TIME Research

Relatives of Sex Offenders Are 5 Times More Likely to Commit Similar Offenses Finds Study

Genetic factors were found to increase the risk of a sex crime conviction

A new study of thousands of male sex offenders found that close relatives of people convicted of sexual offenses were up to five times more likely than average to commit similar offenses themselves.

Researchers found that about 2.5 percent of brothers and sons of convicted sex offenders are themselves convicted of sexual offenses, compared to about 0.5 percent of the wider public. The correlation, according to the study, is largely due to genetic factors rather than shared family environments.

“Importantly, this does not imply that sons or brothers of sex offenders inevitably become offenders too”, Niklas Langstrom, professor of Psychiatric Epidemiology at Sweden’s Karolinska Institutet and the study’s lead author, said in a statement. “But although sex crime convictions are relatively few overall, our study shows that the family risk increase is substantial. Preventive treatment for families at risk could possibly reduce the number of future victims.”

The study, which analyzed data on 21,566 men convicted of sex offenses in Sweden between 1973 and 2009, was published in the International Journal of Epidemiology.


Shorter People More at Risk From Heart Disease Says Study

Roy Hsu—Getty Images/Uppercut Short business man standing next to tall man

"If you're 6ft 1in, you still need to stop smoking"

A study of nearly 200,000 men and women found that shorter people have a higher risk of heart disease than their taller counterparts.

Every 2.5 inches up reduce the risk of heart disease by 13.5 percent, according to the study published in the New England Journal of Medicine on Wednesday.

Scientists have long considered there to be a link between height and heart health, but the latest research found that genes controlling height were directly linked to heart disease risks.

To be sure, height is only one of many factors that affect the level of risk.

“In the context of major risk factors this is small – smoking increases the risk by 200-300% – but it is not trivial,” Nilesh Samani, a professor of cardiology at the University of Leicester and lead author of the study, told the BBC News website. “If you’re 6ft 1in, you still need to stop smoking.”

TIME Kansas

Kansas Legislation Bans Welfare Recipients From Spending Benefits on Cruises

Welfare recipients would be barred from spending benefits at liquor stores, pools and cruises.

Kansas legislators have passed a bill that imposes a wave of new restrictions on how welfare recipients can withdraw and spend their money.

The bill, which was approved on Thursday, still requires a signature from Republican Gov. Sam Brownback, who has supported the legislation in the past.

Welfare recipients will be limited to withdrawing a maximum of $25 a day and will be prohibited from spending the funds at certain businesses, including liquor stores, swimming pools and cruise ships, according to The Huffington Post.

“We’re trying to make sure those benefits are used the way they were intended,” State Representative Michael O’Donnell, a Republican, told the Topeka Capital-Journal. “This is about prosperity. This is about having a great life.”

Read more at The Huffington Post


Fidel Castro Appears in Public for First Time in More Than a Year

Cuban former president Fidel Castro talks to a delegation of Venezuelans in Havana
Cubadebate/Estudios Revolucion/Reuters Former Cuban president Fidel Castro talks to a delegation of Venezuelans in Havana on March 30, 2015.

The former Cuban president was "full of vitality," according to official media

Aging former Cuban president Fidel Castro emerged in public for the first time in 14 months.

Official media released images of Castro on Saturday, showing him meeting with a group of visiting Venezuelans last Monday. The images show Castro, wearing a baseball cap and windbreaker, shaking hands from inside a vehicle. It was unclear why the visit at a Cuban school was not reported earlier.

Castro hadn’t appeared in public since well before President Barack Obama and Castro’s brother, President Raul Castro, moved to normalize relations between the two countries in December. Obama and Raul Castro are expected to meet in person at the Summit of the Americas next week.

According to the Cuban media report, the former president, 88, was “full of vitality.”

TIME Foreign Policy

Obama Says Iran Agreement Is a ‘Good Deal’

"It’s a good deal, a deal that meets our core objectives"

President Barack Obama pressed his case for what he called a “good deal” with Iran on Saturday.

In a weekly address posted to the White House website, Obama reiterated the argument he made in a public address on Thursday after both sides announced that negotiators had reached a framework agreement for a final deal on Iran’s nuclear program, due by June 30.

“It’s a good deal, a deal that meets our core objectives, including strict limitations on Iran’s program and cutting off every pathway that Iran could take to develop a nuclear weapon,” Obama said, calling the framework agreement an “historic understanding with Iran.”

“This deal denies Iran the plutonium necessary to build a bomb. It shuts down Iran’s path to a bomb using enriched uranium,” Obama said in his address posted Saturday.

On Friday, Obama reached out to Congressional leaders to rally support for the deal, though legislators have expressed skepticism and lined up a bill that would effectively require Congressional approval for an agreement.



TIME Indiana

Indiana’s ‘No Gay Wedding’ Pizza Parlor Raises $842,592 From Supporters

The campaign initially asked for $25,000

The Indiana pizza parlor that sparked outrage after its owners said they would not cater gay weddings because of their religious beliefs has raised more than $840,000 from supporters.

The Walkerton, Ind. pizza parlor entered a national debate over Indiana’s contentious Religious Freedom Restoration Act when its owners said in an interview that they would serve anyone regardless of sexual orientation but would not cater a gay marriage. “If a gay couple came in and wanted us to provide pizzas for their wedding, we would have to say no. We are a Christian establishment,” co-owner Crystal O’Connor told local news outlet WBND-TV Tuesday evening.

The comments drew a backlash on social media and prompted the owners to close their store.“I don’t know if we will reopen, or if we can, if it’s safe to reopen,” O’Connor told TheBlaze TV.

But supporters started a GoFundMe campaign initially asking for $25,000, and by Friday the now-closed campaign had raised $842,592 from more than 29,000 people.

According to the staff of the Dana Show, a conservative radio talk show that supported the campaign, the pizza parlor will now work with a pro bono accountant.

TIME Archaeology

Human Ancestor ‘Little Foot’ Lived 3.7 Million Years Ago

Undated handout photo shows the Little Foot skull
Reuters The Little Foot skull is pictured in this undated handout photo obtained by Reuters April 1, 2015.

The findings shed light on the connections between early human ancestors

New research indicates that a mysterious skeleton dubbed “Little Foot” lived around the same time as human ancestor Lucy’s species, suggesting a diverse landscape of pre-humans in Africa during the same period.

Scientists initially believed that Little Foot was far older than Lucy’s species, but according to research published in the journal Nature this week the skeleton is roughly 3.7 million years old.

Lucy, who lived about 3.2 million years ago, was an Australopithecus afarensis, a species of early upright walkers in east Africa that lived between 2.9 and 4.1 million years ago and is believed to be a direct human ancestor, predating the Homo lineage by more than a million years.

Scientists aren’t clear how to categorize Little Foot, who was found in a cave in South Africa in the 1990s. But the age of the skeleton helps shed light on the diversity of the Australopithecus human ancestors.

“The most important implication from dating Little Foot is that we now know that australopithecines were in South Africa early in their evolution,” lead author Darryl Granger, a geochronologist at Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana, told Live Science. “This implies an evolutionary connection between South Africa and East Africa prior to the age of Little Foot, and with enough time for the australopithecine species to diverge.”

TIME Aviation

Germany Cited for Faulty Oversight Ahead of Plane Crash, Report Says

The EU formally called on Germany to improve conditions in November

The European Union warned Germany about its lax aviation oversight months before the apparent suicide of a co-pilot flying Germanwings Flight 9525 killed 150 people last month, according to a report.

The Wall Street Journal, citing two unnamed sources, reports that EU officials said Germany’s air-safety regulator was understaffed, which could impact its ability to monitor crews, including for medical conditions. The EU formally called on Germany to rectify the problems last November, the Journal reports.

Investigators believe that 27-year-old co-pilot Andreas Lubitz deliberately crashed the plane into the French Alps on March 24.

Read more at the Wall Street Journal


Autographed Jay Cutler Football Goes Unsold at Auction

Chicago Bears v Minnesota Vikings
Hannah Foslien—Getty Images Jay Cutler of the Chicago Bears speaks to the media after the game against the Minnesota Vikings on Dec.28, 2014 at TCF Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, MN.

Somebody stepped in days later to buy the ball for his son for $100

A football signed by Chicago Bears quarterback Jay Cutler went unsold at a charity auction last month.

Not a single person bid on the white autographed ball auctioned on behalf of the Anti-Cruelty Society, the Chicago Tribune reports. But an unnamed buyer ultimately purchased the ball this week for $100 as a gift for his Bears fan son.

Sports blogs are seizing on the unsold ball as a symbol of the struggling quarterback’s declining status, though the Tribune notes that most of the items at the auction were not sports related and the attendees weren’t much of a “football crowd.”

[Chicago Tribune]

TIME Kenya

Al-Shabaab Says Kenyan Cities Will Run ‘Red With Blood’

Attack on Kenya's Garissa University College
Anadolu Agency—Getty Images Security forces guard after Al-Shabaab terrorists shot the students' way into Garissa University College, at least 147 students were killed and 79 injured, in Nairobi, Kenya, on April 2.

"No amount of precaution or safety measures will be able to guarantee your safety"

The Somali terror group behind Thursday’s deadly assault on a Kenyan college campus threatened a “long, gruesome war” against the country, according to a media report on Saturday.

Reuters reports that it received an emailed statement from al-Shabaab that said Kenya’s cities would run “red with blood.”

In a televised speech on Saturday, Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta said Kenya would “do everything to defend our way of life,” and vowed not to allow al-Shabaab to create an Islamic caliphate in Kenya, according to Reuters. The President also declared three days of national mourning.

Early Thursday morning, assailants armed with guns and grenades attacked the Garissa University College Campus, targeting Christian students and killing at least 148 people, mostly students, with the death toll expected to rise. Kenyan officials said they found one survivor on the campus on Saturday.

The Somali-based al-Shabaab claimed responsibility for the attack, and in the statement to Reuters said it was in retribution for Kenya’s participation in the African Union-led fight against the group in Somalia and for mistreatment of Muslims in Kenya. The group was also responsible for the siege of an upscale shopping mall in Nairobi that left 67 people dead.

“No amount of precaution or safety measures will be able to guarantee your safety, thwart another attack or prevent another bloodbath from occurring in your cities,” the group said, according to Reuters. “This will be a long, gruesome war of which you, the Kenyan public, are its first casualties.”


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