TIME China

U.S. Furious After Chinese Fighter Jet Does Barrel Roll Over American Aircraft

In this Pentagon handout, a Chinese fighter jet is seen from a U.S. Navy P-8 Poseidon aircraft during an incident in which the Pentagon says the Chinese jet came dangerously close to the American aircraft. Department of Defense

The Chinese warplane flew close to a U.S. patrol jet and did a barrel roll over the plane

The United States has formally complained to Beijing over an aerial maneuver conducted by a Chinese fighter jet over international airspace, with the Pentagon calling it an “aggressive and demonstrated a lack of due regard for the safety and well-being of the U.S. and Chinese aircrews and aircraft.”

According to a Pentagon official, a U.S. Navy P-8 Poseidon patrol jet was flying a routine mission east of Hainan Island Tuesday when a Chinese J-11 warplane passed directly beneath the plane three times, coming as close as 50-100 feet. The Chinese jet then came from beneath, passing the U.S. plane at 90 degrees with the belly of the plane — and its weapons payload — on display.

Finally, the Chinese jet came within 20 feet of the U.S. plane before doing a barrel roll over the plane, the Pentagon official said.

“This incident is the most recent in a rising trend of nonstandard, unprofessional and unsafe intercepts of U.S. aircraft that we have observed since the end of 2013,” the official said, calling it “one of the most unsafe intercepts since the 2001 EP-3 collision,” in reference to an incident in which a Chinese fighter and American aircraft collided in the same area as this week’s incident.

TIME Ukraine

Russian Artillery Units Are Firing at Ukrainian Soldiers, NATO Says

A pro-Russian gunman is seen through a shrapnel hole after shelling in Donetsk on August 22, 2014.
A pro-Russian gunman is seen through a shrapnel hole after shelling in Donetsk on August 22, 2014. Dimitar Dilkoff—AFP/Getty Images

The move marks an escalation in a conflict over a region embroiled in war between Ukraine's central government and pro-Russian separatists

Updated 5:57 p.m. on Aug. 22

Artillery units being operated by Russian soldiers have crossed into Ukraine and are firing on Ukrainian forces, Western officials said Friday, in an apparent escalation of the ongoing conflict along the border.

“We have seen the use of Russian artillery in Ukraine in the past days,” U.S. Deputy National Security Advisor Ben Rhodes told reporters Friday, calling it part of “a pattern whereby we’ve seen firing from within Russia into Ukraine, and we’ve seen a disturbing movement of Russian artillery and military equipment into Ukraine as well.”

Rhodes also called on Russia to remove a convoy of trucks that recently entered Ukraine, which Moscow says are bringing aid but whose arrival was not coordinated with the International Committee of the Red Cross. Ukraine has called the entry of the trucks a “direct invasion.”

“Russia should take the opportunity to remove this convoy from within Ukraine,” Rhodes said. “If they don’t, they will face additional costs and consequences from the United States and our partners in the international community.”

Russia has long been accused by the West of lending support, including arms and sometimes clandestine personnel, to pro-Russian separatists in the eastern half of Ukraine, but comments by Rhoades and NATO leaders marked the first time Western powers have accused Moscow of directly invading Ukrainian territory with Russian military units and personnel.

A NATO spokeswoman said the military alliance has received multiple of Russian forces being directly involved in recent days, the New York Times reports, “including Russian airborne, air defense and special operations.”

NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen, in a statement from Brussels, said the group has “also seen transfers of large quantities of advanced weapons, including tanks, armoured personnel carriers, and artillery to separatist groups in Eastern Ukraine. Moreover, NATO is observing an alarming build-up of Russian ground and air forces in the vicinity of Ukraine.”

Rasmussen condemned Moscow for allowing an ostensibly humanitarian economic convoy to enter Ukraine with no involvement from the International Committee of the Red Cross, which typically coordinates such missions. He went on to blame Russia for escalating tensions with a military buildup along the Ukrainian border.

“This is a blatant breach of Russia’s international commitments, including those made recently in Berlin and Geneva, and a further violation of Ukraine’s sovereignty by Russia,”Rasmussen said. “It can only deepen the crisis in the region, which Russia itself has created and has continued to fuel.”

The Obama Administration also condemned the latest Russian movements.

“At the same time as Russian vehicles violate Ukraine’s sovereignty, Russia maintains a sizable military force on the Ukrainian border capable of invading Ukraine on very short notice,” National Security Council spokesperson Caitlin Hayden said in a statement. “It has repeatedly fired into Ukrainian territory, and has sent an ever-increasing stream of military equipment and fighters into Ukraine.”

TIME Religion

Oklahoma Catholics Drop Lawsuit After Satanists Return Wafer

Satanic Mass Lawsuit
In this Feb. 11, 2011 file photo, Archbishop Paul Coakley, center, holds a communion wafer as he is installed as the fourth archbishop of the Oklahoma City Archdiocese in a ceremony at St. John the Baptist Catholic Church, in Edmond, Okla. Jim Beckel—AP

A Satanic group had planned to use the communion wafer in a ritual scheduled for next month

The Catholic Archbishop of Oklahoma City has dropped a lawsuit against a Satanic group after it agreed to turn over a communion wafer it hoped to use in a “Black Mass” scheduled to take place in September.

“I am relieved that we have been able to secure the return of the sacred Host, and that we have prevented its desecration as part of a planned satanic ritual,” Coakley said in a statement issued by the Archdiocese of Oklahoma City.

Coakley sued the Satanic group, the Church of Ahriman, on the grounds that it stole the communion wafer, which Catholics hold to be a sacred part of the Mass ritual.

“I remain concerned about the dark powers that this satanic worship invites into our community and the spiritual danger that this poses to all who are involved in it, directly or indirectly,” Coakley said in a statement.

Adam Daniel, the Satan worshipper set to lead next month’s Black Mass, said fighting the lawsuit wasn’t worth the trouble.

“I don’t feel like wasting thousands of dollars over a nasty cookie,” he said.

TIME ebola

Nigeria Confirms 2 New Ebola Cases

Nigeria Ebola
Nigerian health officials wait to screen passengers at the arrival hall of Murtala Muhammed International Airport in Lagos, Nigeria on Aug. 4, 2014. Sunday Alamba/AP

The two are the first infected people who didn’t have contact with the ill traveler

Nigeria’s health ministry confirmed Friday two new cases of Ebola in the country, the first people to come down with the disease who didn’t have direct contact with an infected traveler who brought the virus into the country from nearby Liberia.

Nigerian Health Minister Onyebuchi Chukwu said both newly infected people are the spouses of two caregivers who contracted the virus and later died after giving treatment to Patrick Sawyer, the Liberian-American man who flew into the country infected with the virus last month.

Sawyer passed Ebola on to 11 other individuals before he died. The two new infections plus Sawyer bring the total number of Ebola patients in Nigeria during this outbreak to 14, five of whom have died while another five have recovered.

[AP]

TIME justice

Oklahoma Cop Charged With Raping 6 Women While on Patrol

Some of the alleged assaults took place during traffic stops

An Oklahoma City police officer was arrested Thursday and charged sexually assaulting at least six women while he was on patrol, though police expect more alleged victims to come forward.

Daniel Holtzclaw is charged with rape, oral sodomy and sexual battery. The three-year veteran of the force is being held on a $5 million bond, Reuters reports.

Police said the assaults took place while Holtzclaw was on the job, in some cases as a result of traffic stops.

[Reuters]

TIME apps

Most of Us Don’t Download Any Smartphone Apps at All

Using a smartphone with Spotify app
Jonathan Nackstrand—AFP/Getty Images

And most people spend a huge chunk of time on just one app

More and more of us might be using smartphones to meet our digital needs but, according to the latest data from analytics firm Comscore, we aren’t downloading more apps on top of what comes with our phones.

Only about 35% of smartphone users download any apps at all in an average month, says Comscore’s Mobile App Report—put another way, 65% of smartphone users don’t download a single app in any given month.

That’s not to say that people aren’t using apps, or even that app downloads are down overall. Smartphone sales have been soaring worldwide, broadening the pool of potential app downloaders even as people individually tend not to be downloading very many apps. Indeed, July was Apple’s best month ever for app store revenue.

It seems to be that people just don’t need that many apps. According to Comscore, “a staggering 42% of all app time spent on smartphones occurs on the individual’s single most used app.” It may also be the case, as Quartz notes, that Apple’s app store—the elephant in the app retail room—relies too heavily on Top 25 lists and makes it difficult for users to find new apps they might want.

TIME Little League World Series

Mo’ne Davis’ Team Knocked Out of Little League World Series

The star pitchers run has come to an end

+ READ ARTICLE

Philadelphia’s Taney Dragons lost to Chicago’s Jackie Robinson West Thursday night, knocking the team out of the Little League World Series and marking an end to the headline-grabbing performance of the Dragons’ 13-year-old superstar pitcher, Mo’ne Davis.

Davis, one of just a handful of girls to compete in the Little League World Series, earned acclaim as a pitcher in the series for her 70 mph fastball and skilled curveball. Davis’ performance has sparked renewed debate regarding the way girls and women are treated in baseball and other sports.

She was unable to pitch in Thursday’s game against Chicago because she threw 55 pitches in Wednesday’s game against Mountain Ridge out of Las Vegas. Davis played first base for part of the Philly-Chicago matchup Friday.

Davis recently graced the front page of Sports Illustrated:

Sports Illustrated

 

[NJ.com]

TIME Opinion

The Fanny Pack: Symbol of Male Liberation

In defense of the world's greatest supply bag

America’s national arbiter of Southern Cool, Matthew McConaughey, declared his love for the fanny pack to the world while at Fenway Park Sunday.

“I’m not afraid of the fanny pack,” said McConaughey, when confronted about his accessory. “You gotta kind of put it on the side to make it look a little not as nerdy, but still, practicality wins out. I got so much gear in here that I don’t want in my pockets.”

The Houston Astros Vs. The Boston Red Sox At Fenway Park
Actor Matthew McConaughey stands for the national anthem at the Red Sox game at Fenway Park on August 17, 2014. (Photo by Jim Davis/The Boston Globe via Getty Images) Boston Globe—Boston Globe via Getty Images

For those not in the know, a fanny pack is a small pouch worn around the waist like a belt. Supposedly once the pouch was worn over the buttocks, hence the name, though no one wears them that way today. They peaked as a fashion item in the 1980s.

McConaughey’s love for the fanny pack is all good and well and I offer him my sincerest stamp of approval but his statement deserves a lingering glance. He speaks not only to today’s evolving fashion trends and the utility of the fanny pack but to the society’s sexist fashion standards and the plight of modern man, especially when it’s hot outside.

Consider the options available to a man wishing to carry a few supplies out into the world (excluding winter time, when the giant coat and the fact that going out is awful anyway renders the conundrum moot).

The briefcase—No one took you seriously when you carried one in high school and no one takes you seriously now, unless there are actual briefs (the legal kind) in that thing.

The backpack—We could rename it “The backsweat.” Also kind of juvenile, but it’ll do in a pinch.

The satchel—Known to everyone talking out of earshot as your “murse,” this bag is actually pretty handy but it can be a bulky when you’re trying to feel light and free and summery.

The hand—Real men carry things with their hands. But we are not real men and haven’t been since the end of the Stone Age so moving on.

The purse—Bless you bold purse carriers, but no. Getting an arm into the strap is impossible and there is just no way to hold these things other than with hand on strap arm extended at 90 degrees. Ergonomically out of the question. I am not alone.

The fanny pack— Small, light and comfy. The flip flop of supply bags. Liberator of male-kind. The fanny pack will get you where you need to go along with your carmex, knife, road beer, sunglasses, or whatever else. You will not be dependent (in the supply arena, anyway) on a purse-wielder, nor will you be weighed down by any aforementioned bulky or discomfiting bags.

Through the centuries man has known it to be true that the fanny pack is tops. Only recently, in this dark age of meggings and other fashion crimes, have we lost sight of our centuries old love for the fanny pack. See here, symbol of manly freedom and fanny pack pioneer, The King of the Wild Frontier himself, Davy Crockett.

Davy Crockett, King Of The Wild Frontier
Silver Screen Collection—Getty Images

Follow McConaughey, men. Follow Crockett. Embrace the fanny pack. You have nothing to lose but your chains. You have the world to win.

TIME Opinion

Idiot Fakes Own Death to Get Out of Wedding Because Idiot

Tucker Blandford hatched a terrible plan

It was to be a transatlantic love story worthy of the big screen, but instead of Hollywood romance it ended more like a slapstick comedy.

Alex Lanchester, 23 and British, was set to marry her American fiancé Tucker Blandford, 23 and terrible, on August 15. The couple met in Connecticut in 2012 while Lanchester was studying abroad in the U.S. and Blandford proposed before she returned to the UK. They planned their wedding but as the big day approached she got the call that changed—and let’s be honest, possibly saved, because this dude seems like a creep—her life.

“Alex, this is Tucker’s dad. There’s no easy way to say this,” said the voice on the phone. “I am sorry to say that Tucker is dead.” It was Tucker spoofing his dad’s voice in order to fake his own death, reports the UK’s Mirror.

Lanchester says she then called Blandford’s mother, who of course didn’t know what she was talking about.

“All I ever did was love him,” she said. “After this I’m not sure I can trust a man ever again”—a course of action that might be a good idea considering her record of judging character.

Blandford confessed to a reporter over the phone that he is “a terrible, awful person,” so he’s making some progress in the truth-telling department. “I know I shouldn’t have told her I was dead, but I didn’t know what else to do,” he said, according to the UK’s Daily Mail.”

“At the time I just felt like I couldn’t tell the truth and thought if I could just postpone everything it would be better,” Blandford said. Because if there’s one thing we know about death it’s that it isn’t forever. Nice plan, bud.

TIME NFL

5 Best Reactions to the NFL’s ‘Pay-to-Play’ Superbowl Halftime Scheme

Based on no scientific rubric at all

+ READ ARTICLE

The National Football League is planning to introduce at least one significant change to its halftime show at the Superbowl: in order to perform, superstar acts will pay for the privilege.

According to The Wall Street Journal, the league is considering three acts for its next halftime extravaganza in early 2015: Katy Perry, Rihanna and Coldplay. But unlike in previous years, these performers have been asked to shill out dough in the form of post-Super Bowl tour income or another “financial contribution.”

The news was not received well in some quarters, but some met it with more humor than others. And so, we bring you: the 6 best reactions on Twitter to the NFL’s new “pay to play” scheme, based on no scientific rubric at all and entirely on this writer’s whim.

 

Your browser, Internet Explorer 8 or below, is out of date. It has known security flaws and may not display all features of this and other websites.

Learn how to update your browser
Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 46,436 other followers