TIME Crime

Uber Driver Accused of Raping Passenger in Boston

The alleged rape comes as Uber navigates intense scrutiny at home and abroad

An Uber driver in Boston was charged with kidnapping and raping a customer of the ride-sharing service, in another potentially damaging case for the rapidly expanding company.

Alejandro Done, 46, allegedly drove a woman he picked up to a secluded area and then assaulted her in the back seat earlier this month. He pleaded not guilty at an arraignment on Wednesday, the Boston Globe reports.

Uber says Done had passed a background check. “This is a despicable crime and our thoughts and prayers are with the victim during her recovery,” Uber spokesperson Kaitlin Durkosh said in a statement to CBS Boston. “Uber has been working closely with law enforcement and will continue to do everything we can to assist their investigation.”

The ride-sharing company is coming under increasing scrutiny in the U.S. and abroad over regulatory and safety concerns as it expands to more than 50 countries. Several countries have moved to outlaw Uber services, and New Delhi banned Uber earlier this month days after a female passenger accused her Uber driver of rape.

The ride-sharing service said yesterday that it was boosting safety measures and revamping its background checks abroad.

[Boston Globe]

TIME Boston

Gay Vets Can March in Boston St. Patrick’s Parade for 1st Time Ever

(BOSTON) — For the first time in its history, the sponsors of Boston’s St. Patrick’s Day parade will allow a group representing the gay community to participate, drawing cheers from Mayor Martin Walsh, who boycotted the event last year over the exclusion.

The South Boston Allied War Veterans Council, which has long resisted the inclusion of gay groups and won a U.S. Supreme Court decision in 1995 upholding their right to ban them from the annual parade that draws hundreds of thousands of spectators, voted 5-4 on Monday night to allow the group OutVets to march in the parade scheduled for March 15.

They will be allowed to carry a blue banner with five white stars representing the branches of the military and six vertical rainbow stripes. The group represents lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender veterans and participated in the city’s Veterans Day parade last month.

“Mayor Walsh has been advocating for an inclusive parade for quite some time,” spokeswoman Kate Norton said in a statement Tuesday. “We’re thrilled to hear that the South Boston Allied War Veterans Council has decided to make the 2015 parade an inclusive event.”

OutVets is being allowed to participate because of their members’ military service, and sexual orientation was irrelevant in the vote, said Brian Mahoney, commander of the veterans council. The parade is meant to honor veterans and Irish-American heritage, and OutVets met the criteria, he said.

“It was a group of vets who wanted to march and we said ‘Yeah,’ ” he said Tuesday.

Bryan Bishop, OutVets founder and a 20-year U.S. Air Force veteran, said he was “ecstatic” with the vote and agreed that the decision was based primarily on veteran status.

“We’re marching as veterans who happen to be gay,” said Bishop, who works as chief of staff in Boston’s Veterans Services agency. “We honor the sacrifices of LGBT veterans and their families and the sacrifices all veterans.”

Parade organizers have long resisted the inclusion of gay groups, and some members of the council continue to hold out.

Lead organizer Philip Wuschke Jr. said the vote was illegal because there was no quorum.

“I’m sending a letter to the commander saying he held an illegal meeting and an illegal vote,” Wuschke said. “He did not follow the bylaws of the council.”

Mahoney disputed that. “I feel safe in saying that last night’s vote was legal,” he said.

Gov.-elect Charlie Baker said Tuesday that the decision was in the spirit of a parade that began as a celebration by veterans.

“Giving a veterans group like that an opportunity to march in the parade is a good thing,” Baker said.

State courts forced parade sponsors to allow the Irish-American Gay, Lesbian and Bisexual Group of Boston to march in the parade in 1992 and 1993. In 1994, the sponsors canceled the parade rather than allow the group to participate.

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled unanimously in 1995 that Massachusetts courts had previously violated the parade sponsors’ First Amendment rights when they forced them to allow the group to participate.

The parade, which organizers say has been held since 1901, was in negotiations last year to allow the LGBT group MassEquality to march, but things fell apart at the last moment, and Walsh, the son of Irish immigrants, boycotted the parade. Other top Massachusetts politicians have for decades refused to participate in the parade because the exclusion of gay groups.

TIME politics

Then as Now, the Tea Party Proved Divisive

Boston Tea Party
Artist's rendering of the Boston Tea Party of Dec. 16, 1773. MPI / Getty Images

Dec. 16, 1773: Colonial activists dump 45 tons of tea into Boston Harbor to protest the Tea Act

Members of today’s Tea Party movement embrace as kindred spirits the colonists who turned Boston Harbor into a teapot 241 years ago. And while it’s true that both groups formed around a robust opposition to the government in power and an equally vigorous objection to the taxes it levied, it would be a mistake to say that the Boston Tea Party was triggered by a tax hike.

On this evening, Dec. 16, in 1773, dozens of colonists boarded three ships laden with East India Company tea and dumped the entire stock — 45 tons of tea, worth roughly $1 million in today’s economy — into the harbor to protest Parliament’s recent Tea Act. The act, however, didn’t increase taxes: It lowered the price of tea by allowing the struggling East India Company to sell directly to colonists without first stopping in England. This cut out colonial middlemen and essentially gave the company a monopoly on tea sales.

So, although organizers of the original tea party echoed the popular refrain of “No taxation without representation,” many were motivated by a personal interest that continues to motivate 241 years later: profit. Boston’s wealthy merchants, some of whom made a fortune smuggling Dutch tea, stood to lose big when the Tea Act was passed. John Hancock, one of the main agitators behind the tea party, was among them.

Ahough the Boston Tea Party has become synonymous with patriotism, not all of early America’s top patriots were on board. The protest appalled many colonists with its destructiveness and waste, according to Harlow Unger, the author of American Tempest: How the Boston Tea Party Sparked a Revolution. “Far from uniting colonists, the Tea Party had alienated many property owners, who held private property to be sacrosanct and did not tolerate its destruction or violation,” Unger wrote.

Ben Franklin suggested to Hancock and co-agitator Samuel Adams that they reimburse the East India Company for the lost tea. He wrote, in a letter from London shortly after the protest, “I am truly concern’d, as I believe all considerate Men are with you, that there should seem to any a Necessity for carrying Matters to such Extremity, as, in a Dispute about Publick Rights, to destroy private Property.”

George Washington was similarly disapproving. His take on the Boston Tea Party clashes with the modern-day tea party’s more reverent view — and with their claim to channel the beliefs of the Founding Fathers.

When a contemporary Tea Partier, on a visit to Colonial Williamsburg, brought up the topic with a historical interpreter dressed as Washington, he was surprised by the answer, according to a 2010 Washington Post story. “…Asked whether the Boston Tea Party had helped rally the patriots, Washington disagreed with force,” the Post reported. “The tea party ‘should never have occurred,’ he said. ‘It’s hurt our cause, sir.’”

Read more about the modern Tea Party here, in TIME’s archives: Why the Tea Party Movement Matters

TIME Boston

Time Capsule from Paul Revere and Samuel Adams Discovered in Boston

The copper box was entombed in the state capitol in 1795

Someone call Nicholas Cage because Bostonians may have just discovered a new real-life national treasure.

A time capsule from 1795 in the form of a small copper box was unearthed in Massachusetts statehouse in Boston Thursday. The container was first placed in the cornerstone of the building on Beacon Hill by revolutionary war hero Paul Revere and the then-governor of Massachusetts, Samuel Adams.

The cigar-box sized capsule will be x-rayed over the weekend and its contents revealed next week. The artifact is believed to be one of the oldest time capsules in Massachusetts, making it by default one of the oldest such items in the United States.

During the excavation, coins fell out of the plaster that held the box in place, good luck tokens tossed in with the box when it was unearthed and reburied in 1855, the last time the time capsule was uncovered, The Boston Globe reports.

[The Boston Globe]

Read next: Here’s What Really Killed the Dinosaurs

TIME justice

Mark Wahlberg’s Victim Says the Actor Should Get a Pardon

The Vietnamese man a 16-year-old Wahlberg attacked says he wasn’t blinded in the assault

A Vietnamese man who was brutally attacked by a 16-year-old Mark Wahlberg in 1988 says that contrary to some press reports he wasn’t blinded in the assault and he believes the actor should receive a pardon.

“He did hurt me, but my left eye was already gone,” Johnny Trinh told the Daily Mail. “He was not responsible for that. I would like to see him get a pardon. He should not have the crime hanging over him any longer.”

In 1988, Wahlberg attacked and hurled racial slurs at Trinh and another man during an attempted street robbery in Boston.

Trinh, 59, says his left eye was blinded in a grenade attack while he was serving in the South Vietnamese army during the Vietnam War. After the war Trinh sought refuge in the United States.

Wahlberg, 16 at the time of the assault, served 45 days of a two-year prison sentence. After runaway success as an model, singer and actor, Wahlberg is seeking a pardon for crimes he committed as a juvenile.

[Daily Mail]

Read next: Mark Wahlberg Should Not Be Pardoned

TIME Food & Drink

A Harvard Professor Launched an Epic Rant Over an Extra $4 on his Chinese Takeout Bill

And here's what the Twitterverse had to say

A man ordered Chinese takeout. Things went downhill from there.

Ben Edelman, an associate professor at Harvard Business School, expected his takeout order from Boston-area restaurant Sichuan Garden to come to $53.35.

But the bill for his meal from the Brookline, MA, restaurant — shredded chicken with spicy garlic sauce, sauteed prawns with roasted chilli and peanut, stir-fried chicken with spicy capsicum, and braised fish filets and napa cabbage with roasted chilli — was $4 too high, boston.com reports, based on menu prices Edelman saw online.

So the professor emailed the restaurant to ask why. Ran Duan, who owns a bar in one of the restaurant’s other locations (his parents founded the eatery), replied. The email exchange escalated. It ended with Edelman still out $4, a worker at a “mom and pop” Chinese restaurant wondering if all this was really “worth your [Edelman’s] time,” and a lot of Twitter rage for Edelman, Harvard, lawyers, and grade inflation, among other things.

Here’s that rage:

Word is getting out. A Harvard professor has behaved badly:

Uh oh, no one is surprised. Harvard’s name is getting besmirched:

And we do mean besmirched:

Well, Harvard Business School, to be specific. HBS is to blame.

Also, privilege, elitism, and grade inflation:

Whoops, all lawyers are going down over this, too:

And everyone in tech:

Now, how shall we punish Edelman?

Or maybe just tweets like this will do:

Don’t worry Edelman, not everyone hates you:

There is chatter about an entertaining sequel:

Let’s all head to Sichuan Garden and plan one:

Except, Edelman is not invited. Actually, everyone is a bit curious, if nervous, about what it might be like to have dinner with Edelman:

We’ll probably never find out, though. Edelman is escorted out of society:

And we are left to reflect on its rubble:

Read next: Twitter Just Made It Easier to Block Haters

TIME Know Right Now

Know Right Now: From Nationwide Protests to a Historic Space Launch

Watch this week's #KnowRightNow to catch up on all the latest stories

This week, Cyber Monday shattered records with sales surpassing $2 billion. Sales were up 17% compared to last year, making it the biggest shopping day ever.

Protests flared around the country after a grand jury decided there would be no indictment in the case of Eric Garner, a black man who died while being violently subdued by the NYPD. Protesters blocked major roadways in Boston, Philadelphia, Chicago, and Washington D.C., and more than 200 protesters were arrested in New York alone.

The Orion spacecraft successfully launched Friday morning, orbiting 3,600 miles above the planet, 15 times higher than the International Space Station. The spacecraft orbited Earth twice before landing in the Pacific Ocean.

And finally, Warner Bros. revealed the cast for its movie Suicide Squad this week. The film will feature Will Smith as Deadshot, Tom Hardy as Rick Flagg, Jared Leto as The Joker, and Margot Robbie as Harley Quinn. It’s slated for release in 2016.

TIME Transportation

Uber Is Squeezing Taxi Owners, Too

525335817
Getty Images

The traditional taxi industry is in the midst of a revolution due to popular ride-sharing apps

Amid the rapid rise of ride-sharing companies like Uber and Lyft, the cost of running taxis across major U.S. cities has dropped significantly over the past year.

The prices of New York City medallions, which represent ownership of and license to operate a taxi, fell by 17% between last spring and this October due to falling demand, the New York Times reported.

Medallions prices in Chicago also dropped by 17%, while prices in Boston reportedly went down by about 20%.

City-regulated taxi companies have been struggling to keep up with mobile-based cab services like Uber and Lyft, which are generally perceived as cheaper and more convenient by customers.

Read more at the Times

TIME weather

Thanksgiving Travel Chaos Amid Winter Storms, More Than 200 Flights Canceled

Looming snowstorms and heavy rain will likely spur additional travel delays and cancellations during the beginning of the Thanksgiving weekend

More than 200 commercial flights were canceled by late Tuesday night ahead of the busiest travel day of the year for Americans, as weather forecasters predict that snowstorms and rain are likely to pound the northeast throughout Wednesday and Thursday.

Approximately half the flight cancellations came from just two airports, New York LaGuardia and Newark Liberty, according to USA Today.

On Tuesday, the New York City Office of Emergency Management issued a travel advisory that a “total of 3-5 inches of heavy, wet snow” is forecast to blanket the Big Apple Wednesday, resulting in “dangerous driving conditions throughout the day.”

The National Weather Service also issued numerous winter storm warnings for large swaths of the American northeast stretching from the Appalachia Mountains in North Carolina to the Maine coastline.

The news comes less than a week after the American Automobile Association predicted that more than 46 million Americans would travel 50 miles or more from their homes during the Thanksgiving weekend — the largest number for the holiday in the past seven years.

On a brighter note, drivers hitting the road will enjoy the lowest gasoline prices since December 2010 as global oil prices continue to slide. And that, at least, is something to be thankful for.

TIME People

Former Boston Mayor Thomas Menino Dies at 71

Boston mayor Thomas M. Menino
Boston mayor Thomas M. Menino W. Marc Bernsau—Boston Business Journal

Menino was the city's longest-serving mayor, who led for more than two decades

Thomas M. Menino, the beloved former mayor of Boston who led the city for more than two decades, died Thursday. He was 71, and his passing was confirmed in a statement on his Facebook page.

Menino, who served five terms in office to become the city’s longest-serving mayor, was diagnosed with advanced-stage cancer soon after stepping down earlier this year. Last week, Menino announced that he would stop chemotherapy treatment — and suspend a tour to promote his book Mayor for a New America — to spend more time with his family and friends.

“At just after 9:00am this morning the Honorable Thomas M. Menino passed into eternal rest after a courageous battle with cancer,” the statement said. “He was surrounded by his devoted wife Angela, loving family and friends. Mayor Menino, the longest serving Mayor of the City of Boston, led our city through a transformation of neighborhood resurgence and historic growth — leaving the job he loved, serving the city and people he loved this past January. We ask that you respect the families’ privacy during this time and arrangements for services will be announced soon.”

Menino is credited with overseeing the ascent of Boston’s skyline and leading the city through economic downturns to become a hub for business and technology. The city’s first mayor of Italian descent, according to the Boston Globe, Menino’s old-school political style won him the support of the city, leaving office with an approval rating of nearly 80%. A 2008 Globe poll found that more than half of the Boston respondents said they had met him personally.

Read TIME’s 2013 profile of Menino here: The Last of the Big-City Bosses

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