TIME Infectious Disease

Ebola Death Toll Tops 3,000

More than 6,500 cases have been confirmed

At least 3,080 people have died of Ebola in West Africa, the World Health Organization said Friday, bringing the death toll from the worst Ebola ever above 3,000 for the first time. More than 6,500 total cases have been confirmed.

The newly-released figure, which includes deaths in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone, comes after a week of worsening news about the deadly disease. Estimates released Tuesday suggest that as many as 1.4 million people may be infected by the end of January under worst-case-scenario circumstances.

Under the best of circumstances, the disease will still have wrecked havoc on a region that has been wholly unprepared for the public health disaster. Currently, countries from around the world are contributing millions of dollars to build facilities to treat patients. WHO officials noted in a statement Friday that current heath facilities are overwhelmed and struggling to handle routine ailments.

“The current situation is so dire that, in several areas that include capital cities, many of these common diseases and health conditions are barely being managed at all,” the WHO said.

TIME conflict

3 More Countries Join the Coalition Against ISIS

Parliament debates military action against ISIS at the House of Commons, London on Sept. 26, 2014.
Parliament debates military action against ISIS at the House of Commons, London on Sept. 26, 2014. PA Wire/Press Association Images/Reuters

British Parliament did not vote on whether to allow strikes in Syria as well

The United Kingdom became the latest country to join the U.S.-led coalition against the Islamic State of Iraq and Greater Syria (ISIS) on Friday, after the British parliament voted decisively to allow air combat missions to bomb the militant group in Iraq.

“This is going to be a long campaign—weeks and probably months—to push [ISIS] back and to see it defeated in Iraq,” U.K. Defense Secretary Michael Fallon said, according to the Guardian.

Belgium and Denmark also joined the growing coalition, which includes France and Australia, along with Arab allies like Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.

While British support in Iraq bolsters American efforts, the U.K. has not voted on taking the additional step of joining air strikes against ISIS in Syria, which some leaders argue would be an infringement on its sovereignty. Nonetheless, Prime Minister David Cameron suggested that he supports U.S. strikes there, regardless of whether the U.K. joins.

“[ISIS] needs to be destroyed in Syria as well as Iraq,” he said. “We support the action the U.S. and five Arab states are taking. I believe there is a strong case for us to do more, but I did not want to bring a motion to the House today which I could not get consensus on.”

[The Guardian]

TIME Law

Pet Owners Look to Muzzle Police Who Shoot Dogs

Brittany Preston

Bereaved owners argue that when police shoot dogs it a violates their Fourth Amendment rights

Correction appended, Sept. 26

Lexie, a Labrador mix, was barking in fear when the police arrived at her owner’s suburban Detroit house early in the morning last November. The officers, responding to a call about a dog roaming the area, arrived with dog-catching gear. Yet they didn’t help the one-year-old dog, who had been left outside the house, according to a lawsuit filed in federal court: Instead, they pulled out their guns and shot Lexie eight times.

“The only thing I’m gonna do is shoot it anyway,” the lawsuit quotes an officer saying. “I do not like dogs.”

Such a response, animal advocates say, is not uncommon among law enforcement officers in America who are often ill-equipped to deal with animals in the line of duty. And now bereaved owners like Brittany Preston, Lexie’s owner, are suing cities and police departments, expressing outrage at what they see as an abuse of power by police. Animal activists, meanwhile, are turning to state legislatures to combat the problem, with demands for better police training in dealing with pets.

There are no official tallies of dog killings by police, but media reports suggest there are, at minimum, dozens every year, and possibly many more. When it comes to Preston’s dog, officials from the city of St. Clair Shores and the dog owner agree on little. City police say the dog attacked, prompting officers to open fire in self-defense. But the lawsuit filed by Preston cites police audio recordings to argue that the November 2013 shooting was premeditated, prompted by officers eager to kill a dog. Preston is suing the city for violating her Fourth Amendment right to protection from unreasonable search and seizure.

“We want whatever it takes to make sure it doesn’t happen again,” said Christopher Olson, Preston’s lawyer. “Before this case I wasn’t a dog shooting lawyer, but I am now.”

St. Clair Shores defended the officers’ actions.

“The animal was only put down after a decision was made that it was in the best interest of the residents,” said city attorney Robert Ihrie, who is defending the city in the lawsuit. “Sometimes police officers are in a position where they need to make very quick decisions for the protection of themselves and others.”

The Fourth Amendment argument gained traction in 2005, when the San Jose chapter of the Hells Angels sued the city and the police department because officers had killed dogs during a gang raid in 1998. A federal appeals judge found that “the Fourth Amendment forbids the killing of a person’s dog… when that destruction is unnecessary,” and the Hells Angels ultimately won $1.8 million in damages. In addition to the St. Clair lawsuit, other lawsuits stemming from police shootings of dogs are being planned or filed in Idaho, California, and Nevada.

At the same time, animal-rights activists are lobbying police departments to implement pet training for all officers. Several states including Illinois and Colorado have enacted measures to reduce dog shootings, and others states are considering legislation. In 2011, the Department of Justice published a report on dog-related police incidents, which included advice on how to handle dogs without killing them.

“It’s much more likely that a cop is going to encounter a dog than a terrorist, yet there’s no training,” said Ledy Van Kavage, an attorney for the advocacy group Best Friends Animal Society. “If you have a fear or hatred of dogs, then you shouldn’t be a police officer, just like if you have a hatred of different social groups.”

Brian Kilcommons, a professional dog-trainer who has trained more than 40,000 dogs and published books on the subject, said some police officers accidentally antagonize dogs right from the start, without even trying. “Police officers go into a situation with full testosterone body language, trying to control the situation,” he said. “That’s exactly what will set a dog off.” Kilcommons is developing an app that could help police officers evaluate the best way to handle a dog, including tips on reading body language and non-lethal strategies for containing them. “A bag of treats goes a long way,” he said.

But Jim Crosby, a retired Lieutenant with the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office in Florida who now works in dog training, said there are sometimes cases that require police force.

If you’re executing a high-risk, hard-going entry with an armed suspect, the officers don’t have time to play nice and throw cookies at the dog,” said Crosby, who was commenting on police handling of dogs in general and not any specific case. But he emphasized that such situations are few and far between: “Police absolutely have the right to protect themselves against a reasonable and viable threat—but the presence of a dog is not necessarily a reasonable or viable threat.”

Ronald Janota, a retired Lieutenant Colonel with the Illinois State Police who now serves as an expert witness on use of force, acknowledged that officers are often at “heightened awareness” when confronting dogs. “If you’re the first or second through the door, you don’t have time to put a collar on the dog if the dog is literally lunging at you,” he said. “If you’re entering the house legally, you have the right to protect yourself.”

Regardless of the circumstances, a dog’s death at the hands of police can be devastating to owners.

“People are getting married later, if at all, people are having children later, if at all, and pets are filling an emotional niche,” Kilcommons said. “Before, if you had a dog and it got killed, you got another one. Now dogs are in our homes and in our hearts. They’re not replaceable. So when they’re injured or killed, people are retaliating.”

In St. Clair Shores, where Lexie died, the city is fighting the lawsuit but the police department now requires its officers to undergo animal control training.

Van Kavage said that kind of training is crucial, even if just to instill a sense of trust in the police.

“If a cop shoots your pet, do you think you’re ever going to trust a cop again?” she said. “To control a dog, 99% of the time you don’t need a gun. You just need to yell ‘sit!’ ‘stay!’”

Correction: The original version of this story misidentified the person who said, “To control a dog, 99% of the time you don’t need a gun. You just need to yell ‘sit!’ ‘stay!’” It was Ledy Van Kavage.

TIME devices

Here’s How Much It Costs To Charge An iPhone 6

iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus retail sales begin in Spain
A customer shows the new products of Apple, iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus, at an Apple Store in Madrid, Spain, on September 26, 2014. Anadolu Agency—Getty Images

Charging the phone is 14 times less expensive than charging a laptop

Purchasing an iPhone 6 will set you back anywhere from $200 to $650, depending on which model you buy and whether you’re due for an upgrade. But after you’ve settled that bill, you will only pay $0.47 a year to charge it, according to a new study from Outlier.

The study measured how much energy it takes to charge the Apple device, about 10.5 watt hours of electricity, and estimated that the average phone-owner would charge up once each day. While the Plus takes more energy to charge, it has a longer battery life and needs to be charged less frequently.

A laptop requires about 14 times the electricity used by and iPhone 6, according to the study.

TIME movies

Watch Jeff Daniels and Jim Carrey’s Crazy Antics in This New Dumb and Dumber To Trailer

Harry and Lloyd reunite to search for Harry's daughter

Jim Carrey and Jeff Daniels are back as two dumb best friends in the long-awaited Dumb and Dumber To, which hits theaters this November.

In this sequel, which comes 20 years after the original, Harry and Lloyd reunite to search for Harry’s long lost daughter. Expect plenty of hijinks along the way.

 

TIME Bizarre

NYC Mailman Allegedly Kept 40,000 Letters Instead of Delivering Them

US Postal Service Mail Delivery Ahead Of Second-Quarter Results
The U.S. Postal Service (USPS) logo is seen on the side of a delivery truck in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Thursday, May 9, 2013. Bloomberg—Bloomberg via Getty Images

No word on whether he was grooving to all our love letters

A Brooklyn mailman has been accused of hoarding 40,000 pieces of mail at home, in his car and in has locker, according to a federal complaint.

The mail carrier, 67-year-old Joseph Brucato, was arrested this week after his supervisor noticed undelivered mail in Brucato’s car.

A police official said that when confronted, Brucato said he didn’t deliver mail on some days for “personal reasons.” The mail carrier’s lawyer said Brucato suffered from depression.

Brucato was arraigned Wednesday and subsequently released. The United States Postal Service has suspended him without pay.

TIME Autos

Auto-Safety Head Admits Major Reform Is Needed

David Friedman, the acting head of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, as he testified on Capitol Hill in Washington, April 2014.
David Friedman, the acting head of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, as he testified on Capitol Hill in Washington, April 2014. Evan Vucci—AP

He says we need a "new normal" when it comes to assuring human safety in cars

A week after facing blistering criticism for his agency’s handling of the recent General Motors (GM) auto recall, the man charged with running the nation’s auto-safety administration acknowledged that his office needs to improve.

“Any life lost is one too many; anything that we can do to improve in a situation like this, we’ve got to do,” David Friedman, interim head of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), tells TIME in his first interview since the hearing. “We need a new normal when it comes to recalls.”

A more combative relationship that keeps “every car company on their toes” is at the heart of Friedman’s “new normal” and carried out through increased financial penalties on car companies and an expanded budget.

“Dropping the ball will not be tolerated,” Friedman said.

In the months since GM announced its first recalls for ignition switch problems, critics have hounded the automaker for taking so long to address an issue that affected millions of cars and killed at least 21 people. More recently, criticism has turned to NHTSA. The agency, created in the 1970s to oversee a powerful industry, is charged with ensuring automakers meet safety standards on everything from brakes to windshields. But its actual authority remains hampered: it can levy a maximum fine of $35 million for a violation and has no power to bring criminal charges.

Friedman wants to change that, and advocates say he should step on it. “This is the best opportunity to reform NHTSA, really, since the original Safety Act was passed in 1966,” says Center for Auto Safety executive director Clarence Ditlow. “When a GM president has to apologize for their safety inaction, that shows you how bad the situation is.”

The reaction centers on faulty ignition switches in millions of GM vehicles that in some cases abruptly shut down the engine and kept airbags from deploying in the subsequent crash. The automaker had been aware of issues with the switch—though perhaps not the extent of the problem—for more than a decade prior to issuing recalls, investigations have shown. NHTSA also received strong evidence of the safety issue in 2007, when Wisconsin officials told the federal agency about what they suspected was a link between ignition switches and airbags. NHTSA officials “either overlooked or failed to understand” the implications of the Wisconsin report and didn’t follow up appropriately, according to a congressional report released last week.

Supporters of reform, both in Congress and among the ranks of safety advocates, say the needed changes are multifaceted: The agency requires expanded enforcement power, increased funding and greater transparency so that the public can hold it accountable.

The agency was granted just over $10 million to investigate defects in 2014, a paltry sum considering the 250 million vehicles on the road in the United States. Overall, the agency devotes about $130 million annually to vehicle safety research—a total that outrages auto-safety advocate Ralph Nader. “It’s about the cost of three months of guarding the US embassy in Baghdad,” Nader tells TIME.

“If Congress would give us another 20 people and $20 million, we could do a lot more for the American public to save lives,” Friedman says.

Increased authority also ranks high on the list of the changes safety advocates say NHTSA needs. Currently, the agency can fine automakers a maximum of $35 million for safety violations, a pittance for an industry that brings in billions each year. Friedman, along with President Obama and transportation secretary Anthony Foxx, wants to raise the cap to $300 million.

But changes to funding or regulatory authority would require Congress to act. A number of legislative proposals have been introduced, but it remains unclear whether this opportunity, as good as it may be, can overcome gridlock.

Friedman says his agency will do its best to improve, even if it doesn’t receive help from Capitol Hill. “If Congress fails to act, we’re a scrappy organization. We punch above our weight,” he says. “We’ll do everything with the resources we can.”

Nader, along with others, says he is skeptical, but ultimately, external pressures may make the question of whether NHTSA officials want to change irrelevant.

“I think the agency will change,” says Joan Claybrook, who ran the agency during Jimmy Carter’s presidency. “If it doesn’t they’re in trouble.”

TIME Mental Health/Psychology

70% of People Suffer After Violent Crime, But Few Get Help

Victims who knew the perpetrator were more likely to report it

Nearly 70% of people endure severe social or emotional problems after being the victim of a violent crime, but only about 12% of those who had problems received help from victim services, according to a new report from the Department of Justice. Just over half of victims who suffered from socio-emotional problems reported the crime to the police.

“A victim with socio-emotional problems may experience a range of emotional and physical symptoms,” the report reads, citing anxiety, trouble sleeping and depression.

Trends varied across demographic groups, particularly gender. Women were much more likely than men to experience socio-emotional problems. Nearly 80% of women who suffered from a serious violent crime said they had such problems, while only 58% percent of their male counterparts said the same.

Whether the victim knew the crime’s perpetrator also affected whether they experienced social or emotional problems. Victims harmed in acts of intimate partner violence were more likely to experience issues, regardless of the type of crime. Nearly three in four victims of intimate partner violence suffered from physical problems, with 61 percent saying they had trouble sleeping.

The report, which looked at data from more than 160,000 people across the U.S., also found low rates of reporting violent crime. Only about a third of victims who experienced severe distress reported the crime to the police. About half of victims who knew the perpetrator reported the crime, while 41% of those who didn’t know the offender did so.

TIME Television

Fashion Police to Continue Without Joan Rivers

92nd Street Y Presents: An Evening With Joan And Melissa Rivers
The late Joan Rivers on Jan. 22, 2014 in New York City. D Dipasupil—FilmMagic/Getty Images

The show will return to the air in January

The E! television show Fashion Police will continue in January 2015 despite the death of its star Joan Rivers, the network announced Friday.

“We have also thought long and hard about what Joan would have wanted as it pertains to the future of Fashion Police,” the network said in a statement to Deadline. “We decided, with Melissa Rivers’ blessing, that Joan would have wanted the franchise to continue.”

Rivers, who died on Sept. 4, hosted the celebrity fashion commentary show alongside Giuliana Rancic, Kelly Osbourne, and George Kotsiopoulos.

[Deadline]

 

 

TIME Security

Here’s How Home Depot Could Have Combated Hacking

Experts say retailers should invest in detection rather than prevention

As Home Depot continues to assess the damage caused by a security breach that gave hackers access to 56 million credit and debit cards, tech experts say large retailers should turn their attention to addressing breaches quickly instead of trying to prevent all of them.

“Are we spending most of our money on trying to keep the bad guys out or trying to detect as soon as possible when the bad guys get in?” asked cyber crime expert Brian Krebs, framing the issue rhetorically. “The best you can do is stop the bleeding as soon as possible when they do get in.”

At Home Depot, where hackers used malware to collect customer data at cash registers, it reportedly took nine months for the breach to be identified and stopped allowing for the damage to affect millions of customers.

Companies face myriad and evolving ways their data can be breached, making protecting data akin to a game of whac-a-mole. Once one potential threat is identified, hackers have already begun trying to get through another way. Instead of devoting all their resources to chasing the threats, companies should focus on minimizing the time it takes to identity those breaches, said Brian Foster, chief technology officer at cyber security firm Damballa.

“There are two types of companies: those that have been breached and those that don’t know they’ve been breached yet,” he said. “The attackers only have to find one door in whereas Home Depot has to secure all their doors and before they do that they need to know where all the doors are at.”

But even if retailers like Home Depot switch focus to detection from protection, experts say they need to do a better job securing data. And, for retailers, the first place to look is the “point of sale system” where the transaction occurred (the cash register for traditional retailers).

“Some enhancement of that logical access in the point of sale would have been able to harden the system significantly,” said Guy Levy, senior vice president at technology security firm Usher. “This is part of what any big retailer that employs pos systems should be doing now. They should all be scrutinizing their systems very, very hard.”

Despite the recommendations of security experts, many companies remain reluctant to devote the funding to change. But dealing with massive security breaches almost always costs more in the long-term than instituting preventive measures would have cost. Home Depot said the breach at the company will cost at least $62 million.

“It takes awhile to update your technology, to understand the threat,” said Anup Ghosh, founder and CEO of technology security firm Invincea. “But the most expensive dollar spent in security is spent after a breach.”

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