TIME People

Michelle Knight Celebrates 2 Years of Freedom After Decade of Captivity

Michelle Knight smiles during an interview in Cleveland on June 26, 2014.
Tony Dejak—AP Michelle Knight smiles during an interview in Cleveland on June 26, 2014.

"Looking forward to happiness, a future, a life I never had"

Two years to the day after her escape from the Cleveland house of horrors of Ariel Castro, Michelle Knight has finally “conquered” her fears.

“This morning I thought, it’s amazing to wake up and not feel like I’m being tortured,” Knight told Fox 8 Cleveland on Wednesday, the two-year anniversary of her freedom.

Knight – along with fellow victims Gina DeJesus and Amanda Berry– was held hostage by Castro for about a decade, enduring psychological, emotional and sexual abuse.

After the women and Berry’s daughter escaped on May 6, 2013, Castro was arrested and sentenced to life in prison plus 1,000 years after pleading guilty to 937 counts of rape, kidnapping and aggravated murder. He committed suicide one month into his sentence.

Now Knight says she is finally “looking forward to happiness, a future, a life I never had. And for two years of my life I was finally able to live.” She also revealed that she has a new boyfriend.

“He’s such an amazing person. He’s sweet-hearted. He’s right there with me all the time and he supports everything that I do.”

Though she has finally begun to heal, Knight still draws from her experiences in captivity in order to help others who are suffering.

She just finished writing a new song called “Survivor” and is also hoping to write a second book.

“It’s going to be about my future and how I triumphed against everything that happened to me and everything that was holding me down; my fears and how I conquered them, because it’s really hard,” she said.

Knight released her first book, Finding Me, last year, and Berry and DeJesus released their joint book Hope: A Memoir of Survival in Cleveland last month. (Knight told PEOPLE last year that she parted ways with her fellow captors to help with the healing process. “I love them and they love me. Hopefully we’ll all get back together again.”)

Knight also worked closely with some of the cast and crew of Cleveland Abduction, a Lifetime original movie about her that aired last weekend.

“I had to dig pretty deep to let my emotions go into this movie,” she said. “Because I wanted to give the world something to have hope, courage and strength and know that amongst all the darkness, you can still rise above all that.”

Knight is also considering going to school to become a therapist.

“God definitely had a purpose for my life, and it’s definitely helping people,” she said.

This article originally appeared on People.com.

TIME Aging

Why More Older Americans Are Suffering From Fatal Falls

55% of unintentional injury deaths among seniors come from falling

One of the fastest growing killers of older Americans isn’t a disease or a disability. It’s the accidental fall.

A new CDC report finds the rate of Americans aged 65 or over who die as a result of unintentional falls has nearly doubled since 2000; 55% of older citizens who die of unintentional injuries do so from falls, up from 33% in 2000. The death rate from falls increased from 29.6 per 100,000 in 2000 to 56.7 per 100,000 in 2013.

There’s no single reason for the steep increase in deaths from falls, and it’s far from clear what may be behind the rise, says the National Center for Health Statistics’ Ellen Kramarow, the report’s co-author. She notes the report is based on death certificate data, and there may be better reporting on underlying causes of death than in the past. But one factor some researchers point to is the continuing increase in overall life expectancy.

“People are living longer and living longer with conditions that make them frail and vulnerable to fall,” Kramarow says.

Before the growth in end-of-life care, assisted living facilities, medications, and hospital procedures designed to extend our lives, many people died from diseases or ailments that previously couldn’t be cured or treated in a way that made them manageable. Today, older Americans can often stave off death from something like heart disease or diabetes with medication that can prolong life longer than ever before. U.S. life expectancy is now at a record high of 78.8.

But as we live longer, often with diseases that once might have killed us, we get more frail — and consequently, researchers say, more likely to suffer fatal injuries from a fall.

Rates for other fatal accidental injuries like car crashes, suffocation, poisoning and fire-related deaths have remained steady over the last decade, according to the CDC. The death rate among seniors due to vehicle accidents actually went down in 2013 to about 15 per 100,000 people from 20 per 100,000 in 2000.

Overall, unintentional injuries resulted in almost 46,000 deaths for those 65 and older, making it the eighth leading cause of death. Unintentional injuries comprised 85% of all fatal injuries in 2012-2013 with suicide and homicide accounting for 15%.

TIME justice

Attorney General to Investigate Baltimore Police Department

U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch appears before the Senate Appropriations Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington on May 7, 2015.
Mark Wilson—Getty Images U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch appears before the Senate Appropriations Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington on May 7, 2015.

"We're talking about generations of mistrust"

The Justice Department is investigating the Baltimore Police Department to determine whether there is a pattern of discriminatory policing, and whether police are violating residents’ civil rights, Attorney General Loretta Lynch announced Friday.

“It was clear to a number of people looking at the situation that the community’s rather frayed trust was even worse and has been severed,” Lynch told reporters as she announced the investigation. “We’re talking about generations of mistrust, and generations of communities who feel very separated from government.”

Baltimore mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake requested the investigation on Wednesday, and the Justice Department rarely declines such requests. During the probe, the Justice Department will track the Baltimore Police Department’s use of force, and its pattern of stops, searches and arrests. The Attorney General said that when she first saw the demonstrations and riots in Baltimore following the death of Freddie Gray in police custody, “my first reaction was profound sadness, sadness for the loss of life, erosion of trust, for the sadness and despair that the community was feeling.”

The federal investigation comes just a few months after the Justice Department’s report on the Ferguson, Mo. police department following the death of Michael Brown last year, an investigation that uncovered a pattern of racist comments within the police department and led to the resignation of Ferguson’s chief of police.

The Attorney General acknowledged the recent federal investigations into police departments accused of civil rights violations, noting that “we’ve had a number of situations that have highlighted this fracture in various communities.” She added that she hopes these reports can help other jurisdictions maintain a fair law enforcement system.

“Our hope is that other jurisdictions, cities large and small, can look at these reports and say ‘are these the issues that I face?’” she said. “Our goal is to be a resource and a guide, but not to be a hand reaching into police departments…We truly believe that cities and police departments, they know these issues best.”

TIME Aviation

Delta Flight Makes Emergency Landing After Cabin Fills With Smoke

The silhouette of a passenger waiting for a flight is seen in the Delta Air Lines Inc. terminal at LaGuardia Airport in New York on Oct. 21, 2013.
Bloomberg via Getty Images The silhouette of a passenger waiting for a flight is seen in the Delta Air Lines Inc. terminal at LaGuardia Airport in New York on Oct. 21, 2013.

"It was this huge haze"

A Delta flight from Fort Lauderdale to LaGuardia made an emergency landing in Charleston, South Carolina, after a mechanical issue caused the cabin to fill with smoke, authorities said Thursday.

The Boeing MD-88 left Fort Lauderdale at 3 p.m. and made the emergency landing at 4:40 p.m. at Charleston International Airport after one of plane’s two engines experienced a “performance issue,” Delta said in a statement.

One passenger said he was asleep on the plane and awoke to a “surreal” experience as the cabin was filled with smoke.

“At first I was like ‘Is the A/C on?’,” Fabio Dias, who was heading…

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

TIME Courts

Mother Discovers Her Twins Have 2 Different Fathers

The truth came out during a paternity case

A New Jersey woman found out that her twins had been fathered by two different men in a Passaic County paternity case.

The woman, identified only as T.M., was applying for public assistance and named her romantic partner as the father of both children, the New York Times reports. In the course of testimony, she admitted to sleeping with a different man about a week after she believed she had conceived the twins with her partner.

This prompted a paternity test, which revealed that each man had fathered one of the twins, who are now toddlers. The original partner, identified as A.S., will now only pay child support for one of the children.

This kind of occurrence is rare, but not unheard of—a doctor testified that 1 in 13,000 paternity cases for twins involve two different fathers.

[NYT]

Read next: The Science of How Women Can Have Twins With 2 Different Fathers

Listen to the most important stories of the day.

TIME States

Don’t Worry, Texas, the Federal Government Isn’t Planning a Military Takeover

Bob Welch, standing at left, and Jim Dillon, hold a sign at a public hearing about the Jade Helm 15 military training exercise in Bastrop, Texas, April 27, 2015
Jay Janner—AP Bob Welch, standing at left, and Jim Dillon, hold a sign at a public hearing about the Jade Helm 15 military training exercise in Bastrop, Texas, April 27, 2015

The military's largest training exercise is just that—an exercise

In Texas, conspiracy theories have swirled that a two-month U.S. military exercise — named Jade Helm 15 — in seven states across America’s southwest might be an armed federal takeover of the Lone Star state in disguise.

On Thursday, Defense Secretary Ash Carter rebutted these claims with an emphatic “No,” the Wall Street Journal reports.

Jade Helm 15 is the largest military training exercise ever undertaken by the U.S. Army Special Operations Command. The fears of some Texans were stoked when military maps to be used in the exercise were found to show Texas (as well as Utah and California) as “hostile” territory.

The resulting controversy prompted Governor Greg Abbott to request that the Texas State Guard monitor the exercise.

Actor Chuck Norris also chimed in, exhorting Texans to be vigilant: “It’s pretty sad and bad when major military ops are ordered in a large, fiery state like Texas and not even the governor or its senators know the specifics.”

Carter emphasized on Thursday that Pentagon officials had notified the state government of the relevant details: “We’re very open and up front about our training activities in the United States, and I should say that we’re very grateful for the support of communities around the United States.”

TIME Environment

Here’s How Much We Spend Powering ‘Always-On’ Inactive Devices

They're consuming plenty of energy while plugged in, even if they're not used actively

Americans spend some $19 billion a year on electricity for devices that are powered on but inactive, according to a new report that aims to help reverse the trend.

Electricity consumed by devices like televisions, computers, printers and game consoles accounts for the majority of the figure, which translates to roughly 50 large power plants’ worth, according to the study by the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC). All of those devices consume energy while plugged in, even if they’re not used actively, and ones like refrigerators, washers and dryers that have electronic controls or displays—even Internet connectivity—are also a factor.

The NRDC recommends that consumers unplug appliances like televisions, computer and game consoles when they’re not being used, as well as choose more energy efficient products when replacing older models or buying newer ones. The report also calls on manufacturers to reduce the amount of energy that their products require in sleep mode, with the report’s author, Pierre Delforge, labeling the reduction of always-on consumption “a low-hanging fruit opportunity to cut climate-warming pollution.”

That reduction could have a significant effect on consumer’s bottom line, the report argues, stating American consumers could knock $8 billion off their collective utility bill if they reduced their electricity use by always-on devices to the consumption level of the 25% most efficient households surveyed. It’d help the environment, too, by preventing some 44 million metric tons of carbon dioxide pollution.

Read the full report here.

TIME Food & Beverage

Blue Bell Knew About Listeria Contamination 2 Years Ago, Feds Say

Blue Bell Creameries Recalls All Products After Listeria Contamination
Jamie Squire—etty Images Blue Bell Ice Cream is seen on shelves of a grocery store prior to being removed in Overland Park, Kans., on April 21, 2015

Correction appended, May 8, 2015

Blue Bell Creameries was aware of the listeria contamination in its facilities since 2013, long before an outbreak that left three people dead, according to new inspection documents released by the Food and Drug Administration.

The documents from the Broken Arrow, Okla. location outlines five instances of listeria found in 2013, including on the floor in front of the freezer and on the catwalk behind the flavor tank.

“You failed to demonstrate your cleaning and sanitizing program is effective in controlling recurring microbiological contaminations,” the FDA report reads, while also chronicling deficiencies in storage, hand-washing and other critical sanitation procedures.

In 2013 and 2014 inspections found issues of this nature, but the problems with contamination continued. After the five instances of listeria contamination found in 2013, 10 were found in 2014, and two so far in 2015.

Blue Bell has recalled all of its products after three people died from listeriosis earlier this year and seven more were hospitalized.

“We’re committed to doing the 100 percent right thing, and the best way to do that is to take all of our products off the market until we can be confident that they are all safe,” Blue Bell’s chief executive Paul Kruse said of the recall.

Blue Bell did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Thursday.

The FDA released a statement Friday clarifying that the agency was not aware of Blue Bell’s listeria findings until performing its 2015 inspection.

“When Listeria is found in the manufacturing environment, rather than on the food itself, it is not uncommon for a company to immediately take corrective action, rather than test further to see if the strain of Listeria poses a threat (is pathogenic),” the FDA said in a statement. “Although Blue Bell’s testing did identify Listeria, the company did not further identify the strain to determine if it was pathogenic. Therefore, it is not known whether the strain found in 2013 was Listeria monocytogenes or another non-pathogenic type of Listeria. The FDA continues to work with the company to ensure that its processes and practices comply with food safety laws and regulations.”

Correction: The original version of this story incorrectly described the timing of the FDA’s inspection of Blue Bell. The FDA inspected Blue Bell in 2015, while the 2013 and 2014 inspections were done by another party.

TIME justice

Baltimore Police Chief Welcomes Mayor’s Request for Federal Probe

Anthony Batts, Kevin Davis
Patrick Semansky—AP Baltimore Police Department Commissioner Anthony Batts, center, approaches a news conference before announcing that the department's investigation into the death of Freddie Gray was turned over to the State's Attorney's office a day early on April 30, 2015.

Anthony Batts embraces call for civil rights review of the “patterns and practices” of the city's police department

Baltimore Police Commissioner Anthony Batts said Thursday he welcomed “with open arms” a request by Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake for a Department of Justice civil rights review of his department.

“We have never shied away from scrutiny or assistance,” Batts said in a statement. “Our work is ongoing and anyone who wishes to be a part of helping the department better connect with the community will always be welcome.”

Rawlings-Blake asked for a full-scale civil rights review of the “patterns and practices” of the Baltimore police department in the wake of 25-year-old Freddie Gray’s death. Gray died from injuries sustained while in police custody and his death sparked outrage across the city. Six police officers were charged last week in Gray’s April 19 death.

“We need to have a foundation of trust,” Mayor Blake said at a Wednesday press conference. A “collaborative review” of the Baltimore police department by the Department of Justice is already ongoing, but that doesn’t carry the weight of the full-scale civil rights investigation Mayor Blake has asked for.

Batts noted Thursday the Baltimore Police Department was already attempting to address some of these issues, and said as a result of changes they began implementing over two years ago, there was a “54% reduction in discourtesy complaints, a more than 40% reduction in excessive force complaints and a dramatic drop in lawsuits.”

TIME White House

Why Obama’s Visit to Nike Bothers Liberals

President Barack Obama arrives at the Oregon Air National Guard Base ahead of a fundraiswer at Nike, in Portland on May 7, 2015.
Brendan Smialowski—AFP/Getty Images President Barack Obama arrives at the Oregon Air National Guard Base ahead of a fundraiswer at Nike, in Portland on May 7, 2015.

If there’s one thing the liberal, activist base can agree on, it’s that they hate President Obama’s proposed trade deal, the Trans-Pacific Partnership. They argue that it would transfer hundreds of thousands of decent American jobs to developing countries, like Vietnam, where workers, laboring under poor conditions, make pennies an hour.

And if there’s a second thing that liberal can agree on, it’s that the multinational sports outfitter, Nike, which conducts virtually all of its manufacturing in Asia and Mexico, is perhaps the world’s most powerful symbol, fairly or not, of precisely this kind of exploitation of cheap overseas labor, to the detriment of the American worker.

So Obama’s decision to visit Nike to promote the trade deal Thursday has liberals completely baffled.

“It’s crazy,” said Neil Sroka, the communications director of Democracy for America, a liberal advocacy group. “It would almost be funny on its face, if it weren’t such a sad indication of how out of touch the White House is on this issue with the lived experience of the American people.”

T.J. Helmstetter of the Progressive Change Campaign Committee added that “President Obama’s position on the TPP is misguided, as evidenced by his visit to Nike, which pays workers overseas so little they can’t afford to buy the shoes they’re making.”

Campaign for America’s Future, another liberal group opposed to the trade deal, is organizing a protest outside of Nike’s headquarters on Friday.

The White House, for its part, is making the case that visiting Nike — famous precisely because of its embrace of globalization — makes perfect sense. The president is expected to argue that the trade deal will reduce prices for American consumers by cutting tariffs on things like imported Nike sportswear.

“By allowing our trading partners to produce the goods in which they are relatively more efficient, the United States can import at lower prices than would prevail if we were to use our scarce resources to produce the goods ourselves,” economic advisers at the White House wrote in a report this month.

The trade deal, the advisers explained, would set new, higher standards for labor conditions, environmental protections and copyright. In exchange, lower tariffs at the U.S. border would make it easier to import Asian-made products — including Nike clothing and shoes. The U.S. imported $987.41 billion in goods and services from the Asia-Pacific region in 2012, according to the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis.

It’s an argument that is no doubt music to the ears of the corporate leadership at Nike, where 56% of the company’s revenue comes from outside Mexico, the United States and Canada, according to the company’s filings.

But labor groups, environmentalists, liberals, and some Tea Party Republicans say that argument doesn’t take into account the reality of average Americans.

“The argument doesn’t make any sense for struggling workers and their families,” said Sroka. “If you can’t get a job because companies like Nike are shipping their jobs to Vietnam where they’re can pay workers less, then it matters very little to you that your shoes are going to be two bucks less.”

Dave Johnson, a senior fellow at the progressive Campaign For America’s Future, made a more populist argument. “Phil Knight, head of Nike, is now worth $23 billion because America’s trade policies encourage companies like Nike to create and move jobs outside of the U.S.,” he wrote. “The 23rd-richest American is one more symbol of the kind of inequality that results from outsourcing enabled and encouraged by these trade policies. Workers here lose (or never get) jobs; workers there are paid squat; a few people become vastly, unimaginably wealthy.”

For the last two decades, Nike has come under consistent fire from civil rights and anti-globalization groups for operating sweatshops that exploit weak labor laws and employ children. As recently as last year, the company was criticized for abusing workers in Indonesia and underpaying workers in China.

Nike says it now operates all its factories above board. “Nike fully supports the inclusion of strong labor provisions” in trade deals, the company said in a statement. “We’ve made significant improvements and driven positive change for workers in contract factories that make Nike product.”

If the TPP is approved it will include 12 nations, including Japan, Australia, New Zealand and Chile, and oversee 40% of the world’s total GDP. Obama’s trip this Friday comes just as Congress is debating the passage of “fast track” legislation, which would give Congress only an up-or-down vote on the trade deal, with no ability to tinker with the details.

Obama and his allies on trade, which include Oregon Sen. Ron Wyden and the vast majority of the Republican establishment, have argued that “fast track” legislation is necessary to smooth the way for the TPP. Congress is expected to vote on the fast track next week.

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