TIME 2014 Election

Judge Allows North Carolina Voting Law to Hold During Midterms

Voter Laws
Rob Stephens, a field secretary with the North Carolina NAACP, escorts Rosanell Eaton, a plaintiff in the lawsuit challenging the new North Carolina voting law, out of the Ward Federal building during lunch recess on Monday, July 7, 2014 in Winston-Salem, N.C. The U.S. Justice Department is asking a federal judge in North Carolina to put sweeping changes to the state's voting laws on hold through the November election. The Justice Department argues the Republican-backed measures are designed to suppress turnout at the polls among minorities, the elderly and college students. Andrew Dye—AP

The voting law, which has been called one of the most egregious in recent history, will stand trial next summer

A federal judge ruled Friday against a petition by the Justice Department and civil rights group to block North Carolina’s expansive voting law from taking effect before November’s election, writing there was not enough evidence that it would cause “irreparable harm” if it remained in effect.

U.S. District Judge Thomas Schroeder said in his opinion that though the plaintiff’s raised plausible claims against the 2013 law, there was no need for an injunction on the law while the issue was litigated in the courts. The state’s request to dismiss the case altogether was also denied, and it will stand trial next year.

The law, which has been called one of the most suppressive laws in recent history, is being challenged by the Obama Administration and a group of civil rights organizations including the American Civil Liberties Union, the Advancement Project, and the North Carolina chapter of the NAACP, which claims the law will disenfranchise thousands of black voters. The law eliminates same-day voter registration and out-of-precinct voting, cuts the number of early voting days from 17 to 10, and requires voters to present specific forms of identification at the polls.

About 70% of black voters voted early in 2008 and 2012, and African Americans were also more likely to use same-day registration than other groups.

With the backing of Republican lawmakers, the law sped through state legislature last summer in the wake of the Supreme Court decision that struck down a provision of the Voting Rights Act that would have required Department of Justice approval before it took effect. It is one of several laws being challenged by civil and voting rights groups for having a potentially burdensome effect on voters of color, though those who support the laws say they are merely designed to protect the integrity of elections.

Following the ruling, the state’s lawyers said the judge’s decision is further proof that North Carolina’s law is constitutional. “This is a victory for North Carolina’s popular law that requires identification to vote,” said Bob Stephens, Chief Legal Counsel to North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory in a statement. “North Carolina is joining a majority of states in common sense protections that preserve the sanctity of the voting booth. Today’s ruling is just more evidence that this law is constitutional—as we have said from the very onset of this process.”

On Friday, voting rights groups expressed disappointment at the judge’s ruling, but said they will continue to push to block the law during the full trial.

“While we had hoped the court would recognize this irreparable harm, the ultimate goal is to see these discriminatory measures struck down,” said Dale Ho, director of the American Civil Liberties Union’s Voting Rights Project in a statement. “We look forward to making our case at full trial, which is something the state had sought to avoid.”

The law could have an impact on the upcoming U.S. Senate election in the state, considered a toss-up as Democratic incumbent Sen. Kay Hagan faces a challenge from Republican Thom Tillis, the current speaker of the state House of Representatives.

TIME Accident

24 Rescued From Six Flags Rollercoaster

Firefighters rescuing 24 riders stuck atop the Joker's Jinx roller coaster at Six Flags theme park in Prince George's County, Maryland on August 10, 2014.
Firefighters rescuing 24 riders stuck atop the Joker's Jinx roller coaster at Six Flags theme park in Prince George's County, Maryland on August 10, 2014. Marc Bashoor—Prince George's County Maryland Fire/EMS/EPA

It took rescuers about 5 hours to remove 24 passengers from the Joker's Jinx ride

A rollercoaster at a Maryland Six Flags amusement park stopped on its tracks Sunday, stranding passengers the park’s Joker’s Jinx ride.

It took about five hours to rescue the ride’s 24 passengers, each of whom were rescued one-by-one, WJLA reports. Prince George’s County Fire Chief Marc Bashoor tweeted the rescue Sunday, sharing photos and information as it happened. None of the passengers reported injuries.

Six Flags spokesperson Debbie Evans said in a statement that the theme park is unsure why exactly the ride stopped, but that “the ride performed as it’s designed to.” WJLA reports the ride stops when its computer system detects a problem.

Joker’s Jinx is a 60 mile-per-hour ride with “over 55 twisting curves,” according to the Six Flags America website.

TIME viral

Here’s Why People Are Dumping Ice on Themselves and Posting Videos of It

It's all for science

+ READ ARTICLE

Charity has taken a chilly turn over the past week, as more and more celebrities and other people have opted to dump ice water on themselves and record the whole thing—all to raise money for research into ALS, better known as Lou Gehrig’s disease.

As a part of the so-called “ice bucket challenge,” started by a Massachusetts resident who has lived with ALS since 2012 to raise awareness for the disease, after posting their own ice-bucket videos, participants nominate others to get drenched via social media to keep the cycle going. If those challenged don’t accept, or fail to post their video within 24-hours, they must donate cash to ALS research. ALS is a neurodegenerative disease that impacts the brain and spinal chord, causing progressive paralysis.

Boston has taken heed, with athletes, Mayor Marty Walsh, and others recording themselves getting soaked. Boston.com hosted a citywide dousing last Thursday, challenging New York City, Los Angeles and Chicago to do the same. Celebrities have also taken part, with Lance Bass, Matt Lauer, Martha Stewart and Ansel Elgort among the more notable participants.

No word on how much the challenged has raised for ALS research so far, but the director of the ALS Therapy Development Institute in Massachusetts told the Boston Herald researchers are already seeing a boost in donations.

“We are seeing 10 times the number of online donations every day,” Carol Hamilton told the newspaper. “We are seeing an incredible number of people who didn’t know much about ALS last week and who do today.”

TIME celebrities

Teen Choice Awards Bring Surfboards to Shailene Woodley

Teen Choice Awards 2014 - Show
Actress Shailene Woodley, winner of Best Actress: Action onstage during FOX's 2014 Teen Choice Awards at The Shrine Auditorium on August 10, 2014 in Los Angeles. Kevin Winter—Getty Images

The Fault in Our Stars cast members were among the night's biggest winners

The 2014 Teen Choice Awards brought fan-driven accolades to the stars teens couldn’t get enough of this year, including the cast of the hit film The Fault in Our Stars.

Shailene Woodley and Ansel Elgort took home several surfboards at the fun-filled show Sunday, in categories like “Choice Lip-Lock” and “Choice Movie: Drama.” The two stars were also the top picks for Breakout Movie Star (Elgort) and Choice Movie Actress: Adventure (Woodley).

In Woodley’s Choice Actress acceptance speech, according to US Weekly, the actress who once told TIME she doesn’t consider herself a feminist said she felt “pretty honored to be accepting this award on behalf of women.” Adding, “the truest form of bravery and of courage is to be ourselves.”

Some 165 million votes were cast for the 16th annual awards show where teens and the stars they lust over typically take home the most awards. Another choice moment from the show: Donald Sutherland, voted Choice Villain for his role in the Hunger Games series, had a special treat for the crowd of team from the film’s dystopian nation.

“I have brought you souvenirs from Panem. They’re berries,” Sutherland said, tossing berries like the lethal one’s featured in the Hunger Games into the crowd. “I wouldn’t eat them if I were you.”

TIME justice

Students Challenge Texas Voter ID Law in Court

A voter completes her ballot on November 6, 2012 in Fort Worth, Texas.
A voter completes her ballot on November 6, 2012 in Fort Worth, Texas. Tom Pennington—Getty Images

Trial set for September

Students in Texas have a question for their state lawmakers: Why us? In September, they’ll get to pose that question in court.

Over the last year, laws that advocates say place unnecessary burdens on voters have advanced across the country. But a law in Texas is causing a particular stir due to its potential to place the harshest burdens on the youngest voters. A lawsuit challenging it that was filed last year goes to trial Sept. 2.

“We work to engage people—young people—in this process,” said Christina Sanders, state director of the Texas League of Young Voters, which is among the plaintiffs in an upcoming voter identification case in the state. “The hurdles these laws create makes it more difficult for us to engage.”

“More than cases of apathy, it becomes a case of disenfranchisement,” she added.

For Sanders and the Texas League of Young Voters, the Supreme Court’s Shelby County v. Holder decision—which nullified key portions of the landmark Voting Rights Act—has given them a case of judicial déjà vu. The group’s first action after its founding in 2010 was joining in the initial challenge to the law that restricts the type of identification voters can use at Texas polls, a lawsuit that prevented the measure from taking effect in 2012. But because of the Supreme Court’s decision that invalidated the portion of the Voting Rights Act used to block the law, it was able to take hold almost immediately after the high court’s ruling. The NAACP’s Legal Defense Fund, on behalf of the League, joined the Department of Justice lawsuit last year in an effort to once again seek refuge from the law in the courts.

The state has said the ID requirement is an effort to prevent in-person voter fraud. In a 2013 editorial, Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott said requiring voters to present government issued IDs is “the first step in the process is to ensure that only those that are legally allowed to vote actually vote.” He called the efforts to block the law misguided, noting that some 83% of adults and 84% of registered voters support voter ID laws, according to a 2013 McClatchy-Marist poll.

“To those that oppose voter ID laws, how about instead of trying to incite racial violence and protests, you walk the walk and help those you believe to be poor or disenfranchised without photo ID to acquire a photo ID,” Abbott said.

Under the law, seven forms of identification are accepted at Texas polling stations, among them state drivers’ licenses and identification cards, election identification certificates, military IDs, passports, citizenship documents with photos, and concealed handgun licenses. And noticeably absent from that list: student identification cards.

In Texas, voter turnout for youth was among the lowest in 2012 at 29.6%, according to the Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement (CIRCLE) at Tufts University. But voting rights advocates worry these laws will only further discourage young people from voting in the state. Between 600,000 and 800,000 voters may be ineligible to vote under the Texas law, many of whom may be students given the fact that nationally only about 65% of 18 year-olds have licenses, according to a 2011 University of Michigan study.

Ryan Haygood, director for the Legal Defense Fund’s political participation group, said student IDs were specifically left off the list because they fail to prove whether a student is a citizen or a resident, though he said there have been no instances of student non-citizens attempting to vote in person.

“There are two ways you can win an election, get more people to participate or get less of your opponents potential voters to participate,” Haygood said. “These laws prey on groups that have been historically marginalized.”

About 45% of eligible 18 to 29 year-olds voted during the 2012 presidential election, casting over 20 million votes, according to CIRCLE. That rate was a bit below the 51% mark from from 2008 but an overall boost compared to the 15 million cast in 2000.

Sanders said preventing students from using their state college IDs to vote causes “an extra hurdle,” and one many advocates don’t understand.

“We haven’t heard really good rationale for it,” said Dale Ho, director of the American Civil Liberties Union’s Voting Rights Project. While states have argued that because student IDs often do not have addresses they can’t verify residence, voter ID laws, Ho said, are justified not as a means of confirming residence, but a way to confirm identity.

“It doesn’t make any sense to exclude student IDs on the basis of an address,” he says. “It leads us to think the only reason why they’re excluding student IDs is that they don’t want students to vote.” Younger voters tend to vote disproportionately Democratic, and laws passed in Texas and elsewhere increasing restrictions on student IDs have been pushed by Republicans.

And the Lone Star state isn’t the only state where the student vote may be at risk. As the New York Times reported in July, students in North Carolina have filed a lawsuit saying the state’s restrictive voting measures, which also prohibit the use of state university IDs at the polls, violate the 26th Amendment—the one that says the right to vote “shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or any sate on account of age.”

TIME Uganda

Lawyer Who Led Challenge of Uganda’s Anti-Gay Law: ‘Long, Long Way to Go’

Uganda Gays
A Ugandan homosexual photographed in a safe-house at an undisclosed location in Uganda, in March 2014. AP

Nicholas Opiyo talks human rights, the U.S.'s role in his country's morality-politics, and what's next for LGBT rights in Uganda

Nicholas Opiyo, the lawyer who led a constitutional challenge of Uganda’s anti-gay law, says that while the days of gays, lesbians and transgendered people getting publicly flogged may be gone, ongoing acts of discrimination against LGBT Ugandans keep him pushing for equal rights in the East African nation.

“That is what is most scary,” Opiyo told TIME. “The unseen, the unreported, the unwritten discrimination in the shop you go to, in the medical center you go to, on the bus you take or on the motor bike you take into town. That breaks your spirit.”

In March, just days after Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni signed the restrictive bill that punished gays with life imprisonment as punishment for their sexual activities, Opiyo and a group of Ugandan activists and lawyers challenged the law in court. On August 1, they found success through a somewhat unusual means: Uganda’s constitutional court declared the law null and void because Parliament didn’t have a quorum when it was passed.

While the law was stricken down on account of a technicality, and lawmakers said Tuesday they had the votes necessary to re-pass the bill, activists have declared the court’s decision a victory, albeit only one step in an ongoing battle. For Opiyo, who says he grew up wanting to stand up for the underprivileged, the decision to join the fight for LGBT rights in the country was simple.

“I’m a human rights lawyer,” said Opiyo, the executive director of Ugandan human rights organization Chapter Four. “This is human rights. You’re talking about the right to associate; the right to choose your partner; the right to love who you want to love. These are human rights. To call it LGBTI rights is misleading.”

Having traveled to Washington, D.C. for the U.S.-Africa summit, Opiyo said that though he was able to meet with human rights workers, lawmakers and other stakeholders in the global fight for equality, the summit itself was a missed opportunity to have substantial conversations about the struggles Africans are facing across the continent on a daily basis.

The following Q&A is a sampling of the conversation between TIME and Opiyo. It has been condensed and edited for space.

TIME: What would you say the status of LGBT rights is in Uganda in the wake of last’s week’s decision?

Opiyo: Nothing has changed much. The deep sense of homophobia in Uganda remains unchanged. In any case, it’s only been made worse by this ruling, because the debate has been reopened in a more bitter and fierce manner than we’ve seen before. To be positive, certain incidental things that are good will happen because of the ruling. First, individuals and organizations that have been facing arrest, intimidation or investigation will now have all those cases against them dropped, because the very foundation for these cases has now been declared unlawful. Organizations that have been closed under the [Anti-Homosexuality Act] will now have their operations resume without the fear of the law constricting their work. Even if parliament is resolved, as they are now, to reintroduce the law … they will at least pay attention, some attention to the issues that we have raised in our petition, and perhaps have a somewhat watered down or even—I’m hoping—progressive law in that regard.

This law was one of a couple of instances of morality politics coming into play in Uganda. What do you think the draw is to laws like this in Uganda and across Africa?

There has been a growing influence of American evangelical ideologies in the policies of government in Uganda. The examples are plenty in Uganda—in the HIV/AIDS campaign, Uganda was praised for its response to the HIV/AIDS campaign because it had the message for condom use. When the Christian evangelists got a foothold in influencing government, the policies changed from condom use to abstinence and being faithful. Condoms were “by-the-way;” that was the influence of what we call in Uganda people who are saved. If you look at the laws that have passed since then, whether it is a media law or an NGO law, it has a strong element of public morality. That’s new, what seems to be in my view, a moralization of the legislation process. They have a strong foothold in government mainly because the Pentecostal movement is a big movement. They have numbers, they have young people, and they have a huge following. Politicians like numbers.

Is there a benefit to having this influence? And if not, what is the downside?

Not every Ugandan is Christian. Not every Ugandan subscribes to the moral values. We’re supposed to be a secular state, but we are drifting away from being a secular state to a state driven largely by religious values and thinking, and that for me is a huge downside. What happens to people who don’t believe in those values? What happens to atheists? What happens to Muslims? It creates a society where there is a majority that wants to impose their values and systems onto the whole community.

But faith can be a force for good. Faith can be an avenue for the delivery of services; many parts of our country that were under war survived because faith organizations were able to stay through the conflict and provide support—that’s the upside. But in my view I think the downside is extremely dangerous.

What role does the American government play in all of this? Can the American government in any way step in, interject?

The people who advocated for the AHA were motivated by, financed by, American evangelicals. It’s an American group driving this debate at home. This debate was not a popular debate. It was not an issue in Uganda because people in Uganda are struggling about food, employment, medical care, access to medical services, education—these are the things that occupy the people in my village, in my town. Not homosexuality—that was a non-issue. This issue was put in the national debate because of the influence of the American evangelical movement. The Americans brought this to our country they’ve got to sort themselves out back home, here, to ensure that the radical American preachers don’t spread hatred across the world.

Secondly, I think that the American government must understand that their response to this issue in Uganda at some point escalated this debate and shifted the narrative of this debate from being a human rights issue to a new colonial attempt by Americans to impose their values on Ugandans. The politicians are very quick to pounce on that. The debate shifted to America versus Uganda, not about Ugandan people who face discrimination every day. The American government can redefine this narrative by given prominence to local leaders. This is a Ugandan problem. Ugandans must find the solution to it.

What is it like working on the ground, addressing the issue of LGBT rights? How is it received?

It’s very very tough. It’s not exciting. You’ve got to have a lot of courage to stay your course. People will throw insults at you—you just have to go to my Facebook page to see the amount of insults people are throwing at me on Facebook, on Twitter. It’s difficult. People begin to put pressure on your family, on your relatives and that translates to pressure on you as a person. It’s extremely difficult. I haven’t felt physically insecure, but I felt the narrative vibe coming my way.

The height of it was in March this year, I was the Secretary General of the Bar Association of Kampala, I was in charge of managing all the affairs of all the lawyers in Uganda. At the annual meeting, a group called “The Ugandan Christian Lawyers Association” launched a campaign against me because of my involvement in this case and made sure I was booted out of the law society. Those things have happened, but in my view it is no way close to the pain and suffering that members of the community are going through. It’s not even half of it.

What makes you stay the course?

This is human rights. This is not a special category of rights. You’re talking about the right to associate; the right to choose your partner; the right to love who you want to love. These are human rights. To call it LGBTI rights is misleading. I’ve always been a human rights lawyer. I grew up in a war-torn area in Northern Uganda. I’ve been in a very underprivileged position, but I’ve always wanted to do something about it. I thought at first I should be a journalist, but I figured out writing alone doesn’t help. So I figured I should be a lawyer and here I am.

For me, whether you’re LGBTI, whether you’re a disabled person, whether you’re a woman, anybody whose rights are being abused. I will always defend your rights because to me they are human rights. I wouldn’t be where I am if it wasn’t for people supporting my family and people supporting what they believed was good. It is less prestigious, but I derive immense pleasure from seeing somebody walk free after being intimidated or being arrested.

Where’s the disconnect between understanding the benefits of human rights and the impact that equality can have on the people of Uganda—like you mentioned—how do these multiple issues play hand-in-hand?

In terms of LGBTI issues in Uganda, I think the discussion has been presented in a way that they’re separate. When you talk about health care, you aren’t talking about LGBTI rights. The discussion hasn’t been–there’s no interplay. We’ve tended to compartmentalize these issues. There hasn’t been a wholistic approach to this issue—even those working on this issue tend to look at it from a very narrow lens as opposed to an overall issue of discrimination. We’ve done a lot of work around discrimination against women, against persons with disabilities, and stigma around HIV/AIDS—you’d think that the same momentum would be applied on this issue, but it is not because people tend to look at it from different lenses, but in my view it is not. In my view that’s not helpful. In my view, there needs to be a consistent, overall approach to human rights no matter who the human being is.

This week was the U.S.-Africa summit. A couple of years back, President Barack Obama said Africa needs “strong institutions, not strongmen.” A number of people, including Daniel Bekele of Human Rights Watch, said this week’s summit should be about more than paying lip service to human rights. How do you think this conference succeeded in doing that and how do you think it failed?

This conference seemed to be more focused on issues of securities and investments, at least the ones I’ve taken part in, there has not been a meaningful engagement between civil society and those working on human rights issues and the heads of states. The thing about the heads of states, they did not engage enough on the issues of human rights. Yes, in the final press statement President Obama talked about good governance, rule of law, but it appears to me the focus has been on economics. In that room were leaders of the continent who have questionable human rights records, it would have sent a strong message if these leaders were excluded from this conference or excluded from relations of dealing with the American government.

How do you not invite Mugabe but invite Jammeh of the Gambia? What’s the difference? They are all dictators. They have been in power for over 30 years. I think the American government needs to focus on dealing with human rights as a core function of their foreign policy towards the African continent, and must not put economic and security interests above human rights issues. I thought in this summit the discussion about human rights has been very, very light.

When do you think gays, lesbians, transgendered people will be completely safe in Uganda? How long do you think that will take?

That is difficult to tell, precisely because the sense of homophobia, the sense of discrimination is so deeply entrenched. It’s going to be a long journey that will require patience; that will require deliberate actions on the part of both sides of the debate. But ultimately it’s going to take the commitment of the politicians and the leaders to reshape the narrative and the debate in our country. There has to be an honest debate within the faith community on this matter. In much the same way that they’re having an honest debate about the rights of women—that debate must come out. As long as the leaders are playing by the popular sentiment and not enforcing the values and obligations that signed up to do in their various human rights instruments this matter will still be delayed. It’s a long, long way to go. I can’t put a number to it but I think that it’s going to be a long walk and a difficult one at that.

TIME animals

Aspen Art Museum Facing Backlash for Exhibit Featuring Tortoises Wearing iPads

A Seychelles giant tortoise walks through its enclosure at the zoo in Duisburg, Germany, on March 31, 2014.
A Seychelles giant tortoise walks through its enclosure at the zoo in Duisburg, Germany, on March 31, 2014. Roland Weihrauch—AFP/Getty Images

“Since when is animal abuse art?” reads an online petition to stop the exhibit

The Aspen Art Museum in Colorado plans to celebrate the grand opening of its newest building on Saturday with an exhibit featuring tortoises with iPads strapped to their backs, but an online petition hopes to stop the installation in its tracks.

At the time of this post’s publication 1,181 people had signed the petition calling New York-based artist Cai Guo-Qiang’s “Moving Ghost Town” exhibit “animal abuse.”

“Since when is animal abuse art?” the Change.org petition reads. “We must all rise and stop this now!! There is no excuse for this!”

In the exhibit, three African Tortoises (who go by the names Big Bertha, Gracie Pink Star, and Whale Wanderer), wear iPads strapped to their shells, which flash images of Colorado “ghost towns.” The Denver Post, which reported this story earlier on Wednesday, says the animals are set to roam throughout a part of the museum during a 24-hour event on Saturday. The petition’s authors say the tortoises’ shells are sensitive to impact and they should not be forced to carry the weight of two iPads for entertainment’s sake.

The petitioners also worry the conditions of the turtles’ habitat aren’t comfortable for the animals.

“Please stop this unnecessary exploitation of animals now and do the right thing by getting these iPad of the Tortoises’ backs,” the authors write.

In a statement posted to their Facebook page, the museum argued that the exhibit was constructed with the help of a local veterinarian and the Turtle Conservancy. The use of the iPads was also cleared with the Conservancy, the museum said.

“I have worked with the staff from the Aspen Art Museum since the initial planning phase of the Cai Guo-Qiang project. Without question, the welfare of the tortoises has taken the highest priority in every stage of this exhibition,” veterinarian Dr. Elizabeth Kremzier said in a statement. “In my professional opinion, the tortoises have adapted well to their new habitat, and the iPads have not interfered in any way with their natural behavior.”

The museum’s Facebook fans, however, aren’t buying it. “We don’t like this artwork… and to support keeping it is really bad taste,” reads one comment.

TIME White House

Obama: ‘No Sympathy’ for Hamas

US President Barack Obama speaks during a press conference at the conclusion of the US - Africa Leaders Summit at the US State Department in Washington on August 6, 2014.
US President Barack Obama speaks during a press conference at the conclusion of the US - Africa Leaders Summit at the US State Department in Washington on August 6, 2014. Saul Loeb—AFP/Getty Images

Obama said Wednesday, "it is important to remember that Hamas acts extraordinarily irresponsibly when it is deliberately citing rocket launchers in population centers."

During a Q&A with reporters Wednesday at the close of the U.S.-Africa summit, President Barack Obama said he had “no sympathy for Hamas.”

“I have great sympathy for the people who are struggling in Gaza,” he said, while reiterating that Israel has a right to defend itself.

The comments came on the second day of a 72-hour ceasefire in Gaza, orchestrated by Egypt, in an effort to bring an end to the nearly four weeks of fighting in the region. During the ceasefire, leaders from Hamas and Israel have agreed to work toward a long-term end to the fighting, in negotiations aided by the Egyptian government. Obama said on Wednesday that his administration intends to “support the process that is taking place in Egypt.”

The President’s statements on Gaza were the highlight of an otherwise run-of-the-mill Q&A session with reporters, during which topics from Russian sanctions to the threat of Ebola were touched on, with little new ground broken. When asked about sanctions, Obama said they “are working as intended in putting enormous pressure and strain on the Russian economy.”

The first question on Wednesday addressed an issue hanging heavily over many of the legislators in attendance at the summit: the spread of the deadly Ebola virus in West Africa in an outbreak which the CDC says has killed at least 932 people so far.

Two American patients who were confirmed to be infected with Ebola are currently at Emory University Hospital in Atlanta. The two patients are being treated with an experimental drug, and have shown signs of progress though the drug has not yet been approved for use on humans. When asked if he would consider distributing the drug at high rates, if necessary, Obama said the all the necessary information isn’t yet available.

“Well, I think we’ve got to let the science guide us,” Obama said. “And you know, I don’t think all the information is in on whether this drug is helpful.”

-With reporting by Zeke J. Miller

TIME movies

Warner Bros. Stands Down, Changes Release Date of Batman v. Superman

Warner Bros

It was originally scheduled for release the same day as Marvel's Captain America 3

In a game of Hollywood chicken, Warner Bros. swerved first on Wednesday, moving up the release date of Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice in order to avoid competing with Marvel Studios’ Captain America 3.

The highly anticipated debut of “Batfleck,” helmed by Man of Steel director Zack Snyder, will now be released on March 25, 2016, instead of May 6, the date Captain America is slated to open.

The Wall Street Journal reports that Warner Bros. will also release nine films that are expected to be sequels to superhero flicks, within the next five years–between 2016 and 2020, these will include Justice League and Batman v. Superman, though many of these projects are currently listed as “untitled.”

The Warner Bros. decision comes just days after Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy raked in a record $94 million during its opening weekend, the highest North American August debut of all time.

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