TIME National Security

Passengers Arriving in the U.S. Are Profiled by Nationality, TSA Head Says

John Pistole
Transportation Security Administration chief John Pistole testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington on Nov. 14, 2014 Molly Riley—AP

People from Yemen, Syria and certain other countries are subject to greater checks

The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) profiles airline travelers based on national origin, screening passengers from Syria, Yemen and other nations with extra attention, the agency’s outgoing head said Tuesday.

John Pistole told the Associated Press that a passenger’s Yemeni or Syrian citizenship might be relevant to the TSA, just as a person’s citizenship of a South or Central American country might be relevant to U.S. Customs and Border Protection.

Though the Justice Department last week barred federal law-enforcement agencies from profiling based on religion and national origin, it gave an exception to the TSA, as well as to U.S. Customs and Border Protection and other security-related agencies.

Pistole, who is leaving the agency at the end of the month, oversaw a reversal in the TSA’s screening practices to shift resources toward chiefly monitoring travelers designated as high or unknown risk. Most passengers are classified as “no known risk” and are now swiftly moved through the security process.

[AP]

TIME Yemen

Yemen Car Bomb Attack Kills 25, Including 15 Students

The bombs hit a school bus traveling near a Shiite rebel gathering

(SANAA, Yemen) — Two car bombs exploded south of the Yemeni capital Tuesday, hitting a school bus traveling near a Shiite rebel gathering, killing 25, including at least 15 primary school students, the rebel group said.

The Shiite rebels, known as the Houthis, blamed al-Qaida for the attack in the Radaa area of Baydah province, calling it “the ugliest crime against childhood.” The group said the school bus was carrying female primary school students.

It was not clear if the other 10 killed in the attack were rebel fighters or civilians.

Local tribesmen said one of the cars targeted the home of a Shiite rebel leader, Abdullah Idris, who is also a member of the General People’s Congress Party of ousted President Ali Abdullah Saleh. They said one of the car bombs rammed into the house while another hit a checkpoint near the house — killing the rebels manning the checkpoint and also striking the passing school bus.

The tribesmen spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to reporters.

This is the second time Idris’s house has been targeted since October. The Houthis and al-Qaida have been fighting in Radaa since the rebels overran the area in October.

The empowered Shiite rebels have made significant military advances in recent months, seizing control of the capital and other strategic cities.

 

TIME

Morning Must Reads: December 8

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

California Protests Turn Violent

A second night of protest against police killings in Missouri and New York City turned violent again in Berkeley, Calif., as some demonstrators threw explosives at officers, assaulted each other and shut down a freeway, police said

Why Dealing With Uncertainty is Easier for Some People

A study identifies personality traits that may distinguish those who are better or worse at waiting — some of which, thankfully, may be adaptable

Behind the Rescue Op in Yemen

Navy SEALs flew into southern Yemen early on Saturday to rescue American captive Luke Somers, but they only succeeded in rescuing his body

U.S. Gas Prices Hit 4-Year Low

The average price of a gallon of regular gasoline has dropped 12¢ over the past two weeks, reaching a four-year low, a new survey finds. The falloff is attributed to a spike in crude-oil production in North America, a slowdown in demand and a strong dollar

Hunger Games: Mockingjay Tops Box-Office for Third Week

Mockingjay benefits from star power, family friendliness and established popularity. But even so, its box-office power is less attributable to esteem for the franchise than to the fact that it doesn’t have much competition right now

Ebola Patient Reveals Identity

A doctor who contracted Ebola while treating patients in Sierra Leone and was evacuated to the U.S. for care in September has revealed his identity. The viral load in his blood was 100 times that of the facility’s other patients

Prince William and Kate Arrive in New York City

Prince William and Kate arrived in New York City on Sunday night for a three-day trip, the most anticipated royal visit since the glory days of Diana. “The level of excitement in New York has been absolutely phenomenal,” said the British consul general

U.S. Transfers 6 Guantanamo Detainees

The men were moved from Guantanamo Bay to Uruguay, marking the largest group to depart the prison since 2009 and first resettle in South America. The detainees include four Syrians, a Tunisian and a Palestinian

Democrats Sink in the South

The fall of Sen. Mary Landrieu means Louisiana won’t have a Democratic statewide elected official for the first time since 1876. The Republican Party will control every Senate seat, governor’s mansion and legislative chamber from the Carolinas to Texas

Boyhood Wins Another Top Prize

The Los Angeles Film Critics Association has awarded Boyhood four prizes, including Best Picture, in the latest coup for the coming-of-age movie. Just a day earlier, the Boston Society of Film Critics honored the film with five awards, also including Best Picture

New Delhi Bans Uber Following Rape Accusation

The city of New Delhi banned popular ride-sharing service Uber on Monday afternoon, a few days after a 27-year-old female passenger accused one of its drivers of sexually assaulting her. However the ban is not in connection with the alleged attack but rather transport laws

Inventor of First Gaming Console Dies

Ralph Baer, the man known for creating the first-ever video-game console, which still serves as a blueprint for the Xboxes and PlayStations of today, has passed away aged 92. Over the course of his career, he accumulated over 150 patents and won many awards and honors

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TIME

Morning Must Reads: December 4

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

This week Lev Grossman, the author of this week’s cover story about Mark Zuckerberg, “Half The World Is Not Enough,” will answer questions from TIME subscribers at 1 p.m. on Friday. You should read the story here.

Grossman, among many other things, is also the author of the Magician trilogy, a fantasy series, and the 2010 Person of the Year profile of Zuckerberg.

To ask Lev a question, please write them in the comments below or via Twitter using the #AskTime hashtag. His responses will only be available to subscribers, but it’s easy, cheap and worth it to subscribe. Just click here. You get one year for $40, including the print issues delivered to your home.

No Charges for Chokehold Cop

Wednesday’s announcement that a grand jury declined to indict a New York cop in the death of a man, by apparent chokehold, prompted protests around the city overnight and Attorney General Eric Holder to announce the opening of a federal civil-rights inquiry

Behind the Hack on Sony Pictures

Sony Pictures is the victim of an ongoing cyberattack, whose timing has led to increasing speculation that North Korea may have orchestrated it

3 Cosby Accusers Step Forward

L.A. attorney Gloria Allred, who is representing the accusers, demanded Cosby place $100 million in a fund for his alleged victims

House Passes Bill to Help Disabled Save for Living Expenses

The House overwhelmingly passed a bill on Wednesday that will help the disabled pay for a host of expenses — including education, housing, transportation and health — by cutting Medicare payments for penis pumps

Gun Battle Leaves 19 Dead in Chechen Capital

Militants attacked a checkpoint early Thursday in the capital of Russia’s North Caucasus republic of Chechnya, leaving at least ten police officers and nine gunmen dead. The violence erupted hours before Vladimir Putin began his annual state of the nation address

David Beckham ‘Confident’ of Miami Soccer Team

David Beckham remains confident that he can bring a Major League Soccer franchise to Miami, despite the rejection of two proposed waterfront stadium venues by local government. “Miami is still David’s No. 1 choice, and it will happen,” said a spokesman

U.S. General Optimistic on Liberia’s Battle With Ebola

General David M. Rodriguez, the U.S. military commander for Africa, says he might be able to scale back operations in Liberia by next month. He said U.S. troops deployed there might be moved if progress reports continue to encourage optimism

Al Qaeda Threatens to Execute U.S. Hostage

Militants in Yemen have released a video threatening to execute Luke Somers, a 33-year old photojournalist and interpreter, in three days if its demands to the U.S. government are not met, according to a company that monitors terrorist groups

Jonah Hill In Talks To Star In Arms and the Dudes

Jonah Hill is in talks to star in Hangover producer Todd Phillips’ next project, a film about two arms dealers who travel to Afghanistan to execute a $300 million contract but find themselves extremely unprepared for the situation

Toyota Recalls Cars in Japan, China for Air Bags

Toyota is recalling 185,000 vehicles in Japan and 5,000 in China for possibly defective air bags supplied by Takata, the Japanese manufacturer at the center of an unfolding safety scandal. Some 14 million vehicles have been recalled worldwide over Takata air bags

Obama Issues Warning Over Xi Jinping’s Growing Power

U.S. President Barack Obama on Wednesday gave a stern assessment of what he called Chinese President Xi Jinping’s quick consolidation of power, expressing worries about the nation’s dubious human-rights record and insistent nationalism

AC/DC Drummer Phil Rudd Scuffles With Witness

Troubled AC/DC drummer Phil Rudd was detained by police on Thursday after getting into a scuffle with a witness in his pending court case but was released again on bail without facing further charges. Government prosecutors have argued that Rudd’s behavior has been erratic

 

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TIME Yemen

Al Qaeda Threatens to Execute U.S. Hostage in Yemen

A video grab taken from a propaganda video released by al-Malahem Media on Dec. 4, 2014 purportedly shows hostage Luke Somers, 33, kidnapped more than a year ago in the Yemeni capital Sanaa, calling for help and saying that his life is in danger.
A video grab taken from a propaganda video released by al-Malahem Media on Dec. 4, 2014 purportedly shows hostage Luke Somers, 33, kidnapped more than a year ago in the Yemeni capital Sanaa, calling for help and saying that his life is in danger. AFP/Getty Images

In video gunmen threaten the life of Luke Somers

Militants in Yemen have released a video threatening to execute a British-born American hostage in three days if its demands to the U.S. government are not met, according to a company that monitors terrorist groups.

The video from al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), which was purportedly released Thursday, does not specify what those demands are, SITE Intelligence Group said. But in a translation provided by the company, AQAP accuses the U.S. of bombing its fighters. In the video, a man the group claims is U.S. citizen Luke Somers is threatened with execution.

TIME Yemen

American Among Hostages Targeted in Yemen Raid

"We found the eight hostages chained. We found al-Qaida cell phones and documents"

(SANAA, YEMEN) — U.S operation forces took part in a rescue mission that freed eight hostages in a remote corner of Yemen, but a Yemeni official said Wednesday that it did not liberate five others, including an American journalist and a Briton who were moved elsewhere by their al-Qaida captors days before the raid.

Eight hostages — including a Saudi— were liberated in the joint U.S.-Yemeni operation, a rare instance of American forces intervening on the ground in Yemen. A member of the Yemeni anti-terrorism forces was quoted on a website connected to Yemen’s Defense Ministry, saying that the mission searched for a group of hostages from several nations in an eastern province, but when the commandos arrived at the cave where al-Qaida militants had chained and covered the hostages in blankets, the American and four others were already gone.

A senior U.S. official had earlier confirmed U.S. involvement and said no American was rescued, without elaborating whether the operation had intended to free one.

The mission was carried out in a vast desert area dotted with dunes called Hagr al-Saiaar, an al-Qaida safe haven where local tribes offer them protection near the Saudi border.

The operations come as U.S. drone strikes target militants amid a Shiite rebel power grab in the politically unstable, impoverished nation and fierce battles between al-Qaida and Shiite rebels.

Yemenis initially gave no mention of American involvement in the operation and said its special forces and anti-terrorism units carried out the raid alone.

However, a Yemen Special Forces member identified only as Abu Marouf gave a detailed account of the operation to the semi-official Yemen Defense Ministry online portal, named Sept. 26.

He said that his unit received intelligence information about al-Qaida militants moving hostages chained in shackles and covered with blankets in pickup trucks to Hagr al-Saiaar where they kept them in caves. He added some 30 troops, including snipers, were deployed in the early hours Tuesday some seven kilometers (four miles) from the caves, which he described as 10 meters deep and 30 meters wide.

Divided into four groups, he said he was among the main group that stormed the entrance of the cave then engaged in a shootout that ended with the killing of all seven kidnappers.

“We found the eight hostages chained. We found al-Qaida cellphones and documents,” he said, adding that the hostages said five of their companions had been moved out to an unknown location. He listed nationalities of the other hostages as an American journalist, one Briton, one South African, a Yemeni and a fifth believed to be Turkish. He did not identify them.

Al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula is considered by the U.S. to be the world’s most dangerous branch of the terror network and has been linked to several failed attacks on the U.S. homeland. Yemen has seen both foreigners and Yemenis targeted in kidnap attempts, either for ransom, political reasons or over suspicions that victims worked as spies helping Americans carry out the drone strikes.

The strikes targeting suspected militant gatherings are increasingly unpopular in Yemen due to civilian casualties, legitimizing for many the attacks on American interests. The U.S. Embassy in Sanaa has been closed several times recently over militant threats.

The site shed light on the riskiness surrounding the operation. Other Yemeni officials said that one of the main tribes in the area is led by the well-off Waqash al-Saiaari, who gave shelter to the militants. They say al-Qaida set up large training camps in the area.

Members of al-Qaida affiliates from this area were recently arrested while trying to flee the country after alleged involvement in the beheading of 16 Yemeni soldiers in August.

Officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to the press.

 

TIME Innovation

Five Best Ideas of the Day: November 19

The Aspen Institute is an educational and policy studies organization based in Washington, D.C.

1. Teach data literacy in elementary school.

By Mohana Ravindranath in the Washington Post

2. A new app lets kids explore the life and living conditions of other children around the world.

By Laura Bliss in CityLab

3. Politics inside Yemen — once a reliable U.S. ally and success story in the war on terror — has pushed the nation out of our influence.

By Adam Baron in Defense One

4. When it comes to science and health news, radio might save journalism.

By Anna Clark in Columbia Journalism Review

5. Rooftop solar power could beat the price of coal in two years — if utilities don’t shut it down.

By Lucas Mearian in ComputerWorld

The Aspen Institute is an educational and policy studies organization based in Washington, D.C.

TIME Ideas hosts the world's leading voices, providing commentary and expertise on the most compelling events in news, society, and culture. We welcome outside contributions. To submit a piece, email ideas@time.com.

TIME world affairs

Why We Should Send Vets Back to Iraq and Afghanistan

Jake Wood is a Marine veteran of Iraq and Afghanistan, CEO of Team Rubicon and author of Take Command. Ken Harbaugh is a former Navy pilot and COO of Team Rubicon.

With over 2 million veterans from these wars, the U.S. is sitting on a reservoir of ready and able humanitarians

When we heard the news of Peter Kassig’s capture by ISIS terrorists, it felt like a punch in the gut. While we don’t know Peter, the organization he founded, SERA (Special Emergency Response and Assistance) is much like our own, Team Rubicon. Since 2010, we have been recruiting, training and deploying thousands of military veterans to serve communities afflicted by disasters. Our members are ideally suited for these missions, bringing such skills as strong leadership, effective decision-making and the ability to operate in austere environments with limited information.

As effective as Team Rubicon has become at assisting victims of disasters, the service itself has had a profound impact on our members. During one of our missions to Pakistan in 2010, former Marines and SEALs delivering lifesaving aid realized that the villagers they were helping had never before seen Americans in that light. Those veterans were able to return to a part of the world that had taken something from them– a friend, a limb, a notion of innocence–and replace it with something entirely good. We suspect Peter was driven by a similar impulse.

Imagine if, over the coming decades, the United States could shift the mindset of rural villagers in Pakistan or Iraq or Yemen by sending highly skilled aid workers to serve and teach alongside them. Who better than military veterans to fill that role? How much farther could we get with an army of humanitarians than with ever expanding fleets of drones? With over 2 million veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the U.S. is sitting on a reservoir of ready and able humanitarians. The challenge is finding a way to re-deploy them not as warriors, but as peacemakers.

To start with, the broader public should know that 92% of returning veterans want to continue serving their country. Tapping into this talent is a no-brainer. Privately funded organizations like Team Rubicon are a good start. With nearly 20,000 members, we have deployed to more than 70 disasters across the globe. But any comprehensive solution will require government support. To that end, agencies such as the Peace Corps and USAID should create fast-track programs that enable military veterans to transition seamlessly into humanitarian positions.

We understand the risks involved. One of us, a former Navy pilot, served as a human rights advocate in Afghanistan upon leaving the military. The other, a former Marine sniper who led teams in both Afghanistan and Iraq, helped lead combat medics and doctors down to Haiti four days after the earthquake. As veterans who served during wartime, and chose to return to the front lines as humanitarians, we appreciate better than most that our military is the world’s largest disaster response organization. More importantly, we know that we carry those skills into civilian life.

Every member of Team Rubicon signed up because of his or her time in uniform, not in spite of it. They too know the risks, but still ask “If not me, then who?” Peter Kassig did the same. His bravery and compassion bear witness to an entire generation of veterans who wish to serve humanity. We, his brothers in arms, long for the day when all might answer as he did, “Send me.”

Jake Wood is a Marine veteran of Iraq and Afghanistan, CEO of Team Rubicon and author of Take Command. Ken Harbaugh is a former Navy pilot and COO of Team Rubicon.

TIME Ideas hosts the world's leading voices, providing commentary and expertise on the most compelling events in news, society, and culture. We welcome outside contributions. To submit a piece, email ideas@time.com.

TIME Yemen

Yemen’s Prime Minister Resigns Amid Violence

Mohammed Salem Basindwa
Yemeni Prime Minister Mohammed Salem Basindwa attends the third ministerial meeting of the friends of Yemen in the capital Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, on May 23, 2012. Hassan Ammar—AP

Mohammed Salem Bassindwa's resignation came as Shiite rebels took control of a key military base and Iman University in the capital city of Sanaa

SANAA, Yemen — Yemen’s prime minister resigned Sunday, the state news agency reported, following days of violence that left more than 140 dead and prompted thousands to flee their homes.

The official SABA news agency gave no details on the move by Mohammed Salem Bassindwa, and it was not immediately clear if his resignation had been accepted by the president.

Bassindwa took office shortly after former president Ali Abdullah Saleh was forced to step down in 2012. He has been in office since February 2012 and has since been the target of sharp criticism for his inability to deal with the country’s pressing problems.

The resignation came as Shiite rebels, known as Hawthis, took control of a key military base and Iman University on Sunday afternoon in the capital Sanaa, according to military officials. The university was seen as a bastion of Sunni hard-liners that is seen as a recruitment hub for militants.

The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they weren’t authorized to brief reporters. There were no official casualty figures from Sunday’s violence.

Hawthi rebels on Saturday captured the state television building. The Hawthis have in recent months routed their Islamist foes in a series of battles in areas north of Sanaa, and have in recent days consolidated and expanded their grip on areas just to the north of the capital.

Their foes have traditionally been Islamist militias allied with the government or the fundamentalist Islah party. The Hawthis have been pressing for a change of government and what they see as a fair share of power.

The Defense Ministry and the General Staff issued a joint statement calling on military units in Sanaa and nearby areas to remain at their posts, be on high alert and safeguard their weapons and equipment.

On Saturday, the U.N. envoy to Yemen, Jamal Benomar, had signaled that an agreement was reached to halt the violence, and that preparations are underway to sign the accord.

TIME Yemen

State Department: U.S. Officers Killed 2 Yemeni Civilians in Shootout

YEMEN-UNREST
Yemenis gather at the site of a bomb explosion that targeted an army troop vehicle on its way to man a checkpoint on a street leading to two western embassies on May 9, 2014 in the capital Sanaa. Mohammed Huwais—AFP/Getty Images

Two U.S. officers shot and killed two Yemeni civilians during a botched kidnapping attempt, the State Department said Saturday. The incident raises tensions at a time when the Yemeni government is unpopular with the local population for allowing American drone strikes

Two American embassy officers shot and killed two Yemeni civilians trying to kidnap the Americans in Yemen’s capital last month, a State Department spokesperson confirmed to the New York Times Saturday. The pair of Americans involved in the incident have since left the country, State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf told the Times.

The Times first reported the incident Friday, citing unnamed American officials. The original Times report claimed the attempted kidnapping and subsequent shootout involved a U.S. Special Operations commando and a Central Intelligence Agency officer attached to the U.S. Embassy in Yemen and took place at a Sanaa barber shop.

The incident comes at a tumultuous time for Yemen’s embattled government. Yemeni President Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi has lost popularity among many Yemenis by allowing American drone strikes against suspected al-Qaeda members. The strikes, which sometimes result in civilian deaths, are fiercely unpopular among Yemenis, and militants have stepped up their attacks against the government in response to the drone strikes.

Yemeni officials have remained largely silent about the shootings, though a spokesman for Yemen’s Interior Ministry said Saturday that two non-Yemeni foreigners targeted for abduction fired on their Yemini would-be abductors. Yemeni media did not report at the time that the shooters were American.

The episode could further damage the Yemeni government’s domestic reputation if it is perceived that it covered up the identities of the American officers.

[NYT]

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