TIME U.K.

Soccer Club Will Not Let Convicted Rapist Train

The club was criticized for initially agreeing to allow the soccer star to train

British soccer club Sheffield United has withdrawn its offer to let convicted rapist Ched Evans use their training facilities following his release from prison, according to a statement made Thursday.

Sheffield United had agreed to allow Evans to train with them again after the Professional Footballers’ Association argued the soccer star should be free to resume his career.

MORE: Soccer star convicted of rape returns to training amid angry debate

The club has now reversed the decision, citing the unexpected intensity of the public reaction.

A string of patrons resigned from the club and more than 165,000 members of the public signed a petition calling on the club not to allow Evans to play again.

Evans played for Sheffield United for three years before he was convicted in 2012 of raping a 19-year-old woman. He served two and a half years of a five-year sentence and was released from prison last month.

 

 

TIME United Kingdom

First Bus to Run on Human Waste Takes to UK Streets

Gas-powered vehicles are better for the environment

Britain’s first bus to be powered entirely by human and food waste went into service Thursday.

The environment-friendly vehicle can travel up to 186 miles on one tank of biomethane gas, which is produced from the annual sewage and food waste of about five people.

Engineers hope the bus will play an important role in improving urban air quality and in providing a sustainable way of fuelling public transport.

The Bio-Bus seats 40 people and will be a shuttle between Bristol Airport and Bath in South West England.

[Guardian]

 

 

 

 

 

TIME Culture

Fraternity Group Under Investigation for Rape Comments

Delta Kappa Epsilon's alumni include George W Bush and Theodore Roosevelt

A fraternity of American students in Britain is under investigation after the minutes of their meetings revealed members making a series of jokes about rape and sexual assault.

The University of Edinburgh has appointed a senior member of staff to investigate the chapter of the American fraternity Delta Kappa Epsilon (DKE).

Minutes from DKE fraternity meetings were leaked to Edinburgh’s student newspaper, which reported them on Tuesday.

During a meeting in March, which listed “Feminists” as an agenda item, a member of the fraternity suggested organizing a game of paintball between the fraternity and the university feminist society, FemSoc, to “calm the waters,” according to the report. The proposal was vetoed but the proposer asked, “How are we going to rape them?”A second student responded: “Let’s go to Montenegro, for a raping trip.”

The fraternity was established in Edinburgh as the first U.K. branch of the historic American society, which counts several U.S. presidents, including George W Bush and Theodore Roosevelt, among its alumni. DKE is no stranger to controversy. It was founded at Yale University in 1844 but is now currently suspended there following an initiation ritual in October 2010 where its members shouted sexist slogans, including “No means yes!”

Edinburgh’s DKE “colony” was officially chartered by the American organization less than a week before the minutes were leaked. However, it is not affiliated with Edinburgh University itself and is independent.

The student newspaper also reported allegations that fraternity members joked about offering to walk drunk women home after nights out and taking advantage of them.

The leaked minutes from Edinburgh’s DKE chapter have been met with widespread condemnation on campus. Vice-President of Edinburgh University Students’ Association Eve Livingston immediately issued a statement calling the comments in the leaked minutes “unacceptable” and in breach of university policy against sexual harassment and “lad banter.”

In a statement via Facebook, the feminist society also strongly condemned the DKE’s behavior as “abhorrent” and said “the fact that this type of behaviour is acceptable to a group of students, and that it was even recorded in official minutes, is a clear example of how rampant sexism and misogyny exists in our everyday surroundings.” The society urged Edinburgh University to take disciplinary action.

Speaking to Huffington Post, an Edinburgh University spokesman said: “We are treating this matter extremely seriously.”

Edinburgh’s DKE chapter did not respond to TIME’s requests for comment.

TIME sweden

Julian Assange’s Appeal is Rejected by Swedish Court

Julian Assange
WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange speaks to the media inside the Ecuadorean embassy in London on June 14, 2013. Anthony Devlin—AFP/Getty Images

Assange still faces extradition to Sweden if he leaves London's Ecuadorian embassy

The Swedish Court of Appeal has upheld an arrest warrant against the Australian Wikileaks founder, Julian Assange, who is wanted for questioning regarding allegations of sexual assault and rape in Sweden.

Assange, who denies the allegations, has sought asylum in the Ecuadorian embassy in London for more than two years in order to avoid extradition. A Swedish prosecutor first issued an arrest warrant for Assange in 2010 but Assange had appealed for this order to be revoked.

The Court explained its reasoning in upholding the detention order in a statement, saying that “Julian Assange is suspected of crimes of a relatively serious nature.”

“There is a great risk that he will flee and thereby evade legal proceedings if the detention order is set aside,” the court argued, but also noted that Sweden’s investigation into Assange remains deadlocked.

[Guardian]

TIME isis

Dutch Mom Travels to Syria to Rescue Daughter from ISIS

She has now brought her teenage daughter back to the Netherlands

A Dutch mother has travelled to Syria and rescued her daughter from the heart of lands controlled by the Islamic State of Iraq and Greater Syria.

She ignored official warnings and traveled to the Syrian city of Raqqa to rescue her 19-year-old daughter who had run away to marry a Dutch ISIS fighter. Her daughter, named only as Aicha, was arrested upon her return to their home city of Maastricht, BBC reports.

Aicha left the Netherlands in February to marry Omar Yilmaz, a man she had been in contact with on social media. Yilmaz is a Dutch-Turkish jihadist who was previously in the Dutch military.

MORE: Marriage and martyrdom: how ISIS is winning women

Yilmaz told the BBC on Wednesday that he had married Aicha but they later broke up, saying “it didn’t work, we split. She went her way, I went my way.” Aicha is one of a growing number of teenage girls and women who have left Europe to join ISIS in Syria and Iraq, often getting married to jihadists once they arrive.

[BBC]

 

TIME Israel

Israel Demolishes East Jerusalem Home of Palestinian Behind Car Attack

Abdelrahman Al-Shaludi killed two in the October attack

Israeli security forces have destroyed the home of a Palestinian man who carried out a car attack in October that left two people dead and several injured, the military said Tuesday.

The demolition came soon after Israeli Primer Minister Benjamin Netanyahu promised to win a “battle for Jerusalem” after an attack on a synagogue left five dead. Tension over a disputed holy site and repercussions from the 50-day conflict in the Gaza Strip over the summer have contributed to growing unrest in Jerusalem in recent weeks.

The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) confirmed in a statement that the IDF and police forces had demolished the home Abdelrahman Al-Shaludi, a resident of the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Silwan, who authorities say killed a baby girl and a young woman when he rammed his car into a light rail station on Oct. 22. Al-Shaludi was shot by officers at the scene and died of his wounds soon after.

MORE: Chaos and mourning in Jerusalem after synagogue attack

Speaking on Tuesday evening, Netanyahu vowed to “settle the score with every terrorist” and said he had also “ordered the destruction of the homes of the Palestinians who carried out [Tuesday's] massacre and to speed up the demolitions of those who carried out previous attacks,” BBC reports.

Israel halted its controversial policy of demolishing the homes of militants in 2005 after a review committee found it did not act as an effective deterrent, but Netanyahu revived the practice this year.

TIME isis

Why ISIS Can Survive Without Baghdadi

Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi
Image purportedly shows the caliph of the self-proclaimed Islamic State, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, giving a speech in an unknown location. EPA

With reports of his death proving unfounded, experts explain why ISIS doesn't necessarily need its leader

Amidst speculation that U.S.-led airstrikes had last week killed or injured Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the leader of the Islamic State of Iraq and Greater Syria (ISIS), the group released an audio message on Thursday from Baghdadi himself where he called on his supporters to “erupt volcanoes of jihad”, saying ISIS would “never abandon fighting”, adding: “they will be triumphant, even if only one man of them is left.” While Baghdadi apparently was not killed in last week’s raid on the Iraqi city of Mosul, the rumors nonetheless raised the question: can ISIS survive and thrive without its mysterious frontman?

“Baghdadi is more like a CEO than a traditional battlefield leader,” says Justin Dargin, a Middle East scholar at the University of Oxford. Unlike the late al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden, Baghdadi does not present himself as a charismatic, messianic leader to his followers. A November report from security intelligence firm The Soufan Group agrees, saying Baghdadi “has not needed to be a visionary or a natural leader, just strong enough to impose his will more effectively than anyone else.”

MORE: Al-Qaeda’s new star rises

Nicknamed “the invisible sheikh” by his followers, Baghdadi has been careful to reveal very little about himself, aside from a few videos released by ISIS, and even reportedly wears a mask when addressing ISIS fighters. Experts say this is partially a response to what happened to other leaders who were hunted down once their secret locations were discovered, including his predecessor Jordanian Islamist Abu Musab Al-Zarqawi, who was killed in a U.S. bombing raid in 2006. Baghdadi reportedly went to Afghanistan in the late 1990s with Zarqawi, who went on to found al-Qaeda in Iraq, the group that would eventually become ISIS.

As a member of Zarqawi’s terrorist group, Baghdadi was picked up and detained for five years by the U.S. in Camp Bucca in Iraq in 2004, where many al-Qaeda commanders were jailed. “”Prison sentences are opportunities for these people to meld ideologies, to develop friendships, to develop trust,” says Lauren Squires, research analyst at the Institute for the Study of War in Washington D.C. “Camp Bucca is where [Baghdadi] actually met a lot of his closest cohorts that are in ISIS now,”

Once a somewhat peripheral figure, Baghdadi has now become ISIS’s leading man, playing an instrumental part in gathering support for the militant group as it established its self-proclaimed caliphate in June. “He became a very public face to this organization that was rapidly growing,” says Squires, referring to Baghdadi’s notorious appearance in a video leading prayer at a mosque in Mosul in July. “So he was important in unifying and developing this group to get it off the ground.”

MORE: How to financially starve ISIS

Baghdadi also claims to be a direct descendant of the Prophet Mohammed, naming himself “Caliph Ibrahim” in July, ruler of the Islamic State caliphate which gives him further legitimacy among the organization’s followers.

But Paul Rogers, professor of Peace Studies at the University of Bradford in the U.K., points out that while Baghdadi is very important, ISIS “is an organization that is both adaptive and robust.” Squires agrees, saying that the old Western strategy of cutting off the head of a snake no longer applies, because of how resilient ISIS has proven to be. Data from IHS Jane’s Terrorism and Insurgency Center suggests that the U.S.-led coalition has failed to slow down the number of ISIS attacks, and body counts are higher than ever before. In Baghdadi’s recent audio message he claimed that “America and its allies are terrified, weak, and powerless.”

That resilience comes from the fact that the core leadership of ISIS is primarily made up of professionals who were elite members of Saddam Hussein’s Baathist government in Iraq. That gives the group a clear command and control structure, says Dargin.

Unlike al-Qaeda’s affiliate-based system, which operates through more independent cells in different parts of the world, ISIS is located in a tighter geographical area and has a more government-like, bureaucratic structure. That includes two major military and administrative bodies: the Shura Council and the Sharia Council. “What’s different [from al-Qaeda] is that the structure falls underneath one central command,” says Squires.

This leads her to believe that the most effective way to degrade a terrorist organization like ISIS “is by hitting the mid-level to senior-level leadership” repeatedly, in order to remove that echelon and ensure the group will not be able to reconstitute its leadership—rather than focusing solely on Baghdadi.

MORE: ISIS is minting its own money

Researchers tell TIME that it’s very difficult to identify who would be the next viable successor in the event of Baghdadi’s death, but that they are certain ISIS has contingency plans and that it would only be a temporary setback for the group, especially in practical terms. “It is extremely important to remember that ISIS considers itself a “state,” and while it is not a state such as is recognizable anywhere else in the world, it would not allow itself to collapse because of the death of one leader,” says Dargin.

The death of Baghdadi could also feed into the religious beliefs of ISIS followers who extol martyrdom. Indeed, Squires believes his death may even increase “the global jihadi incentive to join and conduct retaliatory attacks.”

Of course, if Baghdadi is killed, many within ISIS and outside it may see his death as a strategic blow against the terrorist organization—and a successful attack would surely be trumpeted by the U.S. But as the group continues to increase its stronghold in Iraq and Syria, it seems that ISIS will remain a threat to the region for quite some time—with or without Baghdadi.

Read next: Obama Authorizes Deployment of 1,500 Troops to Iraq

TIME United Kingdom

U.K. Looks to Stop Suspected Terror Fighters from Coming Home

They could be barred from U.K. for two years

The British government outlined new antiterrorism measures Thursday to bar suspected jihadists from entering the U.K. and to prevent would-be fighters from leaving.

British citizens who travel abroad to fight alongside the militant group Islamic State of Iraq and Greater Syria (ISIS) will be prevented from returning to the U.K. for two years and only allowed to re-enter if they consent to face trial, home detention, police surveillance or attend a de-radicalization course, the Guardian reports.

The plans, revealed by Prime Minister David Cameron in a speech to the Australian parliament in Canberra, follow a pledge Cameron made in September to increase counterterrorism efforts after the U.K. raised its terror threat level to “severe.”

Security services believe up to 500 Britons have travelled to Syria, many of whom are aged between 16 and 21.

[The Guardian]

TIME Terrorism

ISIS Is Minting Its Own Money

A member loyal to the ISIL waves an ISIL flag in Raqqa
A fighter from the Islamic State in Iraq and Greater Syria (ISIS) waves a flag in Raqqa, Syria on June 29, 2014. Reuters

It will be circulated in areas of Syria and Iraq

The militant group Islamic State of Iraq and Greater Syria (ISIS) said Thursday that it plans to introduce its own currency in the areas under its control because it wishes to “emancipate itself from the satanic global economic system.”

ISIS said it will be minting new gold, silver and copper coins as part of a new currency called Dinar, according to a message translated by SITE Intelligence Group, an organization that monitors terrorist activity.

MORE: ISIS leader’s new orders: ‘Erupt volcanoes of jihad”

It is not yet clear how ISIS will produce the currency, which will be “based on the inherent value of the metals,” but the group says its “Treasury Department” will organize minting and circulation.

ISIS did not say when the currency would be launched or specify in which areas it would begin circulating the currency.

MORE: How to financially starve ISIS

TIME France

Tiger Seen Roaming Streets Near Paris

It was located after a two hour search

A tiger was spotted on the loose on Thursday morning in a town just outside Paris.

Local and national police, alongside firefighters, immediately launched a major search involving helicopters and tasers in Montévrain. The tiger was found around two hours later

The wife of a supermarket owner in Montévrain was the first to see the tiger from the supermarket parking lot at 8:30am local time. She called her husband to say she thought she had seen a lynx and took a photograph, which the couple then showed to municipal authorities.

It’s not yet clear where the animal came from, although the Mayor’s Office said they ruled out the theory that it came from a circus that was based in Montévrain until last Saturday. Police said that no tiger was present during the circus health inspection.

[Le Parisien]

 

 

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