TIME

Man Shoots Himself Outside News Corp. Building in New York

The building houses Fox News, the New York Post and The Wall Street Journal

(NEW YORK) — Police say a man has apparently shot himself to death outside the News Corp. building in midtown Manhattan.

The 41-year-old man died after the shooting at about 9 a.m. Monday.

Authorities aren’t certain what prompted the shooting, which occurred outside the building that houses Fox News, the New York Post and The Wall Street Journal. The media conglomerate News Corp. is controlled by Rupert Murdoch.

It’s not clear if the man had any ties to News Corp. or if he was just standing outside the building.

A weapon was recovered at the scene, and no one else was injured.

Traffic was snarled in Midtown as police investigated.

TIME weather

Millions Dig in as ‘Crippling’ Winter Blizzard Slams Northeast

"This could be a storm the likes of which we have never seen before"

Millions of people up and down the East Coast dug in Monday evening as a snowstorm expected to be one of the largest blizzards ever to hit the region began burying cities from Pennsylvania to Maine in what was forecast to exceed two feet of snow. Airlines canceled thousands of flights, public transportation systems wound down, governors declared states of emergency, and officials said they would institute far-reaching travel bans to keep people off the roads.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said subways and buses in New York City would stop running at 11 p.m. and warned that the situation would be “exponentially worse” by Tuesday morning. New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio ordered drivers to be off the roads by 11 p.m.

“This will most likely be one of the largest blizzards in the history of New York City,” de Blasio said.

Boston was bracing for the worst, expecting as much as three feet of snow, compared to about two feet in New York and more than a foot in Philadelphia. By early Monday evening more than 5,000 flights had been cancelled, in preparation for the storm, including all flights out of Boston Logan Airport starting as early as 7 p.m. Monday.

“This is a top-five historic storm, and we should treat it as such,” Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker said. “This is clearly going to be a really big deal.”

The governors of Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Jersey and New York each declared states of emergency. Travel restrictions in each state were set to begin Monday evening, when the heaviest snowfall was expected to start.

MORE: Here’s Who Decides if Your Flight Takes Off This Week

The National Weather Service described the storm as “crippling and potentially historic,” and warned of “life-threatening conditions” on roadways. Officials from New York to Boston warned residents to remain indoors if possible.

In New York City, thousands of city workers scrambled to prepare 6,000 miles of roads to operate during the storm. The Metropolitan Transportation Authority said that travel would be “hazardous” on Monday and Tuesday, and commuter rail lines wer expected to halt service over night. Cuomo asked city residents to expedite their schedules to avoid evening delays.

All Broadway theater performances scheduled for Monday were canceled, according to an afternoon statement from Charlotte St. Martin, the executive director of The Broadway League.

MORE: Why Blizzards Turn Us Into Irrational Hoarders at the Grocery Store

In Massachusetts, Baker warned of power outages and a frozen transportation system in his state, where forecasters predicted winds of up to 75 miles per hour.

“People across Massachusetts should presume that roads… will be very hard, if not impossible, to navigate, that power outages are a distinct possibility, and that most forms of public transportation may not be available,” he said.

TIME Qatar

Qatar Has Asked a U.S. Family if They Want Their Daughter’s Alleged Killer Executed

Prince Charles Visits Qatar - Day 2
A general view of the skyline in Doha, Qatar, on Feb. 20, 2014 Chris Jackson—Getty Images

They also have the option to pardon him or get financial compensation

A Pennsylvania family is being asked to decide on whether the alleged killer of their daughter should be put to death in the Gulf Arab state of Qatar.

A Kenyan security guard reportedly confessed to murdering English teacher Jennifer Brown, 40, who was found dead in her company apartment in November 2012, Agence France-Presse says.

Qatari authorities have now asked Brown’s family whether they want to pardon the guard, get financial compensation from him, or have him executed.

Brown’s case has languished in Qatar’s courts because of slow witness testimony, eliciting disappointment from her family. An announcement of their decision is expected on March 8.

[AFP]

TIME Crime

Catholics Selected for the Boston Bomber Jury Could Be Going Against Their Faith

Jury Selection Begins For Tsarnaev Trial
Jury selection for the trial of the Boston Marathon bomber started on Jan. 5, 2015 at Moakley Federal Court. A jogger runs past police vehicles in front of the courthouse John Tlumacki—Boston Globe/Getty Images

There's a potential clash between jury selection criteria and Catholic teachings

There is a distinct possibility that many of Boston’s 2 million Roman Catholics won’t be able to perform jury service in the trial of alleged Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev without violating their faith.

The criteria for selecting jurors requires them to be able to sentence the accused to death should that eventuality arise, USA Today reports.

According to the teachings of the Catholic Church, however, the death penalty must not be used if “nonlethal means are sufficient to defend and protect people’s safety from the aggressor.”

“It is both ironic and unfortunate that Catholics who understand and embrace this teaching will be systematically excluded from the trial,” the Rev. James Bretzke, professor of moral theology at Boston College, told USA Today.

Read more at USA Today.

TIME poverty

L.A.’s Homeless Camps Are Growing as More People Are Forced Onto the Streets

US-POLITICS-POVERTY-ECONOMY
A man carries his belongings while walking past homeless people sitting amid their belongings on a street in downtown Los Angeles, California, on January 8, 2014. FREDERIC J. BROWN—AFP/Getty Images

Gentrification and shelter closures are leaving more people without a roof over their heads

Homeless camps in downtown Los Angeles are growing past their original boundaries and spilling over into other areas of the city.

Because of redevelopment of the downtown area, soaring rents, funding cutbacks and the closure of shelters, residents from neighborhoods such as Highland Park and Boyle Heights are being forced into the streets, the Los Angeles Times reports.

In an effort to find out where these people came from, and why, 6,000 volunteers will hit the streets on Tuesday and Thursday to ask the city’s homeless people questions about domestic violence, military service, gender identity and prison history.

The city’s mayor, Eric Garcetti, has pledged to get the 3,400 homeless veterans off the streets by the end of 2015.

Read more at Los Angeles Times.

TIME Education

What the New Senate Education Chair Thinks About No Child Left Behind

Lamar Alexander, Patty Murray
Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee Chairman Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., right, and the committee's ranking member Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., arrive on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, Jan. 21, 2015, for the committee's hearing looking at ways to fix the No Child Left Behind law. Susan Walsh—AP

Sen. Lamar Alexander, the new chairman of the Senate committee on education, walked into Congress this month with guns a-blazin’.

Twelve years after the passage of George W. Bush’s signature education bill, No Child Left Behind, and eight years after that troubled law was supposed to be revised and updated, the Tennessee Republican says now is the time for its long-neglected makeover.

He plans to take a revised version of the law to the Senate floor by the end of February, with hopes of pushing it through Congress “in the first half of this year.”

What exactly that makeover will look like is now the subject of hot debate on Capitol Hill.

The primary issue at stake is testing. Under No Child Left Behind, students are required to take a raft of standardized exams, each of which are used to assess whether schools are succeeding or failing, and, increasingly, to hold individual teachers accountable for their performance in the classroom.

Critics of No Child Left Behind—and there are lots and lots of them—generally hate the testing mandate. Conservatives and Tea Party activists decry it as “government overreach,” while liberals, local teachers unions and parents lament the reliance on “high-stakes testing.” Even Secretary of Education Arne Duncan has said that too much testing can “rob school buildings of joy.”

So far, Alexander says that while he sees the benefits of aggregating and breaking down federal testing results, “the jury is still out” on whether an updated No Child Left Behind should require federal standardized tests at all, and if they do, whether the government should be barred from imposing consequences on schools with bad test scores.

How Alexander and the Senate education committee ultimately come down on this issue could fundamentally alter the way that public education works in this country.

In a conversation with TIME last week, Alexander offered a peek into what he thinks might come next.

This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

You’ve said you’re not sure how you stand on the testing issue, but what is your thinking at the moment?

The thing that worked with No Child Left Behind is to take tests results, break them down and aggregate them so that we know that children really aren’t being left behind—so you can’t have an overall average for a school that’s pretty good, but still leave all the Latino kids in a ditch somewhere. But what’s increasingly obvious to me is that the biggest failure of No Child Left Behind has been the federal accountability system—the effort to decide in Washington whether schools or teachers are succeeding or failing. That just doesn’t work. But I think the jury’s still out on the tests.

How so?

What I didn’t realize when we started was the large number of tests that are required by state and local governments. [Former Florida Gov.] Jeb Bush’s Foundation of Excellence in Education in Florida found that there are between eight and 200 additional tests required by state and local government in Florida. That is a lot more than the 17 tests that No Child Left Behind requires.

So you’re not necessarily opposed to keeping those 17 federally mandated tests?

Dr. [Martin] West at Harvard [who testified before the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions committee last week] suggested keeping the [17] tests but making the decision about success, failure and accountability part of a state’s system. … Dr. West argues that that’s the real culprit—trying to [design accountability systems] from Washington—and I think that’s a pretty persuasive argument. I mean, it may not be the federal tests so much as letting someone at such great a distance assign so much weight to a single test and such arbitrary consequences to it.

So there may still be a federal testing mandate in a revised No Child Left Behind?

Most of the controversy that exists today is the result of Washington getting involved [in state education policy] over the last six or seven years. People don’t like that. Teachers and their unions do not like being evaluated from Washington, and communities do not like being told what their academic standards are, i.e. Common Core, from Washington. They might adopt it for themselves, but they’re not going to be told what to do. … [Washington’s involvement] actually creates a backlash, making higher standards more difficult to hold onto and teacher evaluation systems more difficult to create because of all the anger. … It’s just not the way you make permanent improvements in 100,000 public schools. The community has to own the change. The teachers in the school have to own the evaluation system and believe it’s fair or it’ll never work.

So keep the federally mandated tests, but leave the consequences portion to the states.

That’s right. That’s what Dr. West argues: you have to have the annual test. You have to disaggregate it. You have to report it, so we know how schools and children and school districts are doing. But after that, it’s up to the states, who spend the money and have the children and take care of them and it’s their responsibility to devise what’s success, what’s failure and [what the] consequences [should be].

You’re saying that Dr. West’s position, but it sounds like you’re pretty sympathetic to it.

The jury’s still out for me. What I know is the biggest failure of No Child Left Behind is the idea that Washington should tell 100,000 public schools and their teachers whether they’re succeeding, whether they’re failing and what the consequences of that should be. That hasn’t worked.

TIME Crime

2 Dead After Shooting at New York City Home Depot

Police stand guard outside a Home Depot store following a shooting in the Manhattan borough of New York
Police stand guard outside a Home Depot store following a shooting in the Manhattan borough of New York January 25, 2015. Carlo Allegri—Reuters

(NEW YORK) — An employee at a Home Depot store in Manhattan argued with a co-worker before fatally shooting him and then killing himself on Sunday, police said, sending panicked workers and shoppers rushing to get away from the gunfire.

The 31-year-old man entered the store on West 23rd Street around 2:45 p.m. He exchanged words with a 38-year-old co-worker in the store’s lighting section and then pulled out a gun, shooting the other man in the abdomen and chest, police said. The man was taken to the hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

The gunman then shot himself in the head, said New York Police Department Capt. Steven Wren. It was unclear what the argument was about, and no identifications were released. A gun was recovered at the scene.

Wren said about 70 employees were in the store, but no one else was injured.

Sigourney Rodriguez, who works nearby, was taking a cigarette break when she saw about 100 people running out of the store. “You hear gunshots, you’re going to run,” she said.

Rodriguez heard store employees saying, “He’s dead, I tell you he’s dead.”

The Home Depot, though smaller than a suburban outpost of the chain, is a megastore by Manhattan standards, and popular with many neighborhood residents.

“This is a beautiful neighborhood and a great store,” said Sara Vogeler, who lives on the next block. “We just bought our Christmas lights here not too long ago. It’s shocking!”

Home Depot issued a statement saying, “We’re deeply saddened by this tragedy. We are fully cooperating with the authorities on their investigation of what appears to have been an isolated incident.”

TIME weather

Storm Threatens Northeast U.S. With Up to 2 Feet of Snow

Winter Weather
Irv Rosenberg, of Boston, uses cross country skis on the Esplanade in Boston, Saturday, Jan. 24, 2015. Michael Dwyer—AP

"This could be a storm the likes of which we have never seen before"

(NEW YORK) — Northeast residents are girding for a “crippling and potentially historic” storm that could bury communities from northern New Jersey to southern Maine in up to 2 feet of snow.

The National Weather Service said the nor’easter would bring heavy snow, powerful winds and widespread coastal flooding starting Monday and through Tuesday. A blizzard warning was issued for a 250-mile stretch of the Northeast, including New York and Boston.

Government officials began to activate emergency centers on Sunday as professional sports teams, schools and utilities hastily revised their schedules and made preparations.

“This could be a storm the likes of which we have never seen before,” New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio told a news conference in a Manhattan sanitation garage where workers were preparing plows and salt for the massive cleanup on about 6,000 miles of city roadways.

In Massachusetts, Gov. Charlie Baker warned residents to prepare for roads that are “very hard, if not impossible, to navigate,” power outages and possibly even a lack of public transportation.

Boston is expected to get 18 to 24 inches of snow, with up to 2 feet or more west of the city, and Philadelphia could see up to a foot, the weather service said.

The Washington area expected only a couple of inches, with steadily increasing amounts as the storm heads north.

“We do anticipate very heavy snowfall totals,” said Bob Oravec, lead forecaster with the weather service in College Park, Maryland. “In addition to heavy snow, with blizzard warnings, there’s a big threat of high, damaging winds, and that will be increasing Monday into Tuesday. A lot of blowing, drifting and such.”

Wind gusts of 75 mph or more are possible for coastal areas of Massachusetts, and up to 50 mph further inland, Oravec said.

Airlines prepared to shut down operations along the East Coast, leading to the expected cancellation of about 1,700 flights scheduled for Monday, according to the flight tracking site FlightAware.

A storm system driving out of the Midwest brought several inches of snow to Ohio on Sunday. A new low pressure system was expected to form off the Carolina coast and ultimately spread from the nation’s capital to Maine for a “crippling and potentially historic blizzard,” the weather service said.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo urged commuters to stay home on Monday and warned that mass transit and roadways could be closed before the evening rush hour, even major highways such as the New York Thruway, Interstate 84 and the Long Island Expressway.

In New York City, the Greater New York Taxi Association offered free cab service for emergency responders trying to get to work, and disabled and elderly residents who become stranded.

The New York Rangers decided to practice Monday afternoon at the Islanders’ home arena on Long Island instead of at their own training facility just outside New York City. They’ll stay overnight on Long Island for Tuesday’s game against their rival — if it’s still held.

The Super Bowl-bound New England Patriots expected to be out of town by the time the storm arrives in Boston. The team plans to leave Logan Airport at 12:30 p.m. Monday for Phoenix, where the temperature will reach the high 60s.

 

TIME Military

The U.S. Needs a New Yardstick for a New Kind of War

IRAQ-CONFLICT
Buildings burn Saturday during a military operation launched by the Iraqi army to retake positions held by Islamic State outside the village Sharween, north of Baghdad. YOUNIS AL-BAYATI / AFP / Getty Images

America keeps measuring progress on a battlefield that no longer exists

Body counts are never a good a yardstick for measuring progress in a war of ideas. That’s why the Pentagon freaked out Thursday when Stuart Jones, the U.S. ambassador to Iraq, told the Al Arabiya News Channel that America and its allies “have now killed more than 6,000 ISIS fighters in Syria and Iraq.”

The first counter-fire came, within hours, from Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel. “I was in a war where there was a lot of body counts every day,” the outgoing defense chief, who served as an Army sergeant in the Vietnam War, said in one of his most pungent observations in his two years on the job. “And we lost that war.”

Hagel’s spokesman piled on Friday. “It’s not a metric that we’re going to hang our hat on when it comes to talking to the success of this strategy,” Rear Admiral John Kirby said of the Pentagon’s internal body-count estimate. “This is not a uniformed army with identification cards and recruiting posters.”

While Ambassador Jones added that the 6,000 number was “not so important” in the overall scheme of things, the catnip was out of the bag. That’s because Americans, impatient over wars that drag on (like Hagel’s Vietnam and George W. Bush’s Afghanistan and Iraq), crave measurements that suggest progress.

Unfortunately, that metric mindset has little utility in wars against ideology. “I don’t know whether 6,000 [ISIS] people have been killed or not,” California Sen. Dianne Feinstein, the ranking Democrat on the intelligence committee, told CBS’s Face the Nation on Sunday. “But that is not going to do it.”

That’s because conflicts like the one now underway against the Islamist fundamentalism represented by the Islamic State in Iraq and Greater Syria (ISIS) are not constrained by national boundaries, or the national pressure points that have traditionally been the trigger of wars (and the foundation of ending them) among states.

Without the trappings of formal government—a capital, commerce, standing armies—non-state actors like ISIS or al-Qaeda deny military powers like the U.S. the kinds of targets they prefer. Their allegiance to ideology—be it theology or something else—takes away the fulcrum that victors used to leverage to bring wars to an end.

Industrial powers created industrial militaries, where rear-echelon bean-counters could tote up tanks, ball-bearing factories and troops destroyed—and thereby chart progress, or the lack thereof. But ideological war isn’t industrial in scope. Instead, it’s more like information warfare, where ideas, shared online, create alliances that ripple across borders and oceans.

It took a Detroit to build an industrial arsenal of democracy, with each weapon requiring dollars and sweat to assemble. Today, it merely takes a keyboard to build an ideological alliance, each member a low-cost addition requiring little more than fervor and an Internet connection.

The Administration of George W. Bush concluded the way to prevail after the 9/11 attacks was to invade and occupy Afghanistan and Iraq. Following wars that eventually will cost $3 trillion or more, and at least 6,845 American lives, his successor has decided not to tag along. Instead, President Barack Obama has told the nations involved—those with the most at risk—to step up to the plate to do the fighting, with the U.S. filling the role of best supporting actor.

Some see such a policy as too timid. “The U.S. efforts have always been halfhearted, half-resourced and focused on exit strategies rather than on success,” says David Sedney, who ran the Pentagon office responsible for Afghanistan, Pakistan and central Asia from 2009 to 2013. “We always want to have an exit, and the problem with real life is there’s no exit.” He argues that the U.S. needs to launch nation-building strategies in failed states that currently serve as incubators for ISIS and other groups.

Politicians aren’t calling for such radical action. But some believe the U.S. needs to step up the fight. “We need more boots on the ground,” Arizona Republican Sen. John McCain, the new chairman of the Armed Services Committee, told CBS on Sunday. “I know that is a tough thing to say and a tough thing for Americans to swallow, but it doesn’t mean the 82nd Airborne. It means forward air controllers. It means special forces. It means intelligence and it means other capabilities.”

The U.S., McCain said, can’t simply direct wars against ISIS and similar foes from relative safety behind the front lines. “For [the Administration] to say, ‘we expect [Iraq and Yemen] to do it on their own,’ they’re not doing it on their own,” he said. “And they are losing.”

The last clear victory scored by the U.S. military was against Iraq in 1991, led by President George H.W. Bush, a Cold War commander-in-chief. It was a bespoke war tailor-made for the Pentagon: Iraq’s massive army stormed into Kuwait, occupied it, and waited for the U.S. and its allies to drive it out.

The world watched that conflict and decided, given Washington’s overwhelming advantages in that kind of war, not to fight it again. Unfortunately, too many Americans seem unaware that the rules have changed. So they continue to want to measure progress in today’s conflicts with yesterday’s yardsticks.

But such yearnings are doomed. Persistence and will, not body bags, are the keys to winning these kinds of wars.

TIME Crime

Elderly Georgia Couple Missing After Trip to Buy Craigslist Car

Bud and June Runion

The couple planned to drive the nearly 300 miles to McRae to buy a 1966 Mustang

Georgia police were searching for a man Sunday who they believe is involved in the disappearance of a couple in their 60s who hadn’t been heard from since before going on a day-trip to buy a car they had found on Craigslist.

Ronnie “Jay” Towns, 28, was wanted for making false statements to investigators and criminal intent to commit theft by deception after Elrey “Bud” Runion, 69, and his wife June Runion, 66 vanished Thursday, Telfair County Sheriff Chris Steverson told NBC News…

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

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