TIME Transportation

Teen Airplane Stowaway: ‘I Could See Through the Little Holes’

Abdi has given his first interview since the April flight

A teen stowaway who survived a ride from California to Hawaii in a passenger jet’s wheel well earlier this year told a California CBS affiliate Tuesday that he randomly selected the plane in which he hid during the five-and-a-half hour flight.

The interview was Yahye Abdi’s first since his harrowing journey, which has dumbfounded medical professionals — people typically quickly lose brain function when more 35,000 feet above the ground without oxygen or pressurization systems.

Abdi told KPIX the ride wasn’t scary, though he couldn’t believe he survived. “It was above the clouds, I could see through the little holes,” the teen said.

Abdi, a 15-year-old Somali immigrant, says he ran away from home in April because he was unhappy in California with his stepmom. The teen also said he wanted to see his mother, as the two have not been with one another since Abdi was 7-years-old.

“I only did it because I didn’t want to live with my stepmom,” Abdi said. “Second of all, I wanted to find my mom. I haven’t seen her since I was young.”

“I took that plane because it was the closest one I could find that was going to go West,” he added. The teen is currently staying in a foster home, he plans to move to Minnesota to live with his aunt.

His advice for kids thinking about hopping on planes: “They shouldn’t run away, because sometimes they will end up dying.”

[KPIX]

TIME Education

Louisiana Governor Seeks to Nix Common Core Education Standards

Decries a federal government “take over Louisiana’s education standards”

Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal sought to remove his state from the Common Core education standards on Wednesday, saying he won’t allow the federal government to “take over Louisiana’s education standards.” But the state’s top education official quickly signaled he wouldn’t scrap the standards.

“We’re very alarmed about choice and local control over curriculum being taken away from parents and educators,” Jindal said. “Common Core has not been fully implemented yet in Louisiana, and we need to start the process over. It was rushed in the beginning and done without public input.”

The Common Core standards were developed by a bipartisan group of governors, not the Obama Administration, but in recent months they have become a flashpoint in the debate over education reform and federal involvement in local schools. A coalition of conservative activists, parents and teachers have pushed states to back out of Common Core.

Jindal, a Republican and possible 2016 presidential candidate, said he wants the state to drop its commitment to implement Common Core standards in the 2014-2015 school year. He also ordered the State Board of Education to develop its own set of education standards, and he asked the Partnership of Assessments for College and Career Readiness, a coalition of states including Arkansas, Illinois, and New York that have developed and implemented Common Core-aligned tests, to withdraw from Louisiana.

“If other states want to allow the federal government to dictate to them, they have every right to make that choice,” Jindal said. “But education is a primary responsibility of states, and we will not cede this responsibility to the federal government.”

Jindal’s move is at odds with the position taken by both the state legislature and state education superintendent, the Times-Picayune reports. The state legislature voted against scrapping the standards in the most recent legislative session. And in a statement Wednesday, the state Board of Education said it would be implementing the standards during the 2014-2015 school year, regardless of Jindal. The Board said it would do so to comply with both its commitments and the law.

“State and federal law have long required that Louisiana measure literacy and math performance through standards and annual tests,” said state Superintendent John White. “By using test forms and questions that make results comparable among states, we are following the legislatures mandate that we not only measure up but also compete.”

TIME Morning Must Reads

Morning Must Reads: June 18

Capitol
The early morning sun rises behind the US Capitol Building in Washington, DC. Mark Wilson—Getty Images

Obama foreign policy rating reaches new low; Benghazi suspect captured; Iran vows to protect Shi'ite holy sites; Hillary Clinton acts like a candidate while promoting new book; how the IRS lost emails; and the race for Majority Whip

  • Obama’s foreign policy rating plummets, even without Iraq according to a new NBC News/WSJ poll [NBC News]
  • U.S. weighs anti-ISIS strategy in Iraq and Syria [TIME]
  • U.S. captures Benghazi suspect in secret raid [Washington Post]
  • Ahmed Abu Khattala arrest spoils GOP Benghazi party [The Daily Beast]
  • “Iraq’s biggest oil refinery was partially ablaze Wednesday after army helicopter gunships beat back an attack on the facility northwest of Baghdad by Islamic extremists, eyewitnesses in the area said.” [NYT]
  • Iran vows to defend Iraq’s Shi’ite holy sites in Iraq [Reuters]
  • Back to Iraq: return of the vulcans [TIME]
  • 6 times Hillary Clinton sounded, acted like a candidate [CNN]
  • Hillary Clinton says she had doubts when anti-Islam video was blamed for Benghazi attack [Fox News]
  • America divided over Hillary Clinton presidency [NBC News]
  • How the IRS ‘lost’ Lois Lerner’s emails [USA Today]
  • The return of GOP hawks [Politico]
  • 5 things to watch in Janet Yellen’s second press conference [The Hill]
  • Obamacare subsidies push cost of health law above projections [LA Times]
  • On gay rights, Obama has built a legacy [National Journal]
  • 3 things you should know about the candidates for Majority Whip [TIME]
  • “North Carolina, a state that at the presidential level went barely blue in 2008, and then barely red in 2012, has become ground zero for the ‘war on women’ strategy that has worked well for Democrats in the past and is fueling much of their national approach to the midterm elections.” [Washington Post]

 

TIME Morning Must Reads

Morning Must Reads: June 17

Capitol
The early morning sun rises behind the US Capitol Building in Washington, DC. Mark Wilson—Getty Images

In the News: U.S. deploys 275 troops to Iraq; Iran and U.S. diplomats meet; Supreme Court rules on guns, Argentina; and GOP Congressman says Obama impeachment vote could "probably" pass House

  • U.S. deploys over 200 troops to Iraq Monday; U.S. and Iranian diplomats meet [TIME]
  • “U.S. and Iranian officials discussed the crisis in Vienna on the sidelines of separate negotiations about the Iranian nuclear program, the two sides each said. Both ruled out military cooperation. A U.S. official said the talks did not include military coordination and would not make “strategic determinations” over the heads of Iraqis.” [Reuters]
  • Conducting U.S. airstrikes in Iraq would be complicated, former military officers say [Washington Post]
  • GOP Congressman: Obama impeachment “probably could” pass the House [BuzzFeed]
  • Supreme Court rules against “straw purchasers” of guns [USA Today]
  • “The Internal Revenue Service commissioner will testify before two House committees next week about the agency’s disclosure that it lost thousands of emails sought by investigators looking into accusations of politically motivated misconduct by the agency, the committees said Monday.” [NYT]
  • “… because in an age where every teenager is taught that sent emails live forever somewhere in the electronic ether, Lerner’s hard-drive crash apparently managed to obliterate all record of her written electronic communications from Jan. 1, 2009, to April 2011 with anyone outside the IRS. That fact, reported Friday by the IRS to Congress, has infuriated Republicans in the Senate and House.” [TIME]
  • Wealthy Clintons use trusts to limit estate tax they back [Bloomberg]
  • “The U.S. Supreme Court handed Argentina a major setback in its long-running battle with a small group of determined creditors, heightening the risk the country will default for the second time in 13 years.” [WSJ]
  • Obama will propose vast swath expansion of Pacific Ocean marine sanctuary [Washington Post]
  • Kochs launch new super PAC for midterm fight [Politico]
  • These aren’t refugee camps. They’re concentration camps, and people are dying in them [TIME]
  • The unelectable whiteness of Scott Walker [New Republic]
  • World Cup 2014: USA wins World Cup opener, toppling Ghana 2-1 [SI]
TIME Morning Must Reads

Morning Must Reads: June 16

Capitol
The early morning sun rises behind the US Capitol Building in Washington, DC. Mark Wilson—Getty Images

In the News: Militants claim Iraqi soldier massacre; GOP urges military action; House leadership race heats up; VA staffers open up about scandals; and Russia cuts of Ukraine gas

  • ISIS claims massacre of 1,700 Iraqi soldiers [TIME]
  • Iraq crisis pulls in U.S. and Iran as violent militants capture more cities [CNN]
  • Republicans urge military action in Iraq [USA Today]
  • Obama’s Bush hangover [Politico]
  • House Leadership race: Raul Labrador aims to upset race for House Majority Leader [TIME]
  • Rep. Eric Cantor talks loss, what’s next on Sunday shows [ABC]
  • “The last best hope for the tea party to win a House leadership post after the stunning primary defeat of Majority Leader Eric Cantor (Va.) is the race for majority whip, the House’s third-ranking position.” [Washington Post]
  • “Candidates for whip and their backers worked through the weekend to build support, but it’s not clear if the current leader — Louisiana Rep. Steve Scalise — has the votes to win it outright on the first ballot. Rep. Peter Roskam of Illinois is close behind, while Rep. Marlin Stutzman of Indiana is trying to cash in on unhappiness with the other two.” [Politico]
  • V.A. punished critics on staff, doctors assert [NYT]
  • “Russia cut off gas to Ukraine on Monday in a dispute over unpaid bills that could disrupt supplies to the rest of Europe and set back hopes for peace in the former Soviet republic.” [Reuters]

 

 

 

 

TIME Environmtment

Greenpeace Lost $5 Million on a Currency Bet

A staffer has been fired

Greenpeace International issued an apology Monday amid reports the environmental organization lost 3.8 million euros, or about $5.2 million, on foreign currency trades.

The group said a Greenpeace employee acted “beyond the limits of their authority and without following proper procedure” when entering into fixed rate currency exchange contract while the euro was gaining strength. The organization has since fired the employee responsible and says the employee did not benefit personally from the mistake. An independent audit of the error will be conducted.

“We offer a full apology to our supporters for the series of errors that led to the loss,” Greenpeace said in a statement. “We further wish to reassure people that every possible action is being taken to avoid the possibility of such a loss ever occurring again in future.”

The loss will be reflected in the organization’s upcoming budget, which will reportedly show a deficit of 6.8 million euros in 2013. To make up for the loss, Greenpeace says it will not take money from its environmental protection funds to cover the loss, but instead they will make amendments to its “infrastructure investments.”

TIME White House

In Second Term, Obama Uses Pot Past to Push Reforms, Reach Youth

President Barack Obama speaks during an event on the bloging site Tumblr, in the State Dining Room on June 10, 2014 in Washington, DC.
President Barack Obama speaks during a Tumblr Q&A in the State Dining Room on June 10, 2014 in Washington, DC. Mandel Ngan—AFP/Getty Images

Part 'cool factor' and part cautionary tale, Obama talks about his drug-using past.

During a Tumblr chat at the White House this week, President Barack Obama winked at the crowd of youngsters as he discussed his high school years. “I actually loved math and science until I got into high school,” Obama said. “And then I misspent those years.” He paused and smiled while the crowd, naturally, erupted with laughter.

The President’s allusion was clear: he spent his high school years in Hawaii smoking joints with his friends. Well into his second term with his poll numbers declining and his ability to push legislation through Congress diminished, Obama is becoming more vocal about his past drug use as both a cautionary tale and to connect with young audiences.

His frankness coincides with evolving national attitudes toward drugs. Since his re-election, Colorado and Washington State have legalized marijuana for recreational use, while more states have moved to decriminalize possession of cannabis. The White House Office of National Drug Control Policy has been relegated to a minor role. Meanwhile, the Obama administration is deep into a top down revision of the what Attorney General Eric Holder has called “draconian” mandatory minimum sentences for drugs.

Long before Obama became a Presidential candidate, he used his own drug use was central storyline in his 1995 memoir Dreams from my Father. “Nobody asked you whether your father was a fat-cat executive who cheated on his wife or some laid-off joe who slapped you around whenever he bothered to come home,” Obama wrote of his drug-filled years. “You might just be bored, or alone. Everybody was welcome into the club of disaffection. And if the high didn’t solve whatever it was that was getting you down, it could at least help you laugh at the world’s ongoing folly and see through all the hypocrisy and bullshit and cheap moralism.”

As he sought higher office, that part of the Obama narrative faded from view. In the heat of the 2008 primary, Hillary Clinton’s New Hampshire co-chair, Billy Shaheen, resigned his position after suggesting that Republicans would use Obama’s drug history against him, even suggesting Obama once sold drugs, a charge that prompted a personal in-person apology from Clinton to Obama.

But Obama’s re-election opened the floodgates for presidential drug talk. “I remember when BuzzFeed was something I did in college around 2 a.m.,” he cracked at the White House Correspondents Dinner last year. This year he called Colorado’s legalization effort “an interesting social experiment.”

White House aides caution that the move is not a strategic shift, but concede that his openness on the subject is a reflection of his newfound freedom having put his final campaign behind him. Yet the timing of it all hasn’t gone unnoticed. Over the past year, the Obama Administration has been rolling out piecemeal reforms to sentencing laws aimed at reducing the number of low-level prisoners facing lengthy sentences for drug crimes.

Though Congress stalled on legislation that would cap the mandatory sentences blamed for filling the nation’s federal prisons, the Obama Administration has urged judges to avoid mandatory minimums. Holder has singled out states for disenfranchising former prisoners, calling for an all out repeal of such laws in February. After Obama commuted the sentences of eight federal prisoners facing life sentences for nonviolent drug offenses in December, the administration wanted more, launching a massive call for applications for commutations, and removing the head of the U.S. Pardon office in the process.

Last week, Attorney General Holder formally backed a U.S. Sentencing Commission proposal that could reduce the prison sentences of 20,000 people currently behind bars for nonviolent drug offense. The measure could reduce sentences by an average of 23 months. Obama met with the commission on Wednesday to be briefed on the proposal. Combined with the My Brother’s Keeper initiative to provide paths to opportunity for young minority men, it’s as if President Obama had a heart-to-heart with young Barry O—the young man he wrote about heading toward becoming a “Junkie. Pothead.”

He has also been sharing his story with young people. “When it was my turn, I explained to them that when I was their age I was a lot like them,” he retold in February, about a meeting the previous year with a group of Chicago teenagers. “I didn’t have a dad in the house. And I was angry about it, even though I didn’t necessarily realize it at the time. I made bad choices. I got high without always thinking about the harm that it could do. I didn’t always take school as seriously as I should have. I made excuses. Sometimes I sold myself short.”

In a wide-ranging interview with The New Yorker’s David Remnick late last year, Obama referenced his own past to call for a new approach, “We should not be locking up kids or individual users for long stretches of jail time when some of the folks who are writing those laws have probably done the same thing,” he said.

The drug reforms could well become the defining domestic policy achievements of his second term, but in the short term, the nods to his “misspent” past keep him relevant among his most loyal supporters: youth. Speaking at a high school graduation last week in Massachusetts he admitted that he did not recall his own graduation speaker, drawing a laugh from the assembled students. “I have no idea who it was,” he said. “I’m sure I was thinking about the party after graduation. I don’t remember the party either.”

TIME Family

Having a Second Baby Makes Moms Less Happy Than Dads

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Smiling family of four sitting in bed together Monashee Frantz—Getty Images/OJO Images RF

Dads, however, are pretty happy after the birth of baby number two

The birth of a first child usually brings both parents great joy, but new analysis shows that a mother’s happiness begins to wane after the second.

According to the FiveThirtyEight blog, 60% of men and women say they feel an increase or decrease in happiness after the first child is born. For baby number two, however, the numbers shift. About 65% of women report being less happy after their second child enters the world, compared to 40% of men.

But a second baby doesn’t just significantly impact a couple’s happiness, the little bundle of joy can be a burden (or blessing) for couples’ relationships too.

According to the data, derived from the annual General Social Survey, a National Opinion Research Center survey that examines societal change, women are less likely to be dissatisfied in their relationships after the second child than men. About 85% of men reportedly feel less satisfied in their relationship as their family expands, compared to 51% of women.

So while mom is overwhelmed by the stress of raising kids, dad is growing less satisfied in the relationship. Great news to kick off Father’s Day weekend, huh?

[FiveThirtyEight]

TIME health

Now Doctors Can Use Google Glass to Record Your Visits

Google Glass Prescriptions
John Minchillo—AP

Google's face-computer may be coming soon to a doctor's office near you

Doctors, nurses and other medical professionals are about to get a new tool in the medicine bags: Google Glass.

Drchrono, a digital health startup, claims to have created the first “wearable heath record” that can be accessed through Google’s futuristic face-computer. Doctors can use the app to store patients’ records as well as record medical visits and even procedures via Glass’ camera for consulting later on.

While some patients may be hesitant to let doctors record their visits, Drchrono says its Glass application complies with HIPPA standards which protect patient privacy — and patients will have to give permission to have doctors record their visits via Google Glass.

The application is currently in its beta phase, though Reuters reports about 300 physicians have signed up to use it. Drchrono, just one of a plethora of startups tapping into the healthcare app market, has also developed digital health records apps for iPads and smartphones.

 

TIME Internet

Facebook Lifts Ban on Exposed Nipples in Breastfeeding Pictures

The social media site said the ban was quietly lifted about two weeks ago. It does not apply to other images of female nipples

It appears Facebook has withdrawn its ban on female nipples in photos of breastfeeding mothers.

Facebook has drawn heat from feminists for considering images of topless women as violations of their policies against nudity and obscenity —even when the photographs depict breastfeeding mothers.

Feminist writer Soraya Chemaly brought attention to the policy change on The Huffington Post, noting that the social media company had quietly changed its policy on obscene content in regard to breastfeeding mothers. Images that include the exposed nipples of breastfeeding can now be posted on the site without the risk of removal.

“The female nipple ban no longer exists for breastfeeding mothers, which should make many people who have been pushing the company to address a nudity double standard at least partially happy,” Chemaly wrote on Monday.

The ban drew the attention of women last year who took the site to task over the policy, which they said is an example of gender-based discrimination. A campaign led by Chemaly called on Facebook to combat both hate-speech and “obscenity” double standards. It garnered over 60,000 tweets, 5000 emails, and a bundle of disgruntled advertisers, and led Facebook to respond with an explanation of its policy.

A year later, the breastfeeding ban has been lifted, though bans on artistic displays of female nipples remain in place. Facebook has not yet acknowledged that the ban was lifted for breastfeeding women.

[Huffington Post]

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