TIME Morning Must Reads

Morning Must Reads: July 22

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

In the news: Ukraine rebels turn over bodies from downed Malaysia Airlines Flight 17; Kerry seeks Gaza cease-fire; Detroit suspends water shutoffs; One of the largest private gifts ever for scientific research; Georgia GOP primary; 10 years since the 9/11 Commission report

  • “After days of resistance, pro-Russian rebels on Monday yielded some ground in the crisis surrounding downed Malaysia Airlines Flight 17—handing over passengers’ bodies, relinquishing the plane’s black boxes and pledging broader access for investigators to the crash site.” [WashPost]
    • Why Putin Is Willing to Take Big Risks in Ukraine [WSJ]
    • “The crash of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 exposes the truth about RT, the Russian English-language propaganda outlet.” [TIME]
  • Israel pounded targets across the Gaza Strip on Tuesday, saying no ceasefire was near as top U.S. and U.N. diplomats pursued talks on halting fighting that has claimed more than 500 lives. U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry held talks in neighboring Egypt, while U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon was due to arrive in Israel later in the day.” [Reuters]
  • “Whether the Afghan forces can sustain themselves in the critical districts the Green Berets will be ceding to them is an urgent question all over the country. The answer will help define America’s legacy in Afghanistan, much as it has in Iraq, where the Iraqi forces have fallen apart in combat.” [NYT]
  • “Congress and the President have finally found some common ground: Obama will sign the first significant legislative job training reform effort in nearly a decade on Tuesday.” [TIME]
  • Breakthrough on VA Reform Bill? [Hill]
  • “President Barack Obama on Monday signed an executive order aimed at protecting workers at federal contractors and in the federal government from discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity.” [Politico]
  • “The Detroit Water and Sewerage Department is suspending its water shutoffs for 15 days starting today to give residents another chance to prove they are unable to pay their bills.” [Detroit Free Press]
  • “…the Broad Institute, a biomedical research center, announced a $650 million donation for psychiatric research from the Stanley Family Foundation—one of the largest private gifts ever for scientific research. It comes at a time when basic research into mental illness is sputtering, and many drug makers have all but abandoned the search for new treatments.” [NYT]
  • Jack Kingston’s Insider Advantage [NJ]
  • “The evidence for a left-wing challenge to Clinton that could defeat her is thin to nonexistent.” [Slate]
  • “Ten years ago today, we released The 9/11 Commission Report to the government and the American public…” [USA Today]
TIME Detroit

Detroit to Temporarily Halt Water Shutoffs

Customers have an additional 15 days to come forward if they cannot pay

The Detroit Water and Sewage Department announced Monday that it will halt its impending water shutoffs for 15 days to allow residents more time to show they cannot pay their bills.

The announcement occurred the same day 10 residents, along with several organizations, filed a lawsuit asking Detroit’s U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Steven Rhodes to restore service, the Detroit Free Press reports.

More than 7,500 customers had their water shut off by the city in April and May as part of the financially troubled city’s crackdown on unpaid bills following a long period of lax enforcement.

“In case we have missed someone who has legitimate affordability problems, this will allow them to come to us to see if they can work out payments,” said DWSD spokesman Bill Johnson, who said that he was unaware of the lawsuit. “We’ve always maintained that what we were doing was a collection effort — not a shutoff effort.”

Residents and community activists claim the city is violating constitutional and contractual rights by ending water service for those who owe money.

“Water provided through public utilities is a necessity of modern life and continued access to it is a property right accorded due process protections,” read the lawsuit filed Monday.

On Friday, Kevyn Orr, the city’s emergency manager, said that no one who could not afford water would have to go without it.

The department’s director, Darryl Latimer, said the city is beginning outreach efforts to educate residents about financial assistance and payment options to those with a documented need.

[Detroit Free Press]

TIME Crime

Trial Begins in Porch Shooting of Unarmed Detroit Teen

This undated file photo is the cover of a funeral program showing 19-year-old Renisha McBride from a service in Detroit.
This undated file photo is the cover of a funeral program showing 19-year-old Renisha McBride from a service in Detroit. AP

Jury selection in Theodore Wafer's murder trial set to begin Monday

Jury selection is set to begin Monday in the trial of Theodore Wafer, 55, who is charged with shooting and killing an unarmed 19-year-old Detroit woman on his front porch.

Wafer shot Renisha McBride in the head with a shotgun at his suburban Detroit home in November, after the inebriated teenager pounded on his door in the middle of the night.

Prosecutors believe McBride was seeking help from Wafer after crashing into a parked car some blocks away. The defense argues Wafer feared for his life and acted in self-defense when he shot her. Wafer has been charged with second-degree murder and manslaughter. According to the Associated Press, he faces life in prison if convicted.

The defense is reportedly working to paint McBride as aggressive and violent. According to the Detroit Free Press, the judge has ruled against allowing the jury to see McBride’s cellphone photos or text messages at the time of trial, which the defense wanted to support their claims. The jury will likely hear testimony about crime in Detroit, and the Dearborn Heights suburb where McBride was shot.

“If Ms. McBride had stayed at the scene of her car crash, where help was on the way, Mr. Wafer would never have been put in the situation … to use deadly force to protect himself,” defense attorney Cheryl Carpenter said, the Associated Press reports.

The prosecution plans to argue that the use of deadly force was unnecessary. “Someone who claims lawful self-defense must have an honest and reasonable — not honest or reasonable — belief of imminent death or imminent great bodily harm,” Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy said, when she filed charges.

TIME Economy

Motor City Revival: Detroit’s Stunning Evolution in 19 GIFs

One year ago today Detroit became the largest city in US history to file for bankruptcy. See what changes took place in the city in the years leading up to the momentous declaration.

The Motor City, the former automotive capital of the nation, has seen a steady and precipitous decline in population and economic growth over the last half-century. The automotive industry’s move out of Detroit, poor political decision-making, and the collapse of the housing industry can all be viewed as causes for the city’s decline, among other reasons. On July 18, 2013, unable to pay its looming debts, Detroit became the largest city in U.S. history to enter bankruptcy.

However, this momentous step did not happen overnight. Detroit was hit with a housing crisis in 2008, a sign of economic trouble that foreshadowed the city’s bankruptcy. A major outcome of that crisis is the city’s ongoing blight epidemic. Vast stretches of abandoned residential property lay on the outskirts of the once sprawling 139-square-mile city.

As Steven Gray wrote in 2009, “If there’s any city that symbolizes the most extreme effects of the nation’s economic crisis and, in particular, America’s housing crisis, it is Detroit.”

While many of the buildings and houses within the city have disappeared, evidence of a former era can be found in the more than 80,000 blighted houses remaining combined with an estimated 5,000 incidents of arson each year, according to the New York Times Magazine.

Despite all this, the Motor City could have a bright road ahead. There has been a recent surge in growth, spurred by a sense of opportunity in the ever-evolving city. New businesses are popping up and property is being rebuilt and re-purposed for urban farming, startups and public art.

Google Street view images, compiled here into GIFs, offer a unique look at how Detroit’s landscape has changed over the past four to six years leading up to the city’s bankruptcy a year ago.

TIME Religion

Detroit Man Admits Burning Quran Outside Islamic Center

Statements to police don't clarify the motive

A Michigan man of Iraqi heritage pleaded guilty to charges related to the burning of the Quran on June 25 after being caught in the act outside an Islamic community center in a Detroit suburb.

Ali Al-Asadi, 51, was stopped by police on June 25 outside Karabala Islamic Center as he stood over a burning a Quran. In conversations with police, Al-Asadi admitted to burning the Quran and acknowledged having done so on two earlier occasions. He explained the burnings as an attempt to find help collecting on a “legal settlement,” something that local mosques had refused to do, according to Dearborn, Mich. Police Lieutenant Doug Topoloski. Al-Asadi told the Detroit Free Press that he suffers from “severe psychological trauma anxiety.”

Ali Al-Asadi Quran Burning Dearborn Detroit Michigan
Ali Al-Asadi was arrested for burning a Quran outside the Karabala Islamic Center in Dearborn, Mich. on June 25, 2014. City of Dearborn

In Dearborn, where Arab-Americans account for more than 40% of the population and comprise a majority of the City Council, the burning of the Islam’s key religious text has been met with confusion.

“I don’t know this guy,” says Husham Alhusainy, the imam who leads the center where the incident occurred. “What is the motivation?”

Alhusainy says he is outraged at the “evil action,” though other Islamic leaders in the community shrugged at its implications.

“I don’t know the motive of why he burned the Quran, but in our country people can burn flags. He was charged with littering which was the appropriate the charge under the law,” says Dawud Walid, an Islamic preacher and the executive director of the Michigan chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR).

Drawing a distinction between Al-Asadi and people like Florida preacher Terry Jones, who traveled to Michigan to inflame religious tensions, Walid says Al-Asadi’s motives seem more baffling than malicious. “Was he even motivated to make a statement regarding religion?” he says.”I’ve never even heard of a situation like this. It’s so bizarre.”

Al-Asadi was charged with littering and unlawful release of soot, and was released on $300 bond. His sentencing is scheduled for August 5.

TIME cities

Madonna Donates to Detroit After ‘Inspiring’ Visit

Madonna to return to film directing
Yui Mok—AP

The pop icon is giving money to a boxing gym and a charter school in her troubled hometown

Madonna is donating money to support youth in her hometown of Detroit after being “inspired by the progress she’s witnessed thus far after a recent visit,” the pop star announced in a press release Tuesday.

The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee will donate funding toward a new facility for Detroit’s Downtown Boxing Gym—where the kids, she says, have a 100% high school graduation rate—and the Detroit Achievement Academy charter school, which she’ll buy “new equipment, art and music supplies including speakers, iPods, iPads and Smart Boards for each classroom.”

Racked by years of decay and a faltering economy, Detroit is currently undergoing the largest municipal bankruptcy in American history. Madonna called this “the first phase of a long-term commitment” to invest in the Motor City.

TIME viral

Missing Boy’s Father Told Son Found in Basement on Live TV

Charles Bothuell was rendered speechless when HLN's Nancy Grace told him the news

+ READ ARTICLE

The 11-day search for a missing child in Detroit took a bizarre turn on Wednesday, when the 12-year-old was found hiding in the basement of his father’s home.

The perplexing case unfolded on live television when, during an interview on HLN, the boy’s father, Charles Bothuell, was informed that his son Charlie had been found in the basement.

The incredulous father appeared bewildered and breathless, taking a moment to recover. “I checked my basement,” Bothuell said. “The FBI checked my basement. The police checked my basement. My wife checked my basement. I’ve been down there several times. We’ve all been checking.”

The boy’s discovery concludes a search that began on June 14 when Charlie walked out of the home refusing to do chores, his father had told HLN earlier. But it also raises new questions.

Charlie was found barricaded behind boxes and a large five-gallon drum, Detroit Police Chief James Craig told CNN affiliate XWYZ. “There’s no way he could have erected his makeshift area of concealment,” he said.

He later told reporters that he was not ruling out the possibility that an adult was responsible for hiding the boy, according to CNN. “We’re not ruling that out,” he said. “It would be hard for me to sit here and tell you that someone didn’t know Charlie was there, but I can’t say definitively.”

After his interview on HLN, Charles Bothuell, the father, responded angrily to questions about who may have known of his son’s whereabouts, CNN reports. “For anybody to imply that I somehow knew my son was in the basement is absurd and wrong. I love my son,” he said. “I’m glad that he’s home.”

[CNN]

 

MONEY freebies

Where to Watch the USA-Germany World Cup Match for Free

140626_EM_WorldCupViewing_1
Max Herman/Corbis

Cities around the U.S. are getting in the World Cup spirit by hosting free public viewing parties of the big USA-Germany match on Thursday. Here a dozen places where you can catch the action.

If you’re a soccer fan, you may want to take an extra long lunch break (or breakfast for those in the West) and watch the match on a big screen—typically a really, really big screen in a city park or popular gathering place—with thousands of fellow fans who are doing the same thing. Here are a dozen U.S. cities where the public is being welcomed to watch the match as a group. Admission is free at all venues, and drinks and food are generally available on site.

Ann Arbor, Mich.: At the office of the Ann Arbor News, 111 N. Ashley St.

Boston, Mass.: City Hall Plaza

Buffalo, N.Y.: Canalside

Chicago, Ill.: Petrillo Music Shell in Grant Park

Dallas, Tex.: AT&T Plaza outside American Airlines Arena

Detroit, Mich.: Cadillac Square

Kansas City, Mo.: KC Live! Block

Los Angeles, Calif.: Hermosa Beach Pier

New York City: Bryant Park in Manhattan and under the Manhattan Bridge in Brooklyn

Orlando, Fla.: Wall Street Plaza (21+ only)

Salt Lake City, Utah: Energy Solutions Arena

Seattle, Wash.: Phinney Center

TIME

UN Help Sought to Restore Detroit Water Service

DETROIT (AP) — Welfare rights groups want a United Nations agency to help Detroiters whose water service has been cut off due to unpaid bills.

The Detroit Water and Sewerage Department launched an effort in March targeting residents and companies more than 60 days in arrears. The department says it sent 46,000 notices and cut off service to 4,500 customers.

The Detroit News and the Detroit Free Press report that welfare groups have appealed to a representative at the U.N. Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights who handles safe drinking water and sanitation issues. The groups say water service should be restored to delinquent customers and that it is a matter of human rights.

On Tuesday, Democratic Congressman John Conyers of Michigan issued a statement calling the shutoffs “inhumane.”

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