TIME fourth of july

Freedom and Fireworks: Americans Celebrate Their Country’s Birthday

From fireworks to hot dog-eating contests, here's how Americans celebrated their country's birthday

TIME espionage

Germany Arrests Man Said to Be U.S. Spy

With relations between allies already tense over snooping

A German man was arrested this week on charges of spying for foreign intelligence services, a German official confirmed to TIME on Friday.

Another official, German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s spokesman Steffen Siebert, said Merkel was informed about the arrest on Thursday. The 31-year-old man was not identified and German authorities didn’t divulge who they suspect him of spying for. But the German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung, citing unnamed government sources, reported that he had been spying on behalf of the United States.

Tensions have been high between Germany and the U.S. ever since documents leaked by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden revealed that the intelligence agency had monitored Merkel’s personal cell phone. U.S. officials didn’t weigh in on the latest report: The White House declined to comment Friday, and an official readout of a Thursday phone call between Merkel and President Barack Obama made no mention of it.

Süddeutsche Zeitung reported that the man, who was arrested Wednesday, is an employee of the German Federal Intelligence Service, and that he was initially arrested on suspicion of spying for Russia. He appeared at a federal court in Karlsruhe in southwest Germany on Thursday, and has been detained on suspicion of being a foreign spy while authorities investigate further.

News of his arrest came a day after two U.S. citizens who once worked for the NSA testified before a German parliamentary committee investigating the agency’s overseas surveillance activities.

-Additional reporting by Zeke J Miller and Denver Nicks

TIME Crime

Dad Charged in Son’s Hot-Car Death Asked About Life Insurance, Police Say

Justin Ross Harris
Justin Ross Harris, the father of a toddler who died after police say he was left in a hot car for about seven hours, sits during his bond hearing in Cobb County Magistrate Court, Thursday, July 3, 2014, in Marietta, Ga. Kelly J. Huff—AP

New details in warrant

Justin Ross Harris, the Georgia father accused of murdering his toddler by leaving him in a sweltering SUV, had asked family members how to cash in on the boy’s life insurance policies, investigators said. The disturbing detail was revealed in search warrants released Friday.

A judge denied the Marietta man bond on Thursday. Prosecutors laid out a possible motive for why Harris allegedly left his 22-month-old son, Cooper, in the car while he was at work June 18. A detective testified that Harris was unhappy in his marriage, had been sexting with other women and had visited websites about the “child-free” life…

Read the rest of the story on NBC News

TIME Military

Pentagon Grounds Entire F-35 Fleet

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A U.S. Air Force F-35 Lightning II joint strike fighter, taxis in to its new home with the 33rd Fighter Wing at Eglin Air Force Base, Florida. Stocktrek Images—Getty Images/Stocktrek Images

After runway fire at Florida air base

The Department of Defense grounded the United States’ entire fleet of F-35 fighter jets after a fire at Eglin Air Base in Florida raised questions about the safety of the aircraft, officials said Thursday.

The cause of the June 23 runway fire, which occurred as a pilot was preparing for takeoff, remains under investigation, the Pentagon said. The pilot was not hurt in the incident.

“Additional inspections of F-35 engines have been ordered, and return to flight will be determined based on inspection results and analysis of engineering data,” the Pentagon said in a statement late Thursday.

With a price tag of $400 billion, the single-seater F-35 fighter jet is the single most expensive weapon ever built. The program has been plagued by cost overruns and scheduling delays.

TIME Pictures of the Week

Pictures of the Week: June 27 – July 4

From the killing of three kidnapped Israeli teenagers and Tim Howard’s World Cup heroics to the beginning of Ramadan and Hurricane Arthur photographed from space, TIME presents the best pictures of the week.

TIME Immigration

California Town Braces for More Immigration Protests

Residents and protestors attend a town hall meeting to discuss the processing of undocumented immigrants in Murrieta, California
Residents and protestors attend a town hall meeting to discuss the processing of undocumented immigrants in Murrieta, Calif. July 2, 2014. Sam Hodgson—Reuters

After turning back one bus of immigrants this week

The southern California city that became a flashpoint in the crisis over children crossing the U.S.-Mexico border is waiting to learn if the feds will try to send new busloads of undocumented immigrants—and whether the tensions on display earlier this week will flare up again.

Dozens of protesters blocked the road to Murrieta on Tuesday and managed to turn away a bus headed for a processing center there, and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement has not told local officials if any more are coming…

Read the rest of the story at NBC News

TIME Culture

Here’s What You Shouldn’t Do With Fireworks This Fourth of July

Make sure you have all five fingers on July 5th.

Fireworks are fun and just as much a part of Independence Day celebrations as cookouts, but please, Please, PLEASE be careful.

To deter you from setting your house ablaze with a mix of patriotic fervor, alcohol, and black powder, here are five of the biggest pyrotechnic mishaps ever. Observe the proximity of the bystanders, the lack of forethought, the size of the explosives and make yourself a mental checklist of proper protocol tomorrow before putting that M-80 in your pool. Which you shouldn’t do.

Have a happy and safe Fourth of July!

TIME Aviation

France Beefs Up Security on Flights to U.S.

France Airport Security
A French soldier stands in front of the desk of American airline company 'Delta Air Lines' in Nice airport, south eastern France, July 4, 2014. Lionel Cironneau—AP

Amid terrorism concerns

France is ramping up security measures on all outgoing flights to the U.S. following terrorism warnings.

“At the request of American authorities, security measures at airports for flights bound to the United States have been increased for the summer period,” the French Civil Aviation Authority said in a statement Friday.

American authorities said Wednesday that they’re concerned al-Qaeda might be developing a new kind of bomb that could be smuggled onto planes. The Obama Administration told foreign airports with direct flights to the U.S. to increase their security measures.

The French agency warned that delays are possible and recommended all passengers flying to the U.S. arrive early. The move follows British airports agreeing to increase airport security Thursday.

France has not elaborated on the measures it intends to implement.

 

TIME Immigration

The Family Fireworks Sellers of South Texas

Around the Fourth of July, a few families near the Mexican border devote their lives to selling sparklers

When it came time to name Nelson Zamora, his paternal Mexican grandmother had just one request: give him a name that sounds American, but is easy to pronounce in Spanish. Like many Americans with roots in Mexico, Nelson and his wife Cynthia Fuentes straddle two worlds, even if they mostly stay on one side of the border.

In Mission, Texas, a small city not far from the southern border where Nelson and Cynthia live, the demarcation between the U.S. and Mexico can seem fluid. Travelers pass back and forth, sometimes legally through a checkpoint and sometimes in the dark of night through the waters of the Rio Grande. Cynthia has seen new arrivals around town, mothers with babies looking dazed and others desperately in need of water. She helps when she can.

Every summer since 1998, Cynthia and Nelson, who were both born in Texas, have operated a stall selling fireworks for the Fourth of July. Fireworks are illegal in the state, except at this time of year and just before New Year’s Eve.

Working on 20 percent commission, the couple can earn as much as $3,000 a season. “We’ve made good money,” says Cynthia. “It’s kept us coming back.”

When they’re not selling fireworks, Cynthia runs a home-based business making and selling piñatas. Nelson drives a forklift for a citrus company, seasonal work that won’t begin again until August. To accommodate their daughter and two grandchildren who’ve come with them to the fireworks stall this year, Cynthia and Nelson built a makeshift camper in the bed of their pickup truck. They are required to stay on site 24 hours a day.

“We brought our AC from the house, the television and the DVD for the kids,” says Cynthia. “It’s fun. We’re all together and we’re talking.”

On July 4th, after the last customers have gone, Cynthia and Nelson will buy some fireworks for themselves, close up the stall and go celebrate American independence as a family.

TIME Infectious Disease

Beware Bugs at Your July 4th BBQ

Asian Tiger Mosquito biting on human skin
Getty Images

An Independence Day warning

There’s a little bit of good news for backyard barbecuers this summer—that frightening new virus called chikungunya is not likely to get you. But West Nile virus just might.

Chikungunya has been making headlines because it’s spread rapidly across the Caribbean and Central America in just half a year, infecting 260,000 people and killing 21. But a recent study suggests the United States has a bit of time on its side…

Read the rest of the story on NBC News

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