TIME Natural Disasters

143 Million Americans Are Now Living in Earthquake Zones, Scientists Say

A youngster walks past a parking structure that collapsed during Sunday's 6.0 earthquake in Napa, California August 25, 2014
Robert Galbraith—Reuters A youngster walks past a parking structure that collapsed during Sunday's 6.0 earthquake in Napa, California August 25, 2014

Nearly 20,000 schools may be exposed to ground shaking

Some 143 million Americans in the Lower 48 states are at risk of experiencing an earthquake — with 28 million being in danger of “strong shaking,” scientists claimed on Wednesday.

In a press release, researchers attributed the record numbers to both population migration, with ever more people moving to earthquake hot-zones on the West Coast, and a “change in hazard assessments.”

The data nearly doubles the 1994 FEMA estimation of 75 million Americans who could potentially experience tremors during their lifetime, according to a collaborative study from researchers at the United States Geological Survey, FEMA and the California Geological Survey.

The new report also calculated the potential financial loss from damages to buildings like schools, hospitals and fire stations. They said the average long-term cost is $4.5 billion per year with 80% of total being concentrated in California, Oregon and Washington.

“While the West Coast may carry the larger burden of potential losses and the greatest threat from the strongest shaking, this report shows that the threat from earthquakes is widespread,” said Kishor Jaiswal, the researcher who presented the findings.

Researchers identified 6,000 fire stations, 800 hospitals and nearly 20,000 schools throughout the Lower 48 they deemed “may be exposed to strong ground motion from earthquakes.”

TIME Accident

Family Killed When Concrete Slab From Washington Bridge Fell on Truck

Workers with the Bonney Lake Public Works Department set up signs on April 13, 2015 in Bonney Lake, Wash.
David Montesino—AP Workers with the Bonney Lake Public Works Department set up signs on April 13, 2015 in Bonney Lake, Wash.

Bridge was under construction at the time

A couple in their 20s and their baby son were killed when a concrete slab from a sidewalk construction project fell from a bridge onto their truck in Washington state, police said Monday night.

Police in Bonney Lake, about 15 miles southeast of Tacoma, said a contractor was working on a section of the permanent bridge barrier on State Route 410 when the entire approximately 80- to 100-foot section detached and fell Monday morning.

“It was immediately clear to all the first responders that arrived on scene that it was an unsurvivable event,” Bonney Lake Police Officer Todd Green said.

For most of…

Read the rest of the story from our partners at NBC News

TIME Transportation

Washington State Might Build a Bridge Out of Aircraft Carriers

The project may get $90,000 in funding

Washington state may spend $90,000 on a bridge made of retired Navy aircraft carriers.

The bridge, which would cross the Sinclair Inlet is under “active consideration,” according to Popular Mechanics, even though there are currently no carriers immediately available. The funding would go toward understanding the feasibility of such a project. Those who support the bridge believe it could become a future tourist destination for the area and could also reduce traffic.

The bridge would likely need two to three aircraft carriers. The plausibility and load capacity has been questioned by some critics, though floating bridges is not a new architectural concept.

The idea comes from Washington State Representative Jesse Young. “I know that people from around the world would come to drive across the deck of an aircraft carrier bridge, number one,” Young told KUOW. “Number two, it’s the right thing to do from my standpoint because this is giving a testimony and a legacy memorial to our greatest generation.”

TIME Bizarre

Someone Stole a Family Cabin From Its Foundation

"We walked up and it was gone"

This really is a home away from home.

A Washington state family visited their vacation cabin in the woods on Tuesday — only to find their beloved getaway gone. In the last two weeks, someone managed to pry the 10-by-20-foot structure from its foundation, leaving behind only the cement blocks, the family said Wednesday.

“We walked up to the gate and it had been cut. Drove up to (the cabin) expecting it to maybe be broken windows, maybe a little vandalism, something stolen from the front of it,” Chris Hempel, the owner, told NBC affiliate KHQ in Spokane. “We walked…

Read the rest of the story from our partners at NBC News

TIME Rand Paul

Rand Paul Is the Most Interesting Man in Political Fashion


How Native Americans Shaped Washington, D.C.

Chris Maddaloni—Roll Call Photos / Getty Images Melissa Mederos, 10, from Miami, Fla., looks at the Baptism of Pocahontas by John Gadsby Chapman in the Rotunda of the Capitol.

The story the region tells of its first inhabitants is a complicated one

This post is in collaboration with The John W. Kluge Center at the Library of Congress, which brings together scholars and researchers from around the world to use the Library’s rich collections. The article below was originally published on the Kluge Center blog with the title The Indians’ Capital City: Native Histories of Washington, D.C.

As a Kluge Fellow at the Library of Congress, historian Joseph Genetin-Pilawa is researching his forthcoming book “The Indians’ Capital City: ‘Secret’ Native Histories of Washington, D.C.” He sat down with Jason Steinhauer to discuss the facts, myths, and contradictions of Native presence in the nation’s capital.

The Chesapeake has a rich indigenous history that predates the creation of Washington, D.C. What societies were here before the birth of modern-day Washington?

The human history of the region goes back thousands of years. Groups organized themselves into stratified political units known now as chiefdoms, developed military and political alliances, and practiced religious and spiritual ceremonies aimed at giving thanks and keeping the world in balance. They were all part of the massive Algonquian language that spanned the east coast, up through the Great Lakes and Canada, and even stretched to the Great Plains and part of present-day California. Although the distinct languages were related, they were not mutually intelligible.

The primary Native group that inhabited the area between the Potomac and Anacostia Rivers was and continues to be the Piscataway, along with several related groups, including the Anacostank, Pamunkey, Mattapanient, Nangemeick, and Tauxehent.

You’ve asserted that Native peoples played a significant role in shaping Washington, D.C. Can you elaborate on what you mean by that?

In my forthcoming book, I write about the perceived incongruity of Native people in urban spaces–that the Native past must give way to an urban future, and that they’re mutually exclusive. This incongruity is rooted in Washington, D.C. especially due to the creation of a commemorative landscape–centered in the art and architecture of federal buildings, but dispersed around the city as well–that iterated notions of pacification, of a conquest completed, and of vanishing Indians.

The artwork in the rotunda of the Capitol Building, for example, focuses on Native people assimilating (like Pocahontas), signing land treaties (William Penn and the Delaware), and being subjugated (Daniel Boone fighting Indians). My book argues that, unlike the Native subjects of capital art and architecture though, Indigenous visitors and inhabitants engaged with non-Native individuals and the symbols of settler society in Washington, carved out their own space(s) within it, and claimed or reclaimed an ownership of the place.

The presence of Natives in Washington in the first half of the 19th century coincided with removal of Native tribes from their homelands in the South and West. How do you interpret this tension between Natives being welcomed in Washington while Washington elected officials evicted Natives nationwide? Was that tension felt at the time?

That’s certainly a big part of what attracted me to this project. Much of the early artwork in the city was created and installed in the 1830s, ’40s, and ’50s, to support and justify the removal and reservation policies being simultaneously crafted by Congress and the Presidents. Yet, hundreds and thousands of Indian delegates were in the city concurrently. White Washingtonians told themselves one story on their walls and in their paintings, a story of a completed conquest and vanishing Indians, yet experienced an entirely different story in their everyday lives as they encountered actual Native people all over the city.

From the perspective of the Native visitors themselves, the tension was not so much about the representation versus the reality, but about resisting the very representations themselves. That process started in the earliest days of the city and continues to the present…

Click here to read the rest of the interview, at the Kluge Center blog.

Joseph Genetin-Pilawa is Assistant Professor at George Mason University. His first book is “Crooked Paths to Allotment: The Fight over Federal Indian Policy after the Civil War.” Genetin-Pilawa lectures on the history of Native Americans in Washington, D.C., on Thursday, April 2nd at 4 p.m. at the Kluge Center.

TIME Environment

Britain’s Prince Charles Urges Action to Clean Up the World’s Oceans 

Britain's Prince Charles greets participants in a conference about the rule of law in the 21st century as he visits the National Archives in Washington
Jonathan Ernst—Reuters Prince Charles, center, greets participants in a conference about the rule of law in the 21st century titled "The Magna Carta of the Future" as he visits the National Archives in Washington, D.C., on March 18, 2015

The future monarch called ocean waste "one issue that we absolutely cannot ignore"

The U.K.’s Prince of Wales made an ardent speech on Wednesday in Washington, D.C., urging world governments to tackle the growing problem of oceanic pollution.

Prince Charles told the government officials, corporate executives and nonprofit leaders present that he was “horrified” to learn that up to 8 million tons of plastic enter the world’s seas each year.

“One issue that we absolutely cannot ignore is that of the increasing quantity of plastic waste in the marine environment,” he said on the first day of his 20th official visit to the U.S., reports Agence France-Presse.

The 66-year-old heir to the British throne then described a harrowing image of seabirds being killed after mistaking plastic for food.

Accompanied by his wife Camilla, he also paid a visit to the Lincoln Memorial and Martin Luther King Memorial.

On Thursday, the Prince will meet with President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden in the Oval Office to discuss climate change, youth opportunities and other world affairs.

TIME Washington

Washington Loosens Up for a Night of Jokes

The Gridiron Club dinner mixes politics and comedy

The powerful elite of Washington, D.C., was set to gather Saturday evening for a night of comedy and revelry at the annual Gridiron Club and Foundation dinner.

President Obama was making his third appearance at the dinner at Renaissance Washington Hotel, with more than 650 officials, lawmakers and journalists also in attendance, according to the Gridiron Club, and more than 100-year-old journalistic group.

“Having been here before, President Obama realizes that the Gridiron requires you to roll with the punches… loosen up,” Gridiron Club President Clarence Page joked in prepared remarks. “Luckily, I hear he just got a great shoulder massage from Joe Biden.”

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, a 2016 GOP presidential hopeful who has bemoaned media coverage of the race, was also attending.

“We had to make some concessions to get Gov. Scott Walker to appear,” Page said. “His people asked us to avoid gotcha questions—meaning no questions that end with a question mark.”

TIME Israel

5 Facts That Explain U.S.-Israel Relations

Israeli PM Netanyahu Addresses Joint Meeting Of Congress
Win McNamee—Getty Images Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu addresses a joint meeting of the United States Congress in the House chamber at the U.S. Capitol on March 3, 2015 in Washington, DC.

The numbers behind Netanyahu's speech

Bibi Netanyahu delivered his controversial speech to Congress during crunch time for Israeli elections—and amidst turbulence in U.S.-Israel relations. Here are 5 stats that reveal the politics behind the speech and the state of play between Israel and the U.S.

1. Who tuned in?

Even though more than 50 congressional Democrats boycotted Netanyahu’s speech, it seems that just about everyone else was knocking down the doors. John Boehner’s office received requests for 10 times the number of available seats in the gallery. In Israel, the speech hit Israeli networks during primetime… but on a five-minute delay. That was because an election watchdog ruled that any content viewed as electioneering on behalf of the Prime Minister needed to be edited out.

(Huffington Post, New York Times, New York Times, The Telegraph)

2. The Iran threat

With all the applause in Congress for Netanyahu’s hardline stance against Iran, the American public’s actual stance might seem surprising. According to a recent poll, only 9% of Americans view Iran as “the United States’ greatest enemy today.” Three years ago, roughly a third of Americans did. (And you can’t just chalk up the difference to a more bellicose Russia: Iran fell from first place to fourth place). Over 60% of Americans support an agreement with Iran “that would include a limited enrichment capacity”—something Netanyahu pushed back against in his speech. There is a stark difference between Israeli and American opinion on Iran. In a 2013 survey, 75% of Israelis had “a very unfavorable view of Iran,” compared to just 42% of Americans. 85% of Israelis and 54% of Americans said “Iran’s nuclear program is a major threat.”

(Vox, Program for Public Consultation, New York Times, Huffington Post, Pew Research, The Atlantic)

3. A tale of two approval ratings

In Israel, public support for Prime Minister Netanyahu has decreased; his Likud party is in a tight race against the opposition party. But even if his support is waning at home, Netanyahu’s approval in the United States has grown. Almost twice as many Americans view Netanyahu favorably as unfavorably (45% v. 25%), a gain of 10 points since 2012.

(Haaretz, Gallup, i24 news)

4. Arab-Israeli Politics

Although Arabs make up about a fifth of Israel’s population, many Arabs do not vote. (In 2013, only 56% voted compared to a Jewish turnout of 70%). But Arabs are gaining ground in Israeli electoral politics. Recently three small Arab parties united to create the “Joint List.” The new party includes Muslim, Christian, Druze and Jewish Communist candidates. Recent polls indicate the new party could win 14 Knesset seats in the upcoming election. 78% of the Arab public was “very satisfied or moderately satisfied” with the creation of the new Arab bloc, while 19% of the Jewish public shared those feelings.

(The Economist, Daily Mail, Haaretz)

5. Emigration

In February, Netanyahu dubbed himself a “representative to the entire Jewish people”—and encouraged Jews to leave Europe for Israel. Immigration to Israel is on the rise. In 2014, Jews came to Israel in higher numbers than we’ve seen in a decade. But totaling just 26,500, last year’s Jewish immigration to Israel only accounted for 0.3% of the total diaspora. About half of all Jews live outside Israel. In a recent poll, 45% of Israeli Jewish respondents said Jews in America are safer than those in Israel—compared to just 28% who said the opposite.

(Haaretz, The Economist, The Telegraph, Israel Democracy Institute)

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