TIME Military

Bowe Bergdahl Moves to Outpatient Care

Bergdahl Being Treated At U.S. Military Hospital In Germany
In this undated image provided by the U.S. Army, Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl poses in front of an American flag. U.S. Army/Getty Images

Soldier freed in prisoner swap with Taliban continuing recovery

Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl has been moved from a hospital to an outpatient care facility in Texas, the military said Sunday, as he continues to recuperate from five years in Taliban captivity.

Bergdahl, who was released May 31 in a deal that also freed five Taliban leaders, was being treated at Brook Army Medical Center in San Antonio but is now at an outpatient facility at Joint Base San Antonio-Fort Sam Houston. The military said Bergdahl is slowly being exposed to more people and increasing social interaction, with the hope that he can return to some semblance of normal life soon.

“His reintegration process continues with exposure to more people and a gradual increase of social interactions,” the Army said in a statement. “Debriefings and counseling from Survival, Evasion, Resistance and Escape (SERE) psychologists continue to ensure he progresses to the point where he can return to duty.”

The Taliban captured Bergdahl in June 2009, after he intentionally left his outpost in Afghanistan in the middle of the night. Though many have called him a deserter, the Army is still investigating the circumstances of his departure from base.

TIME State Department

State Department: Malaysia, Thailand Aren’t Doing Enough Against Human Trafficking

Malaysia, Thailand and Venezuela have not made a substantial effort in the fight against human trafficking over the past year, the U.S. State Department said in a report released Friday.

The State Department’s annual Trafficking in Persons report ranks countries in terms of the efforts to put a stop to the practice of forcing humans to labor against their will. Thailand, Malaysia, and Venezuela’s status was automatically downgraded this year because they have been on a State Department human trafficking watch list for over four years and have not improved.

Thailand is among the worst offenders, according to the State Department. Recent news reports have highlighted widespread trafficking in the Thai fishing sector, where tens of thousands of migrants have been forced to work on fishing boats often without contracts or stable wages. Many others have been pushed into Thailand’s illegal sex trade.

Ambassador Luis CdeBaca from the State Department’s Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons said Thursday that although the U.S. government has worked well with members of the Thai government, overall there’s a general sense of complicity that his office can’t overlook.

“The widespread official complicity in human trafficking that continues to hinder their performance against sex trafficking and forced labor—the government as a whole did not demonstrate serious efforts to address that,” CdeBaca said on a conference call.

Though the Thai government reportedly paid a U.S. public relations firm $51,000 a month to help it boost its rating on the State Department report, the U.S. downgraded the country to the bottom tier, where it stands alongside 23 others including North Korea, Iran, Russia, China, Libya and Cuba. The 23 countries that were placed in the report’s lowest tier could face U.S. government sanctions on non-humanitarian, non-trade-related aid.

Issues similar to those identified in Thailand were also found in Venezuela and Malaysia, which also had their trafficking status downgraded by the State Department. According to the report, the Venezuelan government didn’t provide updated trafficking data, though its level of anti-trafficking enforcement efforts was about the same as in 2013. Meanwhile, the State Department found that Malaysia failed to adequately prosecute traffickers and protect victims.

Despite the downgrades of a handful of countries, several others, including Afghanistan, Chad and Honduras, saw their status boost as a result of a renewed focus on trafficking. The U.S., meanwhile, remains among the top-ranked nations in terms of combatting trafficking, despite the growing attention on the problem of trafficking in the country and the treatment of victims within the criminal justice system.

“While the U.S. goes overseas and judges other countries on their commitment to trafficking, we also have to be critical and take an honest look at the conditions and the commitment of our government here at home,” Melysa Sperber, Director of the Alliance to End Slavery and Trafficking, told TIME.

TIME Morning Must Reads

Morning Must Reads: June 20

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

In the News: Iraqi forces preparing for battle; House leadership shakeup—Tea Party gets a seat; Criminal scheme will haunt Gov. Scott Walker; Pope Francis says no to legalized pot; and Detroit's getting $195 million

  • “Iraqi forces were massing north of Baghdad on Friday, aiming to strike back at Sunni Islamists whose drive toward the capital prompted the United States to send military advisers to stiffen government resistance.” [Reuters] ICYMI: Obama sending special forces to Iraq
  • An American attack on ISIS could mean retaliation back home [TIME]
  • Ukraine said to unveil peace plan as clashes intensify [USA Today]
  • Tea Party gets a seat in House leadership [TIME]
  • Conservatives not satisfied with House GOP outcome [The Hill]
  • Planned trips test Chris Christie’s 2016 politics [WSJ]
  • More on Gov. Christie from Esquire: Prosecutor closing in on Gov. Christie
  • “Prosecutors allege Gov. Scott Walker was at the center of an effort to illegally coordinate fundraising among conservative groups to help his campaign and those of Republican state senators facing recall elections during 2011 and 2012, according to documents unsealed Thursday.” [Milwaukee Journal Sentinel]
  • “Criminal scheme” will haunt Scott Walker [TIME]
  • Another governor preparing for 2016? Rick Perry [TIME]
  • Brian Schweitzer: “I recently made a number of stupid and insensitive remarks to a reporter from the National Journal. I am deeply sorry and sincerely apologize for my carelessness and disregard,” the Democrat posted to his Facebook page Thursday afternoon. [Politico]
  • Same-sex couples getting more federal benefits [TIME]
  • Cochran asking blacks to save him in Republican primary [NYT]
  • Pope Francis says no to legalizing marijuana [AP]
  • “Gov. Rick Snyder will travel to the Globe building in Detroit on Friday to sign a package of bills that will send $194.5 million to Detroitto help the city emerge from bankruptcy.” [Detroit Free Press]

The Morning Must Reads are published daily on weekdays.

TIME Morning Must Reads

Morning Must Reads: June 19

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

In the news: Iraq battle for oil refinery continues; Ukraine fighting separatists amid broken truce; looks like Brian Schweitzer just botched his chance at a Democratic nomination; it might be the perfect time for a Redskins name change; and this week's TIME

  • Battle for Iraq refinery as U.S. hesitates to strike [Reuters]
  • Harry Reid: Never take advice from Dick Cheney on wars [ABC News]
  • Will Afghanistan be Iraq redux? [Politico]
  • “Ukrainian troops and pro-Russian separatists were locked in fierce fighting in the east of Ukraine on Thursday after rebels rejected a call to lay down their arms in line with a peace plan proposed by President Petro Poroshenko, government forces said.” [Reuters]
  • Investors focus on Yellen’s message, not Fed forecast [Bloomberg]
  • Rick Perry’s ‘Groundhog Day’ [NYT]
  • Looks like Brian Schweitzer just messed up his chances of a Democratic nomination [TIME]
  • The unified theory of Hillary Clinton [National Journal]
  • “One word – ‘Iraq’ – was never mentioned at former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice’s official portrait unveiling with Secretary of State John Kerry.” [Politico]
  • “With House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) expected to easily ascend on Thursday to the Majority Leader role being vacated by Eric Cantor (Va.) in July, the scramble by the three candidates hoping to replace McCarthy dominated the Capitol’s marble halls on Wednesday.” [Washington Post]
  • ” … the departure of Mr. Cantor, who had positioned himself as the inevitable successor to Mr. Boehner, significantly altered the dynamic of future House Republican leadership politics. The coming months will determine who can emerge as heir apparent to Mr. Boehner in the absence of Mr. Cantor and get established as the new voice and face of the House majority.” [NYT]
  • House panel tells CEO that GM’s not fixed yet [USA Today]
  • Former envoy pipes up conservative chorus of ‘told you so’ on Iraq [NYT]
  • Republicans are talking differently about climate change [National Journal]
  • It’s time for the Redskins to change their name—or be buffoons [TIME]

What’s prettier in print: This week’s TIME

TIME Congress

Gabby Giffords Throws First Pitch at Congressional Women’s Softball Game

Giffords threw the first pitch at the 6th annual Congressional women's softball game

Former congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords threw out the first pitch at a Congressional Women’s softball game on Wednesday. The annual match, which pits Republican and Democratic Congresswomen against women in the Washington, D.C. Press Corps, is an effort to raise money for young women battling breast cancer.

Giffords said Wednesday she was “honored” to return to the field to toss out the first pitch, having been a member of the first-ever Congressional Women’s Softball game. Giffords retired from Congress and in effect, the team, after been injured in a shooting in Tucson in 2011.

“Every year, this game is a shining example of how women leaders in Congress – Republicans and Democrats – can come together to take on the women of the Washington Press Corps and, most importantly, raise funds and awareness for young women with breast cancer,” Giffords said, MSNBC reported.

After tossing out the pitch, Giffords took to Twitter to taunt rapper 50 cent, whose awful pitch at a Mets game went viral in May. Baller.

 

TIME Television

True Blood: The Musical Could Actually Be a Thing You Get to See

The hit HBO show's composer Nathan Barr told the AP he's already pitched a musical idea to HBO, True Blood creators

True Blood may be ending for good after Season 7 wraps this year, but the hit HBO series may live on still–as a musical.

Composer Nathan Barr, who has scored Alan Ball’s campy, supernatural swamp-drama, said he pitched Ball with the idea for True Blood: The Musical, which would be centered on the show’s protagonist, Sookie Stackhouse (currently portrayed by Anna Paquin). The Associated Press reported that Stephen Moyer, who plays Sookie’s love interest, vampire Bill Compton, is already on board.

And Barr could present a workshop version as early as next year. Barr said the musical will get back to the roots of the hit show about a small-town southern faerie waitress whose life is packed with vampires, werewolves and other nefarious creatures. The show is based on the books by Charlaine Harris.

“There’s no guarantees,” Barr told the AP at Tuesday night’s Hollywood premiere for the final season. “But I think the direction we’re heading in is really exciting.”

TIME Crime

Third Man in 24 Hours Is Executed in the U.S.

John Ruthell Henry was pronounced dead at 7:43 pm on Wednesday, in Florida, despite a last minute appeal by his lawyers

When Florida followed through with the execution of John Ruthell Henry Wednesday evening, it brought the tally of state executions in the last 24 hours up to three, a change of pace since a botched lethal injection in Oklahoma on April 29 caused a de facto pause on the death penalty due to national jitters over the humaneness of the drugs used in the procedure.

Henry, who stabbed his wife and her son to death in 1985, was pronounced dead at 7:43 p.m. His lawyers petitioned the U.S. Supreme Court to stay the execution just hours before it was set to occur, saying the 63-year-old was not mentally capable of withstanding a death sentence. Henry reportedly has an I.Q. of 78. The U.S. Supreme Court rejected the appeal.

This recent spate of executions comes just months after Oklahoma botched the lethal injection of inmate Clayton Lockett, who had a heart attack and whose physical movements indicated pain for 25 minutes after being administered the lethal injection. In the wake of that execution, a number of appeals have been granted to prisoners seeking to avoid a similar fate.

Lawyers for Marcus Wellons, executed on Tuesday evening in Georgia, and John Winfield, executed Wednesday afternoon in Missouri, used similar arguments in their appeals, but were rejected.

Henry’s lawyers, however, also argued that the death row inmate’s intellectual ability was in question—citing a Supreme Court ruling that bans the execution of mentally disabled. The Supreme Court ruled in May that Florida’s IQ score cutoff of 70 for capital punishment doesn’t hold up, saying IQ scores are imprecise.

TIME States

Georgia Toddler Dies in Hot Car

The father of the 22-month-old was supposed to take him to day care on Wednesday, but went straight to work instead, leaving the child strapped in the hot car

An Atlanta-area toddler died Wednesday after being left in a car for hours, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports. The death comes amid a statewide campaign led by Georgia Governor Nathan Deal to prevent child deaths in hot cars over the blazing summers.

The body was found Wednesday afternoon after the child’s father realized the 22-month-old had been strapped in a car seat all day. The dad was supposed to take the child to day care on Wednesday morning, but went directly to work instead. The high in Cobb County, the suburb where the child died, was 100 degrees.

The father stopped at a shopping-center parking lot to seek help, but the child did not survive. Authorities are reportedly questioning the father.

In late May, Deal launched the “Look Again” campaign, a partnership with early-education officials to warn adults that in “minutes the inside of your car can become a death trap for a child.”

[Atlanta Journal-Constitution]

TIME Health Care

Most Americans Are Totally Fine With Euthanasia

7 in 10 Americans say they support physicians legally ending patients' lives painlessly, though fewer support "physician assisted suicide."

Seven out of 10 Americans support euthanasia, according to a new Gallup poll, continuing a consistent trend showing that Americans are generally in favor of laws that allow doctors to end patients’ lives in a painless manner.

The poll results come just days after the death of famed radio host Casey Kasem, whose family publicly quarreled over his end-of-life care. Gallup notes that the poll was conducted before Kasem’s death, which came following a battle with dementia.

Though a majority of Americans support euthanasia, frequent churchgoers are less likely to support it. Only about 48% of weekly church attendees say they approve of doctors “ending a patient’s life by some painless means,” compared to 74% of those who go nearly weekly and 82% of those who go less often.

Americans are also less likely to support euthanasia when it’s presented as “physician assisted suicide:” only about 58% of those surveyed supported the procedure when it was phrased in such a way.

Gallup surveyed 1,028 American adults between May 8 and May 11 for the poll. There is a margin of error of four percentage points.

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]

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