Morning Must Reads: April 17

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

Georgia OKs Medical Marijuana

Governor Nathan Deal signed legislation legalizing the use of marijuana in Georgia for medical conditions, including epilepsy, Lou Gehrig’s Disease, cancer, multiple sclerosis, Crohn’s disease, mitochondrial disease, Parkinson’s disease and sickle-cell anemia

Support for Death Penalty Drops

Public backing for capital punishment in the U.S. has dropped to its lowest in 40 years, although a small majority of Americans still believe in it

O’Malley Calls Out Hillary Clinton

Maryland’s former governor had sharp words for Clinton, who’s taken a more liberal stance on gay marriage and immigration as her campaign starts

U.S. Bird Flu Outbreak May Last a ‘Few Years’

A leading agriculture official has forecast that North America’s bird-flu outbreak could persist for some time. “It’s something in North America that we may have to live with for a few years,” the USDA’s chief veterinary officer John Clifford told lawmakers in Minnesota

Jeb Bush Says Senate Should Confirm Loretta Lynch

Answering questions at a town hall with New Hampshire primary voters at the Snowshoe Club, Bush, an all-but-announced Republican presidential candidate, stopped short of explicitly calling for Lynch’s confirmation as Attorney General

Instagram Now Allows Photos of Women Breast-Feeding

An updated set of guidelines clarifies that photos of “women actively breast-feeding” are 100% permitted. Photos of post-mastectomy scars are fair game too. (Images of “sexual intercourse, genitals and close-ups of fully nude buttocks” are banned)

Less Than Half of American Troops Are ‘Satisfied With Work’

Most of America’s 770,000 troops are unhappy at work and report pessimistic feelings. That’s according to mandatory online questionnaires soldiers fill out each year seen by USA Today, which show 48% of service personnel not feeling committed or satisfied with work

Relatives of Boston Marathon Bomber Break Their Silence

Members of the Boston bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev’s family tell TIME they tried in vain to dismiss his defense lawyers. They believe the charges against him stem from an American conspiracy and they want him to appeal the guilty verdict

E-Cig Use Triples Among Middle and High Schoolers

E-cigarette use among middle school and high school students tripled in one year, U.S. officials say. The new data shows that e-cigarette use has surpassed the use of all tobacco products, including regular cigarettes, among young people

NBA Will Begin Testing Players for HGH Next Season

The league announced Thursday that testing will begin next season and players will be subject to three random, unannounced tests each year, in addition to “reasonable cause testing.” Two of the three tests will be administered during the season

J. Lo Will Pay Tribute to Selena at Latin Music Awards

Jennifer Lopez honored the late singer Selena Quintanilla by portraying her on the silver screen almost two decades ago, and this year she will pay tribute to her again, this time at the Billboard Latin Music Awards

Veteran Chinese Journalist Gao Yu Sentenced to 7 Years

A Beijing court sentenced a veteran Chinese journalist to seven years in prison on Friday after convicting her of leaking a document detailing the Communist Party leadership’s resolve to aggressively target civil society and press freedom as a threat to its monopoly on power

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Morning Must Reads: April 16

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

Meet the 2015 TIME 100

Here are the most influential people in the world: the titans, pioneers, artists, icons and leaders who are shaping the future. “We tell 100 stories of individual influence,” managing editor Nancy Gibbs writes. “But taken together, these stories are an anthem to interaction, the convergence that occurs when you harmonize a good idea”

Tsarnaev’s Family Speaks

Members of the Boston bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev’s family tell TIME they tried in vain to dismiss his defense lawyers

ISIS Launches New Offensive

ISIS launched an offensive Wednesday in Iraq’s western Anbar province, capturing three villages near the provincial capital of Ramadi

Here’s Why Wi-Fi on Planes Could Lead to Disaster

The U.S. Government Accountability Office says new aircraft may be susceptible to having inflight computer systems hacked by terrorists through onboard wi-fi networks or remotely. Passenger wi-fi, it said, was “a direct link between the aircraft and the outside world”

Pakistan Could Charge CIA Officials With Murder Over Drones

A judge in Pakistan has ordered police to formally investigate former CIA agents for allegedly authorizing a 2009 drone strike. It may mark the first time that U.S. citizens have been charged with murder, under Pakistan’s penal code, for covert drone strikes

U.N. Envoy to Yemen Resigns

The U.N. envoy to Yemen has resigned, citing an interest in “another assignment.” Jamal Benomar, who has served as the U.N. Secretary-General’s special envoy to the Middle Eastern country since 2012, reportedly quit due to lack of support from Gulf countries

Morris Scores in 1st U.S. Start in 2-0 Win Over Mexico

Jordan Morris made a loud statement in his first start for the U.S. national team against his country’s biggest and most bitter rival. The 20-year-old Stanford sophomore scored his first international goal early in the second half

Netflix Membership Soars Past 60 Million

The online-video-streaming company’s growth continued last quarter as revenue jumped 24% and membership surpassed 60 million global users. Netflix reported $1.57 billion in quarterly revenue, in line with analyst predictions

Aaron Hernandez Gets Life in Prison

Former NFL star Aaron Hernandez was convicted of first-degree murder and sentenced to life in prison Wednesday in a deadly late-night shooting, sealing the downfall of an athlete who once had a $40 million contract and a standout career ahead of him

Chris Christie Pins Hopes for Comeback on Straight Talk

Dogged by lower approval ratings at home and overshadowed by Republican rivals, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie is pinning his still unannounced campaign’s prospects on straight talk, hoping his unscripted moments will help revive his presidential ambitions

Gisele Retires After 20 Years on the Runway

The supermodel, who has two children with NFL-quarterback husband Tom Brady, says she is leaving to spend more time with her family but plans to continue to work in the fashion industry, likely as a designer. She already has her own line of flip-flops and lingerie

Michael Phelps Will Aim for 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio

The gold medalist swimmer said Wednesday that he will try to compete at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, marking the the first time Phelps has publicly committed to trying for the Games

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TIME South Korea

Victims of South Korea’s Sewol Ferry Disaster Remembered One Year On

A relative of a victim of the Sewol ferry disaster holds a flower as he stands on the deck of a boat during a visit to the site of the sunken ferry, off the coast of South Korea's southern island of Jindo
Ed Jones—Reuters A relative of a victim of the Sewol ferry disaster holds a flower as he stands on the deck of a boat during a visit to the site of the sunken ferry, off the coast of South Korea's southern island of Jindo April 15, 2015

Nine bodies remain unaccounted for, and the disaster’s anniversary is again heating up as a political issue

Thursday marks one year since the Sewol ferry sank off the southwest coast of South Korea. But for Lee Keum-hui, it feels like only a day or two since she lost her daughter Eun-hwa, who was one of 476 passengers setting out from Incheon for Jeju, a resort island.

“Some people say it’s time to move on, but how can we do that when our daughter’s body is still out there somewhere?” said Lee, 46, sweeping at the placid waters off Paengmok Harbor, the nearest point on land to the tragedy.

Eun-hwa is one of nine passengers who were never recovered. Lee and her husband still make the nearly five-hour trip from Ansan, a southern suburb of the capital, Seoul, down to Paengmok two or three times a week. There, they sit and hope that somehow their daughter’s remains will be returned to them.

South Korea was overwhelmed with grief when the Sewol sank. People struggled to fathom how a routine ferry ride could lead to 304 deaths, many of them students on a high school field trip. As the ordeal dragged on, the initial sadness segued into fury as the public accused the government of an inept rescue effort.

South Korea engineered a quick rise from poverty after the 1950–53 Korean War and is today one of the world’s wealthier, and more technologically advanced, countries. The shock of the Sewol sinking was compounded by disbelief over how, in a country that had come so far, a simple ferry ride could go so terribly wrong.

In ramshackle Paengmok Harbor, the farthest point on mainland South Korea one can get from the shine of the capital, normal life has mostly returned, with the rescue mission having been called off last autumn. Before last year it was little known beyond the locals who rely on it as a port for fishing boats and traveling to nearby islets.

However, with the sunken hulk still off the coast and nine bodies unaccounted for, Paengmok remains the site of grieving by families and their supporters.

The long, narrow pier is strewn with tokens of the tragedy. Banners with messages of support hang from the railings, imploring, “We won’t forget” and “Kids, come back. It must be so cold out there.” There are flags with the names of the nine passengers who were never recovered. One of them, frayed by the sharp wind that constantly blows in off the water, carries the name Cho Eun-hwa, Lee’s 16-year-old daughter.

The disaster’s anniversary is again heating up as a political issue. Bereaved families have staged large protests in Seoul, calling for the government to carry out a thorough investigation.

In the emotional aftermath of the sinking, the nation’s Prime Minister Chung Hong-won resigned, in what he said was a gesture of responsibility amid a culture of neglecting safety measures. In addition, President Park Geun-hye’s approval ratings plummeted from about 60% to less than 40% in the wake of the tragedy.

Cheonghaejin Marine, the company that operated the Sewol, was also pilloried for failing to follow basic safety protocol and having, a couple of years before, carried out a dangerous refurbishment of the ship that allowed it to carry more passengers but also made it more vulnerable to tipping over.

The firm’s CEO was sentenced to 10 years in prison last November for having violated maritime safety laws. The ferry’s captain, Lee Joon-seok, received 36 years for professional negligence causing death, while the ship’s engineer was sentenced to 30 and other crew members between five and 20 years.

At the time of the ruling, some bereaved families argued that the captain was getting off too easy and should have been sentenced to death. Lee was reportedly not at the helm at the time the Sewol began listing and, along with other crew members, fled the ship while most passengers languished aboard.

Kang Min-kyu, the vice principal of Danwon High School, where many of the young victims studied, committed suicide two days after the disaster. The 52-year-old was among the 172 passengers rescued but couldn’t live with the fact that so many of his young charges were less fortunate.

Late last year, South Korea’s National Assembly passed a law that mandated the formation of a special committee to look into the sinking. However, the investigation hasn’t gotten off the ground because of disagreements between the families and government over the body’s composure and the limits of its authority.

In addition to her hopes for an official probe, Lee says she won’t be able to move on from losing Eun-hwa until her daughter’s remains have been recovered. “We’ve been here for the past year, and our goal is still the same: to find our beloved child,” Lee said.

In Korea’s Confucian culture, great importance is placed on holding a ceremony to mark the end of a person’s life. And experts say moving on is especially difficult for parents who could only watch on TV as their children perished.

“The parents’ grief has been exacerbated by their inability to have intervened, to have assumed the role of their child’s protector,” said Ansuk Jeong, a Ph.D. in community psychology and research professor at Yonsei University in Seoul.

Kwon Oh-bok, a 61-year-old who lost his brother, nephew and sister-in-law, has spent the past year living in a small housing unit at Paengmok provided by the local government.

When the Sewol sank, Kwon’s brother’s family of four was on their way to start a new life in Jeju, having purchased a tangerine farm. Kwon’s 6-year-old niece was the family’s only survivor and now lives with an aunt.

Kwon says he’s still waiting for some kind of closure and would like the government to raise the prone hull from the seabed, a process that could take more than a year, and cost $110 million, according to a study commissioned by South Korea’s Ministry of Oceans and Fisheries.

“Once they raise the ferry I’ll be ready to leave, but not until then,” Kwon said.

Lee wears Eun-hwa’s student ID card around her neck, with a headshot of the young girl with a slight smile and dark, horn-rimmed glasses. Lee says her expectations have dropped precipitously since she first came to Paengmok. Having arrived last April hoping Eun-hwa would be rescued alive, this faded into the simple desire to see her only daughter’s face one last time.

Now, facing the reality of Eun-hwa having spent one year in the briny depths, Lee says, “I just want to hug her bones.”


Morning Must Reads: April 15

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

Hillary’s Brand of Campaigning

The Hillary Clinton who began her presidential campaign in Iowa on Tuesday and listened carefully to a handful of people talk about the wonders of the local college system is a familiar, uncynical and entirely credible character, TIME columnist Joe Klein writes

White House Won’t Veto Iran Bill

The White House says Obama would be willing to sign a compromise bill giving Congress a say on the emerging nuclear deal with Iran

Policeman’s Car Rams Suspect

Video footage from an Arizona police cruiser’s dash camera shows the vehicle slamming into an allegedly armed suspect on Feb. 19

Next Up in the Cuba Fight

President Obama formally moved on Tuesday to remove Cuba from the list of states supporting terrorism. Congress has 45 days to pass a joint resolution blocking the change, a challenge that anti-Castro lawmakers and Republican critics indicated they would take up

India’s Growth Set to Overtake That of China

India’s economic growth may surpass China’s much sooner than initially expected, with the International Monetary Fund forecasting the former’s growth rate will rise to 7.5% this year, while the latter’s is expected to drop to 6.8%

Chicago Mayor Backs Reparations for Police Torture Victims

Chicago will pay $5.5 million in reparations to victims who claimed they were tortured decades ago under a former police commander, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel said on Tuesday. The measure is expected to be introduced on Wednesday

Alzheimer’s May Be Caused by Misfiring Immune System

A breakthrough study out of Duke University suggests that deprivation of an amino acid called arginine may contribute to Alzheimer’s disease, a finding that could help usher in new treatment strategies for patients suffering from the debilitating illness

Pentagon to Identify Pearl Harbor’s ‘Unknown’ Troops

The Pentagon said on Tuesday that the bodies of troops killed during the Pearl Harbor attacks, who are buried in “unknown” graves in Hawaii, will be disinterred and identified through DNA. All identified remains will receive military funeral honors upon return to families

Game of Thrones Season 5 Premiere Draws 8 Million Viewers

The highly anticipated April 12 Season 5 premiere reached 8 million live and same-day viewers, according to Nielsen, despite a leak of the season’s first four episodes. The number reflects the show’s status as HBO’s most-watched original series ever

NBA Player Blames Police for Season-Ending Injury

Atlanta Hawks forward Thabo Sefolosha was injured after being arrested with a teammate outside a New York club last week. They were charged with obstructing governmental administration for refusing to clear a crime scene regarding the stabbing of a Pacers player

Survivors Say 400 Migrants Drowned Off Libya

Survivors of a capsized migrant boat off Libya have told the aid group Save the Children that an estimated 400 people are believed to have drowned. Italy’s Coast Guard said it assumed that there were many dead given the size of the ship

U.N. Chief Gives James Bond a New Mission

Daniel Craig, who won international acclaim playing James Bond, received a special mission on Tuesday when U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon appointed the actor as the first U.N. Global Advocate for the Elimination of Mines and Explosive Hazards

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Morning Must Reads: April 14

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

Rubio Enters the Race

Florida Senator Marco Rubio had his moment in the sun before but saw it clouded by immigration reform. Now that he announced his presidential campaign, in Miami on Monday evening, Republicans may remember why they dubbed him presidential material

Nigeria Remembers Abducted Girls

President-elect Muhammadu Buhari pledged Tuesday to rescue the 276 Nigerian girls kidnapped by Boko Haram, one year after their disappearance

Deputy Charged in Man’s Death

Oklahoma prosecutors charged a reserve sheriff’s deputy with manslaughter Monday in the death of a man fatally shot as he lay at the officer’s feet

Gay Marriage Divides GOP

The Supreme Court’s expected decision that gay couples have a constitutional right to marry will for most mark the end of a culture war. But a small circle of Christian activists aren’t giving up yet — and they are already winning over some Republican presidential candidates

Ex-Blackwater Guards Get Prison

Four guards were sentenced to at least 30 years for their roles in a deadly 2007 shooting that caused a global uproar over the use of private security in war. “Based on the seriousness of the crimes, I find the penalty is not excessive,” said Judge Royce Lamberth

Indiana Hires PR Firm to Repair Reputation

Indiana’s economic- and tourism-development agencies hired a public relations firm on Monday to repair the damage to the state’s reputation from a religious-objections law that raised the specter of discrimination against the LGBT community

Obama Signs Disaster Declaration for January Blizzard

Governor Charlie Baker says the federal disaster aid that Massachusetts has been granted for a late January blizzard — Obama signed the declaration on Monday — could bring between $80 million and $90 million, but he’s disappointed a broader request wasn’t approved

Tyler, the Creator Dropped a New Album

Tyler, the Creator just dropped his new album, and it’s a big one. The 13-track album, Cherry Bomb, became available on iTunes and streaming services on Monday and features some of the biggest names in the business, including Kanye West and Pharrell

S.C. Officer Won’t Face Death Penalty

Michael Slager, charged in the videotaped shooting death of an unarmed black man on April 4, will not face the death penalty, the chief prosecutor in Charleston County said Monday. He faces 30 years to life in prison if convicted

Ex-NFL Player Suspected in Murder of Prison Cellmate

Lawrence Phillips’s cellmate, Damion Soward, was found unresponsive in their cell at Kern Valley State Prison shortly after midnight Saturday. Phillips is serving a 31-year, four-month sentence after being charged in 2005 with assaulting his then girlfriend

Orphans Seek Answers 40 Years After Fleeing Khmer Rouge

By the time the Khmer Rouge took control of Phnom Penh on April 17, 1975, scores of children had been safely shuttled out. In subsequent years, Pol Pot’s brutal regime set about dismantling all existing systems, severing connections with their former lives

China Releases Women’s Activists After Month’s Detention

Chinese authorities have released five women’s-rights campaigners whose detention sparked an outcry and underscored the government’s restrictions on independent social activism, lawyers said. As of late Monday night, all had either returned or were on their way home

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TIME Cambodia

Cambodian Orphans Yearn for Answers 40 Years After Fleeing the Khmer Rouge

Young Cambodian child at a hospital in Phnom Penh, in March 1975.
Francoise Demulder—AFP/Getty Images Young Cambodian child at a hospital in Phnom Penh, in March 1975.

A daring orphan lift spared scores from the savage communist clique, but left children with no ties home

Here are the things Miika Thoeun Gove knows about her Cambodian origins: a woman claiming to be her grandmother said she couldn’t take care of her. An orphanage took her in. The U.S. embassy arranged for an airlift to California.

By the time the Khmer Rouge took control of Phnom Penh on April 17, 1975, Miika had been safely shuttled out, but her identity remained trapped inside. In Cambodia, Pol Pot’s brutal regime set about systematically dismantling all existing systems — killing an estimated 1.7 million people in pursuit of a harebrained “year zero” agrarian utopia. In the process families, institutions and records were obliterated amid one of the worst genocides of the 20th century. In the U.S., doctors estimated Miika’s age by looking at her teeth; new parents assigned a birth date, they gave her a name.

“I don’t know how it worked, there’s virtually no details other than [me] arriving,” she tells TIME. “I don’t even know if that’s the true story.”

Forty years ago this and last month, a series of planes flew into Phnom Penh’s besieged Pochentong airport on a special sortie. The Fighting Tigers at the controls dove down into the tarmac to avoid Khmer Rouge gunfire and — barely cutting the engines — pulled up alongside cargo trucks. With little ceremony, those in the truck began to load the plane with box after box of babies.

“As this telegram is being dispatched,” read a U.S. embassy cable sent just hours after a March 17 airlift, “the orphans are not the only ones heaving a king size sigh of relief.”

At the time of the evacuations, the U.S.-backed Khmer Republic had all but crumbled under the weight of incompetence and corruption, while large-scale American bombing of the countryside sent hundreds of thousands fleeing to Phnom Penh for safety. Desperate parents — starving and fearing for their lives — overwhelmed the state-run orphanage; the babies would not stop coming.

Canadian sisters Eloise and Anna Charet arrived in the country just months before the fall to open a private orphanage, called Canada House. Eloise recalled taking babies and toddlers from a room in the state orphanage, “where the children were just left on mats and were left to die. The ants were crawling on them, the flies all around their eyes and mouth … the only thing you could see was the flickering of their eyes once in a while and this room was just packed with children left to die, they didn’t know what to do.”

On March 17, the sisters successfully evacuated all 43 of their charges — an unlikely feat that allowed for scores more to be pulled out in the following weeks by various private agencies and individuals. Most of the Cambodian children were initially sent to war-torn Saigon where they were thrown in with more than 3,000 Vietnamese children to be airlifted out to the U.S., Europe and Australia in the audacious and controversial “Operation Babylift.”

As the situation in Cambodia deteriorated, its envoys in Washington, D.C., begged the U.S. for assistance and arranged for a final group of 220 orphans to be pulled out and adopted. In Phnom Penh, the Minister for Refugees scrambled to process the children. On April 9, 28 flew out. They were to be the last.

“I messaged [Refugee Minister] Kong Orn … about the orphans’ situation. I also messaged other officials. But there was no answer from anyone. Clearly the subject of orphans was not on anyone’s mind at the time,” says Gaffar Peang-Meth, a diplomat based at the Cambodian embassy.

The chaos surrounding those final flights ensured that many orphans arrived with only the scantest of documentation. In a July 1975 internal report, the U.S. Agency for International Development recorded that half of the 108 orphans airlifted out of Phnom Penh “are experiencing legal problems regarding their adoptability and/or placements.”

Sjoberg / AFP / Getty ImagesThe young Khmer Rouge guerrilla soldiers enter Phnom Penh on April 17, 1975

“The placement of the orphans … in adoptive homes has been held up because of questions raised regarding their adoptability and/or prospective placement. Due to the emergency situation which existed at the time, the sponsoring agencies and the government did not obtain the proper releases or process other required documentation,” the report continued.

In California and elsewhere, lawsuits proliferated over whether the children were in fact orphans. Miika and scores of other children spent upwards of a year in foster homes while officials debated their status. Four decades later, some have yet to be naturalized.

“The children’s arrival was not all smooth and happy,” recalls Gaffar Peang-Meth, who became the point man for verifying many of their legal status. Some news media reports suggested that the children were not all orphans and openly questioned why they had been brought to the U.S. Gaffar Peang-Meth responded that there was no authority in Phnom Penh to answer such allegations.

Amid the mounting concern, the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) ordered a temporary halt to the babylifts on April 16, just one day before the Khmer Rouge seized Phnom Penh. Then deputy commissioner of the INS, James Green, told the Washington Post that the agency would “launch a full investigation to determine what these children’s backgrounds are and how they got into the United States.”

By then, of course, the lines of communication had already been severed. With it went any hope of tracking down family ties.

Adoptees grew up oblivious to their roots, yet haunted by them.

“No matter how you grow up childhood always challenging, but not really having a mental foundation of how it started, that’s really challenging,” says Miika Thoeun Gove. “I can’t even reach out to anyone in the group that I flew out with, I have no information.”

A handful of the orphans have returned to Cambodia in search of more information, though such quests tend to be fruitless.

Kim Routhier-Filion, one of the Canada House babies, traveled to Cambodia in 2012 accompanied by Eloise and Anna Charet, and a film crew from the French-Canadian news station RDI. While there, the filmmakers captured Routhier-Filion looking through records and speaking with archivists, but he confessed scant faith in reconciliation.

“For me, my adoptive parents are my real parents,” he said. “I didn’t have any expectations of finding my biological parents in Cambodia. I assume they got killed. I don’t even know my biological mom’s name. I didn’t have any hope or expectations of that.”

Gove, whose documents carry neither the name of her parents nor birthplace, has similarly little anticipation of closure. It is something, however, she has come to accept.

“Imagine the children who didn’t get out of there,” she points out calmly. “I figure I’m doing O.K.”

TIME Australia

Australia to Cut Benefits for Parents Who Don’t Vaccinate Kids

"The choice made by families not to immunize their children is not supported by public policy or medical research," Prime Minister Tony Abbott said

Australia is set to cut thousands of dollars of welfare benefits for parents who don’t vaccinate their children, top officials said Sunday, ending a “conscientious objector” exemption to vaccination requirements.

“Parents who vaccinate their children should have confidence that they can take their children to child care without the fear that their children will be at risk of contracting a serious or potentially life-threatening illness because of the conscientious objections of others,” Prime Minister Tony Abbott said in a statement.

The change in policy, which will take effect Jan. 1, 2016, will keep in place medical exemptions and some religious exemptions, Abbott said. It could ultimately cost parents who don’t vaccinate their children up to $11,000 a year in welfare benefits, CNN reports.

The move comes after a measles outbreak in the U.S. briefly reignited the debate over vaccinations, which persists in the U.S. despite scientific consensus that vaccinations are safe and that wide use is needed to establish the so-called “herd immunity” that protects entire populations.

“Australia now has childhood vaccination rates over 90 percent… but more needs to be done to ensure we protect our children and our community from preventable diseases,” Abbott said. “The choice made by families not to immunize their children is not supported by public policy or medical research nor should such action be supported by taxpayers in the form of child care payments.”


Morning Must Reads: April 13

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

‘We’re Ready for Hillary’

Rivals were chomping at the bit even before Hillary Clinton formally announced her presidential bid Sunday, releasing statements and videos attacking the Democratic front-runner. “We’re ready for Hillary,” said Republican hopeful Sen. Ted Cruz

Pope: Armenian Killings ‘Genocide’

Francis sparked a diplomatic incident with Turkey on Sunday by calling the slaughter of Armenians by Ottoman Turks the 20th century’s “first genocide”

CBS Picks Face the Nation Host

CBS announced that chief political director John Dickerson will replace the retiring Bob Schieffer this summer as host of the political talk show

Apple Watch Pre-Orders Hit Almost 1 Million

Almost one million people ordered an Apple Watch on the first day it was available, according to an estimate by a research firm, showing strong consumer demand for an Apple product that debuted to mixed reviews

German Nobel Laureate Guenter Grass Dies at Age 87

Guenter Grass, the Nobel-winning German writer who gave voice to the generation that came of age during the horrors of the Nazi era but later ran into controversy over his own World War II past and stance toward Israel, has died. He was 87

Walter Scott Mourned at Funeral

Large crowds gathered Saturday to remember Walter Scott, the 50-year-old black man in South Carolina who was fatally shot by a white police officer. The two-hour service included spirituals and remembrances of the father of four and Coast Guard veteran

3-year-Old Boy Shoots and Kills 1-Year-Old in Cleveland

A 3-year-old boy in Cleveland shot and killed a 1-year-old boy after picking up a handgun that had been left unattended inside a home on Sunday. The infant was rushed to the hospital with a gunshot wound to the head but was later pronounced dead

Game of Thrones Episodes Leak Before Season 5

Excipio, a piracy-tracking firm, said the episodes are true copies that were leaked to torrent sites between 9 and 10 p.m. E.T. on Saturday. Excipio, which did not identify the origin of the leak, said the episodes had been downloaded more than 778,000 times by 9 a.m.

Jordan Spieth Wins Masters

The 21-year-old stretched a four-shot lead at the beginning of the day, securing his win with a birdie at the eighth and a par at the ninth. In 2014, the young Texan squandered a lead at the Masters on the final day with back-to-back bogeys just before the turn

Troy Uiversity Students Suspended Over Sexual Assault

Two Alabama college students have been suspended after authorities discovered a cell-phone video that allegedly shows them sexually assaulting a woman at a Florida beach while a large crowd watched

Attacks on Troops in Egypt’s Sinai Kill at Least 14

At least 14 people, mostly Egyptian policemen, were killed on Sunday in separate operations when militants attacked a police station in Egypt’s northern Sinai, and detonated a roadside bomb against a passing armored vehicle

Indian Party Calls for Voting Rights of Muslims to be Revoked

A major Indian political party called for the voting rights of Muslims to be revoked in an editorial published on Sunday, a statement that was slammed across the board and left its leadership red-faced and hastily backtracking

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Justin Timberlake and Jessica Biel Welcome Baby Son

His name is Silas Randall Timberlake

Justin Timberlake and Jessica Biel are officially parents.

The celebrity couple welcomed their first child, named Silas Randall Timberlake, People reports.

Biel and the baby are doing well, and Timberlake is “ecstatic,” a representative told People.

Read more at People.com


#Ask TIME Subscriber Q and A: Massimo Calabresi

Welcome to the #AskTIME subscriber Q&A with TIME senior correspondent Massimo Calabresi, who has recently written about the proxy war between Iran and Saudi Arabiaand this week’s profile of Senator Bob Corker, a key dealmaker in the Iran nuclear talks. His other stories can be found here.

You will need to be a TIME subscriber to read the Q & A. ($30 a year or 8 cents a day for the magazine and all digital content.) Once you’re signed up, you can log in to the site with a username and password

DonQuixotic asks, Massimo, Are there any measures Israel
can take – besides pushing members of Congress – to prevent this deal from Iran going through? If it goes though with their (Netanyahu’s) disapproval, is there anything Israel can do to sabotage it? Perhaps through the UN?

A military attack by Israel against Iran would likely derail talks and scupper the deal, but would likely start a war that would likely include overt and covert attacks on Israel by Iran. Further pressure by Israel on members of Congress to reject or subvert the deal could also prevent it from being finalized. After the recent parliamentary campaign in Israel, during which Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu appeared to abandon support for a two-state solution to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, the administration floated four policy changes it was entertaining to pressure Israel to reconsider. Those measures, and others, could be used by the administration to penalize Israel if it did derail a nuclear agreement with Iran.

deconstructive asks, MC, After appearing to ally with Corker and Menendez, would Chuck Schumer seriously try to sabotage the Iran deal? Would this cause any damage to his upcoming Senate leadership role?

Schumer’s support for the Corker bill is a significant endorsement of that approach, but doesn’t represent an attempt to sabotage the Iran deal. Schumer could abandon it if amendments he found objectionable were added either in committee Apr. 14 or on the floor of the Senate thereafter. If he actively sought to kill the deal, it could adversely affect his support in the Democratic caucus in the Senate.

nflfoghorn asks, MC, forget Corker for a moment – the junior senator from Arkansas (in office for a cup of coffee) seems to be the de facto head of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. How did Tom Cotton rise to power so quickly and why do people, who see his obvious lack of experience, trust him on world issues – which goes squarely against Congress’ long-held belief that seniority = power?

Cotton has used the Iran issue to attract attention and support. He has been the most vocal proponent of a policy of direct confrontation with Iran, including possible military strikes on Iranian nuclear sites. His credibility in the Republican caucus comes from his service as a lieutenant in the 101st Airborne Division in Iraq and Afghanistan, his BA and JD from Harvard, and his success in ousting incumbent Democrat Mark Pryor in last year¹s election in Arkansas.

Robbert5 asks, Massimo, can you see the strategic outcome of GOP’s plan for Iran to end the talks, move back to stricter sanctions and most likely get into another war in the Middle East? What would the result be for this plan in contrast to the President’s, in your(humble) opinion?

There is a lot of uncertainty right now in the Middle East so it would be hard to predict a particular strategic outcome of the GOP preference for greater confrontation with Iran. Further, the GOP has a variety of different proposed approaches, from tougher details in the current deal to imposing new sanctions to bombing Iran¹s nuclear sites. But condensing GOP positions into a policy of rejecting the current deal and imposing new sanctions, we can speculate about a range of possible outcomes, from best to worst.

Iran could agree to extend the 2013 interim agreement that froze their nuclear program and continue talks, the international sanctions coalition could hold and, under increased economic pressure from new Congressional sanctions, Tehran could ultimately agree to abandon and destroy most of its nuclear infrastructure. However, this approach could easily lead to a military confrontation with Iran that would fracture the international sanctions coalition and remove many of the economic constraints on them, collapse diplomatic efforts, and prompt Iran to make a dash for a nuclear weapon, sparking a regional arms race or war.

deconstructive asks, MC, a what-if thought exercise to take a much-needed break from realpolitik – what if we (the US) never got involved in the Middle East? (Think Africa, but I digress.) This would include never aiding and recognizing Israel immediately at their beginning as Truman did, never meddling in Iran that led to the Shah, never allying with Saudi Arabia for so long, never dealing with Saddam Hussein, and so forth, just stayed neutral and stayed out? That may or may not could have meant we never would’ve bought so much oil from there – China buys a lot of ME oil but they’re not as openly entangled in ME politics like we are (for now) – or maybe we would’ve looked elsewhere to satisfy our energy appetite. What would’ve happened if we had stayed out of the region? Or was it never possible?

The primary context of the U.S. involvement in the Middle East and North Africa in the 20th century was the Cold War with the Soviet Union in the wake of World War II. Soviet allies at various points included among others Syria, Ethiopia and part of Yemen. Egypt under Nasser was neutral. I¹m not enough of an expert in the Cold War strategies of the region to say what might have happened if the U.S. had exempted the Middle East from its larger strategy of containment.

Overall, the containment policy, first advocated by George Kennan in an anonymous article in Foreign Affairs based on his “long telegram” from Moscow, is viewed as successful, albeit with many costly failures along the way, including the parts of the west¹s approach to post-colonial Africa and South East Asia.

deconstructive asks, MC, if the Yemen situation blows up even more, or something else happens in the region, can you see Saudi Arabia and Iran going to war directly instead of proxy / Yemen? If we’re supposed to be Saudi Arabia’s ally, do we have any obligations to take their side, or would Obama choose to keep us out (I think that would be the wise move)? Or no matter how bad things get and how much they hate each other, neither side will go that
far no matter what?

Direct war between Iran and Saudi Arabia is a possibility. The U.S. has no treaty obligation to defend Saudi Arabia, but Obama has restated the four long-standing U.S. policy priorities in the region which include the defense of U.S. allies from external aggression. What form U.S. assistance would take in support of Saudi Arabia would likely depend on the circumstances leading up to the conflict and the nature of the war.

deconstructive asks, MC, after the recent events from
Israel’s election (and Obama’s reactions) to the Iran deal, might the chance of an independent Palestine improve, such as going through the UN, or other means, even if Netanyahu sounds clearly against this? Or is Netanyahu’s tough rhetoric just more bluster and he might really back down if Obama allows the US to vote in favor or abstain in the UN next time a Security Council vote comes up?

Palestinian statehood exists in some senses already, given the semi-functional government in the West Bank and its recognition by a majority of the UN member countries. Official recognition of a Palestinian State at the United Nations is possible but would come only after a major breach between the U.S. and Israel, which is unlikely even if relations between Netanyahu and the White House deteriorate further.

Israeli recognition of a Palestinian state, and the partial or total
withdrawal of Israeli forces and settlers from Palestinian territory, will only come if there is a peace agreement that includes recognition of Israel¹s right to exist and accommodations for its security interests.

DonQuixotic asks, We keep hearing predominantly of what
Israel and Saudi Arabia think of the deal with Iran, but do you have any impressions of what the Palestinian response to the deal has been?

Iran’s involvement in Israeli-Palestinian matters is complicated, and involves a range of influences from diplomatic support to financial backing to arming and training militants and terrorists. Generally speaking, the voice of Palestinians has been among the least influential in external matters in the Middle East.

deconstructive asks, MC, thanks for Corker article. Although he immerses himself in many deal situations and thus might appear to be a dealmaker among the GOP unlike many of his peers who only wsih to prevent deals and stop Obama, isn’t Corker really in the end just another obstructionist in broker’s clothing? While he supported the New Start treaty, he’s currently a skeptic on the Iran deal, he voted against his own efforts to force auto-bailout sacrifices, and voted against his own efforts on Dodd-Frank. And if Corker is among the best deal brokers among the R’s, what does that say about the rest of his GOP colleagues in Congress?

The Democrats we spoke with who have worked with Corker believe he has been an honest interlocutor in negotiations and point to the adoption by Democrats of the principles and details he agreed to on issues like the auto bailout and title II of Dodd Frank. When support for a final bill has broken down along party lines, sometimes driven by the GOP, sometimes by the Democrats, Corker has remained with the GOP, citing Democratic additions to the bills that he objects to. Even without those policy differences, doing otherwise would call into question his party affiliation which could in turn affect committee assignments and electoral support.

PaulDirks asks, The current controversy over the Iran negotiations suggest to me that there are large swaths of this country who want nothing more than for the US to be in a permanent state of warfare. Since the alternative to the agreement is for Iran to have NO limits on it’s nuclear program, it’s quite clear that people simply don’t feel complete unless the USA is actively killing someone. Am I describing the situation accurately or do people really believe that there’s another way that BETWEEN the current agreement being negotiated and another multi-billion dollar war?

There is a contingent in the GOP that supports a fairly low threshold for military strikes against Iran’s nuclear sites. But there is not broad American support for a wider war against Iran or in the region. Indeed, most politicians feel fairly keenly the American electorate¹s opposition, after Iraq and Afghanistan, to further military deployments in the region. None of those advocating early bombing Iran support a U.S. boots-on-the-ground invasion of the country; those who oppose early bombing say it would inevitably lead to such a war.

deconstructive asks, MC, no doubt oil has given the Middle
East region its power, but its centuries of still-unresolved tribal and religious infighting has given it its instability that affects everyone, including us. In a historical kind of exercise, what do you think most led to the Middle East’s oily rise to power? My guess is the choice by early 20th-c. automobile makers to go with gasoline engines for their cars, especially the Detroit makers (and European too). Electric and steam cars existed back then, but Henry Ford and Bill Durant (GM’s founder) chose to go with gasoline cars, as did their leading engineers like Charles Kettering. If Detroit had focused on steam or electric cars, today’s landscape might be radically different – and the Middle East might have been quite different too – or maybe not, only without their petrodollars and prestige. Thoughts?

See above on the Cold War context. For the history of the development of the oil industry, see Daniel Yergin’s The Prize, which is considered the best treatment of the issue.



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