MONEY The Economy

Puerto Rico’s Debt Is Worse Than Detroit’s Debt Was

Puerto Rico's governor said the island cannot pay its $72 billion debt. Add high unemployment to the equation, and that's a bleak economic picture

Things aren’t looking good for the Isle of Enchantment. Puerto Rico is in 3½ times as much debt as Detroit was in when it filed Chapter 9 bankruptcy in 2013. The island’s $72 billion debt is larger per capita than any state, but the island’s government can’t file bankruptcy like Detroit did because only cities are allowed to file Chapter 9. Puerto Rico’s governor, Alejandro Garcia Padilla, said the island’s debts are not payable, and that he needs to pull it out of a “death spiral.” This is bad news for mainland consumers as 70% of American mutual funds have Puerto Rico bonds.

TIME Photojournalism Links

The 10 Best Photo Essays of the Month

A compilation of the 10 most interesting photo essays published online in April, as curated by Mikko Takkunen

This month’s Photojournalism Links collection highlights 10 excellent photo essays from across the world, including The New York Times staff photographer Damon Winter’s stunning aerial pictures documenting the ongoing drought in California.

Damon Winter: California Drought (The New York Times)

Bryan Denton: 100 Years Later, a Genocide Haunts the Armenian Psyche (The New York Times) These compelling pictures capture sites related to the Armenian genocide that took place one hundred years ago.

Newsha Tavakolian: Women Taking the Battle to ISIS (TIME LightBox) Powerful series on a cadre of female Kurdish soldiers fighting Islamic militants in Syria.

David Guttenfelder: Harnessing the Mekong (National Geographic) National Geographic Photography Fellow Guttenfelder’s work documents life along the Mekong River in five different countries.

Adriane Ohanesian: Inside Sudan’s War-Torn Darfur (TIME LightBox) These rare pictures capture rebels and fleeing civilians in Darfur.

Wayne Lawrence: Taking Back Detroit (National Geographic) Portraits and audio of Motor City residents.

James Mollison: Playground (Wired) Fascinating, insightful photographs of children’s playgrounds around world.

Moises Saman: Digging for Gold in the Andes (The New Yorker Photo Booth) Magnum photographer documents the unregulated gold mining in the Peruvian Andes.

Katie Orlinsky: Taken at the Border (The New Yorker Photo Booth) Orlinsky documents the U.S.-Mexico border from empty stash houses to young migrants who have been extorted.

Christopher Griffith: Foot Soldiers (The New York Times Magazine) Excellent photographs of Manhattan shoe shiners’ hands.

TIME Crime

Nearly 1,000 Suspected Gang Members Have Been Arrested in a Federal Crackdown

Of those arrested, 913 were charged with criminal offenses

Federal agents arrested 976 suspected gang members across scores of American cities during a major operation that spanned from late February through the month of March, the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency (ICE) announced Wednesday.

Headed by the ICE’s Homeland Security Investigations unit, the six-week campaign, called Project Wildfire, targeted members of 239 different gangs in 282 cities, with the heaviest focus on Los Angeles, Detroit, Dallas and El Paso, Texas. San Juan, Puerto Rico, was also highly targeted.

“Criminal gangs inflict violence and fear upon our communities, and without the attention of law enforcement, these groups can spread like a cancer,” said ICE director Sarah Saldaña in a statement.

The majority of the people arrested were U.S. citizens, however, the ICE said 199 were foreign nationals.

Of the 976 alleged gang members arrested 913 were charged with criminal offenses, including 19 suspected of murder and an additional 15 suspected of rape or sexual assault.

In addition to the arrests, officials confiscated 82 firearms, 5.2 kg of methamphetamine, 1.5 kg of heroin, 5.6 kg of cocaine and 7.8 kg of marijuana. They seized $379,399 in cash and an estimated $547,534 worth of counterfeit goods.

The operation was part of global initiative called Operation Community Shield that targets transnational street gangs.

[ICE]

TIME Crime

Detroit Mom Arrested After Two Children Discovered Dead in Freezer

Freezer Bodies-Detroit
Daniel Mears—AP Detroit Police Chief James Craig and other law enforcement have a short briefing to media as law enforcement investigates in Detroit where the bodies of two children found in a freezer on March 24, 2015

A friend called her "a beautiful person"

A 36-year-old woman was arrested Tuesday after officials found the bodies of her son and daughter in a freezer at the family’s apartment in Detroit.

Court officers discovered the frozen bodies wrapped in a plastic bag while carrying out an eviction order. The boy was 11 and the girl was 14. A post-mortem autopsy has been ordered to determine the exact cause of death, reports the AP.

The woman had two other children, aged 11 and 17, who were discovered at a neighbor’s home. They are being cared for by social services.

Tori Childs, who lives nearby, told the AP that the two dead children hadn’t been spotted around the neighborhood for the past year. All four siblings were not enrolled in Detroit’s schools but were apparently being home-schooled.

The woman was reportedly unemployed and awaiting eviction from the low-incoming housing where the family had lived for a decade. Court records show that she owed $2,206. Another friend called her “a beautiful person” who was just “going through some things.”

[AP]

TIME 2016 Election

Jeb Bush to Propose New ‘Reform Conservative’ Agenda in Detroit Address

Jeb Bush
Jeff Chiu—AP Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush speaks at the National Automobile Dealers Association convention in San Francisco on Jan. 23, 2015.

A first policy address for the all-but-certain White House campaign of the son and brother of presidents

Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush will lay out the case for his “reform conservative” agenda in Detroit Wednesday, with a speech intended to broaden the reach of the Republican Party and focus the coming presidential campaign on the economic plight of the American middle class.

“I know some in the media think conservatives don’t care about the cities,” Bush plans to say to the Detroit Economic Club, in what amounts to the first policy address of his unofficial presidential campaign. “But they are wrong. We believe that every American and in every community has a right to pursue happiness. They have a right to rise.”

He will promise a “new vision,” with many details to come later, contrasting what Americans have been hearing from Washington, with a focus on raising incomes by ensuring “economic freedom.” Many of the remarks hit marks that politicians in both parties have been speaking about for years: The fear that the next generation of Americans will be worse off than the last, the preference for political solutions that arise in the state government and the idea that policy innovation is central to the nation’s economic future.

Coming amid an aggressive fundraising and staffing surge by the all-but-certain presidential contender, the speech marks Bush’s first attempt to define himself on the public stage. In recent weeks, Bush has benefited from positive reception from party leaders and wealthy donors, along with veteran campaign staff who have moved to join his campaign in waiting. But he has yet to publicly make his case for the White House.

“The recovery has been everywhere but in the family paychecks,” Bush will say according to prepared excerpts, embracing the income inequality theme recently touted by many other likely Republican presidential candidates. “The American Dream has become a mirage for far too many.”

He is set to criticize Washington, DC, the city where his father and brother both served as president, as city too focused on government,

“This really isn’t understood in Washington D.C. And you can see why: It’s a company town,” Bush will say. “And the company is government. It’s all they know. For several years now, they have been recklessly degrading the value of work, the incentive to work, and the rewards of work.”

The Des Moines Register reported Wednesday that Bush will make his inaugural trip to the early state of Iowa next month.

“So I say: Let’s go where our ideas can matter most,” Bush will continue. “Where the failures of liberal government are most obvious. Let’s deliver real conservative success. And you know what will happen? We’ll create a whole lot of new conservatives.”

The excerpts are below:

How do we restore America’s faith in the moral promise of our great nation that any child born today can reach further than their parents?
This is an urgent issue: Far too many Americans live on the edge of economic ruin.
And many more feel like they’re stuck in place, working longer and harder, even as they’re losing ground.
Tens of millions of Americans no longer see a clear path to rise above their challenges.

Today and in the coming weeks, I will address this critical issue.
And I will offer a new vision. A plan of action that is different than what we have been hearing in Washington D.C.
It is a vision rooted in conservative principles and tethered to our shared belief in opportunity and the unknown possibilities of a nation given the freedom to act, to create, to dream and to rise.

Six years after the recession ended, median incomes are down, households are, on average, poorer … and millions of people have given up looking for a job altogether.
Roughly two out of three American households live paycheck to paycheck. Any unexpected expense can push them into financial ruin. We have a record number of Americans on food stamps and living in poverty.
The recovery has been everywhere but in the family paychecks. The American Dream has become a mirage for far too many.
So the central question we face here in Detroit and across America is this: Can we restore that dream — that moral promise — that each generation can do better?

Our nation has always valued such economic freedom because in economic freedom, each citizen has the power to propel themselves forward and upward.
This really isn’t understood in Washington D.C. And you can see why: It’s a company town. And the company is government. It’s all they know.
For several years now, they have been recklessly degrading the value of work, the incentive to work, and the rewards of work.

The progressive and liberal mindset believes that to every problem there is a Washington D.C. solution. But that instinct doesn’t solve any problem, other than the problem of how to keep Washington’s regional economy well-lubricated.

There’s a better way.
Let’s define this path first by the core principles of a Right to Rise society because once we do that, the policies, the laws and the way forward will be much clearer.

And in the coming months, I intend to detail how we can get there, with a mix of smart policies and reforms to tap our resources and capacity to innovate, whether in energy, manufacturing, health care or technology.

…Let’s embrace reform everywhere, especially in our government. Let’s start with the simple principle of who holds the power. I say give Washington less and give states and local governments more.

I know some in the media think conservatives don’t care about the cities.
But they are wrong. We believe that every American and in every community has a right to pursue happiness. They have a right to rise.
So I say: Let’s go where our ideas can matter most. Where the failures of liberal government are most obvious. Let’s deliver real conservative success.
And you know what will happen?
We’ll create a whole lot of new conservatives.

This morning, 320 million Americans got up … and they are on 320 million different paths of life.
It’s our goal to see them succeed.
And it’s our responsibility to do everything possible to help them.
Because by their success, they will not only build prosperity for themselves. They will renew the promise of this nation when everyone, has the right to rise.

TIME States

Detroit Man Who Walked 21 Miles to Work Each Day to Finally Be Bought Car

James The Walker
Ryan Garza—AP In this Jan. 29, 2015, photo, James Robertson, 56, of Detroit, walks toward Woodward Aveune in Detroit to catch his morning bus to Somerset Collection in Troy before walking to his job at Schain Mold Engineering in Rochester Hills. Getting to and from his factory job 23 miles away in Rochester Hills, he'll take a bus partway there and partway home and walk 21 miles according to the Detroit Free Press

A kickstarted campaign has, so far, raised $130,000

James Robertson has arguably America’s harshest commute, a 21-mile trek that takes him through the Detroit’s worst neighborhoods. Now, his daily journey has captured the nation’s attention and prompted a GoFundMe campaign that has raised $130,000 to provide him with a car.

For the last decade, the 56-year-old has walked eight miles to work and 13 miles back again. He usually arrives home at 4 a.m., sleeps for two hours, and then wakes up at 6 a.m. to return to his factory job, according to the Detroit Free Press.

The daily odyssey takes him through Detroit’s infamous 8 Mile neighborhood in the middle of the night. But despite the ordeal, Robertson remains upbeat about his situation. “I sleep a lot on the weekend, yes I do,” he says. “I can’t imagine not working.”

A Sunday profile in the Detroit Free Press inspired hundreds of people to offer Robertson cash, chauffeur services and even cars.

Evan Leedy, a student of Wayne State University, was inspired to start a GoFundMe campaign. “I set the goal at the beginning of $5,000. Right now my page has more than $30,000,” Leedy said on Sunday evening.

Yet donations have now left $30,000 in the dust — the total stands at $130,000 at time of publication and is rising fast.

Robertson said that he is proud that he has managed his commute for all these years, but with the help of the kickstarter campaign, it looks like his walking days may be over.

[Detroit Free Press]

 

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TIME Autos

Check Out the Coolest Cars From the 2015 Detroit Auto Show

The 2015 North American International Auto Show is in full swing, with carmakers announcing some pretty sweet new rides. Check out the new Ford GT, the Acura NSX, the Toyota FT-1 and more.

TIME Environment

Ingested Drugs, Passed Through Sewers, May Threaten Lake Michigan Fish

Study finds exposure to a diabetic drug can throw a minnow's hormones off balance

Researchers warned that a cocktail of ingested medications has slipped past sewage treatment plants and gradually accumulated in Lake Michigan, threatening to alter the hormonal balance of local fish.

Researchers from the University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee’s School of Freshwater Sciences have detected traces of coffee, birth control pills and antibiotics in Lake Michigan’s waters, the Detroit Free-Press reports. The most prevalent drug was Metformin, a medication commonly used to treat Type 2 diabetes.

Fathead minnows exposed to Metformin at the same concentrations found in the lake exhibited unusual hormonal imbalances four weeks later. Male minnows, for instance, began to produce a hormone typically associated with female egg production, though researchers say they have not yet ascertained the long-term effects of the hormonal changes.

“It’s enough to raise an alarm bell that this might be something that causes changes in reproduction of fish,” study author Rebecca Klaper said.

Read more at Detroit Free-Press.

TIME Autos

Meet Strati, the World’s First 3D-Printed Car

CEO and founder of Local Motors John B. Rogers speaks to the media as his company showcases the world's first 3-D printed car, the Strati, at the Detroit auto show on Jan. 12, 2015.
Mark Blinch—Reuters CEO and founder of Local Motors John B. Rogers speaks to the media as his company showcases the world's first 3-D printed car, the Strati, at the Detroit auto show on Jan. 12, 2015.

The two-seater, made of plastic components and able to go 25 miles per hour, was printed created at an auto show in Detroit

Local Motors, a tech company based in Phoenix, Ariz., may have given us our first glimpse of the future of automobile manufacturing.

This week at the Detroit auto show, the company 3D-printed a car called the Strati. The two-seater is made of plastic components and can go up to 25 miles per hour.

The car — which Local plans to sell later this year — takes about 44 hours to print, and is then outfitted with an electric car battery, motor and suspension from French automaker Renault, according to the Associated Press. Local Motors CEO Jay Rogers told the AP the Strati is the first of three vehicles he plans to sell. The Strati will cost between $18,000 and $30,000, he added.

Local Motors plans to create a microfactory at the National Harbor, a shopping and entertainment area in Maryland. The microfactory — a center where cars are designed, manufactured and sold — will be like “Build-a-Bear mashed up with Ikea mashed up with Formula 1,” said Rogers.

The factory isn’t yet open because of the need for local zoning law changes, according to the Washington Post. The Post also notes that the Strati is not yet highway-legal.

This article originally appeared on Fortune.com.

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