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.
Myrna Suarez—Getty Images 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.

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

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.
Aaron Lynett—AP 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 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.”

TIME justice

Conservative, Liberal Groups Try—and Fail—to Make Peace on Voting Laws

“I’m still waiting for the focus on how we get people to vote," said Sherrilyn Ifill of the NAACP Legal Defense Fund

What would it take to find common ground between the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, which is fighting restrictive voting laws in many states, and the Heritage Foundation, which supports the same laws?

At the National Press Club in Washington, D.C., on Thursday, representatives of the two groups discussed the battles over voting rights that they and others are fighting in courts and legislatures nationwide ahead of this fall’s midterm elections. But any hope of agreement on the issue faded quickly.

“I would be willing to partner if there were some ideas about how we open up the process, not how we restrict the process,” said LDF head, Sherrilyn Ifill, “I’m still waiting for the focus on how we get people to vote.”

Hans von Spakovsky, who heads the election law reform initiative at Heritage, said he is very concerned about what keeps people away from the polls, but argues they stay away for different reasons than voting rights advocates would have people believe. “What keeps people away is not procedural issues,” Spakovsky said. “If we want to increase turnout that is a cultural issue.”

The debate so far has produced mixed results. In North Carolina, Wisconsin, Ohio, and Texas courts have both upheld and blocked voting laws ahead of the midterm election.

 

 

TIME White House

White House Wants Poor Parents to Speak More to Kids

Hillary Rodham Clinton, Randy Falco, Barbara Bermudo
John Minchillo—AP Images for Univision Hillary Rodham Clinton, center, alongside Randy Falco, president and CEO of Univision Communications Inc, left, and Barbara Bermudo, host of Univision's news magazine program "Primer Impacto", right, read to children at the launch of "Pequeños y Valiosos" (Young and Valuable), a parent-focused effort on early childhood development, at the East Harlem Council for Human Services Bilingual Headstart Program, Tuesday, Feb. 4, 2014, in New York.

By reading and talking to babies from birth, research has shown kids can enter school better prepared for success

At UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital in Oakland, a new program is about to get underway that serves a purpose near to both the Obama White House and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton care a great deal about.

Benioff is one of two locations where Too Small to Fail, a joint venture between the Bill, Hillary and Chelsea Clinton Foundation and Next Generation, is launching a pilot program that will expand their efforts to close the so-called word gap. A little over a year ago, Too Small to Fail was started with the goal of getting more parents talking, singing, and reading to their kids starting from birth. Studies have shown children born to higher-income families are exposed to some 30 million more words than their counterparts on welfare before the reach kindergarten.

About 73% of the families served by Benioff Children’s Hospital utilize Medicaid, says the hospital’s President and CEO Dr. Bert Lubin, making it the ideal setting to test the benefits of providing tools and support to families and communities that encourage them to interact with their babies. “It’s such a simple thing,” Lubin says . “The parents who are not talking, singing and reading. They love their children, but they don’t know that not doing it is something that really permanently effects the child.”

On Thursday, representatives from the Oakland program will be at the White House sharing their stories with other community leaders, including the Mayor of Providence, Rhode Island where a Bloomberg Philanthropies funded program that records and tracks the words spoken to babies has been underway for a little over a year. Too Small is joining with the White House to use the nation’s most powerful bully pulpit to spread the message that learning is important and support local communities working to get their children and babies best prepared for school.

The White House will announce an investment to fund a research coalition to build more research around the word gap. The federal government will also be working with the tech community to get their input in the effort to close the word gap. Some apps, like the Text4Baby mobile application, are already in use, helping provide mothers with information on the development of their child throughout pregnancy and infancy.

Over the next year at Benioff and around Oakland, parents will receive books, clothing and reading materials from birth to remind them to get chatty with their bundles of joy. They’ll be reminded of the benefits of speaking to their kids on billboards and in advertisements, at community-based programs and in churches. The hospital also plans to track and record the development of babies who are being interacted with regularly to gauge the benefits and encourage other cities to do the same. “The reality is if we address this word gap, everyone is more likely to stay in school, get a job afterwards and contribute to society,” Lubin says. “The investment is small in terms of the impact it will have on our society.”

Almost half of infants and toddlers come from low-income families and about 25% live in poverty, according to the National Center for Infants and Toddlers. Though having enough food and shelter is extremely important to a child’s health, cognitive development is equally important. Families play a pivotal role in children’s early development, but only about 48% of parents read to their kids every day. That lack of interaction is detrimental to children who’s way out of poverty is through school. According to research from Rice University, children from low income families heard about 30 million fewer words by age 4 than their high income peers. Kids from working class families heard about 15 million fewer.

“This word gap turns into an achievement gap once children reach school,” says Ann O’Leary, the director of the children and families program at Next Generation.

Too Small to Fail’s first year was spent increasing public awareness on the importance of closing the word gap. A partnership with Univision ensured ads appeared in Spanish and English. The topic came up on television shows including The Fosters and Orange is the New Black—this year, the issue is expected to come up on more shows including Modern Family and Criminal Minds. The American Academy of Pediatrics adopted a policy message that speaks to the importance of early literacy. And last March, Tulsa became the first city to launch a partnership with Too Small to Fail, similar to what’s happening in Oakland.

O’Leary says reading and speaking to children should be as important as brushing their teeth.“When you imagine that this is not an optional activity, but that this is a must-do activity it becomes kind of shocking that only half of families are doing this,” O’Leary says. “What if half were only brushing their teeth? We think it’s just as urgent to get this information out. These are not optional activities.”

 

 

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