TIME Infectious Disease

Amber Vinson’s Family Says She’s Ebola-Free

Amber Vinson Courtesy of the Vinson family

“Officials at Emory University Hospital and the Centers for Disease Control are no longer able to detect the virus in her body,” Vinson's family said in a statement

Amber Vinson, one of two health care workers based out of Dallas who contracted Ebola while caring for Thomas Eric Duncan, is reportedly cleared of the virus.

“Officials at Emory University Hospital and the Centers for Disease Control [and Prevention, or CDC] are no longer able to detect the virus in her body,” her family said in a statement released Wednesday. Vinson is reportedly still under treatment in the Serious Communicable Diseases Unit, but has been approved for transfer from the isolation unit.

Officials at the CDC and Emory University Hospital have not yet confirmed to TIME that Vinson is cleared of the virus, but in a recent image sent to TIME, Vinson can be seen smiling and looking alert.

Vinson’s mother Debra Berry said in a statement that she and the family are “ecstatic to receive this latest report on her condition.”

“We all know that further treatment will be necessary as Amber continues to regain strength, but these latest developments have truly answered prayers and bring our family one step closer to reuniting with her at home,” Berry said.

Vinson, along with Nina Pham, was infected with the deadly virus while caring for the first patient to be diagnosed with Ebola on U.S. soil during the current outbreak. According to the Dallas Morning News, about 108 people in Dallas are being monitored by the CDC for signs of Ebola, though some 66 people have already been cleared.

TIME movies

Marvel Releases Avengers: Age of Ultron Trailer Early After Leak

"Dammit, Hydra"

Update: Wednesday, 9:30 p.m. ET

Marvel Entertainment released its new Avengers: Age of Ultron trailer almost a week ahead of schedule Wednesday, hours after a bootleg version leaked onto the Internet, sending social media aflutter.

Marvel played it cool the whole time, at first tweeting with mock ire at the leaked trailer:

The trailer was originally scheduled for release during Agents of Shield next Tuesday, the Verge reports. But with the secret already out, Marvel decided to just give folks what they wanted.

The official film will hit theaters in May 2015.

[The Verge]

TIME celebrities

Beyoncé and Jay Z Renew Vows Amid Divorce Rumors

Beyonce and Jay-Z perform during the "On The Run Tour: Beyonce And Jay-Z" at the Stade de France on Sept. 12, 2014 in Paris.
Beyonce and Jay-Z perform during the "On The Run Tour: Beyonce And Jay-Z" at the Stade de France on Sept. 12, 2014 in Paris. Myrna Suarez—Getty Images

Rejoice, Beyhive!

Superstar couple Beyoncé and Jay-Z have renewed their vows, despite rumors that the two were on the road to Splitsville.

During the Carters’ summer-long “On The Run” tour, the Beyhive was on edge, People reports. Worries about an imminent divorce gained momentum following the infamous elevator incident earlier this year, in which Beyoncé’s sister Solange appeared to attack Jay-Z in TMZ-leaked security footage.

Yet now the two seem happy in the wake of the tour, gallivanting throughout Europe with baby Blue Ivy in tow. The entertainers and proud parents may also be looking to make a home across the pond—they’ve reportedly been house hunting in Paris.

[People]

TIME South Korea

South Korea Dismantles ‘Propaganda’ Christmas Tree Tower

A giant steel Christmas tree lit up at the western mountain peak known as Aegibong in Gimpo, South Korea on Dec. 21, 2010.
A giant steel Christmas tree lit up at the western mountain peak known as Aegibong in Gimpo, South Korea on Dec. 21, 2010. Lee Jin-man—AP

North Korea, which is officially atheist, had long seen the tower as religious propaganda

A South Korean Christmas tree tower that shone near the border of North Korea has been taken down, about a week after officials from the two countries convened for the first time since 2007.

The tower, which stood approximately 2 miles from the North Korean line, was first mounted in 1971, the BBC reports. The North Korean government, which is officially atheist, had long seen the tree as religious propaganda, because South Koreans often lit the tree up during the Christmas season and mounted a cross at its peak.

South Korea stopped lighting the tower in 2004 as relations between the North and South improved, the Guardian reports. In 2010 and 2012, however Christian groups again lit the tree tower in the wake of attacks that killed 50 South Koreans.

South Korean officials, however, said the tree was not taken down to reconcile differences between North and South Korea, but rather as a precaution because it could collapse.

[BBC]

TIME

Mark Zuckerberg Gives Q&A in Chinese

"My Chinese is very bad"

Mark Zuckerberg spoke Chinese throughout a Q&A in Beijing Wednesday, barely unable to suppress a smile as murmurs of surprise and excitement rippled through the audience.

The billionaire CEO and social media guru discussed “connecting the world, Internet.org, innovation and the early days of Facebook” at Tsinghua University, where Zuckerberg recently joined the School of Economics and Management Advisory Board, according to his Facebook page.

 

Zuckerberg posted a video of his “first ever public Q&A in Chinese” on his Facebook page. In this clip he self-deprecatingly says, “My Chinese is very bad.”

TIME

Bank of America Issues Refunds to Apple Pay Users

A glitch charged users twice for purchases

Bank of America said it is refunding Apple Pay users who were charged twice for purchases due to a glitch in the system.

Approximately 1,000 transactions were impacted by a BoA app glitch, a bank spokesperson told TIME. Refunds were issued on Wednesday.

Apple launched its new mobile payment service Monday—the latest major expansion of service by the tech giant. With it, customers can use their smartphones in lieu of debit and credit cards at dozens of retailers including Macy’s, Chevron, and Walgreens. Shortly after the launch, Bank of America customers took to social media to gripe about being double charged.

TIME russia

Russian Aircraft Intercepted by NATO Forces After Entering Airspace

The Russian intelligence jet reportedly entered NATO airspace on Tuesday

Swedish jets have intercepted a Russian aircraft that briefly entered North Atlantic Treaty Organization airspace Tuesday.

NATO and Swedish forces reportedly noticed the plane, identified as a Russian intelligence jet, traveling near NATO airspace in the Baltic Sea, Reuters reports. The plane later crossed into Estonian airspace for about a minute, and was escorted away.

This interception follows NATO guidelines for halting planes that enter airspace without permission, according to the Wall Street Journal. However, NATO has been keeping a closer eye over the Baltics given high tensions between Russia and Ukraine.

[Reuters]

Read next: Swedish Hunt for ‘Russian’ Sub Recalls the Cold War

TIME Canada

Canadian Soldier Killed Outside Parliament in Ottawa

A soldier locks the gates as flowers are placed at a memorial outside the gates of the John Weir Foote Armory, the home of the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders of Canada in Hamilton, Ontario on Oct. 22, 2014, in memory of Canadian soldier Nathan Cirillo.
A soldier locks the gates as flowers are placed at a memorial outside the gates of the John Weir Foote Armory, the home of the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders of Canada in Hamilton, Ontario, on Oct. 22, 2014, in memory of Canadian soldier Nathan Cirillo Aaron Lynett—AP

A soldier was reportedly shot while guarding the War Memorial

Updated Wednesday 8:13 p.m. E.T.

Ottawa police said Wednesday afternoon that a member of the Canadian forces, identified by family members as Cpl. Nathan Cirillo, is dead after being shot during what appears to be an armed attack on Canada’s capital city.

The shooting took place at the National War Memorial just outside Parliament earlier in the day. One male suspect reportedly named Michael Zehaf-Bibeau was also confirmed dead, the police said.

“Today is a sad and tragic day for our city and country,” Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson said Wednesday afternoon.

At least one gunman entered Parliament Wednesday morning about the time of the soldier’s shooting, witnesses told the Associated Press, while some later heard shots fired from within the building. Parliament was in session during the incident. A Globe and Mail reporter captured this footage of shots firing out as police swept Parliament following reports of the soldier’s shooting (warning: footage is violent but not graphic):

Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper was quickly evacuated from the scene, the Globe and Mail reports. Harper was scheduled to meet with Pakistani youth-education activist Malala Yousafzai in Toronto Wednesday, but that meeting has since been canceled.

Ottawa police at first said there were three separate shooting events, but later reduced that number to two.

Ottawa police said in a press conference Wednesday afternoon that the situation is “fluid” and “ongoing,” giving few details beyond what has already been reported. They have asked the public to remain “vigilant,” and are warning people in downtown Ottawa to stay away from windows and rooftops until the situation returns to normal. Those outside downtown Ottawa are being advised to stay away from the area.

In address to the nation Wednesday evening, the Prime Minister offered prayers to the grieving families, and said that the incident will strengthen the resolve of Canada and lead to a redoubling of efforts to fight terrorism around the globe. “Canada will never be intimidated,” Harper said.

President Barack Obama addressed the shooting following a meeting with aides on the Ebola epidemic. “Obviously we’re all shaken by it,” he told reporters. Obama said it was too early to determine motive, saying the U.S. does not yet know whether it was part of a coordinated plot or act of terrorism. Obama spoke on the phone Wednesday afternoon with Harper to express condolences to the family of the Canadian soldier who was killed and to the Canadian people as a whole.

Wednesday evening’s National Hockey League game scheduled to see the Ottawa Senators host the Toronto Maple Leafs was postponed in light of the incident, the NHL said Wednesday.

— With reporting by Zeke J. Miller

Read next: Swedish Hunt for ‘Russian’ Sub Recalls the Cold War

TIME 2014 Election

Halloween Scare Tactics: The Most Terrifying Ads of the 2014 Election

Are these ads for Election Day or Halloween?

Beheadings. Murder. Rape. Foreign invaders. Deadly disease outbreaks. The 2014 news cycle has given political ad makers a lot to work with as they try to scare voters to the polls this fall. There are still two weeks left until Election Day, and many of the ads released in the cycle’s most competitive races seem better fit for next week’s Halloween festivities than democratic debate. Here are some of the most frightening ads of the 2014 Election—so far.

Democratic Senate candidate in Michigan Rep. Gary Peters has been tied to a convicted felon who was connected to a loan shark ring, so naturally the state’s Republican party released an ad about it. And, to top it off, the ad is Sharknado-themed. This one—featuring a cartoon Peters in a Hawaiian shirt running from a “loan sharknado”—is likely more ridiculous (and honestly, a little comical) than scary, but it is lit like a haunted house and there are sharks falling from the sky.

Nebraskan Congressional candidate Brad Ashford received the Willie Horton treatment in an ad released by the National Republican Congressional Committee. The NRCC tied the Democratic state Senator to the early release of a violent felon who murdered four people less than a month after he was released from prison. In the ad, the Democratic state Senator who is challenging Incumbent Rep. Lee Terry is called out for supporting a “good time law” that allows convicted felons to earn early release. Democrats have blasted the ad as not only misleading, but also racist.

Louisiana Democrat Sen. Mary Landrieu is in a tight race to keep her seat and both sides have traded jabs throughout the cycle. This ad featuring an ominous soundtrack and home invasion was the National Rifle Association’s effort to paint Landrieu as anti-gun—Politifact gave the NRA’s claims a rating of “pants on fire.”

Following the summer’s influx of child migrants across the southwestern border, immigration reform was set to be an easy target during the election, but the threat of Islamic terrorist group ISIS provided a surprising twist for immigration themed attack ads like this one against Senator Jeanne Shaheen of New Hampshire. The Department of Homeland Security has said there is no “credible threat” to the U.S. from ISIS terrorists and that there are no known plots by the terrorist organization to slip over the southern border. But that hasn’t stopped the specter of terrorist invasions from making it into attack ads.

A progressive group released what is arguably the most terrifying of the election cycle, blaming budget cuts supported by Republicans for the government’s response to the Ebola outbreak in West Africa that has now trickled into the U.S. The ad switches between Republican lawmakers calling for more cuts and images of dead bodies, hazmat suits and haunting statistics on cuts to health care spending. Cut, cut, cut. The rapid fire montage tactic follows the lead of Alfred Hitchcock famous Psycho shower scene.

A number of nasty ads have come out of the Texas gubernatorial race between state Senator Wendy Davis and Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott, but few have garnered the attention of the creepy ad that claims Abbott sided with a company whose employee raped a woman in her home. The ad comes across like an episode of Dateline, complete with a grim black and white filter.

 

TIME 2014 Election

South Carolina Congressional Candidate Calls Gay Couples ‘Gremlins’

“They’re these creatures that are so destructive," Anthony Culler said

A South Carolina Congressional candidate called same-sex couples “gremlins” out to “destroy our way of life” in a seven-minute Facebook video released Monday.

The video followed a lengthy statement the candidate posted to Facebook on Oct. 14 urging South Carolina voters to stand with him if they were for traditional marriage. “I made a comment that same-sex couples that want to destroy traditional marriage and our way of life, they’re gremlins,” said Republican Anthony Culler, who is challenging incumbent Democratic Rep. James Clyburn. “They’re these creatures that are so destructive.”

Culler went on say that while the 6th District where he’s challenging Clyburn is often referred to as “the black district” he believes it’s also a “Christian district” where many people share views like his.

“The people here—black, white, Democrat, Republican—we believe in family,” Culler said. “We believe in traditional family. We believe in the way that is has always been: one man, one woman. Government can make up any laws it wants to, it doesn’t make it right. Evil is evil. Wrong is wrong. “

The Republican has almost no chance of beating the 11-term congressman in the strongly Democratic district. The state Republican Party denounced Culler’s statements, saying “most people learned in kindergarten not to call other people names.”

“Our party believes in the conservative definition of marriage, but we also believe in loving our neighbors and treating them with respect,” South Carolina GOP chairman Matt Moore said. “Mr. Culler’s desperate, attention-seeking antics in no way represent the good, decent South Carolinians I’ve met across our state.”

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