TIME African Union

Obama: If I Ran for a Third Term, I Could Win

"But I can't"

President Obama said that if he could run for a third term he thinks he would win, while calling for African leaders to adhere to term limits during a historic speech before the African Union.

“I actually think I’m a pretty good president. I think if I ran, I could win. But I can’t,” Obama said in Ethiopia on Tuesday. ” There’s a lot that I’d like to do to keep America moving, but the law’s the law.”

President Obama addressed his third term viability while calling on African leaders to step aside when their terms end on Tuesday. During his speech, the first by an American president before the African Union, Obama said when a leader “tries to change the rules in the middle of the game” in order to stay in office it puts a nation’s stability and the future of Democratic progress across the continent at risk. Obama specifically noted recent elections in Burundi, where President Pierre Nkurunziza won a third term. The United Nations has said those elections occurred in an environment that was not “not conducive for an inclusive, free and credible electoral process,” according to the Associated Press.

” The point is, I don’t understand why people want to stay so long. Especially, when they’ve got a lot of money,” Obama said Tuesday, during the final stretch of his historic trip to two African countries. “And sometimes you’ll hear a leader say ‘I’m the only person who can hold this nation together.’ If that’s true, then that leader has failed to truly build their nation.”

Though Obama admitted he thinks he’s done a good job at the helm — something about 49% of Americans agree with, according his most recent CNN approval ratings — he didn’t hesitate to list off the freedoms he’ll gain back when he leaves office.

“I’m looking forward to life after being president,” Obama said. “I won’t have such a big security detail all the time. It means I can go take a walk, I can spend time with my family, I can find other ways to serve. I can visit Africa more often.”

TIME LGBT

Everything You Need to Know About the Debate Over Transgender People and Bathrooms

Peter Dazeley

This is the latest civil rights fight over America's restrooms

This week a judge in Virginia district court will consider a question coming before lawmakers and school principals across the country: should transgender Americans always be allowed to use the restrooms where they feel the most comfortable? And is it discrimination when they’re forced to do otherwise? Here is a primer on why the bathroom question is such a hot-button issue and why it’s likely to show up our newsfeeds in coming months.

Bathrooms and fights for civil rights go hand-in-hand. In the Jim Crow era, bathrooms—along with water fountains and lunch counters—were places that might be marked with “white only” signs. The bathroom has also been a battleground for women and handicapped workers fighting for equal treatment in the workplace. Because of the nature of things people do in the bathroom, it can be a space where they feel exposed or vulnerable and therefore resist change. It is also, as transgender icon Janet Mock says, “the great equalizer for all of us.”

Transgender people have to fight for authenticity as well as equality. The average person might have their age questioned when buying liquor or their ID checked at the airport, but people doubt transgender people’s true identity on a much more regular and deeper level. For transgender kids, that might take the form of parents insisting that they’re going through a phase or putting them in conversion therapy. For adults, that might be people questioning whether Caitlyn Jenner is really just doing it all for the publicity. “There is still this reluctance to accept trans people for who they are,” Mock says.

To opponents, “bathroom bills” suggest that what transgender people feel isn’t valid. So-called “bathroom bills” introduced by social conservatives in states such as Arizona, Maryland, Kentucky and Florida typically mandate that people use the bathroom that matches the sex on their birth certificate. That’s a marker that is difficult for most transgender people to change, as well as one that, for them, is a bureaucratic indicator decided by someone else that should not be weighed against their innate sense of self. Just a handful of states have “modernization” processes that make it easier for transgender people to change their birth certificates. Some in the community have protested by taking selfies in the bathrooms that they would have to use under such laws, highlighting how those spaces don’t jibe with their appearance or their feelings.

Conservatives argue that such bills are necessary to protect people’s privacy and public safety. Some social conservatives will say that they think transgender people are deluded. “I don’t want men who think they are women in my bathrooms,” testified a Maryland woman in a 2014 hearing on an LGBT non-discrimination bill. But a more common argument is that allowing transgender women to use the women’s room would open the doors up for sexual predators or peeping teenage boys to use those protections as a dangerous ruse to get into female spaces. GOP politician Mike Huckabee made this point in a much-talked-about joke that made the rounds earlier this summer.

No evidence has been uncovered showing that such fears are warranted. Several states, school districts and corporations have adopted their own policies affirming transgender people’s right to use the bathroom that aligns with their gender identity and have not reported problems, opponents of bathroom bills say. Progressive media watchdog Media Matters called up the 17 largest school districts governed by such policies and asked them if they had experienced any incidents of harassment or inappropriate behavior; they reported none had. Liberal lawmakers and activists say such rhetoric is just fear-mongering cloaking LGBT phobias.

Bathroom policies affect transgender people in serious ways. Transgender students have reported being told that they needed to use a unisex nurse’s office or staff restroom—missing out on class time, being teased and feeling “quarantined.” More than a quarter of transgender adults say they’ve been denied access to “gender-appropriate facilities.” In a study from UCLA’s Williams Institute, nearly 70% of transgender people said they had experienced verbal harassment in a situation involving gender-segregated bathrooms, while nearly 10% reported physical assault. Transgender people will often seek out unisex bathrooms to avoid conflict that makes them feel like they don’t belong in one space or the other.

More political fights about this issue are coming. Members of Congress recently introduced the Equality Act, a non-discrimination bill that would help protect LGBT Americans in spheres from the workplace to the jury box to the bathroom. Currently, there is no federal law that explicitly prohibits discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity. Most states also lack such statutes. Social conservatives in California, meanwhile, have vowed to get a “Privacy For All” initiative on the ballot that would require people to use school and government facilities that correspond with the marker on their birth certificate.

In the meantime, courts will continue to help decide the issue. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and the Department of Justice have found that discrimination against transgender people—including denying them bathroom access—is a form of sex discrimination covered under the Civil Rights Act. While some have said this proves that additional protections are not necessary, advocates for explicit non-discrimination laws say that they’re important for enforcement, educating the public and making sure a person doesn’t have to go to court to make their case. The decision from Virginia’s district court will add to the precedents, spurring on the debate as LGBT activists choose their next battles after marriage equality.

TIME Theater

‘The Book of Mormon’ Musical Has Finally Arrived in Utah

Book of Mormon Utah
Rick Bowmer—AP People walk past signs announcing the Book of Mormon musical at the Capitol Theatre on July 27, 2015, in Salt Lake City.

"It's like playing 'Fiddler on the Roof' to a bunch Jews"

SALT LAKE CITY — The biting satirical musical that mocks Mormons has finally come to the heart of Mormonlandia, starting a sold-out, two-week run Tuesday at a Salt Lake City theater two blocks from the church’s flagship temple and headquarters.

The Tony Award-winning “The Book of Mormon” has earned rave reviews while appalling some with its crudeness. But this will mark the first time the show’s gleefully naive missionaries come to Utah, where about two-thirds of residents are estimated to be Mormon.

The show’s creators, Trey Parker and Matt Stone of “South Park” fame, told The Associated Press that bringing the show to Salt Lake City feels like validation, and also brings the creative process full circle.

Parker and Stone used to “trip out” on Mormon stuff while taking Temple Square tours in the 1990s. They made their first research trip for the show to Salt Lake City with fellow creator Bobby Lopez in the mid-2000s. They waited to bring the show to Salt Lake City until they were invited by a theater.

“It feels like a really cool thing that it finally gets to play Salt Lake City,” Stone said. “It just feels very much like it’s coming home.”

Though they won’t be able to make it to any of the showings, they’re hopeful the show’s jokes will get even bigger laughs in a crowd likely to be more familiar with Mormon culture than most audiences. “It’s like playing ‘Fiddler on the Roof’ to a bunch Jews,” Parker said.

Despite a series of jokes and jabs that create a caricature of Mormon beliefs, it’s not expected to cause much of a stir or any protests.

Some curious Latter-day Saints may go to see what all the fuss is about, but most will probably turn the other cheek and let the state’s non-Mormons revel in the fun, said Scott Gordon, president of a volunteer organization that supports the church called FairMormon.

“It’s like going to your own roast . . . that goes too far,” Gordon said. “Nobody likes to be made fun of, especially with crude humor.”

Yet the show has actually contributed to a shift in how Americans think of a religion once seen as threatening and looking to undermine the established social order, said Matthew Bowman, an associate professor of history at Henderson State University.

“Instead of the presentation of Mormons being very sinister and conniving and corrupt, Mormons are kind of naive, very nice and very dumb,” said Bowman, author of the 2012 book, “The Mormon People: The Making of an American Faith.” Membership stands at 15 million currently from just 5 million members in 1982.

Leaders with The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints have remained pretty quiet about the show over the years, just repeating a one-line statement that has now become synonymous with the show. “The production may attempt to entertain audiences for an evening, but the Book of Mormon as a volume of scripture will change people’s lives forever by bringing them closer to Christ,” it reads.

Attendees at the Capitol Theater in Salt Lake City will see church ads in the playbill that show a smiling woman with the words, “The book is always better” and another with a smiling man, “You’ve seen the play, now read the book.”

The church has also referred back to a lengthy article it wrote in 2009 when HBO’s “Big Love” was touching on sensitive Mormon beliefs. Church leaders said then they choose not to call on boycotts or give much attention to inaccurate portrayals in popular culture to avoid giving the shows the controversy and attention they crave.

Parker and Stone aren’t surprised by the church’s tempered response to their show. They grew up around Mormons and knew it wasn’t their style to yell and shout.

Parker’s fascination with the religion began when he was dating a Mormon girl while growing up in Colorado. He recalls her family inviting him over for a family evening, where they turned off the TV and sang.

The musical isn’t their first time poking fun at Mormons. They made a South Park episode and a 1997 movie called “Orgazmo,” staring Parker as young Mormon recruited into porn. He’s still recognized for that role more in Utah than anywhere else.

Gordon said he has mixed feelings about a musical. It has brought extra attention to Mormonism, and most Latter-day Saints can take same ribbing. But he said, “I just wish it didn’t go so too far.”

Bowman said many Mormons, who generally shy away from R-rated movies, are horrified by the vulgarity of the musical. Others are just disappointed that it’s the latest in a long line of depictions of them by outsiders that is offensive, Bowman said.

But that doesn’t mean Mormons don’t go see it. Parker and Stone started noticing Mormons, or at least people who knew the religion well, in the crowds on Broadway because they could hear snickers at certain jokes only they would get.

“I think it legitimizes them,” Stone said. “You’re not really real until somebody makes fun of you and makes a big Broadway show about you. Then you’re really, really part of the American fabric.”

TIME LGBT

Exclusive: Facebook, Corporate Giants Back New LGBT Protections

UNITED STATES - JULY 23: House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., during an event in the Capitol on the Equality Act that bans discrimination against LGBT people in federal law, July 23, 2015. Also appearing, from left, are Reps. John Lewis, D-Ga., David Cicilline, D-R.I.,  Sen. Jeff Merkley, D-Ore., Reps. Chaka Fattah, D-Pa., Mike Honda, D-Calif., Sen. Tammy Baldwin, D-Wisc., and Cory Booker, D-N.J. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)
Tom Williams—CQ Roll Call/Getty Images House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., during an event in the Capitol on the Equality Act that bans discrimination against LGBT people in federal law, July 23, 2015

The leading companies aim to expand LGBT rights and also their customer base

The makers of Cheerios cereals and Nike sneakers are joining the makers of iPhones and Ziploc baggies in supporting proposed sweeping legislation that would ban discrimination against gay and lesbian Americans at their jobs, homes and schools.

Food conglomerate General Mills, Nike, American Airlines and Facebook each on Tuesday were set to sign onto anti-discrimination legislation known as the Equality Act. The corporate giants, long supporters of gay rights, are joining peers Apple, Dow Chemicals and Levi Strauss in lobbying Congress for that legislation. It was the latest sign that opponents of gay rights are finding themselves standing opposed to business interests. And while the public messaging is clear — the makers of such everyday goods want LGBT Americans to have easier everyday lives — there is an admitted financial interests in adding loyal customers to these brands.

“At General Mills, we have a long history of supporting LGBT equality and the time has come in this country for full, federal equality for the LGBT community,” said the food-maker behind Cheerios, Haagen-Dazs ice creams and Progresso soups. “Ensuring fairness in our workplaces and communities is both the right thing to do and simply good business.”

Indeed, it is that business case that has begun to break through. When Indiana lawmakers moved forward with a bill earlier this year that would have made it more difficult for gay and lesbian employees of major corporations to go about their daily lives, industry worked with liberal activists to beat back the legislation. Apple, American Airlines, Salesforce and the NCAA college leagues all threatened action unless Indiana lawmakers reverse course.

It’s a model that organizers are hoping to replicate with Congress.

Federal lawmakers now are considering a sweeping non-discrimination law that would bar individuals from being denied services — including housing and jobs but also mortgages and education — based on their sexuality or gender identity. Although the Supreme Court ruled that all Americans have the right to wed, regardless of whether the couple is heterosexual or homosexual, many gays and lesbians still face discrimination in their everyday lives.

More than 206 million Americans — nearly two thirds of the country — live in states where employers can fire someone for being gay. Only 18 states and the District of Columbia prohibit housing discrimination based on a tenant’s sexuality or sexual identity. Three others prohibit discrimination based on sexuality. The remaining 166 million Americans live in states where landlords can evict someone for their sexuality.

Polls find most Americans think these rights are already protected for LGBT residents. Activists and businesses are counting on that false but widespread belief to minimize political opposition that is fading in numbers but not in intensity for those who remain. Social conservatives are willing to buck the Wall Street wing of the Republican Party on this issue, and it is likely to be a driving factor as a crowded field of hopefuls vies for the 2016 GOP presidential nomination.

In crafting the bill, lawmakers consulted a coalition that included the NAACP, the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund and National Council on La Raza in the hopes of pitching the new legislation as a civil rights bill for the 21st Century. The American Civil Liberties Union, the National Women’s Law Center and the Human Rights Campaign also offered their advice.

The Human Rights Campaign, the nation’s largest civil rights group for LGBT Americans, has been aggressively lining up corporate backing, too. The lobbying group already scores major corporations on how well they serve their gay and lesbian employees and is enjoying momentum after a rapid expansion of public support for same-sex marriage. The group helped General Mills, Nike, American Airlines and Facebook come out in support of the proposals.

Nike, a global brand of sporting gear headquartered in Oregon, explained why it was backing the bill, co-authored by its home-state Sen. Jeff Merkley. “We believe that diversity drives innovation and allows us to attract and retain world class talent. We need fair and equitable laws that prevent discrimination,” the company said in a statement.

The nation’s largest airline in passenger traffic said it was good for morals as well as the bottom line. “We at American Airlines are proud of our long history of supporting LGBT equality,” the airline said in a statement. “Now is the time for full equality for the LGBT community in the United States.”

At the same time, Facebook said in a statement of its own: “Ensuring fairness in the workplace is a fundamental principle at Facebook and we support legal protections for LGBT Americans as outlined in the Equality Act.”

For the Human Rights Campaign, a million-dollar lobbying organization with a shining headquarters in Dupont Circle, the new allies were merely the most recent additions to its victories. Yet the group has shown no signs of receding after the marriage victory and is expanding its efforts to states to end their laws that sanction discrimination against LGBT neighbors.

“We are tremendously grateful to these corporate leaders for their support of the Equality Act and the basic principle that all Americans should be able to live their lives free of discrimination,” Human Rights Campaign President Chad Griffin said. “These companies agree: equality is good for business and the time for full federal equality is now.”

TIME Crime

Did Trainwreck Shooter Purposefully Target a Feminist Movie?

Trainwreck
Mary Cybulski — Universal Studios Amy Schumer in Trainwreck

Police investigators are still trying to determine the motive behind John Russell “Rusty” Houser’s shooting rampage at the Grand Theatre in Lafayette, Louisiana. On Sunday, Louisiana State Police Colonel Michael Edmonson said Houser had written down the date, time, location and movie title for the Trainwreck screening in his journal, indicating the shooting was pre-meditated.

As details of Houser’s troubled history with the women in his life emerge — including protective orders filed against him by both his daughter and estranged wife, and multiple television appearances filled with anti-women rhetoric — there has been increasing speculation that the man was, in many respects, a misogynist. As such, questions have been raised about whether he intentionally targeted Trainwreck, a movie about a sexually empowered woman, written by and starring proud feminist Amy Schumer.

Houser vocalized his anti-feminist views about women in the workplace and abortion in frequent appearances on a talk show called Rise and Shine in Georgia in the 1990s. He spoke about a wide range of far-right topics and a popular theme was women’s rights. “Rusty had an issue with feminine rights,” former host Calvin Floyd told The Washington Post. “He was opposed to women having a say in anything.”

Houser’s wife and daughter both sought protective orders against him in 2008 (Houser’s wife filed for divorce in March of this year, but it was never finalized). The man was also vehemently opposed to pornographic theaters, and in the late 1980s allegedly tried to hire a man to set fire to the law office of a lawyer who represented them, according to a report from the Columbus Ledger-Enquirer.

In addition to being a feminist, Schumer is also Jewish — and Houser regularly praised Hitler in online forums.

Houser began shooting about twenty minutes in to the 7:10 p.m. screening. The beginning of the film highlights Schumer’s character’s active sex life with multiple men. Survivor Emily Mann, who was in the theater when Houser started shooting, told ABC she remembers him firing the first shot after she laughed at a raunchy moment in the film.

Much of the evidence at this point in the investigation suggests Houser had meticulously planned every detail of the mass shooting.

Police investigators and Governor Bobby Jindal say Houser was even “slow and methodical” during the shooting itself. He had visited the theater before the shooting, had left his key on the tire of his car which was parked near an exit and had disguises ready, presumably for his escape.

There was initial speculation that Houser chose the Trainwreck auditorium for its proximity to an emergency exit, but Lafayette PD’s public information officer Paul Mouton tells The Hollywood Reporter that all of the auditoriums in the Grand Theatre have emergency exits. The Trainwreck auditorium isn’t the only one near the parking lot either; Mouton says many of the emergency exits are near parking spaces.

Houser also could have chosen an auditorium with the capacity to hold a larger audience, but he didn’t. The Trainwreck screening room happens to be one of the smaller ones in the complex, says Mouton.

It’s worth noting, however, that Houser didn’t target only women on his rampage. In her conversation with ABC, Mann says Houser aimed and fired in a semi-circle in front of him. While the two victims who died were both female, Mouton tells THR that of the 11 people Houser shot, excluding himself, six were men.

Houser was also known to have suffered from mental health issues. As Mouton points out, police right now “can only speculate as to why he chose that movie.” He adds that while they are “absolutely” looking at all angles to try and determine Houser’s motive, they may never find all of the answers.

Universal declined to comment.

This article originally appeared on Hollywoodreporter.com

TIME Bizarre

Treasure Hunters Find Over $1 Million Worth of Shipwrecked Spanish Gold off the Florida Coast

Haul comes from the fabled 300-year-old wreck of the Capitana

A Florida family of professional treasure hunters has struck gold after discovering over $1 million worth of coins and jewelry in a huge Spanish shipwreck from the 18th century, Florida Today reports.

The Schmitt family, who are subcontractors for treasure hunting company 1715 Fleet–Queens Jewels LLC, discovered the treasure off the Florida Coast in the wreck of the Capitana, the flagship of a Spanish treasure fleet.

The haul includes 51 gold coins, 40 ft. of ornate gold chain and a Tricentennial Royal, an extremely rare Spanish coin valued at over $500,000, Florida Today says.

This is not the first time that gold has been found in this famous shipwreck. Captained by Don Juan Esteban de Ubilla, the Capitana carried an enormous fortune in Spanish jewels when it sunk in a hurricane in July 1715, according to Florida Today, and has been the subject of books, documentaries and blog posts.

The Schmitts are seasoned treasure hunters, Florida Today adds, having first found gold in September 2013. They came across the Capitana haul last month, but the news of their discovery was withheld to coincide with the 300th anniversary of the shipwreck.

[Florida Today]

TIME LGBT

Mormon Church to ‘Re-Evaluate’ Relationship After Boy Scouts End Gay Ban

Robert Alexander/Getty Images A Boy Scout wears a sash displaying his earned merit badges at a ceremony in New York City. The merit badge sash is worn by a Boy Scout during formal activities and events and not during Troop meetings or campouts.

The Church says its relationship with the Scouts "will need to be examined"

The Boy Scouts of America’s decision on Monday to lift a ban on openly gay adult leaders and employees has “deeply troubled” the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, that institution announced.

The church has had a formal relationship with the Scouts since 1913, and organizes its own troops in Mormon communities. As of 2010, the Church’s troops counted 142,085 Cub Scouts and 205,990 Boy Scouts.

Now, the church said in a statement, it will be reevaluating the relationship with the Scouts. “The Church has always welcomed all boys to its Scouting units regardless of sexual orientation,” the organization wrote. “However, the admission of openly gay leaders is inconsistent with the doctrines of the Church and what have traditionally been the values of the Boy Scouts of America.”

Members of the church’s governing councils are not in the office at this time of year, but will meet in August to “examine” the relationship with the Scouts.

TIME LGBT

Boy Scouts Officially End on Ban on Gay Leaders

Church-sponsored Scout units will be able to keep the ban for religious reasons

(NEW YORK) — The Boy Scouts of America on Monday ended its blanket ban on gay adult leaders while allowing church-sponsored Scout units to maintain the exclusion for religious reasons.

The new policy, aimed at easing a controversy that has embroiled the Boy Scouts for years, takes effect immediately. It was approved by the BSA’s National Executive Board on a 45-12 vote during a closed-to-the-media teleconference.

“For far too long this issue has divided and distracted us,” said the BSA’s president, former Defense Secretary Robert Gates. “Now it’s time to unite behind our shared belief in the extraordinary power of Scouting to be a force for good.”

The stage had been set for Monday’s action on May 21, when Gates told the Scouts’ national meeting that the long-standing ban on participation by openly gay adults was no longer sustainable. He said the ban was likely to be the target of lawsuits that the Scouts likely would lose.

Two weeks ago, the new policy was approved unanimously by the BSA’s 17-member National Executive Committee. It would allow local Scout units to select adult leaders without regard to sexual orientation — a stance that several Scout councils have already adopted in defiance of the official national policy.

In 2013, after heated internal debate, the BSA decided to allow openly gay youth as scouts, but not gay adults as leaders. Several denominations that collectively sponsor close to half of all Scout units — including the Roman Catholic church, the Mormon church and the Southern Baptist Convention — have been apprehensive about ending the ban on gay adults.

The BSA’s top leaders have pledged to defend the right of any church-sponsored units to continue excluding gays as adult volunteers. But that assurance has not satisfied some conservative church leaders,’

“It’s hard for me to believe, in the long term, that the Boy Scouts will allow religious groups to have the freedom to choose their own leaders,” said the Rev. Russell Moore, president of the Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission.

“In recent years I have seen a definite cooling on the part of Baptist churches toward the Scouts,” Moore said. “This will probably bring that cooling to a freeze.”

Under the BSA’s new policy:

—Prospective employees of the national organization could no longer be denied a staff position on the basis of sexual orientation.

—Gay leaders who were previously removed from Scouting because of the ban would have the opportunity to reapply for volunteer positions.

—If otherwise qualified, a gay adult would be eligible to serve as a Scoutmaster or unit leader.

Gates, who became the BSA’s president in May 2014, said at the time that he personally would have favored ending the ban on gay adults, but he opposed any further debate after the Scouts’ policymaking body upheld the ban. In May, however, he said that recent events “have confronted us with urgent challenges I did not foresee and which we cannot ignore.”

He cited an announcement by the BSA’s New York City chapter in early April that it had hired Pascal Tessier, the nation’s first openly gay Eagle Scout, as a summer camp leader. Gates also cited broader gay-rights developments and warned that rigidly maintaining the ban “will be the end of us as a national movement.”

The BSA faced potential lawsuits in New York and other states if it continued to enforce its ban, which had been upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court in 2000. Since then, the exclusionary policy has prompted numerous major corporations to suspend charitable donations to the Scouts, and has strained relations with some municipalities that cover gays in their non-discrimination codes.

Stuart Upton, a lawyer for the LGBT-rights group Lambda Legal, questioned whether the BSA’s new policy to let church-sponsored units continue to exclude gay adults would be sustainable.

“There will be a period of time where they’ll have some legal protection,” Upton said. “But that doesn’t mean the lawsuits won’t keep coming. … They will become increasingly marginalized from the direction society is going.”

Like several other major youth organizations, the Boy Scouts have experienced a membership decline in recent decades. Current membership, according to the BSA, is about 2.4 million boys and about 1 million adults.

After the 2013 decision to admit gay youth, some conservatives split from the BSA to form a new group, Trail Life USA, which has created its own ranks, badges and uniforms. The group claims a membership of more than 25,000 youths and adults.

 

TIME New York

New York Will Completely Rebuild LaGuardia Airport for $4 Billion

Andrew Cuomo
Richard Drew—AP New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo addresses the Association for a Better New York luncheon, in New York, July 27, 2015.

The airport's aging buildings will be completely replaced with a new terminal

(NEW YORK) — A year after comparing New York’s LaGuardia Airport to “some Third World Country,” Vice President Joe Biden helped unveil an ambitious plan Monday to rebuild its collection of aging terminals into a modern, unified hub while easing congestion by doubling the space available for planes to operate.

“I wish everything I said that was truthful but controversial would turn out this well,” he joked during the announcement with New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

The overhaul would remake the entire footprint of the airport, which is shoehorned onto a small, oddly-shaped property on the shore of the East River.

Its existing, cramped and chaotic buildings would be demolished and replaced with a big new terminal 600 feet closer to the Grand Central Parkway, the highway that rings the airport like a moat.

That shift would relieve some of the space constraints for aircraft trying to taxi to and from the congested gate areas. More space would be made by having passengers get to their gates using elevated passageways that pass over active taxiways. In all, nearly two miles of new taxiways would be created.

Construction on the first phase of the project would begin next year, pending final approval by the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which owns the airport. A second phase would be overseen by Delta Air Lines.

The first remade portions of the airport would open to passengers in 2019.

“This is what New Yorkers deserve and have deserved for a long time. And now we’re going to get it,” Cuomo said.

He said the current airport is a collection of cramped terminals with high volume and low ceilings, and is “un-New York.”

“It’s slow, it’s dated, it has a terrible front-door entrance way to New York,” he said.

Biden said last year that if he blindfolded someone and took him to LaGuardia, he’d think he was in “some Third World country.” Biden lauded the governor for “thinking big.”

The vice president’s influence was critical, Cuomo said — approvals that would normally take years were expedited by Biden’s office.

The first phase of the plan will cost $4 billion, half from private funding, Cuomo said. Delta is a partner in the new terminal.

The new airport is part of an ambitious plan aimed at four of the state’s airports in the New York area. Stewart Airport north of the city and Republic Airport on Long Island would both get Startup New York designation, offering new and expanding businesses to operate tax free for 10 years. Also, New York City’s John F. Kennedy Airport would have its architecturally distinct Saarinen building reconfigured into a hotel.

The construction will add thousands of jobs and help grow tourism and commerce. Officials said it would triple the screening space, increase concession space and create better connections between terminals, a new roadway system and new parking garages.

“LaGuardia and JFK are economic anchors for this city, and they deserve to be the best in the world,” Biden said.

LaGuardia, along the Flushing and Bowery bays in northern Queens, is the closest of the New York area’s three major air hubs to midtown Manhattan — just eight miles — and it handled about 27 million passengers last year.

Often the first building travelers see is the sprawling, boomerang-shaped Central Terminal, which opened just in time to receive visitors to the 1964 World’s Fair. Many passengers say it is like stepping back in time.

They immediately encounter low ceilings and dimly lit, narrow hallways. Check-in kiosks are arrayed haphazardly in rows just inside the entrances, where bright green neon lights blare, “Welcome to LaGuardia Airport.” On the west side of the terminal sits a modest food court featuring a hamburger counter, a pizzeria and a Dunkin’ Donuts.

In 2012, Travel and Leisure magazine named LaGuardia the nation’s worst airport, saying it had the “dubious honor of ranking the worst for the check-in and security process, the worst for baggage handling, the worst when it comes to providing Wi-Fi, the worst at staff communication, and the worst design and cleanliness.”

 

TIME Military

U.S. Prepares to Fly Deeper into Syrian Civil War

Operation Northern Watch Enforces No-Fly Zone
Air Force / Getty Images A U.S. Air Force F-16 leaves a Turkish base in 2002 for a mission over Iraq. Soon they are likely to be flying similar assignments over Syria.

ISIS is the target, but U.S. pilots could also be at risk

The U.S. flew “no-fly zones” over northern and southern Iraq for more than a decade before the 2003 U.S. invasion that toppled Saddam Hussein. U.S. warplanes kept Iraqi aircraft out of the sky, and targeted Iraqi air-defense systems that threatened to shoot. Now, along with neighboring Turkey, the U.S. is planning to launch something similar over a stretch of northern Syria.

Eliminating Islamic State of Iraq and Greater Syria along a strip of the Syrian-Turkish border is the key goal, opening up a safe haven for tens of thousands of Syrians displaced by the country’s four-year-old civil war that has killed more than 200,000. Whether the move hastens the ouster of Syrian dictator Bashar Assad—or leads to the shootdown and possible capture or death of an American pilot—remains unknowable.

Institute for the Study of WarThe striped section of the map is the proposed “no-ISIS zone.”

U.S. officials stressed Monday that Washington and Ankara are planning to step up bombing of ISIS targets on the ground, and not create a formal no-fly zone, which would bar Syrian warplanes from bombing runs. “It’s not a no-fly zone—it’s a bombing campaign,” says retired Marine general Anthony Zinni, who oversaw the Iraqi no-fly zones as chief of U.S. Central Command from 1997 to 2000. He doesn’t think such a bombing campaign will have much effect. “We see how well a year of bombing has worked in Iraq,” where ISIS remains in control of much of the western part of the nation.

The chance of clashes between Syria and U.S. and Turkish aircraft will be more likely once details of the new zone are hammered out and stepped-up U.S.-Turkish attacks on ISIS targets begin. “I think they’ll tell the Syrians to just stay out of the air space,” Zinni says of U.S. and Turkish commanders. “They’ll issue a demarche: ‘If you shoot any air defense weapons at us, we’ll nail you.’ That’s what we did to the Iraqis.”

State Department spokesman John Kirby said Monday that the Syrians aren’t challenging U.S. warplanes. “There is no opposition in the air when coalition aircraft are flying in that part of Syria,” he said. “The Assad regime is not challenging us; [ISIS] doesn’t have airplanes … they’re not being shot at.”

But that’s hardly a guarantee. U.S. commanders will ensure their flight crew fly high and well clear of any known Syrian air-defense threats to minimize the chance of a U.S. pilot being shot down and—in the worst case—falling into ISIS’s hands and murdered. But accidents and snafus can occasionally happen. “We never even had a plane scratched,” Zinni says of the more than 200,000 U.S. flights in the Iraqi no-fly zones from 1992 to 2003. “It was absolutely remarkable.” (Unfortunately, this record was marred by the 1994 shootdown of two U.S. Army Black Hawk helicopters, killing all 26 aboard, by a pair of U.S. Air Force F-15s.)

Conflicting loyalties and priorities complicate the more aggressive campaign. Last week, after a suicide bombing blamed on ISIS killed 30 in a Turkish border town, Turkey began flying air strikes against ISIS targets in Syria, and gave the U.S. long-sought permission to launch air strikes from Turkish bases. Turkey, a NATO ally, is growing increasingly concerned with ISIS on its doorstep, the growing refugee problem, and military successes by its Kurdish minority, some elements of which are seeking their own state.

Kurdish forces control most of the Syrian-Turkish frontier, and the Turkish government views them as a threat much like ISIS. Ankara is also more interested in toppling Assad than battling ISIS. “If there is one person who is responsible for all these terrorist crimes and humanitarian tragedies in Syria, it is Assad’s approach, using chemical weapons, barrel bombs against civilians,” Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu told CNN. His government has called for a NATO meeting Tuesday to discuss the ISIS fight.

U.S. and Turkish air power are expected to be used to reinforce Syrian rebels on the ground who are battling ISIS, creating a 68-mile “no-ISIS zone” along the Syrian-Turkish border. “Moderate forces like the Free Syrian Army will be strengthened…so they can take control of areas freed from [ISIS], air cover will be provided,” Davutoglu told Turkey’s A Haber television news channel.. “It would be impossible for them to take control of the area without it.”

U.S. officials have been complaining since the Pentagon began bombing ISIS targets a year ago of a dearth of reliable partners on the ground, in both Iraq and Syria. ISIS drove the U.S.-trained Iraqi army out of Mosul, Iraq’s second-largest city, a year ago, and the U.S. has trained only about 60 Syrian rebels to fight ISIS’s 30,000-strong force.

Your browser is out of date. Please update your browser at http://update.microsoft.com