TIME States

Boat Owned By Missing Boys Found Overturned in Florida

Missing Teen Fishermen
AP This combination made from photos provided by the U.S. Coast Guard shows Perry Cohen, left, and Austin Stephanos, both 14 years old.

Hall of Fame NFL player Joe Namath helped in the search

An overturned boat was found Sunday belonging to two teenage boys who went missing while fishing off the Florida coast two days earlier, according to the U.S. Coast Guard.

The 19-foot white single-engine boat that Austin Stephanos and Perry Cohen, both 14, took out off the coast of Jupiter, Florida, Friday, was found about 67 nautical miles off the coast near Daytona Beach, said U.S. Coast Guard Petty Officer Stephen Lehmann. There was no sign of the boys on the boat, according to the Coast Guard.

A Coast Guard spokesman said one life vest was found in the hull of the boat…

Read more from our partners at NBC News


TIME public health

These States Have The Biggest Drops In Teen Pregnancy

Connecticut leads the effort with the biggest 5-year decline in teen births

Teen pregnancy in the U.S. has been declining continuously over the past 20 years. According to the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services (HHS), America’s average teen birth rate has dropped from 61.8 births for every 1,000 adolescent girls in 1991 to 26.5 in 2013. And this most recent 2013 stat is an impressive 10 percent drop from 2012.

Despite these encouraging statistics, unplanned teen pregnancy is still a major public health issue. Many health experts and economists argue that it is a principal driver of poverty and inequality, as well as high abortion rates and number of children put up for adoption.

Some states have worked to find ways to combat teen pregnancy more efficiently, though. Using data from the National Vital Statistics System (NVSS), HealthGrove mapped the change in teen births (girls 15-19 years old) over the last five years.

Why are some states making bigger strides than others? Colorado’s effort against unwanted pregnancy, for example, has been successful due to programs that offer adolescents and poor women long-acting birth control. After being given this choice, the birthrate among these women fell by 37.9%, and abortions plunged by 42%, according to Colorado’s Department of Public Health and Environment.

The correlation between early motherhood and poverty was pretty strong in Colorado’s case. Before women were offered intrauterine devices (IUDs) from the free program in 2009, 50% of births to women in low income areas happened before age 21. In 2014, that age jumped to 24. And according to Sabrina Tavernise of the New York Times, this difference “gives young women time to finish their educations and to gain a foothold in an increasingly competitive job market.”

Many of the states that have a low 5-year change—meaning they still haven’t reduced teen pregnancies—also have relatively high poverty levels. New initiatives like the one in Colorado may help states make progress on both goals.

HealthGrove ranked the top 10 states that are setting a good example for the rest of the country, ordered by the biggest 5-year declines in teen births.

  • 10. Wisconsin

    Teen birth rate in 2013: 1.96%
    Population: 5,706,871

    Wisconsin reduced adolescent pregnancies by 33.3% in five years.

  • 9. Oregon

    Teen birth rate in 2013: 2.16%
    Population: 3,868,721

    Oregon reduced adolescent pregnancies by 33.5% in five years.

  • 8. District of Columbia

    Teen birth rate in 2013: 3.21%
    Population: 619,371

    The District of Columbia reduced adolescent pregnancies by 33.8% in five years.

  • 7. Virginia

    Teen birth rate in 2013: 2.01%
    Population: 8,100,653

    Virginia reduced adolescent pregnancies by 33.9% in five years.

  • 6. North Carolina

    Teen birth rate in 2013: 2.84%
    Population: 9,651,380

    North Carolina reduced adolescent pregnancies by 35.0% in five years.

  • 5. Georgia

    Teen birth rate in 2013: 3.05%
    Population: 9,810,417

    Georgia reduced adolescent pregnancies by 35.1% in five years.

  • 4. Maryland

    Teen birth rate in 2013: 1.94%
    Population: 5,834,299

    Maryland reduced adolescent pregnancies by 36.8% in five years.

  • 3. Colorado

    Teen birth rate in 2013: 2.34%
    Population: 5,119,329

    Colorado reduced adolescent pregnancies by 37.9% in five years.

  • 2. Massachusetts

    Teen birth rate in 2013: 1.21%
    Population: 6,605,058

    Massachusetts reduced adolescent pregnancies by 37.9% in five years.

  • 1. Connecticut

    Teen birth rate in 2013: 1.29%
    Population: 3,583,561

    Connecticut reduced adolescent pregnancies by 39.2% in five years.

    This article originally appeared on FindTheBest


TIME States

Happy Hour Is Legal Again in Illinois

A ban is overturned after more than 25 years

Happy hour is coming back to Illinois.

Gov. Bruce Rauner signed a bill Wednesday that nullified a ban on happy hour drink specials in the state, which had been in effect since 1989. The ban was meant to combat alcohol-related car accidents.

If you live in Illinois, you haven’t been able to grab a drink after work with buddies to blow off steam and snap up cheaper “happy hour” deals for more than 25 years. But discounts will now be allowed for up to four hours a day and up to 15 hours a week, so long as specials end before 10 p.m. “Volume” drink specials, like getting two for the price of one, will remain banned.

Reactions were mixed: While customers were jubilant, business owners opposed the bill. Some activists fear happy hour drink specials will lead to more alcohol related accidents.

TIME States

Texas Launches Investigation Into Planned Parenthood Over Video

“The video offers a glimpse into an organization that knowingly and deliberately destroys human life to further its bottom line.”

Texas’ top law enforcement official has opened an investigation into Planned Parenthood following the release of a widely shared video that shows a staffer discussing fetal tissue donations.

Attorney General Ken Paxton said Wednesday the video “offers a glimpse into an organization that knowingly and deliberately destroys human life to further its bottom line.”

He said Planned Parenthood engages in “calculated slaughter of human babies to maximize the available body parts they plan to sell.”

The activists who released the video argue that it shows that Planned Parenthood sells parts of aborted fetuses, which is against the law. The organization says that the official featured in the video was simply discussing how certain costs could be reimbursed and said it in no way profits off the sale of fetal tissue.

The release of a video that has led many pro-life advocates to denounce the organization. A number of Republican 2016 presidential candidates blasted the organization on Tuesday and leaders in the House of Representatives have called for an official investigation.

Read Next: Why Planned Parenthood Provides Fetal Cells to Scientists

TIME South Carolina

Watch the Emotional Speech That Helped Bring Down the Confederate Flag

An emotional speech by a descendant of Jefferson Davis Wednesday helped convince the South Carolina House to remove the Confederate flag from the Capitol grounds.

“I cannot believe that we do not have the heart in this body to do something meaningful such as take a symbol of hate off these grounds on Friday,” Rep. Jenny Horne said. Horne’s ancestor, Jefferson Davis, was the president of the Confederacy.

“For the widow of Sen. Pinckney and his two young daughters, that would be adding insult to injury,” she yelled, fighting back tears.

Pinckney, a state senator, was one of nine victims in a racially-motivated shooting at a black church in Charleston on June 17. The shooting set off a contentious debate about the role of the Confederate flag in modern society, specifically about its place at the South Carolina State House. The state House voted at 1 am Thursday morning to remove the flag.

TIME Crime

Prison Escapee David Sweat Is Back in Jail

Escaped Prisoners david sweat
AP Police stand over David Sweat after he was shot and captured near the Canadian border June 28, 2015, in Constable, N.Y.

Sweat was shot and captured last week

New York prison escapee David Sweat, who was shot and captured last week after a weeks-long manhunt, has been discharged from the hospital and moved to a new maximum security prison, officials said on Sunday.

Sweat was moved overnight from the Albany Medical Center to the Five Points Correctional Facility in Romulus, a town of 4,000-some people in central New York, CNN reports. The Five Points Correctional Facility is about 200 miles southwest of the Clinton Correctional Facility in Dannemora, where Sweat and his fellow inmate, Richard Matt, escaped on June 6. Matt was shot dead by police on June 26, two days before police shot and captured Sweat.

Sweat is being evaluated in the infirmary, after which he will be transferred to a “single cell” in a 23-hour confinement facility, officials said. He has also been placed on suicide watch in a cell officials said is designed to “limit movement.”

Two prison workers have been arrested in connection with the escape, while a dozen prison officials, including the prison chief, have been placed on administrative leave.



TIME States

Why Texas Wants Its Gold Back

And why that will be much harder than it seems

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — Forget Fort Knox or the Federal Reserve. Texas has decided to start keeping its gold holdings within in its own borders. But what makes sense politically in such a sovereignty-loving place is creating a logistical conundrum.

Texas is the only state that owns an actual stockpile of gold, according to public sector and financial industry experts — not just gold futures or investment positions, but approximately 5,600 gold bars worth around $650 million. The holdings, stored at a New York bank, for some harken back to century-old fears about the security of currency not backed by shiny bullion.

The Legislature’s decision this summer to bring its gold cache home was hailed by many conservatives, and even some on the far left, who are suspicious of national government.

“There will always be the exact same amount of gold in there as the amount that was put in,” no matter what happens to the financial system, said Republican state Rep. Rep. Giovanni Capriglione, a former tea party organizer from the Dallas suburbs who authored the gold bill.

But for the Texas comptroller’s office, which has to implement the policy, the catch is that the new Texas Bullion Depository exists in name but not reality.

The law doesn’t say where the depository would be or how it should be built or secured. No funding was provided for those purposes or for leasing space elsewhere. Further complicating matters is a provision allowing ordinary people to check their own gold or silver bullion into the facility.

“We are honestly at the phase where the questions we are answering are creating more questions that we have to answer,” said Chris Bryan, a comptroller’s office spokesman.

Charged with figuring everything out is a four-member task force within the comptroller’s office, which recently dispatched an official to a precious metals conference to study up.

One immediate concern is the possible cost. When Fort Knox was completed in 1936 it cost $560,000 — or roughly $9.2 million in today’s dollars. When Capriglione first introduced his bill in 2013 it had an estimated cost of $23 million.

But Capriglione now thinks private companies would bid to create a depository in exchange for charging storage and service fees.

The plan has kicked up chatter outside of Texas that it’s a step toward secession, an idea raised now and then on the state’s farthest political fringe.

“Just moving it would be pretty expensive and, unless Texas is anticipating withdrawing from the union, which I suspect is some peoples’ want, I don’t see what advantage it is…,” said Edwin Truman, a senior fellow at the Washington-based Peterson Institute for International Economics who has written about gold and monetary policy. “What are you getting for what you’re paying for?”

But Capriglione says he’s just convinced that gold is safer, especially close at hand.

After the bill sailed through the Legislature, Republican Gov. Greg Abbott signed it and tweeted: “California may be the golden state, but Texans deserve to keep their gold in-state!”

Texas’ state-owned gold is held by the University of Texas Investment Management Company, the nation’s second largest academic endowment behind Harvard. It began gradually amassing gold futures in 2009 as a hedge against currency weakness in the recession. It eventually transitioned to physical bullion, and by 2011 had $1 billion worth.

The price of gold has since mostly slumped amid a soaring stock market. Today, the fund’s gold bars represent about 2.5 percent of its $25.4 billion in holdings, said Chief Executive Officer Bruce Zimmerman.

Asked about the new depository, Zimmerman said, “We don’t do politics. We’re just investors.”

The Fed declined comment on the new Texas depository, as did HSBC bank, which currently stores the gold bars in an underground vault in Manhattan.

Stacked together, the state’s gold occupies about 20 square feet. It’s unclear whether repatriating it could be done with an electronic transfer or would require a fleet of planes or armored cars.

One possible effect of the new depository might be more attention to the idea of returning to the gold standard, long a cause of former Texas Rep. Ron Paul. The Federal Reserve was founded more than a century ago so that the value of the U.S. dollar no longer had to be anchored to gold, and Richard Nixon formally scrapped the gold standard in 1971.

“I think Texas is once again showing they’re ahead of the curve,” said James Rickards, author of the 2014 book “The Death of Money: The Coming Collapse of the International Monetary System.” ”They’re not waiting for the disaster, but preparing for it.”

TIME States

California Towns Cancel Fireworks Over Drought Fears

More than 300 fires were started by fireworks last year

Drought-weary California will be extra careful in its celebrations this Fourth of July weekend, with some communities canceling their official fireworks displays and others that used to allow residents to shoot off a few of their own saying not this year.

“As we head into the fourth summer of a severe drought, it is more important than ever that everyone use an abundance of caution to avoid sparking a fire,” CalFire director Chief Ken Pimlott said in a release on June 30.

Officials statewide have warned of the danger fireworks can pose with more than 71 percent of the state in a …

Read more from our partners at NBC News

TIME States

Why This July 4th Will Be The Biggest One Yet

The numbers don't lie

As Americans prepare to toast the Founding Fathers and the spirit of 1776, the American Pyrotechnics Association has estimated that this year’s sales of sparklers, cones, fountains and other “backyard” fireworks could exceed $725 million, a record for this category of fireworks.

But that’s not the only dazzling number to expect for this July 4th. From purchasing 700 million pounds of chicken to spending $1 billion in beer, Americans will celebrate their independence on a larger scale than ever this year.


TIME Environment

BP Will Pay Gulf States $18.7 Billion Over Oil Spill

The oil spill resulted from an explosion of the Deepwater Horizon rig in April 2010

(NEW ORLEANS) — Officials in Florida, Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana have announced an $18.7 billion settlement with BP that resolves years of litigation over the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill.

Thursday’s settlement announcement comes as a federal judge was preparing to rule on how much BP owed in federal Clean Water Act penalties after well over 125 million gallons of oil spewed into the Gulf.

BP has said its spill-related costs already exceed $42 billion — even without the Clean Water Act fine. It’s also unclear how much BP will end up paying under a 2012 settlement with individuals and businesses claiming spill-related losses.

The spill resulted from the April 20, 2010, explosion of the Deepwater Horizon rig, which killed 11 workers.

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