TIME South Korea

Here’s the One Piece of Good News if You Travel to South Korea and End Up Getting MERS

Struggles To Contain MERS Continue In South Korea
Chung Sung-Jun —Getty Images Disinfection workers wearing protective clothing spray anti-septic solution in a karaoke parlor on June 16, 2015 in Seoul, South Korea.

The government will pick up your medical bills

South Korea’s Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism announced this week that free insurance would be offered to foreign tourists to cover their medical expenses if they contract Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS), while visiting the country.

The ministry also announced plans to stock tourist sites with sterilizing products and open a call center to cater to MERS-related inquiries from foreigners.

“We hope the measures will make foreign tourists feel that Korea is still a safe country to visit,” Vice Minister Kim Jong told reporters earlier this week, according to the Korea Times.

Approximately 100,000 foreign tourists have axed scheduled trips to the country since early June, reports Agence France-Presse.

The news comes as authorities announced that another individual diagnosed with MERS died on Wednesday morning, which ups the nationwide toll to 20.

However, the country’s Ministry of Health and Welfare says that 90% of the deaths attributed to the current outbreak have occurred with patients who already had pre-existing medical conditions, reports South Korean news agency Yonhap.

To date, 124 patients diagnosed with MERS remain in hospital in South Korea, while an additional 6,500 people have been quarantined since the outbreak first began spreading across the country on May 20.

TIME Video Games

The Shenmue 3 Kickstarter Campaign Soared Past $2m Goal in Less Than a Day

Sony Holds Press Event At E3 Gaming Conference Unveiling New Products For Its Playstation Game Unit
Christian Petersen — Getty Images Game designer Yu Suzuki and Sony Computer Entertainment America vice president of publisher and developer relations, Adam Boyes discus "Shenmue 3" during the Sony E3 press conference at the L.A. Memorial Sports Arena on June 15, 2015 in Los Angeles, California.

"I wanted to make it with the fans,” said developer Yu Suzuki

If there were any doubts whether gamers across the globe wanted another installment of the Sega adventure game Shenmue, fans of the franchise needed just a few hours to make their voices heard.

At Sony’s E3 press conference on Monday, the game’s developer Yu Suzuki announced that a Kickstarter campaign had been launched to collect $2 million to fund the development of Shenmue 3. Hours later the goal had been shattered.

As of the time of publication, the crowdfunding drive has raised more than $2.8 million thanks to donations from 36,000 backers. And this appears to be exactly what Suzuki envisaged for the project.

“If Shenmue 3 was going to get made, I wanted to make it with the fans,” wrote Suzuki on the campaign’s website. “Through Kickstarter, I knew that could happen. Together, with Shenmue fans everywhere, I knew we could build the game that the series deserves.”

TIME Football

Buckeyes’ Coach Urban Meyer Does Not Like It When Someone Takes His Parking Spot

A Buckeye-worthy performance

When you’ve won three collegiate national football championships, you’ve earned the right to a prime parking spot. Or at least, that’s how Ohio State University’s head football coach Urban Meyer sees it.

According to a tweet from the team’s running back Warren Ball Jr. on Monday, the Buckeyes’ head coach took more than a bit of umbrage with a driver who commandeered his unmarked parking spot outside the team’s practice facility.

Based on the tweet, it appears there were more than a few other parking spots available. But in true coaching fashion, Meyer chose to make a public example out of the infraction rather than let it slide.

TIME Australia

Indonesian Officials Offer ‘Proof’ That Australia Bribed Human Traffickers

Australian officials have sidestepped the allegations

The Sydney Morning Herald has reportedly obtained photographic evidence that proves Australian officials paid human traffickers to take a group of asylum seekers away from its shores.

Allegations surfaced earlier last week that Australian officials effectively bribed a group of people smugglers, who had 65 asylum seekers in tow, to ditch their original route to New Zealand and return to Indonesia with their human cargo.

The photos appear to show stacks of crisp $100 bills, which Indonesia’s police force say were handed over to six traffickers piloting the vessels that landed on Indonesia’s Rote Island in late May. TIME has not been able to independently verify the photos.

“We believe the payments happened,” General Endang Sunjaya, the police chief of Nusa Tenggara Timur province, told the newspaper. “They all said the same thing. They were paid by Australian officials to return to Indonesia.”

During an interview with the Australian Broadcasting Corp. on Tuesday, Thomas Vargas, an Indonesia representative at the U.N. refugee agency, confirmed that several asylum seekers debriefed by one of the organization’s staffers corroborated the allegations.

“They indicated they had been with Australian authorities for several days,” Vargas told ABC. “At one point, they saw the boat captain receive a thick envelope and return back to two boats that were then turned around to the open sea and several days later they arrived in Indonesia.”

If confirmed, such payments would themselves amount to human trafficking, say human-rights groups. So far, Canberra has not denied the accusations.

“There’s really only one thing to say here, and that is that we’ve stopped the boats,” Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott told reporters on Sunday, according to the Guardian. “That’s good for Australia, it’s good for Indonesia and it’s particularly good for all those who want to see a better world.”

TIME Video Games

Street Fighter’s Ryu Will Now Be Kicking Butt in Super Smash Bros.

Frederic J. Brown —AFP/Getty Images Gamers play Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3Ds at the annual E3 video game extravaganza in Los Angeles, California on June 10, 2014.

Time to see how Pikachu deals with a hurricane kick

Gaming powerhouse Nintendo announced on Sunday that Street Fighter’s iconic karate master Ryu has joined Super Smash Bros.’s illustrious roster, while Fire Emblem‘s Roy will be returning to the brand’s flagship fighting game.

Both characters are now available via download for the Wii U and Nintendo 3DS gaming systems.

“Today’s update proves that the evergreen Super Smash Bros. games continue to evolve and grow with unexpected new content,” said Scott Moffitt, Nintendo of America’s Executive Vice President of Sales & Marketing, according to Business Wire.

The introduction of the two latest playable characters accompanies a software update that will allow gamers to explore three new stages along with a range of alternative costumes to select from.

TIME South Korea

The MERS Outbreak Has Claimed Its 16th Victim in South Korea

The World Health Organization will hold emergency talks later this week to address the "large and complex" outbreak

South Korean public-health officials confirmed that another individual diagnosed with Middle East Respiratory Syndrome died on Monday morning, raising the ongoing outbreak’s death toll to 16.

The country’s latest MERS victim was a 58-year-old male patient who succumbed to the respiratory virus while being treated at a local hospital, reports South Korean news agency Yonhap.

According to official statistics, 150 people have now been diagnosed with the potentially fatal disease. At least 17 of them are said to be in “unstable condition.”

Authorities have placed more than 5,200 people nationwide under isolation to impede the transmission of the virus. Officials said thousands more may be quarantined in the coming days.

Over the weekend, the World Health Organization (WHO) announced plans to hold emergency talks on Tuesday to address the contagion. The WHO described the outbreak as both “large and complex” and warned that the virus would most likely continue to spread. However, officials said the disease does not appear to have mutated.

“We know that there has been much anxiety about whether the virus in the Republic of Korea has increased its ability to transmit itself between humans,” said Keiji Fukuda, WHO assistant director general for health security, in a statement released on Saturday.

“However, based on available sequencing studies of this virus, it does not appear to have changed to make itself more transmissible.”

In a small slice of good news, thousands of schools across South Korea were set to reopen their doors this week after being shuttered earlier this month, reports Reuters. At least 440 schools will remain closed.

On Monday, South Korean President Park Geun-hye called on her fellow citizens and industry leaders to return to business as usual to prevent the country’s economy from taking a further battering.

“I ask the business community, too, to continue to go on with investment, production and management activities as normal and particularly help with ensuring that consumers don’t hold back from spending money,” said Park.

The four-week-old outbreak first began spreading across South Korea when a 68-year-old man was diagnosed with the virus on May 20 after returning from a trip to the Middle East.

TIME Professional Wrestling

WWE Superstar Dusty ‘the American Dream’ Rhodes Dead at 69

2011 WWE Hall Of Fame Induction Ceremony
Moses Robinson —Getty Images Dusty Rhodes attends the 2011 WWE Hall of Fame induction ceremony at the Philips Arena in Atlanta on April 3, 2011

“What am I thankful for? My polka dots!”

Wrestling fans around the world breathed heavy sighs on Thursday as news broke that Virgil Runnels, who was better known by his stage name Dusty “the American Dream” Rhodes, died after falling in his Orlando home earlier this week. He was 69.

“Runnels became a hero to fans around the world thanks to his work ethic, his impassioned interviews and his indomitable spirit,” said World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) in a statement. “WWE extends its sincerest condolences to Runnels’ family, friends and colleagues.

Over the course of his decades-long career, Runnels competed in the industry’s top promotions, mastered the bionic elbow and was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2007.

The American Dream will be forever remembered for donning polka-dot spandex, fostering a legendary feud with Ric Flair and the Four Horsemen, expressing his empathy for blue-collar Americans who had fallen on hard times and for fathering the artist known simply as Gold Dust.

Wrestling fans and industry insiders expressed their condolences and grief on social media in honor of the Dream’s legacy.

TIME Spain

Spain’s King Felipe Has Stripped His Sister of Her Duchess Title Following Tax-Evasion Allegations

Princess Cristina
Manu Fernandez — AP Spain's Princess Cristina walks toward her office in Barcelona on April 5, 2013

She is accused of colluding with her husband in a tax-evasion scheme

King Felipe VI of Spain issued an order this week to revoke the title of Duchess of Palma de Mallorca bestowed on his sister Princess Cristina after she was embroiled in an embarrassing tax-evasion scandal last year.

“The official journal of the state [on Friday] will publish a royal decree by which his majesty the King will revoke the use of the title of Duchess of Palma de Mallorca by Her Royal Highness the Infanta Cristina,” read a statement released by the palace, according to Agence France-Presse.

The Princess is accused of colluding with her husband Iñaki Urdangarin, a former Olympic handball player, in a tax-evasion scheme that involved more than $6.6 million in public funds.

She is set to be the first member of the royal family to stand trial since the monarchy was restored in Spain in 1975.

However, Cristina’s attorneys insist that the Princess was innocent and merely duped by her husband, who managed the couple’s financial affairs.


TIME Thailand

A Thai University’s New Dress Code Accommodates Transgender Students

Bangkok University is among the first institutions in Thailand to formalize such a code

Thailand’s prestigious Bangkok University launched a new policy this week that will allow transgender students to wear the uniform of their choosing, according to the institution’s Facebook page.

The guidelines were first published by the School of Fine and Applied Arts and were later endorsed by the university as a whole. It is common for university students in Thailand to wear uniforms.

Nok Yollada, president of the Transgender Female Association of Thailand, was “glad to hear that this university lets the students choose the uniform which fits their desire and their gender,” according to the BBC.

Transgender students across the country commonly mix and match elements from official uniforms to align with their chosen gender or stage of transition. However, Bangkok University is among the first institutions to formalize a transgender dress code.

Transwomen (sometimes known as “Ladyboys”) have a high profile in Thai society, especially in the entertainment field.


British Legislators Give Overwhelming Support for a Referendum on the U.K.’s Future in the E.U.

The British Union flag and European Union flag are seen hanging outside Europe House in central London
Toby Melville —Reuters The British Union flag and European Union flag are seen hanging outside Europe House in central London on June 9, 2015.

The bill has to pass through several more stages before a referendum takes place, however

Lawmakers in the U.K. cleared the first hurdle for a new nationwide referendum on Tuesday, which could allow voters the chance to decide whether the U.K. stays in the European Union in the future.

On Tuesday, members of the Parliament voted 544 to 53 in favor of the referendum plan.

“An entire generation of British voters has been denied the chance to have a say on our relationship with the European Union. And Mr. Speaker, today we are putting that right,” said Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond, according to the BBC.

The bill must now make it through several debates and additional votes before a referendum is unveiled, however.


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