TIME Civil Rights

Eric Holder to Seek Lower Bar on Civil Rights Prosecutions

US Attorney General Eric Holder arrives for a meeting with French Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve at the Justice Department in Washington on Feb. 19, 2015.
Nicholas Kamm—AFP/Getty Images US Attorney General Eric Holder arrives for a meeting with French Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve at the Justice Department in Washington on Feb. 19, 2015.

Outgoing Attorney General will soon call on Congress to lower the standard of proof in federal civil rights cases

Attorney General Eric Holder says that he will soon call on Congress to lower the standard of proof in federal civil rights cases, to allow federal prosecution where local authorities are unable or unwilling to get a conviction.

“There is a better way in which we could have federal involvement in these kinds of matters to allow the federal government to be a better backstop in examining these cases,” Holder said in an NBC News interview conducted on Thursday.

On Tuesday, the Justice Department announced that it found insufficient evidence to pursue federal criminal civil rights charges in the 2012 …

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TIME weather

Spring Still Nowhere In Sight as Mercury Plunges Again

Snow Winter Weather
Jim Young—Reuters A man braces himself against the wind as he walks along mounds of snow and ice on North Avenue beach at Lake Michigan in Chicago on Feb. 26, 2015.

It may be almost March, but the brutally cold winter appears unwilling to release much of the nation from its icy grip.

Yet another Arctic blast was already descending on two-thirds of the country early Friday, with meteorologists predicting everywhere east of the Rockies except for Florida would be 10 to 30 degrees below average.

Subzero temperatures were expected from interior New England to the Upper Midwest and forecasters said dozens more daily records were likely to tumble.

“We’re almost into March now so it’s pretty late to see this kind of cold,” The Weather Channel’s Michael Palmer said…

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TIME weather

Southern Snowstorm Knocks Out Power, Wipes Out Flights

Breck Gorman
Steve Helber—AP Breck Gorman clears his driveway with a blower during a snowstorm in Richmond, Va. on Feb. 26, 2015.

The storm left a trail of travel headaches, school closings and power outages

A swift-moving storm that dumped as much as 10 inches of snow and slush across the Deep South on Wednesday brought a wintry blast to the Mid-Atlantic on Thursday. Washington, D.C., and its suburbs were hit with 1 to 3 inches of snow before the storm tapered off after 10 a.m., The Weather Channel reported. It will remain too far offshore to bring significant snowfall to New York or hard-hit Boston.

The storm left a trail of travel headaches, school closings and power outages. More than 156,000 homes and businesses in North Carolina were without power, along with 4,000 in Virginia, 13,000 in Alabama and 2,400 in Georgia…

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TIME weather

Snowstorm to Snarl South From Texas to Virginia

A man rides his bicycle across the railroad tracks in Exmore, Va. as snow falls, Feb. 24, 2015.
Jay Diem—AP A man rides his bicycle across the railroad tracks in Exmore, Va. as snow falls, Feb. 24, 2015.

Some areas bracing for eight inches of snow

At least 20 million Americans were in the path of a deadly winter storm Wednesday that was expected to dump snow from northern Texas to southern Virginia and threatened to snarl commutes in cities including Dallas and Atlanta.

School closures were ordered and states of emergency were declared in Georgia and Alabama — the latest impact of an Arctic chill that has set records across much of the nation.

Between three and five inches of snow was likely across the southern Plains and the South, forecasters said. Some areas — including northern North Carolina and northern Georgia — were bracing for up to eight inches…

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TIME Canada

This Mystery Tunnel Has Canada’s Cops Baffled

toronto-tunnel-ejo-022415_2d56b36788e88734a509c5de01d5b463
NBC News Toronto Police photo of a tunnel found near York University in Toronto is shown during a press conference on Feb. 24, 2015.

The 33-foot-long underground pathway left no trace of the diggers

Toronto police are baffled over a “sophisticated” mystery tunnel uncovered last month near one of the venues for the Pan American Games, a sporting event that kicks off this summer.

Cops are so perplexed over who would have dug out a 33-foot-long underground pathway that on Tuesday they asked for the public’s help. “The individuals responsible for building it clearly had some level of expertise in ensuring its structural integrity,” Toronto Deputy Chief Mark Saunders said at a news conference.

No one was inside the reinforced tunnel when a conservation officer found its entrance near a pile of dirt in…

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TIME Nigeria

American Missionary Kidnapped in Nigeria

NIGERIA-CRIME-KIDNAPPING-US
AFP/Getty Images US missionary Reverend Phyllis Sortor of the Free Methodist Church was kidnapped on Feb. 24, 2015 by unknown gunmen in the village of Emiworo, Nigeria.

The kidnapping is likely to have been carried out by a criminal gang

Armed men kidnapped an American missionary from a school in Nigeria and have demanded the equivalent of almost $300,000 for her safe return, Nigerian police said Tuesday. The Rev. Phyllis Sortor, a missionary with the Free Methodist Church in Seattle, was identified by her church as the U.S. citizen abducted from the Hope Academy compound in Kogi state.

A group of five armed men, three of whom had masks over their faces, jumped the walls of the compound and fired shots into the air at 10:30 a.m. local time Monday (4:30 a.m. ET), Kogi Police Commissioner Adeyemi Ogunjemilusi said. Speaking to NBC News…

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TIME technology

Blind Grandfather Gets Bionic Eye and Sees Wife for First Time in 10 Years

While it's still hard to see the details of people's faces, it's possible to make out forms and shapes

A 68-year-old Minnesota man was able to see his wife for the first time in a decade last week after becoming the fifteenth person in the country to receive a “bionic eye” implant.

Allen Zderad’s career as a chemist ended 20 years ago when his sight began to fail as a result of a degenerative eye disease called retinitis pigmentosa, according to a statement from the Mayo Clinic.

Raymond Iezzi Jr., a Mayo Clinic researcher and ophthalmologist, was researching the “Second Sight Argus II” retinal prosthesis system when he encountered Zderad and decided the grandfather of ten would be a good…

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TIME movies

Watch Sean Penn’s Oscars ‘Green Card’ Joke That Sparked Controversy

Birdman director Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritulater said he found the joke "hilarious"

Sean Penn sparked controversy Sunday by making what some alleged was a “racist” joke at the expense of the Mexican director of “Birdman,” the film which won four Academy Awards.

The two-time Oscar-winning actor asked the audience: “Who gave this son of a b***h a green card?” before revealing “Birdman” had triumphed as best picture. The movie was directed by Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu, who was also honored in that category.

Inarritu and Penn are friends, having worked together on “21 Grams.” Inarritu later told reporters backstage that he found the joke “hilarious…”

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Read next: Watch the Cast and Crew of Birdman Celebrate Their Best Picture Win at the Oscars

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TIME Government

Kayla Mueller’s Father Says U.S. ‘Put Policy in Front of American Citizens’ Lives’

ISIS claims the 26-year-old hostage died in a recent air strike

Slain ISIS hostage Kayla Mueller’s father has accused the Obama administration of putting its policy of not paying ransoms “in front of American citizens’ lives.”

In an exclusive interview with TODAY’s Savannah Guthrie, Carl Mueller said he had mixed feelings about the government’s refusal to negotiate with terrorist groups who kidnapped foreigners. Other Western countries are known to have paid millions to secure the release of their nationals.

“We understand the policy about not paying ransom,” he said. “But on the other hand, any parents out there would understand that you would want anything and everything done to bring your child home…”

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TIME weather

Stranded Drivers Ditch Cars on Icy Highways in the South as Cold Snap Continues

Dozens of drivers reported having to sleep in their cars or abandon their vehicles altogether

A cold spell carrying ice, snow and heavy winds that has already claimed more than two dozen lives and snarled traffic across the eastern U.S. was preparing to deliver a second blow Saturday—and it likely won’t let up until the end of next week, meteorologists warned.

Several states in the South, stretching from Arkansas to Georgia and up to Kentucky, were expected to get pelted with rain Saturday, after ice accumulations took down power lines and halted travel on some highways Friday.

Dozens of drivers reported having to sleep in their cars or abandon their vehicles altogether because of ice-caused accidents…

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