July 10, 2014 6:15 AM EDT

Three Essential Facts About

The TSA’s Ban on Battery-Dead Cell Phones

According to the U.S. Transportation Security Administration, travelers flying to the U.S. from certain international airports won’t be permitted to board with powerless devices. The agency hasn’t said why, but experts are weighing in.

BOMB POTENTIAL

Officials reportedly believe that al-Qaeda offshoots in Yemen and Syria are developing ways to turn electronic devices like the iPhone or Samsung Galaxy into hard-to-detect bombs. So in order to ensure that the devices are real, foreign security officers may ask people to turn them on.

NEW THREAT

Hundreds of Americans and Europeans are believed to be fighting in Iraq and Syria, where they may be in contact with the al-Qaeda offshoots that make bombs (potentially disguised as phones). Officials fear they could use their Western passports to avoid additional security screening.

POSSIBLE SETBACKS

Forcing travelers to power up their devices during security screening could lead to lengthy delays, and it’s still unclear what will happen to real phones (and laptops and tablets) that just happen to be out of juice. But the TSA maintains that the additional safety is worth the hassle.

THE VATICAN

‘I beg your forgiveness … for the sins of omission on the part of church leaders.’

POPE FRANCIS, apologizing for decades of underreported sexual-abuse cases in the Catholic Church, during a private Mass with six victims on July 7; the Pontiff, who met with each of them individually, vowed to hold bishops accountable for their handling of priests who abuse children

Roundup

World Cup Celebration Champs

Facebook analyzed how many extra letters people in different countries used when posting about goals (in English), goles (in Spanish) and more. A sampling:

[The following text appears within a map. Please see hardcopy or PDF for actual map.]

goooooal

3.3 extra

U.S.

gooooooooal

6.6 extra

Mexico

goooal

1.4 extra

Germany

goooooooal

5.4 extra

Brazil

gooal

0.2 extra

Iran

goooal

1.6 extra

Japan

U.S.

$1.5 BILLION

Amount Argentina owes creditors led by U.S. hedge funds; it must strike a payment deal by the end of the month to avoid default

Trending In

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FREEDOM

More than 40 nurses from India who were trapped in a region of Iraq seized by Sunni extremists have arrived home safely

SPORTS

North Korea said it would send cheerleaders with its athletes to the Asian Games in South Korea as a gesture of reconciliation

DEMOCRACY

Afghan presidential candidate Abdullah Abdullah continued to allege fraud after preliminary results showed opponent Ashraf Ghani leading

TERRORISM

Somali militant group al-Shabab claimed responsibility for two raids on Kenyan coastal areas, though police implicated a local separatist group

This appears in the July 21, 2014 issue of TIME.

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