TIME climate change

Companies To Invest $140 Billion To Fight Climate Change

The White House organized this large private-sector commitment

More than a dozen leading U.S. companies have committed to investing a total of $140 billion in new funds to combat climate change in a White House-organized effort meant to demonstrate the private sector’s commitment to the issue, the White House announced Monday.

The initiative, the latest in a series of White House moves on climate change, signals the continued effort by the administration to position global warming as a major issue in the lead up to a landmark United Nations conference on climate change in Paris at the end of the year.

“They’re not just committing to support a successful outcome in Paris, they’re walking the walk,” said Brian Deese, the president’s senior climate change advisor, on a conference call for journalists. “Commitments are varied, but the thing they all share is that they’re innovative and ambitious.”

The list of companies committing money and resources to fighting climate change contains many of the country’s most prominent corporations, including retailers, banks and tech companies. And, while many have made previous efforts to combat climate change, the announcements contains new commitments from each of the 13 companies. Financial institutions like Goldman Sachs and Bank of America have committed to financing billions of dollars in renewable energy plants. Tech companies like Google and Microsoft committed to purchasing 100% of the energy for their power-hungry data centers from renewable energy sources, in addition to a variety of other commitments. Companies like Walmart and Pepsico have agreed to rethink elements of their supply chain in an environmentally conscious manner.

“What’s exciting about this is these commitments are new and push beyond what has been done,” said Deese. “They are accountable, measurable and verifiable.”

Read More: Here’s Where to Buy a House In the U.S. That Will Be Resilient to Climate Change

The announcement also suggests an increased acceptance in the business community to the realities of climate change. The companies total revenue topped $1.3 trillion in 2014, and they have a combined value of more than $2.5 trillion. Still, the list of companies notably lacks an oil company, and it remains to be seen whether one will join the initiative in a future round of pledges. In response to a question on that topic, Deese said that he expects to see “substantial support from across different industry sectors” in the coming months.

The announcement, first reported by the Wall Street Journal, comes just months before a United Nations conference on climate change in Paris that many hope will lead to the strongest international agreement on the issue yet. Obama has sought to position the U.S. a leader on climate change in the lead up to that conference, committing to cut carbon emissions in the U.S. by 26 to 28% by 2025.

“There’s one issue that will define the contours of this century more dramatically than any other, and that is the urgent and growing threat of a changing climate,” Obama said at the UN climate summit last September.

TIME Refugees

Property Mogul Wants to Create New Country For Refugees to Solve the Migrant Crisis

Europe Migrant Crisis
Georgi Licovski—EPA Migrants react after they couldn't find a seat on the train heading to the Serbian border, where they will migrate towards Western European nations, at the train station in Gevgelija, Macedonia, July 26, 2015.

He's dubbed it 'Refugee Nation'

American property mogul Jason Buzi says he has a solution for the global migrant crisis: a new country just for refugees.

“We have a lot of stateless individuals all over the world right now,” Buzi told the Washington Post in an interview. “The idea is, if we could give them a state of their own, at least they’d have a place to live in safety and be allowed to live and work like everybody else.”

“It’s almost shocking to me that nobody’s talking about this as a solution,” he added. Around the world, more than 60 million people have been displaced from their homes, with many living in large camps in poor conditions. State leaders, particularly in Europe, have struggled on how to address the influx of migrants into their countries.

Buzi claims he has already spent between $10,000 and $15,000 out of his own pocket setting up a team to promote the new state, which he calls Refugee Nation. The mogul suggests that an unhibited island owned by another state might be suitable for the new country. He’s also hoping to get support from heavy weights to get the state set up, saying, “If you’ve got Angelina Jolie, for instance, behind it, it’s going to influence a lot more people and get more people to know about it.”

But when it comes to how the newly created state would function — socially, politically and financially — Buzi says details will have to be worked out in the future. “Right now it’s a little like meeting a girl on a first date,” he told the Post, “I’m not thinking yet about what I’m going to name my children, right?”

[Washington Post]

TIME Culture

Hundreds Gather for Unveiling of Satanic Statue in Detroit

Matt Anderson The bronze monument was unveiled by the Satanic Temple in Detroit on July 25, 2015

The "largest public satanic ceremony in history"

A little before midnight on Saturday, a crowd of around 700 gathered in an old industrial warehouse a few blocks from the Detroit River for what they’d been told was the “largest public satanic ceremony in history.” Most of them professed to be adherents of Satanism, that loosely organized squad of the occult that defines itself as a religious group. Others came simply because they were curious. After all, Satanists exist in the popular psyche as those who casually sacrifice goats and impregnate Mia Farrow with Lucifer’s child; if this ceremony was indeed unprecedentedly big, who knew what could be in store?

The reality of the event — and of the contemporary Satanic movement at large — was tamer, and, if the Facebook pictures speak the truth, harmlessly festive: a cross between an underground rave and a meticulously planned Halloween party. They were there to publicly unveil a colossal bronze statue of Baphomet, the goat-headed wraith who, after centuries of various appropriations, is now the totem of contemporary Satanism. The pentagram, that familiar logo of both orthodox Satanists and disaffected teens, originated as a rough outline of Baphomet’s head.

The statue itself is impressive: almost nine feet tall, and weighing in at around a ton. The horned idol sits on a throne adorned with a pentagram, but it is the idol’s wings, and not his chair, that curiously evoke the Iron Throne from a certain celebrated HBO fantasy series. He has the jarring horns of a virile ram but the biceps of a guy who lifts four or five times a week. His legs, which are crossed, end not in feet but in hooves. It might seem more menacing if not for the two bronze-statue children standing on either side of him — a girl on his left; a boy on his right; both are looking up at him earnestly.

“Baphomet contains binary elements symbolizing a reconciliation of opposites, emblematic of the willingness to embrace, and even celebrate differences,” Jex Blackmore, who organized the unveiling, told TIME late Sunday night. In a sense, the statue is a stress test of American plurality: at what point does religious freedom make the people uncomfortable?

Blackmore directs the Detroit chapter of the Satanic Temple, one of the few coherent organizations in a field that’s otherwise disorganized and dogmatically nebulous. The Satanic Temple has chapters in Florida and Finland, in Italy and Minneapolis. Its headquarters are in New York, but the Detroit office is its first and largest outpost. Blackmore — who, by the way, uses a pseudonym for safety reasons — grew up in the Detroit metropolitan area and returned to the city to work with the Satanic Temple after attending a lecture on Satanism at Harvard.

Asked whether her group is a religious organization (or rather an anti-religious organization) she explains that it’s less of a church and more of an affinity group, built around what she repeatedly refers to as “Satanic principles.” It’s not the dogma you might expect. To quote from the group’s website:

The Satanic Temple holds to the basic premise that undue suffering is bad, and that which reduces suffering is good. We do not believe in symbolic “evil.”

Most vitally, though, the group does not “promote a belief in a personal Satan.” By their logic, Satan is an abstraction, or, as Nancy Kaffer wrote for The Daily Beast last year, “a literary figure, not a deity — he stands for rationality, for skepticism, for speaking truth to power, even at great personal cost.”

Call it Libertarian Gothic, maybe — some darker permutation of Ayn Rand’s crusade for free will. One witnesses in the Satanic Temple militia a certain knee-jerk reaction to encroachments upon personal liberties, especially when those encroachments come with a crucifix in hand. The Baphomet statue is the Satanic Temple’s defiant retort du jour.

“We chose Baphomet because of its contemporary relation to the figure of Satan and find its symbolism to be appropriate if displayed alongside a monument representing another faith,” Blackmore said.

The monument she refers to is a six-foot marble slab engraved with the Ten Commandments, controversially situated on the grounds of the Oklahoma State Capitol. In 2012, state representative Mike Ritze fronted $10,000 out of his own pocket to have the marker installed in the shadow of the capitol’s dome, prompting the ire of those who believed it flagrantly violated the separation of church and state. The American Civil Liberties Union sued the state of Oklahoma; the Satanic Temple fought fire with fire. If the Christians could chisel their credo onto public property, the argument went, why couldn’t they?

The state didn’t agree, and rejected the Satanic Temple’s petition to place Baphomet’s statute on legislative property. The point is now moot, though: a month ago, the Oklahoma Supreme Court ruled that the Ten Commandments monument violated the state constitution, a judgment that will probably stick in spite of an obstinate governor.

It seems there are battles left to fight, though. A Detroit pastor described the unveiling of the statue as “a welcome home party for evil.” A Catholic activism group in the city actively encouraged people to attend mass at a local cathedral to speak out against the statue — a pray-in, if you will. Meanwhile, Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson recently signed a bill that will put the Ten Commandments on a similar monument on the grounds of the State Capitol in Little Rock. The Satanic Temple may be planning a road trip.

Read next: Preaching Pope Francis’s Politics May Be the Key to Becoming President

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TIME Election 2016

Backlash After Mike Huckabee Says Iran Deal Is Like Leading Israel to ‘Door of the Oven’

U.S. Republican presidential candidate Huckabee speaks to 42nd annual meeting of American Legislative Exchange Council in San Diego
Mike Blake—Reuters U.S. Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee speaks to the 42nd annual meeting of the American Legislative Exchange Council on July 23, 2015

The former Arkansas Governor said trusting the Iranian government would be "naive"

Comments on the pending deal between the U.S. and Iran by Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee have sparked controversy after he compared the deal to “marching [Israel] to the door of the oven.”

Huckabee’s comments to the conservative website Breitbart, an apparent reference to the Holocaust that would seem to equate U.S. President Barack Obama with Nazi leader Adolf Hitler, immediately drew criticism from across the aisle, the BBC reports.

U.S. Representative for Florida and head of the Democratic National Committee Deborah Wasserman-Schultz called for an apology for what she called “cavalier analogies” to Nazi death camps. The National Jewish Democratic Council echoed that call, saying in a statement, “Republicans have fallen over themselves to speak out against Donald Trump’s outrageous rhetoric on immigration and veterans. Will they now do the same and speak out against this unacceptable attack against President Obama that smears the memory of Holocaust victims … or will they stand by in silence and implicit approval?”

Huckabee’s camp, however, chose to support his stance, highlighting the remarks in a tweet on Sunday:

Congress has until Sept. 17 to vote on the deal, which would trade nuclear proliferation limits for loosened economic sanctions.

[BBC]

TIME Automakers

Fiat Chrysler Fined Record $105 Million Over Recalls

The company will also be forced to buy back recalled Jeeps

Fiat Chrysler could be required to lay out hundreds of millions of dollars to get potentially defective Ram pickups and older Jeeps off the road under a deal with safety regulators to settle claims that the automaker mishandled nearly two dozen recalls.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is requiring the company to offer to buy back certain Ram pickup trucks and Dodge and Chrysler SUVs with defective steering parts that can cause drivers to lose control. More than 579,000 vehicles were initially recalled in 2013, but the company would only be required to buy back a third of those because many of the pickups have already been repaired.

The Italian-American automaker must also allow owners of more than a million older Jeeps with vulnerable rear-mounted gas tanks to trade them in at above market value or give them $100 as an incentive to get a repair.

Fiat Chrysler also faces a record civil penalty of up to $105 million. That beats the old record of $70 million assessed against Honda Motor Co. for lapses in reporting deaths and injuries to safety regulators. FCA’s fine includes $70 million in penalties, at least $20 million to meet performance requirements and $15 million if an independent recall monitor finds any further violations.

Fiat Chrysler shares traded in the New York Stock Exchange dropped nearly 5 percent to close at $14.41 Monday following the weekend announcement of the deal.

The settlement is the latest sign that auto safety regulators are taking a more aggressive approach toward companies that fail to disclose defects or don’t properly conduct a recall.

“Merely identifying defects is not enough,” U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx said Monday during a conference call with media. “Manufacturers that fail in their duty to fix these defects will pay a price.”

Nearly 1.3 million Rams, Chrysler Aspen and Dodge Durango SUVs and Dodge Dakota pickups from as far back as the 2003 model year were recalled for the steering problem in 2013. The government excluded around 700,000 of the oldest models from the buyback program because most have already been repaired or are no longer on the road.

But it ordered the buyback for up to 579,000 vehicles from the 2008 through 2012 model years. Of those, around 193,000 have not gotten the recall repairs and are eligible for either a repair or a buyback, according to recall reports submitted to the government by Fiat Chrysler.

In each case, Fiat Chrysler would be required to pay the original purchase price plus 10 percent, minus a certain amount for depreciation.

The ultimate cost of the settlement depends on how many pickup and SUV owners join in. According to Kelly Blue Book, a 2010 Dodge Ram 1500 — one of the smaller, less-expensive trucks involved in the recalls — could fetch $20,000 in a dealer trade-in, assuming the truck has 60,000 miles on it and is in “good” condition. At that rate, FCA could spend $956 million to buy back one-quarter of the vehicles at issue. The company is allowed to repair and resell the trucks it buys back.

The government knows of at least one death attributed to the steering defect.

The older Jeeps have fuel tanks located behind the rear axle, with little to shield them in a rear crash. They can rupture and spill gasoline, causing a fire. At least 75 people have died in crash-related fires, although Fiat Chrysler maintains they are as safe as comparable vehicles from the same era.

FCA must offer $100 to Jeep owners as an incentive to get a repair or a trade-in incentive of $1,000 toward the purchase of another Fiat Chrysler vehicle. The repair consists of adding a trailer hitch to the Jeeps. FCA has already repaired around 441,000 of the 1.5 million Jeeps recalled.

The Jeep trade-ins could add to the tab, but they also could generate more new vehicle sales by getting customers into showrooms. Still, the total could strain the parent company, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV. The company posted a first-quarter net profit of $101 million and had more than $20 billion in cash and securities on March 31.

FCA said the amount it pays to repurchase vehicles will be applied as a credit to the $20 million it agreed to spend on outreach efforts as part of its $105 million fine.

“FCA U.S. does not expect that the net cost of providing these additional alternatives will be material to its financial position, liquidity or results of operations,” the company said Monday.

Both the Jeep and Ram measures are part of a larger settlement between the government and the automaker over allegations of misconduct in 23 recalls covering more than 11 million vehicles. Besides the civil penalty, Fiat Chrysler agreed to an independent recall monitor and strict federal oversight.

TIME States

Boat Owned By Missing Boys Found Overturned in Florida

Missing Teen Fishermen
AP This combination made from photos provided by the U.S. Coast Guard shows Perry Cohen, left, and Austin Stephanos, both 14 years old.

Hall of Fame NFL player Joe Namath helped in the search

An overturned boat was found Sunday belonging to two teenage boys who went missing while fishing off the Florida coast two days earlier, according to the U.S. Coast Guard.

The 19-foot white single-engine boat that Austin Stephanos and Perry Cohen, both 14, took out off the coast of Jupiter, Florida, Friday, was found about 67 nautical miles off the coast near Daytona Beach, said U.S. Coast Guard Petty Officer Stephen Lehmann. There was no sign of the boys on the boat, according to the Coast Guard.

A Coast Guard spokesman said one life vest was found in the hull of the boat…

Read more from our partners at NBC News

 

TIME Florida

NFL Great Joe Namath Joining Search For 2 Missing Florida Teens

Missing Teen Fishermen
AP This combination made from photos provided by the U.S. Coast Guard shows Perry Cohen, left, and Austin Stephanos, both 14 years old.

The boys headed off for a fishing trip on Friday. They have not been heard from since

Former NFL great Joe Namath is appealing to the public for help in finding two 14-year-old boys, who have been missing at sea since Friday.

“We’re all praying,” Namath, flanked by the boys’ families, said at a press conference on Sunday in Tequesta, Fla., according to Fox News. “We got a lot of people out on the water and in the air looking for them. We’ll stay out there until we find them.”

The boys, Austin Stephanos and Perry Cohen, embarked on a fishing trip in a 19-foot boat in the Atlantic Ocean on Friday. They were last seen buying fuel on Friday afternoon near Jupiter, Fla.

Perry is the son of Namath’s neighbor.

The boys’ families are offering a $100,000 reward for their safe return.

 

TIME Reproductive Health

Planned Parenthood Says It Doesn’t Profit From Fetal Organs

Cecile Richards planned parenthood
Robert F. Bukaty—AP In this Oct. 3, 2014, file photo, Cecile Richards, Planned Parenthood president, speaks in Orono, Maine.

The group's president said it has done nothing illegal and is the target of a political smear campaign

(WASHINGTON) — The president of Planned Parenthood said her organization’s clinics never adjust the abortion procedure to better preserve fetal organs for medical research and that the organization’s charges cover only the cost of transmission to researchers.

Planned Parenthood has come under congressional scrutiny after the release of two stealthily recorded videos that showed officials discussing how they provide aborted fetal organs for research. Abortion opponents say the videos show the organization is illegally harvesting and selling organs. Three congressional committees are making inquiries.

Planned Parenthood’s president, Cecile Richards, said Sunday the group has done nothing illegal and is the target of a political smear campaign.

“I stand behind the health care that we provide at Planned Parenthood. Women trust Planned Parenthood,” Richards said. “And I look forward to anyone who wants to look into our policies and procedures.”

Richards appeared on ABC’s “This Week.” It was her first Sunday talk show appearance since a group called the Center for Medical Progress released two videos secretly recorded in 2014 and 2015 by people posing as buyers of fetal tissue. The videos were part of longer discussions, and Richards said the longer videos showed doctors repeatedly saying that Planned Parenthood does not profit from the tissue donations.

In the videos, Planned Parenthood officials discuss the amounts the group charges to provide the organs and the abortion procedures used to obtain the organs. The officials, Richards said, were reprimanded for the tone they used. She also called those who released the video “nothing but militant anti-abortion extremists.”

David Daleiden of the Center for Medical Progress issued a statement saying Planned Parenthood will attack him and his organization, but that does not change what he said the investigation uncovered, “an enterprise-wide operation that traffics and sells baby parts.” He told ABC that 10 to 12 more tapes would be released.

Richards said fetal organ donation takes place in a handful of states and that the tissue goes toward medical research.

“This is actually laudable, that women and their families choose to make fetal tissue donations in order to potentially save the lives of other folks,” Richards said.

 

TIME mental health

Shirtless Marines March in ‘Silkies’ to Raise Suicide Awareness

Each day, 22 former servicemembers commit suicide

A group of Marines is marching 22 kilometers, or about 13.5 miles, wearing nothing but short shorts—called “silkies”—and hauling 22 kilograms, or about 50 pounds, of gear to honor the 22 service members who commit suicide every day.

“Imagine a pub crawl with all your Marine buddies wearing nothing but silkies and rucks on the most crowded and beautiful boardwalk in California. That’s what’s going on here,” a Facebook page for Sunday’s event, “22, with 22, for the 22, in silkies,” says. The event is co-sponsored by two veteran support groups, Irreverent Warriors and VETality Corp.

The journey begins at South Mission Beach Jetty in San Diego and will end at La Jolla Cove.

Each day, 22 veterans—or about 8,000 former military servicemembers—commit suicide.

 

TIME Louisiana

Jindal Says Lafayette Movie Theater Shooter Should Have Been Denied Gun

Shooter John Houser was able to legally buy a Hi-Point .40-caliber handgun in Alabama in 2014

The gunman who opened fire in a Louisiana movie theater should not have been allowed to legally buy the gun he used to kill two people and injure nine because of his mental history, Gov. Bobby Jindal said Sunday.

Shooter John Houser “should have never been able to buy that gun,” Jindal told NBC News. “That should have never been able to happen.”

Houser had been involuntarily hospitalized for mental conditions in Georgia and denied a concealed weapons permit in Alabama in 2006 because of a domestic violence complaint and a previous arrest connected to an arson plot.

Jim Cavanaugh, a…

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

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