TIME Soccer

Sepp Blatter Wins FIFA Presidency for Fifth Term

Amidst the worst scandal in FIFA's history, 79-year-old handily wins re-election

(ZURICH) — Sepp Blatter has been re-elected as FIFA president for a fifth term, chosen to lead world soccer despite separate U.S. and Swiss criminal investigations into corruption.

The 209 FIFA member federations gave the 79-year-old Blatter another four-year term on Friday after Prince Ali bin al-Hussein of Jordan conceded defeat after losing 133-73 in the first round.

Prince Ali’s promise of a clean break from FIFA’s tarnished recent history was rejected despite the worst scandal in the organization’s 111-year history.


Can You Guess the Meaning of These Scripps National Spelling Bee Words?

See if you can define the words that teenagers were able to spell

Spelling complicated words for the Scripps National Spelling Bee is hard enough, as this year’s co-champions Vanya Shivashankar and Gokul Venkatachalam know. But if we give you the spelling, can you guess tricky words’ meaning by looking at them? We rounded up some of the hardest words from the 2015 bee to test you.

TIME weather

Anheuser-Busch Brewery Switches to Canning Water to Aid Flood Victims

The cans will go to those in need in Texas and Oklahoma

The next time Texans and Oklahomans crack open an Anheuser-Busch can, it may contain water instead of Bud Light.

The company has temporarily halted beer production at its Cartersville, Ga. brewery to instead can drinking water for victims of the severe flooding in Texas and Oklahoma. Approximately 50,000 cans are on their way to the two states. The company has a partner in the American Red Cross, which is helping distribute the water to the areas most in need.

Anheuser-Busch says the company switches to emergency production like this several times a year to help in crises. Earlier this month, it sent about 50,000 more cans to those affected by tornadoes and storms in the Oklahoma City area.

Twenty-five people have died in these recent floods, and more are missing.


U.S. Takes Cuba Off Terror List

It's part of the process to normalize relations between the Cold War foes

(HAVANA)—The Obama administration on Friday formally removed Cuba from a U.S. terrorism blacklist, a decision hailed in Cuba as the healing of a decades-old wound and an important step toward normalizing relations between the Cold War foes.

Secretary of State John Kerry signed off on rescinding Cuba’s “state sponsor of terrorism” designation exactly 45 days after the Obama administration informed Congress of its intent to do so on April 14. Lawmakers had that amount of time to weigh in and try to block the move, but did not do so.

“The 45-day congressional pre-notification period has expired, and the secretary of state has made the final decision to rescind Cuba’s designation as a state sponsor of terrorism, effective today, May 29, 2015,” the State Department said in a statement.

“While the United States has significant concerns and disagreements with a wide range of Cuba’s policies and actions, these fall outside the criteria relevant to the rescission of a state sponsor of terrorism designation,” the statement said.

The step comes as officials from the two countries continue to hash out details of restoring full diplomatic relations, including opening embassies in Washington and Havana and returning ambassadors to the two countries for the first time since the U.S. severed diplomatic relations with the island in January 1961. The removal of Cuba from the terrorism list had been a key Cuban demand.

The Cold War-era designation was levied mainly for Cuba’s support of leftist guerrillas around the world and isolated the communist island from much of the world financial system because banks fear repercussions from doing business with designated countries. Even Cuba’s Interests Section in Washington lost its bank in the United States, forcing it to deal in cash until it found a new banker this month.

“We welcome today’s announcement by the Secretary of State, which is another step forward toward a more normal and productive relationship between the United States and the Cuban people,” a White House blog post said Friday.

“For 55 years, we tried using isolation to bring about change in Cuba,” it said. “But by isolating Cuba from the United States, we isolated the United States from the Cuban people and, increasingly, the rest of the world. Through this new approach of engagement, we are finally in a position to advance our interests while simultaneously improving the lives of the Cuba people.”

The terror list was a particularly charged issue for Cuba because of the U.S. history of supporting exile groups responsible for attacks on the island, including the 1976 bombing of a Cuban passenger flight from Barbados that killed 73 people aboard. The attack was linked to Cuban exiles with ties to U.S.-backed anti-Castro groups and both men accused of masterminding the crime took shelter in Florida, where one, Luis Posada Carriles, currently lives.

“I think this could be a positive act that adds to hope and understanding and can help the negotiations between Cuba and the United States,” said director Juan Carlos Cremata, who lost his father in the 1976 bombing.

“It’s a list we never should have been on,” said Ileana Alfonso, 57, who also lost her father in the attack.

Still, top U.S. Republicans criticized the move, with House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio saying that the Obama administration had “handed the Castro regime a significant political win in return for nothing.”

“The communist dictatorship has offered no assurances it will address its long record of repression and human rights at home,” he said in a statement.

Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush called Cuba’s removal from the list “a mistake” and “further evidence that President Obama seems more interested in capitulating to our adversaries than in confronting them.”

Also critical of the move was New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, who has urged the Obama administration to demand the return of a woman who escaped to Cuba after being convicted in 1977 of killing a state trooper. Joanne Chesimard, now known as Assata Shakur, has lived on the island since the 1980s.

Christie said removing Cuba’s terrorism designation is “an unacceptable offense to the family of the fallen New Jersey State Trooper and every other wanted criminal that still lives freely in Cuba today. ”

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, a California Democrat, praised the move, saying that the State Department had “removed the burden of an outdated, outmoded strategy.” She called it a “critical step forward in creating new opportunities for American businesses and entrepreneurs, and in strengthening family ties.”

U.S. and Cuban officials have said the two sides are close to resolving the final issues but the most recent round of talks ended on May 22 with no announcement of an agreement.

White House press secretary Josh Earnest said Friday that “there continue to be issues that need to be worked out.” He said important progress had been made, but would not give a time frame for an announcement. “That’s obviously among the next milestones,” he said.

Even with the hurdle over the terrorism designation cleared, Washington and Havana are wrangling over American demands that its diplomats be able to travel throughout Cuba and meet with dissidents without restrictions. The Cubans are wary of activity they see as destabilizing to their government.

Both the U.S. and Cuba say the embassies are a first step in a larger process of normalizing relations. That effort would still have to tackle bigger questions such as the embargo, which only Congress can fully revoke, as well as the future of the U.S. military prison at Guantanamo Bay and Cuba’s democracy record.


TIME Natural Disasters

Here’s What Seismologists Have to Say About the Science of ‘San Andreas’

California's probably not experiencing a tsunamis anytime soon

The earthquakes at the center of San Andreas, the Dwayne “the Rock” Johnson disaster movie that hits theaters Friday, are so powerful that they seem to destroy anything and everything across the state of California. The Los Angeles and San Francisco skylines crumble in what we’re told is the strongest earthquake of all time—a magnitude 9.6 on the Richter scale.

But it turns out a 9.6 earthquake would be impossible along the San Andreas fault—at least according to seismologists. And that’s just the start of errors that make the movie somewhat less than factual. Here’s what seismologists are calling into question:

1. The size of the earthquake

An earthquake along the San Andreas fault couldn’t exceed a magnitude 8.2, according to U.S. Geological Survey seismologist Lucile Jones. That’s 126 times weaker than the imagined earthquake in the movie. (Because of the logarithmic basis of the Richter scale, each whole number increase in the rating means a tenfold increase in the magnitude of the quake.) There have been much more powerful earthquakes, including a magnitude 9.5 in Chile in 1960, the largest ever. But those have occurred only in subduction zones, where two plates meet and one sinks beneath the other. The San Andreas, a transform fault, is the meeting place of small tectonic plates that are slipping away from each other.

2. The damage an earthquake could cause

A 2008 study found that a worst-case scenario earthquake of 7.8 magnitude in Southern California could cause $213 billion in damage and leave 1,800 people dead and 50,000 severely injured. A total of five high-rises and 1,500 smaller buildings would be expected to collapse across the city. But those figures, while dramatic, seem small compared to the number of skyscrapers we see crumbling left and right and the countless people who burn, drown or fall from fatal heights in San Andreas. To be fair, the Rock never stops to give the audience precise death tolls or injury numbers—he’s too busy saving jumping out of a moving plane, out maneuvering a tsunami and, ultimately, saving his family. But with Los Angeles essentially razed and San Francisco largely underwater or on fire, it seems like the potential devastation is beyond what could ever happen in real life.

3. The earthquake triggered a massive tsunami

In addition to facing several earthquakes and a seemingly endless number of aftershocks, the characters in San Andreas have to confront a tsunami of gargantuan proportions. That’s flat out impossible, seismologists say. There’s a small possibility that a California earthquake could trigger an offshore landslide, which might in turn trigger a small tsunami that hits California. But that tsunami would be much, much smaller than the one in the movie—which seems to swamp all of San Francisco—and only hit a very narrow part of the coast.

Read More: 3 Places Where the Next Big Earthquake Could Hit

4. A California earthquake could be felt on the East Coast

An earthquake in California may be felt in Nevada and other neighboring states, but it would never be felt on the East Coast. Certainly, it wouldn’t cause damage to the White House as San Andreas suggests.

5. Seismologists can predict earthquakes

In San Andreas, Paul Giamatti plays a California Institute of Technology (Caltech) who has discovered the key to predicting when and where earthquakes can occur. But real-life Caltech assistant professor Jean-Paul Ampuero says predicting earthquakes is not something seismologists are even close to doing. He called it the “holy grail” of seismology. Seismologists wish they could discover a way to predict earthquakes, but most evidence suggests it’s impossible. That said, some disaster preparedness experts advocate for an early warning systems that will alert people to an approaching earthquake. This technology doesn’t predict earthquakes but rather alerts affected residents that one has begun.

But San Andreas got one thing right: you should prepare for an earthquake

While seismologists panned the science in San Andreas, they praised its focus on preparedness. The main characters know exactly what to do when the big one hits. One character tells people to get under a table and hold. Another points out that landlines will still work when cellular service is down and directs people to higher ground when there’s a tsunami warning.

“Although the science part is wrong, that’s not going to be your experience of an earthquake. Your experience is going to be an emotional experience,” said Jones. “I would hope people look at this and say ‘I really want to get some of that emergency response training.’”

TIME cities

See the View From the Top of the One World Trade Center Observatory

It opens to the public on Friday

The observatory at One World Trade Center is opening to the public Friday, providing visitors with a view that stretches 50 miles.

Reaching 1,776 feet into the sky, the building is the tallest in the U.S. The observatory takes up floors 100, 101 and 102 of the tower.

Admission costs $32 for adults, but is free to all family members of 9/11 victims and to rescue and recovery workers who responded to ground zero.

Check out TIME’s interactive view from the top of the spire.

TIME Google

Here’s the Best Feature in Google’s New Photos App

Here's the best feature in Google's new photos app

Google’s new photos app for iOS and Android has one truly standout new feature: It offers users suggestions to delete similar photos, potentially freeing up tons of space in the process, as Business Insider highlights.

A Google employee demoing the new product this week called it a “free-up space ability.” During the demo, the app reportedly suggested that he delete over three gigabytes of duplicate photos, illustrating how useful the feature could be to users looking to get more space on their mobile devices.

The new app, which allows users to backup an unlimited number of photos and videos to the cloud, also comes with a powerful search function. Photos uploaded to Google Photos for free, which was taken from Google’s semi-defunct Google Plus social network, will be capped at 16 megapixels, while users can upload videos with resolution up to 1080p.

TIME weather

Texas Floods: Dozens Rescued as State Struggles With Record Rain

Flood alerts extended nearly 800 miles from southern Texas to central Missouri

Dozens of people were rescued from flash flooding in central Texas early Friday, as emergency responders throughout the state struggled to cope with the wettest May on record.

Flood alerts extended nearly 800 miles from southern Texas to central Missouri, according to The Weather Channel’s Justin Abraham. He highlighted “major flash flooding issues around Dallas” after up to 6 inches of rain fell overnight.

Tow-truck driver Robert Levtzow, was stranded on a flooded Dallas street after responding to a police call.

“I was trying to put in reverse to get out and it died off and the water started rising immediately,” he told The Weather Channel. “I was scared, didn’t know really what to do [so] I called my wife immediately.”

Read the full story from our partners at NBC News


Get Behind the Wheel of a New Porsche…for Just $300

For the price of a speeding ticket, you can drive a Boxster or a 911 Carrera.

Race a brand-new Porsche for $300 — with a no-ticket guarantee!

Most Porsche models carry hefty sticker prices that keep them out of the reach of most people. But now, in its new Porsche Experience Center in Atlanta, you can climb behind the wheel of any Porsche and drive it on a track with a pro for only a few hundred dollars.

For many people, Porsche 911 sports cars, Panamera GTS sedans and Cayenne Turbo SUVs represent two pinnacles—excellent German engineering and cost. But as Porsche continues to grow its model line-up, the company has a vested interest in getting more consumers to experience its vehicles as well as its brand.

Last year, Porsche brought its new luxury compact crossover utility vehicle, the Macan, to the US market. The CUV starts at $49,900 and joins the Boxster ($51,400) at the entry level end of the lineup. To get more potential buyers into seats, the company has just opened a $100 million, 27-acre facility in Atlanta, where real people can sign up for 90 minutes of driving in any Porsche ($300 for a Boxster, up to $750 to compare a 911 Turbo with a GT3), get hours of track time on the 1.6-mile road circuit (or put SUVs on the off-road course), and get professional instruction.

Inside, customers can enjoy a meal in the Restaurant 356, use a racing simulator, or buy everything from fan gear to watches and leather jackets. Porsche will also rent out space for private events and business conferences.

My favorite stop: The Human Performance Center, where fitness experts can evaluate your physical strength, stamina, nutritional status — even your hydration levels. The Performance Center offers a menu of options, from a 90-minute assessment ($140) all the way up to a 12-month executive plan ($650).

TIME Soccer

Women’s Teams Now Feature in Soccer Game FIFA 16 but in Real Life Have Second-Class Status

What happens on screen is a far cry from real life

For the first time, EA Sports will feature women soccer players in its hugely popular FIFA video-game series.

FIFA 16, which launches in September, includes 12 of the top women’s international teams — USA, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, England, France, Germany, Italy, Mexico, Spain and Sweden.

The video game has only featured men’s teams since it was first released in 1993.

However, as welcome as EA Sports’ announcement is, Mashable points out that while the women’s teams are “in the game” on screen, in real life they fall far behind the men’s teams in the way they are treated by soccer’s governing body.

In the upcoming Women’s World Cup, beginning June 6 in Canada, the women’s teams will have to play on artificial turf fields, instead of actual grass.

No men’s World Cup has ever been played on synthetic surfaces and many of the women’s teams feel it is gender discrimination. Playing on the fake turf puts them at a higher risk of injury.

A group of the sport’s top female players filed legal action against FIFA and the Canadian Soccer Association last year but had to end their challenge in January because FIFA stalled for so long that it was too late to potentially change the pitches in time for the championship.

“This being the pinnacle of our sport, we feel like we should be treated just like the men,” U.S. forward Abby Wambach told the New York Times last year.

EA Sports’ announcement comes as FIFA finds itself snared in a huge corruption scandal that has seen 14 senior officials arrested on charges of bribery, fraud, and money laundering.

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