance

Reddit, Tumblr, and the ACLU among the over 5,700 participating sites

Over 5,700 websites plan to protest National Security Agency surveillance on Tuesday, Feb. 11 — “The Day We Fight Back” — by hosting banners on their homepages urging Internet users to call and email members of Congress and ask them to vote against proposed NSA reforms that the American Civil Liberties Union has labeled “bad for privacy.”

The event comes two years after 8,000 websites went black to protest bills that would have given the government free reign to remove websites that were found to violate copyrights. According to the Huffington Post, the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and the Protect IP Act never made it out of committee.

“In January 2012 we defeated the SOPA and PIPA censorship legislation with the largest Internet protest in history,” a letter on the protest website reads. “Today we face another critical threat, one that again undermines the Internet and the notion that any of us live in a genuinely free society: mass surveillance.”

TIME weather

El Niño Event Likely in 2014, Researchers Say

The weather event would lead to warmer temps across the globe in 2015

There is a 75% chance an El Niño event will occur in 2014, according to an early warning report published in PNAS (Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences) Monday. The report uses a research method that projects the occurrence of the weather system a full year out—versus the six month maximum typically predicted by other methods.

El Niño events are characterized by a warmer Pacific Ocean, which can lead to overall warmer temps across the globe and cause droughts in Australia and an increase in rain in South America, Bloomberg reports. According to the report, the method correctly predicted the absence of El Niño events in 2012 and 2013. A 2014 event would also increase temperatures in 2015.

One of the report’s researchers told Bloomberg News that the early forecast could actually benefit to agricultural workers.

“Farmers might find it worthwhile to invest in drought- or flood-resistant varieties of crops,” Ludescher and Bunde said today in an e-mail to Bloomberg. “A strong El Niño event in late 2014 can make 2015 a record year for global temperatures.”

[Bloomberg]

TIME weather

How Beet Juice Is Helping Keep Roads Safe This Winter

How Beet Juice Is Helping Keep Roads Safe This Winter
A Streets and Sanitation worker grooms a pile of road salt as the city makes preparations for another winter storm on Feb. 4, 2014 in Chicago. Scott Olson—Getty Images

In the face of dwindling rock salt supplies as storm after storm slam the nation, U.S. towns are turning to some bizarre alternatives, cheese brine included, to help keep ice off the streets

As large parts of the eastern United States get smacked with snowstorm after snowstorm, some states are turning to bizarre alternatives to help deal with dwindling supplies of salt to clear icy roads. Namely, beet juice and cheese brine.

A number of municipalities are reporting shrinking reserves of road salt, the most common substance used to fight icy roads. In Wichita, Kan., the city has gone through roughly 70% of its supply. Pennsylvania has used 200,000 more tons of salt than an average winter. New York City has needed help from the state to restock its supply.

But some states are thinking differently. In Indiana, K-Tech Specialty Coatings has been distributing “Beet Heet,” a sugar beet molasses-based product that increases rock salt’s ice melting capacity when the two are mixed. The mixture helps rock salt melt ice below its 15-degree limit, according to Beet Heet distributors, and helps municipalities melt larger amounts of ice and clean up snow more quickly. It is also sticky, preventing salt rocks from bouncing off of the road as cars drive past.

This year about 175 municipal agencies, mostly in the Midwest, are using the product. Butler County in Pennsylvania has been experimenting with the solution as part of a department or transportation research project into de-icing option, a PennDot official told TIME.

(MORE: Salt Supplies Dwindle as Snow Piles Up Across U.S.)

“Agencies can trust us now,” Denver Preston of Beet Heet said. “And they’ve been pleasantly surprised by how well it works.”

According to Preston they are expecting sales to be up 100% at the end of this season, which may end up being the case—at the end of last winter, they sold around 900,000 gallons. So far this year they’ve sold 1.5 million gallons.

Other municipalities have their own regional variations on traditional rock salt. In Wisconsin, the state has turned to – what else – cheese. Actually, cheese brine.

Todd Matheson, a state maintenance engineer for the Wisconsin Department of Transportation, says cheese brine from dairy farms is spread on the roads to keep them from freezing in about half a dozen counties around the state.

(MORE: 4 Businesses Making a Killing on the Polar Vortex)

The brine is a farm waste product, but in the last few years a handful of counties has repurposed it as a substitute for road salt.

For the 2012-2013 winter, Wisconsin spent $37 million on salt statewide. The state used 2.9 million gallons of salt brine – salt and water – last year. The state doesn’t track the number of gallons of cheese brine it uses, but it does appear to save the state at least a bit of money: the DOT often gets the brine for free from dairy farms looking to unload the liquid anyway.

While Wisconsin has been hit hard by snow and ice this year, Matheson says the state still has 275,000 tons of salt on hand out of about 500,000 tons it has each winter. The state, however, has had to redirect salt to certain parts of the state that have been hit harder by extreme weather.

The use of cheese brine in the state has grown since Polk County, on the Wisconsin-Minnesota border, began first using it in 2008. And while it seems to be an effective salt substitute, there are environmental concerns if significant amounts of it entered a river or lake. Then, there’s the odor, something more than a few Wisconsin residents have mentioned.

“I don’t know what it smells like,” Matheson says. “But I’d rather not get into that.”

TIME Women's Health

First Stroke Guidelines for Women Created

Strokes are the third leading cause of death for women in the U.S.
Strokes are the third leading cause of death for women in the U.S. Jaime Monfort—Getty Images

Hormonal changes caused by pregnancy or birth control are factors in the third leading cause of death for females, the American Heart Association reports

The American Heart Association outlined Thursday its first ever guidelines for primary care provider sand OBGYNs developed specifically to prevent women’s strokes, the third leading cause of death for U.S. women, and the fifth leading cause for men.

Stroke risk factors for both men and women include high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and smoking, but certain hormonal changes can reportedly increase a woman’s risk.

“If you are a woman…your risk is also influenced by hormones, reproductive health, pregnancy, childbirth and other sex-related factors,” said Cheryl Bushnell, M.D., M.H.S., author of the new scientific statement published in the American Heart Association journal Stroke.

According to the guidelines, women with a history of high blood pressure before pregnancy are at risk for preeclampsia, a blood pressure disorder that occurs during pregnancy. Preeclampsia doubles the risk for stroke and increases the risk for high blood pressure four-fold, according to the guidelines.

The combination of high blood pressure and birth control use can also raise a woman’s risk for stroke. Migraines with aura, diabetes, depression, and emotional stress, which occur more frequently among women, are also contributing factors.

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