TIME Transportation

JetBlue Offers Police Free Flights to Attend Slain NYPD Officers’ Funerals

JetBlue Airways Corp. planes sit docked at the gates of Terminal 5 as another of the company's jets lands at John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York on Jan. 28, 2014.
JetBlue Airways Corp. planes sit docked at the gates of Terminal 5 as another of the company's jets lands at John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York on Jan. 28, 2014. Craig Warga—Bloomberg/Getty Images

It's also offering free flights to other law enforcement agencies who wish to "support their brethren"

JetBlue Airways is offering free flights to relatives and two members of any American law enforcement agency who wish to attend the funerals of the two New York policemen fatally ambushed by a gunman last weekend.

Officers Wenjian Liu and Rafael Ramos were sitting in a patrol car Saturday when authorities say they were shot by a man identified as Ismaaiyl Brinsley, who then turned the gun on himself in a nearby subway station. The airline is also offering free air travel for two officers in any U.S. law enforcement agency who want to attend the services, CBS News reports.

“We’re honored to do what we can to support the communities we serve, and our team has made flights available to law enforcement agencies across our route network who wish to send representatives to New York to support their brethren,” a company spokesperson said in a statement.

(READ: TIME’s Q&A with Former New York Police Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly)

JetBlue says it is working with another airline to help fly some of Liu’s family members in from China for his funeral, which has not yet been scheduled. Thousands of law enforcement officials and Vice Present Joe Biden are expected to attend Ramos’ funeral on Saturday.

[CBS News]

TIME weather

West Awakes to White Christmas as Storms Hamper Holiday Travel

Even Hawaii is expected to see some snow

Western parts of the U.S. awoke to a white Christmas Thursday, as much of the nation dealt with a drenching from the storm front that snarled holiday travel plans for millions of Americans.

Between two and six inches of snow was forecast in the valleys in northern California, Utah, Idaho, Wyoming and Montana, according to the National Weather Service, with higher elevations facing up to a foot of powder.

Even Hawaii was expected to see some snow, as a blizzard warning remained in effect for the summits of Mauna Kea and Mauna Loa on the Big Island…

TIME Crime

Crowd Protesting Antonio Martin’s Death Shuts Down Missouri Highway

Protesters shut down an interstate at Airport Road on Dec. 24, 2014, in Berkeley, Mo.
Protesters shut down an interstate at Airport Road on Dec. 24, 2014, in Berkeley, Mo. Robert Cohen—AP

The teenager was shot and killed after pointing a gun at an officer

A small group of demonstrators shut down an interstate highway and marched through the town of Berkeley, Missouri, to protest the fatal police shooting of an 18-year-old who authorities said pointed a gun at an officer.

As police in riot gear looked on, protesters held a candlelight vigil before midnight mass at the steps of a local church. Earlier, a group of about 70 people brought traffic on I-170 southbound to a halt at around 7:30 p.m. local time (8:30 p.m. ET) and later marched to the Mobil gas station where Martin was shot…

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

TIME White House

Obama Tees Off in Hawaii with Malaysian Leader

Barack Obama, Najib Razak
President Barack Obama plays golf with Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak, right, Wednesday, Dec. 24, 2014, at Marine Corps Base Hawaii's Kaneohe Klipper Golf Course in Kaneohe, Hawaii during the Obama family vacation. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin) Jacquelyn Martin—AP

On vacation, Obama typically plays golf with small circle of longtime friends and advisers

(KANEOHE BAY, Hawaii) — What do two world leaders do when they find themselves on the same Hawaiian island on Christmas Eve? If you’re President Barack Obama and Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak, you round up a few aides and make common cause on the golf course.

Both vacationing this week in Oahu, Obama and Najib teed off Wednesday on a cloudy but balmy afternoon at a Marine Corps base, not far from where Obama is renting a home for his two-week stay. The two leaders seemed at ease together, smiling and laughing in casual clothes as they sized up their shots.

Although Obama plays golf nearly every day while on vacation, he typically restricts his foursome to a small circle of longtime friends and advisers. But in recent years, his annual trip to Hawaii has allowed Obama to mix in a little diplomacy. Last year, he hit the links with New Zealand Prime Minister John Key, who owns a home in Hawaii.

Media access to Obama’s golf games is typically restricted, but reporters and photographers were permitted to briefly watch the two leaders Wednesday about halfway through their game. Neither leader was having particularly good luck with their short game.

Up first to finish the hole, Najib came up short with his putt. Obama crouched low to line up his shot, but the ball tilted left and evaded the hole. After another failed attempt, he picked up the ball and called it quits. Najib, too, missed his next shot, but a gracious Obama gave him a pat on the shoulder and praised his golf game just the same.

“Merry Christmas,” Obama said as he waved to the media.

Then he added a note of caution for reporters covering his Hawaiian getaway.

“Be careful about those fruity drinks,” he said. “You never know – they might have a little kick to them.”

Ever the statesmen, Obama and Najib also used their time on the course to discuss world affairs, including Malaysia’s rotating leadership next year of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, or ASEAN. “The two leaders took the opportunity to discuss the growing and warming relationship between the United States and Malaysia,” the White House said in a statement.

Najib has served as Malaysia’s prime minister since 2009. In April, Obama paid the first presidential visit to Malaysia in nearly half a century, when Lyndon B. Johnson visited the Southeast Asian nation. During that visit, Obama met with Najib and pressed his government to improve its human rights and political freedoms.

Obama is no stranger to Hawaii’s picturesque golf courses, and this year’s vacation has been par for the course. The president has played a round four out of the five days he’s been on the island so far.


Lederman reported from Honolulu.


Alan Gross to Get $3.2 Million After Being Freed From a Cuban Prison

Alan Gross speaks to an entourage of family and friends who were awaiting his return from five years of captivity in Cuba to Joint Base Andrews Maryland
Alan Gross speaks to an entourage of family and friends who were awaiting his return from five years of captivity in Cuba to Joint Base Andrews, Maryland, Dec. 17, 2014 Reuters

His release came as the U.S. announced it was seeking to restore ties with Cuba

Alan Gross, who was freed last week after serving five years in a Cuban prison, is to receive $3.2 million from the U.S. government.

The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) had made a deal with Gross’s former company, Development Alternatives Inc. (DAI) at the time of his arrest, the BBC reports.

Gross was working as a subcontractor for USAID setting up Internet access for the island’s Jewish community when he was arrested by the Cuban government in 2009.

He was sentenced to 15 years in prison.

The payout is a settlement from a suit filed by DAI against USAID.

Another suit filed by Gross and his wife against USAID and DAI for negligence was dismissed in November.


TIME People

Watch the Highs and Lows of 2014 in 165 Seconds

What a year you were, 2014 - here's some of the highlights

2014 was a year of bearing witness. From grainy footage of police confrontations in the U.S. to acts of senseless violence abroad, this year we saw, we shared and ultimately – we connected.

We watched borders being redrawn in Eastern Europe, the rise of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) and the spread of a microscopic, yet formidable, enemy: the Ebola virus. Some led thousands into protest; some led countries into battle, others began to heal rifts that began half a century ago.

Whether it was tragedy, transition or triumph, here’s a look at the most significant actions that helped shape 2014.

TIME Crime

Court Denies Roman Polanski’s Motion to Dismiss 1977 Sex Case

File photo of Roman Polanski posing with Best Director award for "La Venus A La Fourrure" at the 39th Cesar Awards ceremony in Paris
Director Roman Polanski poses with his Best Director award for "La Venus A La Fourrure" during a photocall at the 39th Cesar Awards ceremony in Paris on Feb. 28, 2014. Regis Duvignau—Reuters

He remains a fugitive outside the country after pleading guilty to unlawful sex with a minor in 1977

(LOS ANGELES) — Roman Polanski lost his latest bid to have a California court dismiss his 1977 sex case when a judge rejected a motion for a new hearing.

A nine-page order issued Tuesday by Superior Court Judge James Brandlin states that Polanski’s claims of judicial misconduct and his bid to dismiss the case cannot be addressed because he remains a fugitive outside the country after pleading guilty to unlawful sex with a minor in 1977.

Polanski’s lawyers have sought a public evidentiary hearing for the case, claiming a judge who handled the matter in 2008 and 2009 committed misconduct.

Bart Dalton, an attorney for Polanski, said he had not yet seen the order and could not comment.

Brandlin’s order states Polanski has other options, including returning to California to address his claims.

In a 1977 plea deal, the Oscar-winning director pleaded guilty to one count of statutory rape for having sex with a 13-year-old girl during a photo shoot in Los Angeles.

Polanski was ordered in 1977 to undergo a psychiatric study at the state prison in Chino, where he served 42 days.

The prosecutor and Polanski’s attorney have said they understood from a private conversation with the judge handling the case that the time in prison would serve as Polanski’s punishment.

However, lawyers for the Polish-born director said the judge later reneged on the agreement and suggested Polanski would go back to prison. Polanski then fled to France.

TIME Crime

No Bail for Uber Driver Accused of Sex Assault

Alejandro Done, 46, of Boston, will be held until his next scheduled court hearing Jan. 26

(CAMBRIDGE, Mass.) — An Uber driver accused of sexually assaulting a woman who had summoned the ride-sharing service was ordered held without bail Wednesday.

Alejandro Done, 46, of Boston, waived his right to a dangerousness hearing in Cambridge District Court and will be held until his next scheduled court hearing Jan. 26.

He has pleaded not guilty to charges of rape, assault to rape, kidnapping, and assault and battery. He didn’t speak during Wednesday’s hearing.

Prosecutors say Done picked up the woman from a Boston residence Dec. 6. The woman had been out with friends and had summoned an Uber driver to take her to her Cambridge home.

Done drove to a location the woman was not familiar with, pulled over in a secluded area and climbed into the back seat with her, prosecutors said.

Prosecutors say he struck her, choked her, locked the car doors and covered her mouth so she couldn’t scream. Authorities say Done sexually assaulted her after a struggle.

Cambridge police identified the suspect through Uber company records.

It’s unclear if Done used information he gleaned as an Uber driver to target the victim, the Middlesex district attorney’s office said.

“Ride shares may be a new frontier in public transportation, but the age-old wisdom still applies: Know who is taking you and where and act on your instincts to get away if you have any feeling at all that a situation seems suspicious,” District Attorney Marian Ryan said.

In a statement, a spokeswoman for the San Francisco-based Uber called the alleged assault “a despicable crime.”

Done passed a background check and has no prior criminal record.

TIME Crime

Missouri Mayor Urges Calm After Officer Fatally Shoots Armed Teen

"We are different from the city of Ferguson"

The mayor of the St. Louis suburb where a teenager was shot and killed Tuesday after authorities claim he pointed a gun at an officer called for calm Wednesday and sought to distance the incident from the police-involved shooting in nearby Ferguson.

Authorities claim that a man pointed a gun at an officer who was at a Mobil gas station in Berkeley during a “routine business check” and, “fearing for his life,” St. Louis County Police said in a statement, “fired several shots, striking the subject, fatally wounding him.”

The police department did not immediately confirm the man’s identity, but a woman identified him to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch as her 18-year-old son, Antonio Martin. “This doesn’t make any sense for them to kill my son like this,” Toni Martin-Green told the newspaper Wednesday morning. “I am trying to be calm.”

At a news conference later in the morning, Berkeley Mayor Theodore Hoskins spoke out to both urge local residents to await the findings of an investigation and avoid jumping to conclusions about the shooting. “We are different from the city of Ferguson,” Hoskins said, adding that he is confident in Berkeley’s roughly 30-strong police force.

The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) also advocated for calm in the wake of the shooting. “Particularly during this season that so many Americans hold sacred, the NAACP is calling for patience and peace as the circumstances of Mr. Martin’s death are thoroughly investigated,” said Cornell William Brooks, the association’s president and CEO.

Ferguson has been the scene of unrest since August when white police officer Darren Wilson shot and killed unarmed black teenager Michael Brown, prompting months of protest over police brutality and poor relations between law enforcement officials and communities of color. A grand jury declined to indict Wilson in the killing, reigniting tensions.

READ NEXT Police Shoot Teenager a Few Miles Away From Ferguson

TIME Know Right Now

Know Right Now: Winter Storms Slam the East Coast

Severe weather set to complicate holiday travel plans

High winds, thunderstorms, snow, fog and twisters are set to hit the East Coast this week, and it’s all sure to complicate holiday travel. Some airlines have waived change fees and are encouraging travelers to leave as early as possible. One-to-two-hour delays are anticipated at major East Coast airports, with flight delays possible. According to AAA, a record 98.6 million people are expected to travel for the holidays this year.

The West Coast will also see winter weather as well. The northwest will see snow in the mountains and rain in the valley. Snow will spread into parts of North and South Dakota and Nebraska on Thursday. Salt Lake City may see as much as 8 inches of snow on Christmas Day.

Watch today’s #KnowRightNow to hear more.

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