TIME animals

So This Baby Weasel Decided to Hitch a Ride on a Flying Woodpecker’s Back

The battle for survival just got airborne

An amateur photographer in the U.K. captured the snap of his lifetime on Monday when he witnessed a weasel clinging onto a woodpecker’s back mid-flight.

Martin Le-May from Essex near London said he was first alerted to the bird’s “distressed squawking” at Hornchurch Country Park after the tiny carnivore apparently pounced on it in search of a meal.

“The bird flew across us and slightly in our direction,” he told ITV News. “Suddenly it was obvious it had a small mammal on its back and this was a struggle for life.”

The woodpecker landed in front of Le-May and his wife, at which point the weasel seemed to get distracted and momentarily let go of its quarry.

“Quickly the bird gathered its self respect and flew up into the trees and away from our sight,” adds Le-May. “The woodpecker left with its life, the weasel just disappeared into the long grass, hungry.”

Read next: Quiz: Is Your Dog Crazy?

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TIME viral

Watch This Incredible Archer Split an Arrow Fired Right at Him

Just like Kevin Costner in Robin Hood. Only for real

When Kevin Costner split an arrow in Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves, cynics everywhere rolled their eyes. But now a Danish archer has matched that feat and much more besides — even splitting an arrow fired directly at him at high velocity.

Lars Andersen has spent a decade honing his archery skills to levels seen only on medieval battlefields, using ancient texts and tapestries for guidance. This video shows the 50-year-old firing at moving targets, from moving targets, using his feet, spearing soft-drink cans, hitting the ring-pulls from soft-drink cans, and much more besides. He can even catch an arrow fired at him and shoot it back in one swift movement.

To capture his grand finale — splitting a moving arrow — took years of preparation and 14 takes. The trick, he says, is to hit the target arrow just behind the head so that the shafts fluctuate against each other, splitting the bamboo (while not flinching at the thought of impending death, of course).

“The arrow fired at me was not fired with a very powerful bow, though it was definitely dangerous enough,” says Lars in a statement. “I hope to try it again using a proper high-speed camera.”

Give it your best shot, Lars!

TIME movies

Screen Actors Guild Awards 2015: See All the SAG Winners

Uzo Aduba of the Netflix series "Orange is the New Black" poses backstage with her award for Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy Series at the 21st annual Screen Actors Guild Awards in Los Angeles
Mike Blake—Reuters Uzo Aduba of the Netflix series "Orange is the New Black" poses backstage with her awards for Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy Series and Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Comedy Series at the 21st annual Screen Actors Guild Awards in Los Angeles, California Jan. 25, 2015

The SAG Awards are usually treated as an Oscar predictor

The cream of Hollywood assembled at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles late Sunday to discover who will be honored at the Screen Actors Guild Awards 2015. The red carpet extravaganza is prestigious in its own right, but it is also a crucial yardstick for the Academy Awards just around the corner. Read TIME’s introduction to the 21st SAG Awards here.

Outstanding performance by a female actor in a supporting role

Winner: Patricia Arquette, Boyhood

Outstanding performance by a male actor in a supporting role

Winner: J.K. Simmons, Whiplash

MORE Exclusive: Watch Ellar Coltrane Reflect After Boyhood Finishes Shooting

Outstanding performance by an ensemble in a comedy series

Winner: Orange Is the New Black

Outstanding performance by a male actor in a comedy series

Winner: William H. Macy, Shameless

Outstanding performance by a female actor in a comedy series

Winner: Uzo Aduba, Orange Is the New Black

MORE What Men Can Learn From Orange Is the New Black

Outstanding performance by a male actor in a television movie or miniseries

Winner: Mark Ruffalo, The Normal Heart

Outstanding performance by a female actor in a television movie or miniseries

Winner: Frances McDormand, Olive Kitteridge

Outstanding performance by a male actor in a drama series

Winner: Kevin Spacey, House of Cards

Outstanding performance by a female actor in a drama series

Winner: Viola Davis, How to Get Away With Murder

Outstanding performance by an ensemble in a drama series

Winner: Downton Abbey

MORE See What Happened When Lady Edith Played Cards Against Humanity

Outstanding performance by a male actor in a motion picture

Winner: Eddie Redmayne, The Theory of Everything

Outstanding performance by a female actor in a motion picture

Winner: Julianne Moore, Still Alice

Outstanding performance by a cast in a motion picture

Winner: Birdman

MORE Michael Keaton Reminds Us: ‘I’m Batman. I’m Very Secure in That’

Lifetime achievement award

Winner: Debbie Reynolds

Read next: Birdman Flies Ahead in Oscar Race

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TIME Cambodia

Cambodian Guards Drank Wine With Human Gallbladders, Says Genocide Survivor

Skulls are stacked on top of each other at a "Killing Fields" memorial in Batey district in Kampong Cham province
Chor Sokunthea—Reuters Skulls are stacked on top of each other at a Killing Fields memorial in Batey district in Kampong Cham province, 125 km (78 miles) east of Phnom Penh on March 28, 2009

Horrific testimony made at atrocity trial

In the 1970s, Khmer Rouge guards would drink wine infused with human gallbladders, according to a survivor of Cambodia’s infamous Killing Fields.

Former detainee Meas Sokha told the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia Khmer Rouge (ECCC) — a special tribunal created to investigate the atrocities of the Khmer Rouge regime — that guards at a prison in Takeo province would dry out the gallbladders of inmates and steep them in wine, reports the Cambodia Daily.

“Whenever there were killings, the guards would drink wine with a gallbladder. I could see gallbladders drying in the sun and I knew these were from human beings,” said Meas Sokha, who was imprisoned for three years in 1976. “There were so many [gallbladders] dried by the fence, it was put in wine for drinking and to make people brave.”

Sokha also told the U.N.-backed ECCC that he witnessed between 20 and 100 killings in a single day.

In some East Asian medical traditions, the use of animal bile in drinks — usually snake or bear bile — is thought to promote virility.

From 1975 until 1979, Cambodia experienced one of the most savage genocides of the 20th century, during which around 1.7 million people — a quarter of the national population — perished as the Khmer Rouge, the nation’s communist party led by the French-educated Pol Pot, pursued its agrarian utopia.

The court is currently investigating genocide charges against Khieu Samphan, 83, the regime’s head of state, and Nuon Chea, 88. Both were sentenced to life in prison for crimes against humanity in August.

TIME Philippines

Pope Francis and the Mystery of Manila’s Vanishing Street Children

A homeless child in the streets of Manila in 2014.
Noel Celis—AFP/Getty Images A homeless child in the streets of Manila in 2014.

Was the Philippine capital really purged of unsightly urchins for the Pope's recent visit, as media reports allege?

Pope Francis took the helm of the Catholic Church last year, vowing to refashion the institution “for the poor.” Yet during his recent five-day visit to the Philippines, where he presided over Mass for more than six million rapturous worshippers, it appeared many of the nation’s most impoverished were cruelly banished from view.

As the Pontiff touched down in Asia’s most Catholic nation, reports emerged that street children had been rounded up and caged in order to sanitize Manila’s streets. Local authorities vehemently denied this was a case, pointing out that the accompanying photographs of an emaciated toddler and young girl handcuffed to a metal pole had in fact been taken months earlier.

However, rumors continued to swirl as more anecdotal evidence arrived. So was the Philippine capital purged of unsightly urchins? In a word, yes, although only a small fraction of this was anything new.

According to local activists, street children are constantly being rounded up across this sprawling metropolis of 12 million. This is generally for vagrancy and petty crime — they are often scapegoats for the deeds committed by organized gangs — and, although numbers are hard to pin down, the Pope’s visit seemed to herald a slight uptick.

“There’s definitely been a ramp up,” Catherine Scerri, deputy director of the Bahay Tuluyan NGO that helps street children, tells TIME. “They were definitely told not to be visible, and many of them felt that if they didn’t move they would be taken forcibly.”

Those detained end up a various municipal detention centers sprinkled all over Metro Manila, says Father Shay Cullen, the Nobel Peace Prize-nominated founder of the Preda Foundation NGO. These local adult jails each adjoin euphemistically named “children’s homes,” which, like the adult facility, has bars on the windows.

Children are summarily kept for anything up to three months without charge, with little ones sharing cells with young adults. Many fall prey to serious sexual and physical abuse: Kids just eight-years-old are often tormented into performing sex acts on the older detainees, says Cullen. (Amnesty International documented such abuses in a December report.)

“They are locked up in a dungeon,” says Cullen, explaining that some 20,000 children see the inside of a jail cell annually across the Philippines. “We keep asking why they put these little kids in with the older guys.”

Nevertheless, Philippines Welfare Secretary Corazon Juliano-Soliman explicitly denies that homeless children were rounded up for the Papal visit, highlighting that they were, in fact, central to the 78-year-old Pontiff’s reception. Some 400 homeless kids — albeit in bright, new threads — sang at a special event (and posed awkward theological questions.)

Any children detained, explains Juliano-Soliman, were “abandoned, physically or mentally challenged or found to be vagrant or in trouble with the law, and we are taking care of them.” Father Cullen’s allegations, Juliano-Soliman suggests, are a sympathy ploy to win donations “One can’t help but think it’s a good fundraising action,” she says wryly.

However, Juliano-Soliman did confirm that 100 homeless families — comprising 490 parents and children — were taken off the street of Roxas Boulevard, the palm-fringed thoroughfare arcing Manila Bay along which Pope Francis traveled several times, and taken about an hour and a half’s drive away to the plush Chateau Royal Batangas resort. Room rates there range from $90 to $500 per night.

This sojourn lasted from Jan. 14, the day before Pope Francis’s visit, until Jan. 19, the day he left. It was organized by the Department of Social Welfare’s Modified Conditional Cash Transfer program, which provides grants to aid “families with special needs.”

Juliano-Soliman says this was done so that families would “not be vulnerable to the influx of people coming to witness the Pope.” Pressed to clarify, she expressed fears that the destitute “could be seen as not having a positive influence in the crowd” and could be “used by people who do not have good intentions.”

For Scerri, though, this reasoning doesn’t cut it: “It’s very difficult to believe that children and families who have lived on the streets for most of their lives need to be protected from what was a very joyous, very happy, very peaceful celebration.”

In fact, families involved were only told two days prior that they were to make the trip to Chateau Royal Batangas. “Many felt that if they didn’t participate that they would be rounded up,” says Scerri, adding that those who returned to their usual digs by Malate Catholic Church found large signs had been painted in the interim that prohibited sleeping rough.

Ultimately, whether jailed or stashed in a resort, “there’s nothing new,” says Father Cullen. “Every time dignitaries come it’s a common phenomenon for more children to be locked up.”

So where did Manila’s street children go? The truth is that most people didn’t really care, just as long as they did.

Read next: Pope Calls Out Philippines on Corruption and ‘Scandalous’ Inequality

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TIME Nigeria

4 Dead, 35 Hurt in Suicide Bombing in Northeast Nigeria

Five killed in Nigeria's Potiskum suicide bombing
Anadolu Agency/Getty Images Wreckage of a car is seen after a suicide bombing which killed at least five people and injured many others in Potiskum of Yobe State in Nigeria on Jan. 18, 2015

Blast comes amid heightening tensions as national polls near

Four people were killed and 35 wounded after a suicide bomber detonated a car packed with explosives at a bus station in Potiskum, a town in northeast Nigeria, on Sunday.

Although no one immediately claimed responsibility for the blast, investigators believe Jihadist group Boko Haram are the most likely culprits, reports Reuters.

“The information I have is that the car was pretending to be scouting for passengers,” Yobe state police commissioner Danladi Marcus told the news agency.

Nigeria is seeing spiraling violence ahead of general elections pitting incumbent President Goodluck Jonathan against former junta chief Muhammadu Buhari. The polls are considered the closest contest since military rule ended in 1999.

[Reuters]

TIME Hong Kong

Hong Kong Student Leader Joshua Wong Questioned Over Pro-Democracy Protests

HONG KONG-CHINA-POLITICS-DEMOCRACY
Philippe Lopez—AFP/Getty Images Hong Kong student activist Joshua Wong is pictured outside the High Court in Hong Kong on Jan. 8, 2015

Authorities have begun cracking down on organizers of the city's so-called Umbrella Revolution

Correction appended: Jan. 16, 2015

Student leaders of Hong Kong’s pro-democracy demonstrations, including 18-year-old Joshua Wong, were questioned on Friday with various offenses relating to the civil-disobedience movement.

“I was held for three hours and I was arrested on charges of calling for, inciting and participating in an unauthorized assembly,” Wong, the leader of the student group Scholarism, told reporters at the city’s police headquarters, according to Agence France-Presse.

Wong was named one of TIME’s Most Influential Teens of 2014.

Authorities in the Chinese special administrative region have recently begun targeting those connected with the protests, which paralyzed downtown areas of this freewheeling financial hub for three months.

Demonstrators were demanding the right to freely elect the head of the city’s government by 2017. Authorities in Beijing insist on first vetting all candidates.

The original version of this story incorrectly described Wong’s encounter with police on Dec. 16, 2015. He was questioned.

TIME Syria

The U.S. Military Will Send 400 Troops to Train Syrian Rebels Battling ISIS

Rebel fighters fire a weapon on the al-Breij frontline, after what they said was an advance by them in the Manasher al-Hajr area where the forces of Syria's President Assad were stationed, in Aleppo
Hosam Katan—Reuters Rebel fighters fire a weapon on the al-Breij frontline, after what they said was an advance by them in the Manasher al-Hajr area where the forces of Syrian President Bashar Assad were stationed in Aleppo, Syria, on Jan. 7, 2015

Some 5,400 rebels are expected to be trained each year

The U.S. military intends to deploy more than 400 troops to help train Syrian rebels in their fight against the Islamic State of Iraq and Greater Syria (ISIS).

Training is expected to begin in the early spring in Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Qatar. Hundreds of American support personnel will also be deployed, a Pentagon spokesman told Reuters on Thursday.

Other coalition partners are also likely to help with the training, reports Defense One, with about 5,400 rebels expected to pass through the program annually for three years.

In neighboring Iraq, U.S. President Barack Obama has already authorized more than 3,000 American troops to guide and train Iraqi and Kurdish forces in their battle with ISIS.

TIME Cambodia

Cambodia’s Internal-Security Chief: ‘I Learned From Hitler’

Thai Defence Minister General Yuthasak S
Tang Chhin Sothy—AFP/Getty Images Thai Defense Minister General Yuthasak Sasiprapa, left, shakes hands with Cambodia's internal-security chief Sao Sokha, right, upon his arrival at the Ministry of Defense in Phnom Penh on Sept. 23, 2011

Nazi dictator hailed as an example for states wishing to maintain social order

A top Cambodian security official has praised one of history’s most reviled dictators, Adolf Hitler, at a speech in the country’s capital, Phnom Penh.

Commander General Sao Sokha, who heads the paramilitary Royal Gendarmerie and sits on the central committee of the ruling Cambodian People’s Party, said that states that wanted to maintain social order should look no further than the wartime Nazi Chancellor of Germany.

“Speaking frankly, I learned from Hitler,” Sao Sokha said, according to the Cambodia Daily. “Germany, after World War I, was not allowed by the international community to have more than 100,000 soldiers, but the Nazis and Hitler did whatever so they could to wage World War II.”

He claimed the Third Reich’s rise during the 1930s was an invaluable example for Cambodia, after its bloody civil war of the 1960s and ’70s.

On Wednesday, the impoverished Southeast Asian nation of 15 million marked three decades of rule by strongman Hun Sen.

According to Human Rights Watch, Hun Sen’s regime has been blighted by “extrajudicial killings, torture, arbitrary arrests, summary trials, censorship, bans on assembly and association, and a national network of spies and informers intended to frighten and intimidate the public into submission.”

Seems the admiration would likely cut both ways.

TIME Philippines

Pope Francis Praises Typhoon Haiyan Survivors and Filipino Migrant Workers

Pope Francis, Benigno Aquino III
Bullit Marquez—AP Pope Francis, right, is welcomed by Philippine President Benigno Aquino III as he arrives for the welcoming ceremony on Jan. 16, 2015, at the Malacanang presidential palace in Manila

Tribute paid to the "heroic strength, faith and resilience" of Filipinos

Pope Francis marked his second day in Asia’s most Catholic nation by praising the contribution made to society by Filipino migrant workers as well as paying tribute to victims and survivors of Typhoon Haiyan, which killed over 6,000 people when it tore through the archipelago nation in November 2013.

Speaking at the Malacanang presidential palace on Friday, the Pontiff told tens of thousands of rapturous Filipinos, as well as President Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino, that his “visit is meant to express my closeness to our brothers and sisters who endured the suffering, loss and devastation” caused by Haiyan.

“Together with many people throughout the world, I have admired the heroic strength, faith and resilience demonstrated by so many Filipinos in the face of this natural disaster, and so many others,” he said.

Pope Francis is the first leader of the Holy See in two decades to visit the Philippines, where the 100 million population is 80% Catholic. He arrived in the Southeast Asian nation on Thursday from Sri Lanka, where he called for reconciliation after the island state’s brutal civil war.

Speaking in Manila on Friday, the 78-year-old Argentine also singled out the country’s many migrant workers for praise, citing the “oft-neglected yet real contribution of Filipinos of the diaspora to the life and welfare of the societies in which they live.”

Read the full transcript of his speech here.

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