TIME #TheBrief

#TheBrief: Assisted Suicide After the Age of Kevorkian

Brittany Maynard's death at 29 jumpstarts the debate over assisted suicide

Brittany Maynard’s decision last weekend to end her life at 29, rather than continue receiving care for terminal brain cancer, has revived the debate over assisted suicide.

Maynard’s supporters call their movement “Death With Dignity,” on the grounds that mentally fit, terminally ill patients should have the right to obtain lethal drugs from a doctor that allows them to end their life on their own terms.

Here’s your brief on how Maynard represents the revival of the aid in dying movement that faded after the jailing of Dr. Jack Kevorkian.

TIME 2014 Election

This Tiny Election Could Have a Big Impact on the Oil Industry

A small group of North Dakota voters will shape the future of the state's oil industry

As millions of voters across the country weigh in on issues like abortion and marijuana legalization, a new report documents how a small group of American Indian voters deep in the plains of North Dakota are determining the future of an entirely different issue—the course of the state’s oil industry.

Members of the Three Affiliated Tribes of Mandan, Hidatsa and Arikara (MHA) Nation are electing a new tribal chairman, and both candidates promise new regulations that will make business tougher for the oil industry there. The tribal chairman exercises considerable influence on the state’s oil industry, which produces more oil than any state except Texas, according to Reuters. MHA controls a third of that production.

The two most pressing issues for the candidates, attorney Damon Williams and tax director Mark Fox, are protecting the environment and ensuring that oil revenue supports members of the tribes. Despite collecting hundreds of millions of dollars in oil tax revenue, the tribe still lacks some basic services. “The oil money is our buffalo,” Williams said. “And one of these days, the buffalo will move on.”

Read the full story from Reuters.

TIME Crime

Body Found After Mom Threw Son in Oregon’s Yaquina Bay

Newport Police Dept. Jillian Meredith McCabe

She was subsequently arrested for aggravated murder, murder and 1st degree manslaughter

The body of a 6-year-old boy was found in Oregon’s Yaquina Bay after his mother called cops to say she’d thrown her son off a bridge, officials said early Tuesday. Police said that Jillian Meredith McCabe, 34, of Seal Rock, Oregon, had been arrested for the murder of her son London.

An Oregon woman by the same name penned an appeal for funding to help take care of her autistic son London and multiple sclerosis-stricken husband Matt. A mugshot released by police matched social-media posts showing the wife of a Matt McCabe and their son.

Authorities mounted an extensive search, with…

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

TIME 2014 Election

Republicans Win the Senate in Midterm Elections

Party retakes upper chamber amid disapproval of Obama

Republicans won the Senate for the first time in almost a decade Tuesday night, giving the party control over both chambers of Congress, and setting the stage for even more political confrontation with President Barack Obama during his final two years in office.

The GOP needed to pick up at least six seats to recapture the majority and as of late Tuesday night it had netted seven, with the possibility of winning one more when the Louisiana Senate race goes to a runoff next month. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell prevailed in one of the hardest-fought reelection fights of his career, and will almost certainly be selected by his colleagues as Majority Leader.

MORE: See all the election results

“The truth is tonight we begin another [fight], one that is far more important than mine, and that is to turn this country around,” McConnell told cheering supporters in Louisville after dispatching Alison Lundergam Grimes, Kentucky’s Secretary of State. Looking ahead to dealing with Obama as a lame duck, McConnell, who famously described the GOP’s top political priority as making him a one-term president, opened the door just a crack to compromise.

“We do have an obligation to work together on issues where we can agree,” he said. “Just because we have a two-party system doesn’t mean we have to be in perpetual conflict.”

Current Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, the Nevada Democrat who will now have to yield the top spot to McConnell in December, congratulated his colleague—and often nemesis.

“The message from voters is clear: they want us to work together,” Reid said in a statement. “I look forward to working with Senator McConnell to get things done for the middle class.”

MORE: The challenge for the new Republican majority

Republicans won competitive Senate races in Iowa, North Carolina, Georgia, Arkansas and Colorado, and held off a wealthy independent candidate who almost brought down longtime Republican Sen. Pat Roberts in Kansas. The GOP prevailed in a multi-candidate Senate race in South Dakota where Democrats had hoped an independent candidate would split the vote, and picked up a Montana Senate seat vacated by a retiring Democrat as expected.

In New Hampshire, Democratic Sen. Jeanne Shaheen held off Republican Scott Brown, a former Massachusetts senator who moved to the Granite State to challenge Shaheen. The Senate race in Louisiana headed to a Dec. 6 run-off after neither Democratic Sen. Mary Landrieu nor Republican challenger Bill Cassidy mustered the majority support needed to win outright. But when Republicans knocked off the Democratic incumbent in North Carolina, the GOP had the seats it needed for the majority.

Republicans expanded on their majority in the House as expected.

“This is possibly the worst possible group of states for Democrats since Dwight Eisenhower,” President Barack Obama told a Connecticut radio station earlier in the day of the political map facing his party. “There are a lot of states that are being contested where they just tend to tilt Republican. And Democrats are competitive, but they tend to tilt that way.”

Obama, whose middling approval ratings are dragging down Democratic candidates across the country and who has exclusively campaigned for candidates in safe Democratic territory, mostly stayed out of sight Tuesday. He held meetings with Vice President Joe Biden, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel and officials handling his Administration’s Ebola response, but he didn’t campaign. Exit polls indicated voters felt deep dissatisfaction with Obama and both parties in Congress, with two-thirds saying the country was headed on the wrong track.

The President famously declared the 2010 election a “shellacking” the day after Democrats lost the House to Republicans, and a White House official said late Tuesday that he had “invited bipartisan, bicameral congressional leaders to a meeting” for Friday. The Administration sought to downplay the idea that the race was about Obama. “Ultimately it’s the quality of these candidates that are going to be the driver in this election,” White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said. Early Wednesday, Earnest said Obama would hold a news conference in the afternoon.

The Republican Party now faces the challenge of governing with full control of Congress, and will surely continue to face competing pressures from conservatives who want to challenge Obama by passing ideologically “pure” legislation and forcing him to veto it, and from moderates who see cutting big deals on immigration and other issues as the better path toward winning back the White House in 2016. The obstacles facing McConnell were again on display just moments after Republicans emerged victorious when Texas Republican Sen. Ted Cruz, a staunch Tea Party conservative and possible 2016 candidate, again won’t commit to backing McConnell for Majority Leader.

“That’ll be a decision for a conference to make,” Cruz said on CNN. Tonight “was a powerful repudiation of the Obama Administration,” Cruz said.

The only potential bright spot for Democrats was supposed to be gubernatorial races, where some Republicans elected during the GOP wave of 2010 looked poised to go down in defeat. But in Florida, Republican Gov. Rick Scott held off Democrat Charlie Crist, a party-switching former Republican governor of the state himself. And Wisconsin Republican Gov. Scott Walker, who has been a top target for Democrats ever since he pushed through legislation that stripped public employees of collective bargaining rights, beat his Democratic challenger.

— With reporting from Jay Newton-Small, Alex Rogers and Maya Rhodan

Read next: The weirdest moments of Election Day 2014

TIME Autos

Half of GM Vehicles Recalled for Faulty Switch Aren’t Repaired

More than a million vehicles with the problem remain on the road

About half of the millions of General Motors vehicles recalled over a faulty and sometimes deadly ignition switch have been fixed, nine months after the first recall, according to a new report.

GM estimates that more than a million unfixed vehicles, of the more than 2.3 million needing a fix, remain on the roads, a spokesman told the New York Times. The automaker has promised a large campaign — amidst continued criticism for not recalling affected vehicles when evidence of an issue first emerged — to reach owners whose vehicles maybe have the defect, launched a social media campaign and staffed a recall call center with 72 employees.

The ignition switch problem, which has been linked to the deaths of at least 30 people and dozens more injuries, stops airbags from inflating and affects both steering and brakes.

[NYT]

TIME Terrorism

Facebook and Twitter Are ‘Command-and-Control Networks’ for Terrorists

Spy chief: U.S. technology companies are in denial over the extent they aid terror and crime

The head of Britain’s equivalent of the NSA has said that U.S. technology firms that dominate the Internet must contribute more to the battle against violent extremism and child exploitation.

Robert Hannigan, the new head of Government Communications Headquarters, has accused Internet firms of being “in denial” over the role they play in crime and terrorism, demanding they work with security services to combat the growth of groups like the Islamic State of Iraq and Greater Syria (ISIS).

Writing in the Financial Times on Tuesday, Hannigan says that unlike other extremist groups, including al-Qaeda, ISIS has “embraced the web” and grown increasingly savvy in improving the security of their communications.

While technology companies may aspire to stand outside politics, their services increasingly facilitate crime and terrorism, argues Hannigan. “However much they may dislike it, they have become the command-and-control networks of choice for terrorists and criminals, who find their services as transformational as the rest of us,” he adds.

He says U.K. security agencies need better support from “the largest U.S. technology companies which dominate the web” and calls for greater cooperation, adding that most Internet users would prefer “a better, more sustainable relationship between the agencies and the technology companies.”

[FT]

TIME Disaster

Obama Signs Disaster Declaration to Aid Lava-Threatened Hawaiian Community

U.S. Geological Survey—AP This Nov. 2, 2014 photo provided by the U.S. Geological Survey shows a breakout from an inflated lobe of the June 27 lava flow near the town of Pahoa on the Big Island of Hawaii.

Lava from the Kilauea volcano has been creeping toward the small town of Pahoa for four months

President Barack Obama signed a Disaster Declaration for Public Assistance on Monday to help a small Hawaiian town cope with the ongoing lava flow threatening its residents.

The declaration comes in response to Governor Neil Abercrombie’s Oct. 24 request for federal aid to boost local emergency protective measures, including repairs, re-establishment of alternate routes in and out of affected communities and the accommodation of around 900 schoolchildren that are expected to be displaced, reports local channel KITV4.

The smoldering lava has been creeping toward the small town of Pahoa since a new vent opened on the Kilauea volcano on June 27. Currently, the flow has stalled a few hundred feet from Pahoa Village Road.

“We can definitely see a bit of a glow, smell the smoke and the burning vegetation,” says Eric Johnson, a teacher at the Hawaii Academy of Arts and Science (HAAS), located one road down. “On occasions, I’ve heard loud booms, like shotgun blasts, when methane pockets in the ground explode.”

However, the village of about 900 has become known for its independent mindedness and some people in the community are critical of the government’s response.

“I’m not worried about the volcano, I’m worried about the government,” local resident Robert Petricci tells TIME. “The lava has been inching forward for 30 years, now the National Guard is here with humvees and flak vests like it’s a war zone. Everything’s a mess, with all the checkpoints, asking people who they’re riding with and where they’re going.”

Johnson’s students have meanwhile launched a social media campaign called Hope for HAAS, coming up with projects on how to facilitate living with a volcano, such as ideas for bridges over lava streams.

“I’m very impressed and proud of the kids, they’ve decided to make a bad situation into something positive,” Johnson says.

He points out that diverting lava flows is viewed in traditional Hawaiian culture as disrespecting the volcano goddess Pele. “The lava flow is very unpredictable, but Hawaiians have always lived with volcanoes. This project is creating hope, and plays a part in keeping the community who we are.”

TIME Ferguson

St. Louis Police Deny Ferguson No-Fly Zone Was to Keep Media Out

Outrage In Missouri Town After Police Shooting Of 18-Yr-Old Man
Scott Olson—Getty Images Police stand watch as demonstrators protest the shooting death of teenager Michael Brown on August 13, 2014 in Ferguson, Missouri.

"It's always all about safety," said the St. Louis County police chief

St. Louis County police denied Monday that a no-fly zone established over the suburb of Ferguson during protests earlier this year was set up to keep news helicopters away.

“It’s always all about safety,” St. Louis County Chief of Police Jon Belmar at a press conference, Reuters reports. “That’s the bottom line on this.”

On Sunday the Associated Press reported that audio recordings it had obtained through Freedom of Information Act Requests revealed local authorities openly acknowledging that the no-fly zone was about keeping media outlets out.

Belmar said the 12-day, 37-square-mile no-fly zone was established after pilots claimed they saw muzzle flashes and lasers aimed at them.

The AP reports that air traffic workers had difficulty defining the ban in a way that would allow commercial flights and police helicopters through but keep news helicopters out.

[Reuters]

TIME 2014 Election

Abortion Rights Are on the Ballot in Three States

Voters in Colorado, North Dakota and Tennessee could help reshape the legal landscape

Abortion rights are on the ballot in three states on Nov. 4 as voters in Tennessee, Colorado and North Dakota weigh state constitutional amendments. Here’s what you need to know about the three ballot measures that could have national implications:

TENNESSEE

Volunteer State voters will be asked to decide whether the state constitution should be amended to explicitly note that it does require funding for nor protect the right to abortion. The new clause being proposed says:

“Nothing in this Constitution secures or protects a right to abortion or requires the funding of an abortion. The people retain the right through their elected state representatives and state senators to enact, amend, or repeal statutes regarding abortion, including, but not limited to, circumstances of pregnancy resulting from rape or incest or when necessary to save the life of the mother.”

The proposal, known as Amendment 1, has its roots in a 2000 Tennessee State Supreme Court decision that struck down several state laws restricting abortion on the grounds that they violated the state constitution. The new amendment would make it easier to enact new measures tightening access to abortion.

The Odds

Toss-up. Opponents of Amendment 1 spent more than $3 million in October, compared to about $1 million by supporters, but the latest surveys show a close vote. According to a poll by Middle Tennessee State University released Oct. 29, 39% of registered voters said they supported Amendment 1, while 32% said they opposed it and 15% were undecided.

COLORADO

The latest effort to extend the rights of fetuses under so-called personhood laws, Amendment 67 would amend Colorado’s constitution so that “unborn human beings” are included as “people” in the state criminal code and wrongful death act. Colorado voters rejected similar proposals in 2008 and 2012.

Amendment 67 is also referred to as the “Brady Amendment,” named after an 8-month-old unborn child who was killed in a 2012 car accident caused by a drunk driver. Opponents of the measure say it could criminalize miscarriages, some forms of contraception and in-vitro fertilization, while making abortion illegal in Colorado. Under federal law, abortion is a protected right, so passage of the measure could lead to legal challenges. Some supporters of the measure say Amendment 67 is not intended to affect abortion rights or birth control, but would simply allow homicide charges to be brought against anyone who kills an unborn fetus. Yet, one group backing the measure, Colorado Right to Life, states on its website that Amendment 67 “makes abortion a criminal offense.”

The Odds

Unlikely to pass. In a poll conducted Nov. 1 and 2, Public Policy Polling found that 56 percent of likely voters opposed Amendment 67, while 38 percent supported it. In an earlier poll from Suffolk University/USA Today, 45% of respondents opposed the measure, while 35% supported it and 17.4% were undecided.

NORTH DAKOTA

Voters in North Dakota will decide on proposal similar to the one in Colorado. Measure 1 would amend the state constitution to say the life of a human being begins at conception by adding the following text:

“The inalienable right to life of every human being at any stage of development must be recognized and protected.”

Opponents say the measure would outlaw abortion in North Dakota and lead to legal challenges on the basis that abortion is a federally protected right under Roe v. Wade. Supporters say it will protect existing restrictions and regulations governing abortion in the state. Either way, should the measure pass, the final effects are unlikely to be known until the issue is litigated in the courts.

The Odds

Toss-up. In a poll conducted for two local news outlets released Oct. 21, 45% of likely voters said they opposed the measure, 39% percent said they supported it and 16% said they were undecided. An earlier poll released by the University of North Dakota put the odds of passage higher, with 50% of voters in favor, 33% opposed and 17% undecided.

Read next: Election Day Google Doodle Tells You Where You Can Vote

TIME obituary

Co-Host of NPR’s ‘Car Talk’ Dies at 77

Tom Magliozzi;Ray Magliozzi
Richard Howard—The LIFE Images Collection/Getty Images From Left: Ray Magliozzi and Tom Magliozzi car mechanics and radio talk show hosts for the show, Car Talk on WBUR-FM National Public Radio.

Known as one half of "Click and Clack the Tappet Brothers"

Tom Magliozzi, one of the hosts of NPR’s Car Talk, has died at 77 years old.

The radio host, known for his booming laughter, died from complications from Alzheimer’s disease, NPR reports.

Magliozzi and his brother, Ray, became famous public radio personalities as “Click and Clack, the Tappet Brothers” on the weekly show Car Talk, which went national in 1987.

After graduating from MIT, where his brother also went, Magliozzi worked as an engineer, a college professor and a mechanic. He got into radio after a local station started putting together a panel of mechanics for a show. He was the only one who showed up but was such a hit that he was invited back (and brought his brother, who is twelve years his junior, with him).

Car Talk has been airing archived shows since 2012, when the brothers retired.

[NPR]

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