TIME Ukraine

John Kerry Slams Rebels as Fighting in Ukraine Spirals Further Out of Control

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U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry speaks to the press after a working lunch with E.U. High Representative Federica Mogherini at the U.S. Department of State in Washington on Jan. 21, 2015 Brendan Smialowski—AFP/Getty Images

Clashes between the Ukrainian military and pro-Moscow rebels have rapidly escalated this week

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry has condemned pro-Russian rebels battling the Ukrainian military for participating in a “landgrab” after occupying new territory in clear violation of a September peace accord.

After a brief lull in hostilities, fighting between forces loyal to Kiev and pro-Kremlin rebels spiked drastically this week along several fronts. Insurgents appear to be seizing larger swaths of land thanks to heavy weaponry and the alleged presence of Russian regular forces.

“This is a very blatant landgrab, and it is in direct contravention to the Minsk agreements which they signed up to,” Kerry told reporters in Washington on Wednesday.

The Minsk Protocol, which was signed by representatives from rebel militias along with Ukrainian and Russian officials, called for the orderly withdrawal of foreign fighters and heavy weaponry from the battlefields in southeastern Ukraine. However, the plan continues to be consistently ignored, resulting in the deaths of hundreds of combatants amid renewed fighting.

Earlier on Wednesday, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg reiterated claims that Russia continues to supply men and military hardware to insurgent militias battling the Ukrainian military.

“For several months, we have seen the presence of Russian forces in eastern Ukraine. We are also seeing a substantial increase in the number of Russian heavy equipment in eastern Ukraine,” said Stoltenberg during a meeting with Norwegian Prime Minister Erna Solberg this week. “This does not contribute to a peaceful solution of the conflict.

Following a meeting at the U.N. Security Council, U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Samantha Power lambasted the Kremlin via Twitter for their alleged role in backing the separatists and denounced Russian President Vladimir Putin for overseeing an “occupation plan” rather than backing the peace accords.

During a speech at the World Economic Forum in Davos on Wednesday, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko accused Moscow of sending an estimated 9,000 troops across the border into his nation’s conflict-riven Donbas region.

“The country is facing the aggression not only regarding Crimea, but also regarding the significant part of Donetsk and Luhansk regions. About 9,000 Russian [troops] are in the territory of Ukraine,” Poroshenko told the assembled heads of state and economists.

However, Russia continues to deny that it is providing direct support to separatist fighters and balked at Washington’s efforts to contain the country through myriad sanctions.

“Only the people of Ukraine without any foreign interference must determine their future,” Russia Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said during a press conference in Moscow on Wednesday. “For its part, Russia will continue to assist the creation of favorable conditions to settle Ukraine’s formidable problems in this spirit.”

TIME Research

This Is the Reason You Keep Forgetting Stuff

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Just seeing or hearing something isn't going to help you remember it

A new study coming out of Penn State suggests that individuals are better at remembering details when they anticipate having to recall them in the future.

“We found that in some cases, people have trouble remembering even very simple pieces of information when they do not expect to have to remember them,” said Brad Wyble, assistant professor of psychology at Penn State.

The researchers arrived at their conclusion after quizzing individuals about information they had just been shown. Participants often answered questions about their memories with ease when they anticipated what they would have to remember. However, when individuals were asked about information they had not specifically homed in on, they often were unable to remember the details accurately.

According to Wyble, the results from their experiments suggests that people’s expectations play a vital role in determining what they will be able to recall accurately.

“It seems like memory is sort of like a camcorder,” said Wyble. “If you don’t hit the ‘record’ button on the camcorder, it’s not going to ‘remember’ what the lens is pointed at.”

[Science Daily]

TIME Infectious Disease

Don’t Go to Disneyland’s California Parks If You Haven’t Been Vaccinated for Measles

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More than 1,000 fans gather for a photo at Disneyland in Anaheim, Calif. Newsire — AP

State health officials say 42 of California's 59 cases are linked to exposure at Disneyland

California state epidemiologist Gil Chavez is calling on anyone who hasn’t had the measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine to avoid visiting Disneyland’s two California theme parks “for the time being.”

State authorities say at least 59 people across California have been diagnosed with the highly infectious, airborne disease since December.

“Of the confirmed cases, 42 have been linked to an initial exposure in December at Disneyland or Disney California Adventure Park in Anaheim, California,” read a statement released by the California Department of Public Health on Wednesday.

Health officials have also called on any California resident who has not been vaccinated for the disease to consider getting inoculated immediately.

Read next: Disneyland: The Latest Victim of the Anti-Vaxxers

Listen to the most important stories of the day.

TIME Research

A Rough Childhood Can Literally Age You Says a New Study

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Researchers say childhood adversity and psychiatric disorders may be linked to cellular changes that cause aging

Childhood trauma and psychiatric conditions may cause individuals to experience accelerated aging, according to research published last week.

In a study featured in Biological Psychiatry, scientists say they may have found evidence to suggest there is a link between aging at the cellular level and trauma or stress disorders.

To complete the study, researchers recruited 299 adults and separated them into different groups based on their experiences with childhood adversity, depression, anxiety or substance abuse.

The participants then had their DNA analyzed to study the lengths of their telomeres and any alterations to mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA). Telomere shortening and higher mtDNA content can serve as a yardstick to measure cellular aging.

“Results of the study show childhood adversity and lifetime psychopathology were each associated with shorter telomeres and higher mtDNA content,” read the report.

These effects were seen particularly in adults who had battled with major depression and anxiety disorders, along with parental loss or childhood maltreatment.

“Identifying the changes that occur at a cellular level due to these psychosocial factors allows us to understand the causes of these poor health conditions and possibly the overall aging process,” said Audrey Tyrka, associate professor of psychiatry and human behavior at Brown University.

[Science Daily]

TIME China

China’s Economy Registers Weakest Economic Growth in 24 Years

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A stock investor gestures as he checks share prices at a securities firm in Fuyang, China, on Jan. 19, 2015 AFP/Getty Images

Beijing said the country’s economic performance in 2014 was the “new normal”

China’s economy expanded by just 7.4% in 2014, undercutting earlier official forecasts and registering the Asian superpower’s weakest economic growth in 24 years, according to data released by the National Bureau of Statistics on Tuesday.

Late last year, authorities released official forecasts putting growth in 2014 at 7.5%. Tuesday’s revelation marked the first time in 16 years that the country’s economic performance missed the government’s annual target. However, authorities have largely tried to paper over the misstep.

“China has entered a new normal of economic growth,” Li Baodong, a Vice Foreign Minister, told reporters on Friday, according to Agence France-Presse. “That is to say we are going through structural adjustment and the structural adjustment is progressing steadily.”

Yet experts were not so quick to downplay China’s soaring debt, weak and volatile real estate market and plummeting domestic demand.

“Among all the problems, the biggest one is low domestic demand and the other is overcapacity. And when the global economy is not great, exporting is affected,” Chenggang Xu, a professor in economic development at the University of Hong Kong, tells TIME. “In the near future, we’ll see it slowdown further.”

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has predicted additional cooling of the world’s most populous nation’s economy in 2015, and suggested that growth would drop well below 7%, reverberating in markets across the region.

Despite efforts by Beijing to reduce vulnerabilities from recent rapid credit and investment growth, this looming slump “is affecting the rest of Asia,” said the IMF report on Tuesday.

The release of China’s economic data for 2014 coincided with revised predictions on global economic growth from the IMF. On Tuesday, the institution ratcheted down expectations for the world’s economy in 2015, forecasting that growth this year would hover around 3.5%, down from their initial estimate of 3.8%.

TIME europe

E.U. Ministers Discuss Jihadist Threat in Wake of Charlie Hebdo Terrorist Attacks

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European Union flags fly at half-mast at the European Parliament in Brussels on Jan. 8, 2015, following the attack against French satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo Emmanuel Dunand—AFP/Getty Images

The meeting comes days after authorities foiled terrorist plots in Belgium, France and Germany

Twenty-eight Foreign Ministers are set to meet in Brussels on Monday to discuss persistent threats against the European Union from Islamist militants, as well as the renewed fighting between the Ukrainian military and separatist insurgents.

However, the ministers are not scheduled to hammer out any decisions regarding how the bloc will respond to threats from potential terror cells, according to Agence France-Presse.

Last week, authorities in Belgium foiled a failed terrorist plot, resulting in the death of two armed suspects. Similar raids were also launched in Germany and France a week after three gunmen linked to Yemen- and Syria-based terrorist networks carried out a series of high-profile attacks across Paris that resulted in the deaths of 17 people, including a dozen at the offices of satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo.

Thousands of Europeans are believed to have traveled to battlefields in both Iraq and Syria to fight alongside Islamist militias, raising concerns among E.U. officials over what the battle-hardened jihadists are capable of doing if they return home.

The ministers are also slated to discuss renewed tensions between Kiev and Moscow as fighting between the Ukrainian military and pro-Kremlin insurgents has escalated in recent weeks.

Reports swirled on Monday that Ukrainian troops retook Donetsk airport over the weekend after launching a massive counteroffensive against Russian-backed separatists in the area.

TIME Boxing

First U.S. Heavyweight Champ in 8 Years Deontay Wilder Says It’s Just the Beginning

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Deontay Wilder celebrates after defeating WBC heavyweight champion Bermane Stiverne at the MGM Grand Garden Arena on January 17, 2015 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Wilder took the title by unanimous decision. (Photo by Steve Marcus/Getty Images) Steve Marcus — Getty Images

The Tuscaloosa native is back home in Alabama after his victory over Canada’s Bermane Stiverne

Deontay Wilder arrived home in Alabama Sunday as the newly crowned heavyweight champion of the world, and the first American to lay claim to one of the sporting world’s most prestigious titles in eight years.

Wilder secured the WBC heavyweight title on Saturday night in front of a packed house at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, after delivering a bruising, one-sided whipping to Canada’s Bermane Stiverne to win the belt.

Following the bout, the Bronze Bomber tweeted a portrait of himself in a tuxedo to show off the lack of damage he incurred during the 12-round unanimous victory.

Upon arrival at Birmingham-Shuttlesworth International Airport on Sunday, the champ appeared to have already set his sights on the future.

“This is just the beginning,” Wilder told local media outlets. “It’s a great feeling to be the WBC champ of the world, but there’s more to gain from this.”

Wilder is the first U.S. fighter to win one of boxing’s heavyweight titles since Shannon Briggs lost the WBO belt to Sultan Ibragimov in 2007. Since then, a majority of the world’s heavyweight belts have remained under the domain of Ukraine’s Klitschko brothers.

TIME ebola

Mali Is Now Ebola-Free

Mali Ebola Spared No More
A health worker sprays disinfectants near a mosque, after the body of a man suspected of dying from the Ebola virus was washed inside before being buried in Bamako, Mali Baba Ahmed—AP

The country has gone 42 days without reporting a new case

Mali is officially Ebola-free after going 42 days without reporting a new case, according to the World Health Organization.

The country’s Health Minister Ousmane Kone made an announcement during a national broadcast on Sunday night.

During his speech, Kone heaped praise on the country’s health workers and Malian authorities for “weeks of intense work” that led to the result, according to Agence France-Presse.

Mali recorded its first Ebola case in October after a 2-year-old contracted the deadly virus. Following the incident, the country launched a massive eradication campaign.

In total, the disease only infected eight people in the country, but six of them were killed by it, according to statistics compiled by the WHO.

More than 8,400 people have succumbed to the deadly virus in West Africa.

TIME Companies

Facebook’s Hiring Spree Signals New Tech Offensive

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg speaks during a Reuters interview at the University of Bogota
President, founder and CEO of Facebook Mark Zuckerberg speaks during a Reuters interview at the University of Bogota on Jan. 14, 2015. Jose Gomez—Reuters

The social networking giant aims to add nearly 1,200 new employees to its ranks

Facebook is hiring, big time.

The social networking company’s recent acquisitions and investments in several tech companies, which specialize in niche markets like drone production, virtual reality and data centers, is helping drive the latest round of recruitment, according to Reuters.

“We are an ambitious company run by an ambitious CEO,” Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook’s chief operating officer, told Reuters. “Our users are growing and our business is growing and we want to support that.”

Facebook reportedly had 8,348 full-time employees at the end of last September and is looking to hire at least 1,200 new staff members in the coming months.

[Reuters]

TIME Music

Hip-Hop Label Boss A$AP Yams Has Died at Age 26

BET's 106 & Park With A$AP Mob, Schoolboy Q and Flo Rida
A$AP Yams visits BET's 106 & Park at BET Studios on July 15, 2013 in New York City. John Ricard — Getty Images

The rap community has been airing its shock and sadness

The brains behind Harlem’s critically acclaimed rap collective A$AP Mob, Steve Rodriguez — who was popularly known as A$AP Yams — has died.

The circumstances around Rodriguez’s death have not yet been made public. He was 26.

Yams was the co-owner of the A$AP Worldwide label, which helped launch and promote the careers of fellow A$AP Mob members, A$AP Rocky and A$AP Ferg.

“As one of the creative forces behind A$AP Worldwide, Yams’ vision, humor and dedication to the members of A$AP Mob will always be remembered. We extend our heartfelt condolences to his family and friends,” read a statement released by RCA Records.

The label executive kept a considerably lower profile than his peers in the collective, a position he appeared to enjoy.

“Rocky’s like Luke Skywalker, and I’m Yoda,” Yams told the New York Times during an interview published in 2013.

Members of the A$AP collective and fellow hip-hop stars aired their condolences via social media after news of Yam’s death surfaced on Sunday.

R.I.P YAMS, I LOVE YOU BROTHER

A photo posted by PRETTY FLACKO (@asvpxrocky) on

ALWAYS STRIVE AND PROSPER. RIP YAMS

A photo posted by A$AP Mob (@asapmob) on

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