TIME Walmart

Walmart, Amazon Settle With NY Over Banned Toy Guns

U.S. Customs And Border Patrol Hold News Conference On Dangerous Toys
Joe Raedle—Getty Images Toy guns deemed too realistic.

5 companies will pay $300,000 to settle a NY state probe

Some of the world’s top retailers have agreed to pay more than $300,000 to settle an investigation by New York State regulators into alleged sales of banned toy guns.

Walmart and Amazon headline the group of retailers that agreed to settle the probe in an agreement to be announced on Monday by state Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, according to Bloomberg. Those companies — along with Sears Holdings’ Kmart and Sears store brands, as well as California-based company ACTA — had been under investigation after allegedly selling toy guns that were prohibited under state law for being too realistic to New York residents who bought the products online.

Schneiderman’s office sent the five retailers cease and desist letters in December after the state’s investigation turned up evidence of online sales of banned toy guns online and, in one case, in a suburban Rochester Kmart store. In New York, it is illegal to sell toy guns that look too realistic, including those in colors such as black, blue, silver, or aluminum, unless they also have one-inch-wide orange stripes on both sides and on front of the toy’s barrel.

According to Bloomberg, the retailers sold more than 6,400 banned toy guns in New York between 2012 and December. Walmart will pay the bulk of the fine — $225,000 — because the recent probe found that the company violated the terms of an earlier agreement with the state, in 2003, when the company was found to be selling prohibited toy guns.

TIME remembrance

The World Marks the First Anniversary of the MH17 Aviation Disaster

One year on, investigations into the tragedy are still ongoing

Friday marks one year since Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 was shot down over conflict-torn eastern Ukraine, killing all 298 people on board.

The Boeing 777 was on route to Kuala Lumpur from Amsterdam when it crashed in pro-Russian rebel-held territory on July 17, 2014.

The Dutch Safety Board is due to release the final report into the cause of the crash in October, reports the BBC. It is widely believed by Kiev and Western nations that Russian-backed rebels shot down the plane. Moscow denies this and instead blames the Ukrainian military.

A criminal probe launched by a joint investigation team consisting of detectives from the Netherlands, Australia, Belgium, Malaysia and Ukraine is also ongoing.

A public memorial service was held in Australia’s capital, Canberra, on Friday and a permanent memorial plaque was unveiled to commemorate the 38 Australians who died.

“In the worst of times you have displayed the strength of giants and the grace of angels and I am humbled by you,” Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott told the crowd, which included family members of those who perished. “We owe it to the dead to bring the guilty to justice.”

Memorial events are also being held in Ukraine as well as the Netherlands, from where 193 of the victims hailed.

In Kuala Lumpur, a service was held on July 11, a week before the anniversary as it would otherwise clash with the Eid al-Fitr festival, which marks the end of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.

“The end goal is clear — to bring the perpetrators to justice, and ensure they pay for this unforgivable crime,” Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak said in a statement on the eve of the anniversary.

Malaysia is leading calls from several countries for a U.N. tribunal to prosecute those responsible for downing the flight. On Thursday, Russian President Vladimir Putin rejected establishing an international tribunal, saying it would be counterproductive.

Meanwhile, a new video obtained by News Corp. Australia purports to show the rebels filming themselves ransacking the luggage of passengers from MH17.

In the footage, men appear to believe they have come across the wreck of a Ukrainian fighter jet but minutes later realize the aircraft is a commercial liner.

Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop said the video was “sickening to watch.”

Warning: The video contains graphic content that some viewers may find distressing

TIME Aviation

How Did a Man Survive 11 Freezing Hours in a Plane’s Wheel Well Without Oxygen?

A airplane flies on June 19, 2015 past the offices of notonthehighstreet.com, an online retailer in Richmond, London where the body of a dead man was found on the roof on June 18.
JUSTIN TALLIS—AFP/Getty Images An airplane flying on June 19, 2015, past the offices of notonthehighstreet.com, an online retailer in Richmond, London, where the body of a dead man was found on the roof on June 18

The incident has raised concerns over airport security

A stowaway who was found Friday in the wheel well of a British Airways flight that had just arrived at London Heathrow from Johannesburg remains fighting for his life after his 11-hour ordeal.

On Tuesday, police were still waiting to speak to the 24-year-old, who has not been named and remains hospitalized in critical condition, to determine whether he is connected to the body of a man found on a roof of an office building in southwest London, the Guardian reports.

A postmortem on the body of the second man will be carried out Tuesday but investigators believe he fell from the undercarriage of a flight that was preparing to land.

Unlike the risky sea crossings currently occurring in the Mediterranean, stowaways on airplanes aren’t common, and most of those who attempt such journeys perish from hyperthermia and frostbite.

“When they hide up in the wheel well, either they are crushed by the wheel or [succumb to the] high altitude and the extreme temperatures,” Michael Daniel, an international aviation-safety consultant, tells TIME. “The lack of oxygen will kill.”

In April 2014, a 16-year-old boy made headlines after he survived five hours in the wheel well of a Hawaiian Airlines flight from California to Hawaii, somehow enduring altitudes of 38,000 ft. and subzero temperatures.

Aviation experts were astounded as to how the teen was able stand up and walk away from the plane. “That is very, very rare,” says Daniel. “Most of the time people die and they literally fall out of the wheel well when the aircraft pilot lowers the landing gear.”

During takeoff, a person clinging to the undercarriage of the aircraft risks being hit by spinning debris from the tires as they rotate at about 180 knots (207 m.p.h.).

Once in the air, they must endure temperatures as low as –76°F (–60°C) and the lack of oxygen at that altitude can take immediate effect, sending the body into a comatose state.

However, it’s actually the low temperatures that slow the body’s vital functions and so allows them to survive without oxygen. “It’s ironic that it’s the coldness that actually would help the person survive such an event,” Daniel says, adding that the tiny amount of heat generated from hydraulic pumps or the landing-gear mechanisms could also help stowaways survive. “That might lower the temperature enough to where they literally don’t freeze solid.”

But while aviation and health experts marvel at simply surviving the grueling 8,000-mile (13,000 km) journey, more serious questions are being asked regarding airport security.

According to the Guardian, checks are being ramped up at Johannesburg’s O.R. Tambo airport, where the flight originated, as officials investigate how the man was able to board the plane.

To get anywhere near a plane on the tarmac, a person would have had to deceive several layers of airport-security system, including CCTV and wire fences, as well as to go unnoticed during preflight checks by the first officer and avoid detection from the ground staff.

Adds Daniel: “If a stowaway can get to the aircraft, so can terrorists and that’s very scary obviously.”

TIME Media

Brian Williams Will Stay On at NBC News, but Won’t Get His Old Job Back

He will probably assume a new role at MSNBC

Controversial veteran journalist Brian Williams will stay on at NBC News, the network is set to announce four months after it suspended him, but will not return to his position as anchor of its prime-time Nightly News program.

The 56-year-old newsman will mostly likely join cable news network MSNBC in a role focused initially on breaking news, a person familiar with the discussions told the New York Times.

Williams’ stand-in at Nightly News, Lester Holt, will take over the anchor position on a permanent basis, people privy to the matter told the Times on condition of anonymity.

Williams was suspended for six months in February after it was revealed that he had significantly embellished an account of his experiences during the Iraq War, specifically an instance in which he said the military helicopter he was traveling in came under fire from hostile forces. The former No. 1 anchor, one of America’s most trusted television voices who consistently attracted an audience of over 10 million, acknowledged his misrepresentation of facts during his Feb. 4 broadcast and tendered an apology to viewers.

NBC reportedly found 10 to 12 other instances of Williams’ exaggeration of his reporting during a subsequent investigation, people familiar with the matter said.

[NYT]

TIME Soccer

FIFA’s Sepp Blatter Is Under Investigation for Corruption, Reports Say

The 79-year-old resigned from his position on Tuesday, but will continue his duties until a successor is found

FIFA president Sepp Blatter is himself in the crosshairs of the corruption investigation that saw several of the organization’s top brass indicted over the past week, with U.S. officials reportedly saying that he was a target of their probe into world soccer’s governing body.

The New York Times says that it was told by officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, that investigators hoped to work their way up to Blatter with the cooperation of the FIFA officials already taken into custody.

Blatter suddenly resigned from his position at the helm of the global soccer federation on Tuesday, a position he had boasted made him “president of everybody” after winning a fifth consecutive term last Friday.

It was a dramatic about-face from his originally defiant attitude towards the investigation.”Why would I step down?” he had angrily responded to a reporter’s inquiry following his election. “That would mean I recognize that I did wrong.”

On Tuesday, Blatter painted his resignation as part of a much-needed “profound restructuring” of FIFA. The 79-year-old will continue his duties until a new president is elected in late 2015 or early 2016.

TIME Guns

A 3-Year-Old Boy Shot and Killed a 1-Year-Old in an Ohio Home

Authorities investigate the scene after a shooting involving two children Sunday, April 12, 2015, in Cleveland.
Patrick Cooley/Northeast Ohio Media Group/AP Authorities investigate the scene after a shooting involving two children Sunday, April 12, 2015, in Cleveland.

The firearm had been left unattended

A three-year-old boy in Cleveland, Ohio shot and killed a one-year-old boy after picking up a handgun that had been left unattended inside a home on Sunday.

The infant was rushed to hospital with a gunshot wound to the head but was later pronounced dead, reports the Associated Press.

Investigators were trying to determine where the gun came from, Cleveland Police Chief Calvin Williams told reporters.

Though full details behind the shooting have not been released, Williams said there was at least one adult home when the incident happened.

“It’s a sad day for Cleveland,” said Williams. “This fascination that we have with handguns, not just in this city but in this country, has to stop. This is a senseless loss of life.”

[Associated Press]

TIME brazil

Watch Tens of Thousands Demand Brazil President Rousseff’s Impeachment

Protesters say the President knew about a huge graft scandal at the state oil company Petrobras

More than 1 million people took to the streets across Brazil on Sunday to demonstrate against President Dilma Rousseff.

Many were calling for her impeachment over a massive corruption scandal while she was head of the state oil company Petrobras, Agence France-Presse reports.

Rousseff, 67, also faces anger over rising inflation and a weak economy, especially among lower-income voters who traditionally back her Workers’ Party, locally known as PT.

The biggest demonstration was in São Paulo, Brazil’s most populous city, where some 500,000 people took to the streets, dressed in the yellow and green of the national flag. “Get out, Dilma; get out, PT!” they chanted. Rallies took place in 83 other towns and cities across the country, including the capital, Brasilia, where 40,000 people marched toward Congress.

Opposition parties backed the protests but didn’t go so far as to call for the President’s impeachment.

Petrobras officials allegedly accepted bribes totaling a whopping $3.8 billion in exchange for contracts for refineries, oil tankers and deep-sea platforms, with payments channeled to powerful politicians and political parties.

An investigation into dozens of prominent political figures is under way, but the President, who was chairwoman of the company’s board at the time, has not been directly implicated and denies any involvement.

After the protests, the government said it would introduce measures to fight corruption and impunity.

[AFP]

TIME Crime

Barrels of Stolen Wild Turkey Bourbon Have Been Recovered in Kentucky

The lengths people go to for a sip of good bourbon

Kentucky police have recovered five barrels of stolen Wild Turkey bourbon from a man’s backyard.

After responding to a tip-off on Wednesday, Franklin County sheriff’s deputies found the barrels of the popular whiskey behind a shed, each with a value of between $3,700 and $6,000. About 25 firearms were also found, NBC reports.

The bourbon was produced in a Wild Turkey distillery in Lawrenceburg and was still aging.

One man has been arrested and authorities are still following up on leads.

Sheriff Pat Melton couldn’t say yet whether the heist was connected to an unsolved 2013 theft of rare Pappy Van Winkle bourbon, worth more than $25,000.

Wild Turkey is testing samples of the bourbon and is conducting its own investigation.

About 95% of the world’s bourbon is produced in Kentucky.

[NBC]

MONEY Insurance

Injured Workers Are Getting Raw Deals

People injured on the job are getting shortchanged by workers' compensation, while employers and insurance companies are benefiting.

TIME China

Joaquin Phoenix Speaks Out Against China’s Brutal Dog-Leather Industry in New Video

Actor Joaquin Phoenix attends 'Vizio Di Forma - Inherent Vice' photocall at Hotel De Russie on January 26, 2015 in Rome, Italy.
Elisabetta A. Villa—Getty Images Actor Joaquin Phoenix attends 'Vizio Di Forma - Inherent Vice' photocall at Hotel De Russie on January 26, 2015 in Rome, Italy.

It's "one of the worst things" the actor has ever seen

Hollywood star and longtime vegan Joaquin Phoenix has taken a stand against China’s dog-leather industry in a new video campaign by animal-rights group People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals.

The sickening footage claims to show workers at a slaughterhouse in northeast China’s Hebei province beating dogs to death with a stick before having their throats slit and their skin ripped from their bodies.

Some are supposedly still alive when they are skinned.

In the clip, the Inherent Vice actor says it was “one of the worst things I’ve ever seen.”

The footage, originally released in December, is from a yearlong investigation conducted by PETA’s Asia department into China’s dog-leather industry.

The facility in the clip told PETA they bludgeoned 100 to 200 dogs every day and when the film was shot they had 300 dogs in the compound waiting to be killed.

Dog leather, which is cheaper to produce than material from cows or sheep, can be made into gloves, coat trims and other accessories, and is exported all over the globe.

China is the world largest leather producer, with exports this year slated to top $270 billion, but there are no penalties against abusing animals killed for their skin.

PETA claims the leather from such factories could end up in shops on U.S. or European high streets because, unless the skin is DNA tested, you won’t know where or what animal, it came from.

“If you buy leather gloves, belts or shoes, remember,” says Phoenix, who has appeared in several other PETA campaigns, “there’s no easy way to tell whose skin you’re really in.”

Warning: The video contains extremely graphic footage which viewers may find distressing.

 

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