TIME food and drink

BBQ Pit the Size of a Bus Could Be Yours for Just $350,000

The 'Undisputable Cuz' Courtesy of Terry Folsom

Perfect for cooking four tons of meat at a time

A BBQ pit about the size of a whale — and almost large enough to cook one — is on sale for the equally hefty price of $350,000.

Terry Folsom, a man in Brenham, Tex. who says he acquired the 40-ton behemoth in a business transaction, is now looking to sell it, the Houston news source KHOU-TV reports. The pit is listed on Ebay with a sell price of $350,000.

“It’s the world’s largest barbecue pit,” Folsom’s wife Kim told KHOU-TV.

The ‘Undisputable Cuz’ Courtesy of Terry Folsom

The pit, dubbed the “Undisputable Cuz,” stretches 75 feet and is large enough to cook four tons of meat at a time. Seven smokestacks extend from the top and 24 doors open into it. Of course, the pit is also equipped with a walk-in cooler with room for beer kegs.

[KHOU-TV]

 

TIME Yemen

Yemen’s President Resigns as Capital Remains in Hands of Rebels

File photo of Yemen's President Hadi stands attending a reception during the holy fasting month of Ramadan at the Republican Palace in Sanaa
Yemen's President Abdel Rabbo Mansour Hadi stands during a reception ceremony during the holy fasting month of Ramadan at the Republican Palace in the Yemeni capital, Sana‘a, on July 7, 2014 Khaled Abdullah—Reuters

President Abdel-Rabbo Mansour Hadi has been a key U.S. ally in the fight against al-Qaeda

Yemen’s embattled President reportedly relinquished power on Thursday amid ongoing turmoil in Sana‘a, the capital, leaving the fate of the highly fractured country unclear.

The Associated Press and Reuters each reported President Abdel Rabbo Mansour Hadi’s resignation, citing unnamed Yemeni officials. Shi‘ite rebels known as the Houthis had held the city since September while allowing Hadi to remain in his post, but the collapse of negotiations this week prompted violent clashes and led to the seizure of the presidential palace by the Houthis, and Thursday’s reported resignation.

The Yemeni Cabinet also resigned on Thursday as the government’s standoff with the Houthis showed no sign of letting up, despite indications on Wednesday of a deal to accelerate power-sharing reforms. The Houthis now appear to be pulling the strings in Sana‘a.

The turmoil in the capital threatens to further divide the impoverished country, where al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), one of the terrorist network’s most powerful affiliates that claimed responsibility for the Charlie Hebdo attack in Paris earlier this month, has a foothold in the south.

Hadi was among the U.S.’s most important regional allies in the fight against al-Qaeda, and his ouster threatens to upend U.S strategy there. The Houthis, members of a Shi‘ite minority in northern Yemen, oppose the Sunni extremists, but are also unlikely to seek an alliance with the U.S. They have been critical of Hadi’s dependence on U.S. support, and their motto reads in part, “Death to Israel, Death to America.”

Meanwhile, the rebels’ growing influence in Sana‘a threatens to marginalize Sunnis in the deeply fractured country and boost support for al-Qaeda. “The Houthis victory also ironically benefits AQAP by polarizing Yemen, the poorest country in the Arab world, between Shia and Sunni, with AQAP emerging as the protector of Sunni rights,” Bruce Riedel, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, wrote in a blog post earlier this week.

[Reuters]

Read more: Houthis’ Rise in Yemen Risks Empowering al-Qaeda

TIME Physics

Watch Droplets Bounce Off Amazing New Water-Repellent Metal

The laser-etched material is more effective than traditional hydrophobic chemical coatings.

Scientists have used lasers to create a water-repelling metal surface that acts like a trampoline for water droplets.

Researchers at the University of Rochester, who published an article in the Journal of Applied Physics this week, used lasers to etch micro- and nanoscale structures into a metal surface that make it almost completely water-repellent, or hydrophobic.

The material could have a transformative impact on everything from aviation to sanitation, Chunlei Guo, a professor of optics and co-author of the study said in a press release and accompanying explanatory video. Airplane surfaces, for example, could use the material to repel water and prevent surface freezing.

The metal surface is more effective than traditional chemical-based surfaces like Teflon and, because it’s a structural alteration, doesn’t wear off.

“The material is so strongly water-repellent, the water actually gets bounced off,” Guo said in a statement. “Then it lands on the surface again, gets bounced off again, and then it will just roll off from the surface.”

 

TIME States

New York State Assembly Speaker Surrenders to FBI

The speaker of the New York State Assembly Sheldon Silver, in Albany, N.Y., in 2012.
The speaker of the New York State Assembly Sheldon Silver, in Albany, N.Y., in 2012. Hand Pennink—Reuters

Sheldon Silver faces a federal investigation into payments he received from a real estate law firm

The speaker of the New York State Assembly, a longtime Democratic powerbroker, surrendered to authorities on federal corruption charges Thursday morning.

Sheldon Silver, the Assembly’s speaker since 1994 who was reelected in November, turned himself in to FBI agents in Lower Manhattan, the New York Times reports. State legislatures are still able to serve after an arrest, but must leave if they are convicted of a felony.

“I hope I’ll be vindicated,” he said as he turned himself in, according to the Times.

Silver, 70, is the subject of a federal probe investigating payments he failed to list on annual disclosure filings from a small law firm that specializes in New York City real estate taxes, according to the Times.

[NYT]

TIME China

Agent Carter, Empire Gone From Chinese Streaming Sites

Atwell as Peggy Carter in Agent Carter. Kelsey McNeal/ABC

A crackdown on foreign media appears to have taken its toll

More U.S. television shows were removed from Chinese streaming services in what appears to be the latest consequences of the state censor’s crackdown on foreign series.

Shows like Agent Carter, Empire, and Shameless disappeared from multiple streaming portals this week, the L.A. Times reports.

Amid a campaign by the government of President Xi Jinping to sanitize the Internet in China, the country’s state censor, the State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television, said last year that foreign shows — which have soared in popularity in China — would require government approval for the entire series before episodes aired online. Foreign series, the regulator also said, could only account for one third of programming on the online streaming sites, according to the Times.

Since then, shows like The Big Bang Theory have been pulled from streaming sites, typically without explanation.

Despite the rancor on social media after the latest purge, it remained unclear why the specific shows were removed, according to the Times.

[LA Times]

TIME Yemen

Houthis’ Rise in Yemen Risks Empowering al-Qaeda

Houthi Shiite Yemeni wearing army uniforms stand atop an armored vehicle, which was seized from the army during recent clashes, outside the house of Yemen's President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi in Sanaa, Yemen, Jan. 22, 2015.
Houthi Shiite Yemeni wearing army uniforms stand atop an armored vehicle, which was seized from the army during recent clashes, outside the house of Yemen's President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi in Sanaa, Yemen, Jan. 22, 2015. Hani Mohammed—AP

It’s clear who is pulling the strings now in Sana‘a

Yemeni President Abdel Rabbo Mansour Hadi said Wednesday that he was ready to agree to a deal with Shi‘ite rebels that would bring violence in Sana’a, the capital, to a temporary halt. But the turmoil has left Hadi clinging to power by a thread and threatened one of the U.S.’s most important alliances in the fights against al-Qaeda.

The militants, a group of Shi‘ite Muslims called the Houthis, first swept into the city in September, when they overran military forces and demanded to share power with Hadi’s government. A breakdown in negotiations this week prompted some of the worst violence in the city in years, which left at least nine people dead and culminated in the Houthis’ seizure of the presidential palace on Tuesday.

On Wednesday, in a statement reported on by Reuters, Hadi indicated that the contentious draft constitution was open to amendments, a key rebel demand, but that he would remain in his post. Still, it’s clear who is pulling the strings now in Sana‘a.

MORE Yemen’s President Resigns as Capital Remains in Hands of Rebels

The Houthis are members of a northern minority Shi‘ite sect known as the Zaidi, and they have waged a decade-long on-and-off insurgency against the government calling for greater rights for their people. But since the ouster of President Ali Abdullah Saleh in 2011 amid the wave of popular protests that swept the region, the Houthi movement has gained wider traction as self-proclaimed reformers, capitalizing on dissatisfaction with the poor economic and security situations under Hadi’s U.S.-backed government.

The movement’s surge has posed a particularly thorny problem for the U.S. as it fights al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), the Yemen-based terrorist group that is among al-Qaeda’s most powerful affiliates. AQAP claimed responsibility for the Jan. 7 terrorist attack on the French satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo and has been linked to three failed attempts to take down U.S.-bound airplanes.

For years, the U.S. has struck at AQAP in Yemen with drones and Special Ops, but it has also invested in the Yemeni government to help repel AQAP on the ground, pouring nearly $1 billion of economic, military and humanitarian aid into the country since 2011. That strategy has been hailed as a success by President Barack Obama and was used as a blueprint for the fight against the Islamic State in Iraq and Greater Syria (ISIS). But as the government has focused on the Houthi rebellion, AQAP has regained a foothold in southern Yemen. U.S. officials now fear that a prolonged power vacuum in Sana‘a could give AQAP free rein to grow—and to pose new threats to the West.

“Yemen was supposed to be a role model for this smarter approach of building local capacity and getting our allies to do more,” Bruce Riedel, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, wrote in a blog post. “It’s a sobering reality that it’s not working.”

MORE America’s Counterterrorism Policy Is Failing

The Houthis, though, are no friends of the Sunni al-Qaeda militants. The group, which is believed to be backed by the Shi‘ite leadership of Iran, has clashed with al-Qaeda in Yemen and criticized Hadi’s failure to quash Sunni extremism. The problem for the U.S.’s counterterrorism operations is that it also has no interest in an alliance with the U.S.; it has been equally critical of Hadi’s dependence on U.S. support, and it’s motto reads in part, “Death to Israel, Death to America.”

Meanwhile, its growing influence in Sana‘a threatens to marginalize Sunnis in the deeply fractured country and boost support for al-Qaeda. “The Houthis victory also ironically benefits AQAP by polarizing Yemen, the poorest country in the Arab world, between Shia and Sunni, with AQAP emerging as the protector of Sunni rights,” Riedel writes.

Washington now faces a dilemma in Yemen. If a weakened Hadi stays in power, the U.S. must assess how it can leverage its influence against that of his new partners. On Wednesday, State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said in a regular press briefing that the “legitimate Yemeni government is led by President Hadi.”

But if Hadi is removed, the U.S. will either have to compete with Iran for the support of a Houthi-dominated government, or make do without a key counterterrorism ally in the region.

Read next: Japan Says It Can’t Reach ISIS to Resolve Hostage Standoff

Listen to the most important stories of the day.

TIME Pakistan

Pakistanis Protest Charlie Hebdo Cover

Magazine printed a cartoon of the Prophet Muhammad on its post-terror attack cover

Demonstrators took to the streets in cities across Pakistan to protest the satirical French weekly Charlie Hebdo on Friday, two days after the newspaper published its first issue since the massacre at its offices by Islamist extremists.

Protesters clashed with police in Karachi, according to Reuters, and a photographer for the AFP was wounded amid the violence.

Charlie Hebdo, which has drawn the ire of some Muslims in the past for lampooning Islam among other subjects, published an issue on Wednesday less than a week after terror attacks across Paris left 17 dead, including eight of its journalists.

The cover of the issue, which has been criticized by Muslim leaders as a provocation, features a tearful Prophet Mohammed. Muslims consider any visual representation of the prophet to be blasphemous.

Sometimes violent protests have broken out in countries around the world, including in Niger and Sudan. But Muslim leaders elsewhere have appealed for restraint.

“Most Muslims will inevitably be hurt, offended and upset by the republication of the cartoons,” reads a statement on the Muslim Council of Britain’s website. “But our reaction must be a reflection of the teachings of the gentle and merciful character of the prophet (peace be upon him).”

Read next: Pope Francis Speaks Out on Charlie Hebdo: ‘One Cannot Make Fun of Faith’

Listen to the most important stories of the day.

TIME faith

The History of Jews in France in 6 Key Moments

ISRAEL-FRANCE-ATTACKS-CHARLIE-HEBDO-DEMO
A member of the French Jewish community holds a sign during a rally in Jerusalem on Jan. 11, 2015, to demonstrate Jerusalem's support for France and the Jewish community there. Gali Tibbon—AFP/Getty Images

Understand how history shaped the Jewish community in France, from the French Revolution to today

The deadly assault on a kosher supermarket in Paris on Friday confirmed the fears of many French Jews that anti-Semitism is a persistent and growing threat in France. Already, thousands of Jews have departed for Israel in the wake of 2012 shooting at a Jewish day school and an attack last year on the Jewish museum in Belgium.

The history of the Jewish community in France has, in some ways, been shaped by anti-Semitism—but it is also shaped by the type of support that coalesced around the Jewish community over the weekend. Prime Minister Manuel Valls declared that “France without Jews is not France” and an estimated 3.7 million people took to the streets in solidarity with the victims of last week’s violence.

The Jewish community in France “is not as isolated as we thought,” said French Chief Rabbi Haim Korsia after the march. “For months we have been asking where is France? Today we saw France, and the France we saw was a spitting image of biblical descriptions of Jerusalem, where brothers unite.”

To learn more about how the situation got the way it is for the Jewish population of France, TIME spoke with Maud S. Mandel, Dean of the College at Brown University and author of Muslims and Jews in France: History of a Conflict. Here’s a look at some of the key periods that have shaped the history of French Jews:

1. The French Revolution

Within two years of the Revolution, France became the first country in modern Europe to grant Jews equal rights under the law, setting a precedent for France and a new standard for Europe as a whole. At the time, there were only about 40,000 Jews in France, living primarily in the country’s eastern Alsace-Lorraine region, but the process of Jewish emancipation that largely began with the Revolution would have a lasting impact.

2. Napoleon and the Great Sanhedrin

Still, the question of if and how to integrate the Jewish community into French society—a problem known at the time as “the Jewish question”—persisted after the Revolution and the rise of Napoleon Bonaparte, who was named French Emperor in 1804. “The hope by enlightenment philosophes and revolutionaries that supported Jewish emancipation was that that Jews would integrate into the state like everybody else and that their differences would diminish,” says Mandel. “Napoleon believed that such change wasn’t happening quickly enough, that Jews weren’t fully blending into the surrounding populations.”

Proposing to put the question to the Jewish people, in 1806 Napoleon convened an assembly of important leaders in the Jewish community to clarify their political and religious loyalties. A year later, religious leaders gathered for what was called the Great Sanhedrin, named after the Jewish high court in ancient Israel, to ratify the declarations of the assembly. Through this process, Napoleon effectively asked whether the allegiances of French Jews lay in the Jewish community or in the larger society, says Mandel. “That was a big moment, the Sanhedrin, because it was during this moment of political theater when Jews declared themselves first and foremost French citizens, and that’s where their primary political allegiances were,” she says. “And after that, over a period that took decades, successive generations of Jews integrated more fully because now they were citizens.”

3. The Dreyfus Affair

The assumption that Jews had become an integral part of French society was rocked in the late 19th century. In 1894, Captain Alfred Dreyfus, who was Jewish, was convicted of spying for Germany, spawning a decade-long scandal. Dreyfus was eventually exonerated, but the period was marked by anti-Semitic riots and a vocal anti-Semitic press—as well as by equally vocal non-Jewish defenders of Dreyfus.

Jews in France interpreted the Dreyfus Affair in different ways, according to Mandel. For some, Dreyfus’s exoneration represented the triumph of French republican values over discrimination and xenophobia. “For many French Jews it was actually a sign that eventually the state would in fact side with justice and inclusion,” says Mandel. But for others, the scandal was proof that anti-Semitism was endemic to Europe. One of the people who felt that way was an Austro-Hungarian journalist reporting from Paris, Theodor Herzl—the man who would found the modern Zionist movement.

4. The Holocaust

The Second World War had a devastating impact on Jews in France, as it did on Jewish communities across Europe. Even before the war, the influx of Jewish refugees and immigrants from Germany and Eastern Europe had sparked an anti-Semitic backlash. (At the turn of the century, there were about 80,000 Jews in France; by 1939, there were about 300,000.) In the wake of the German invasion, the newly installed Vichy government willingly helped the Nazis round up Jews in France, particularly from recent immigrant communities. It was a stain on French history with tragic repercussions: by the end of the war, more than 70,000 Jews were deported from France, of whom only about 2,500 would survive.

On the other hand, the high number of Jews in France who did survive the war spoke to the public’s reluctance to participate in the Nazi deportation. “Of the Jews who survived, many, many of them owed their lives to French citizens who hid them, to officials who dragged their feet, to the very fact that they were French and they had all kinds of connections in French society that allowed them to avoid the worst outcome,” Mandel says. “That didn’t mean they didn’t lose property and suffer great losses and hardship over the period of World War II. I think that’s where you see the tension in the French story.”

5. Jewish Migration from North Africa

In the decades following the war, as France pulled out of Algeria, Tunisia and Morocco, large populations of Jews in those countries fled along with it. Many left for the newly established state of Israel, but others went to France. The migration north was most pronounced in Algeria, where the people already had French citizenship because of the special status of Algeria as a French colony; 90% of Jews in that country headed for France. The influx from North Africa doubled the Jewish population in France and introduced new customs to the increasingly diverse Jewish community. The North African Jews were also more willing than their predecessors in France to engage in politics along ethnic lines, coming out in force, for example, in support of Israel during the 1967 Six-Day War.

“Since that time, the Jewish community has been much more visible in support of Israel,” says Mandel. “It’s also been much more comfortable with expressing an ethnic politics within mainstream French political discourse.”

6. Jewish-Muslim Tensions

The arrival of Jews from North Africa coincided with a massive influx of Muslim migrant laborers, also largely from North Africa. While there were occasional clashes between these two immigrant populations, Jewish and Muslim immigrants often lived side-by-side in the early years, says Mandel. Beginning in the 1980s, however, tensions began to emerge, especially as the state failed to fully integrate the Muslim community into French society. “The difference was visible, and it caused resentment and interfered with their ability to work together because the needs of the two communities were so different,” says Mandel. Those tensions were only heightened by the ongoing Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Still, Mandel distinguishes between those lingering tensions and the high profile attacks against Jews that have fueled fears of escalating anti-Semitism since the 2000s. Those, says Mandel, are linked to global Islamic terrorism. “I want to be really clear, that phenomenon does not run through and through France’s very diverse and large Muslim population,” she says. “It is one fringe element.”

Meanwhile, French Jews—the third largest Jewish population in the world after America and Israel—are more integrated into French society than ever before, says Mandel. “The tragic irony is that at the very moment at which we’re talking about the greatest spike in anti-Semitism in Europe since World War II,” she says, “is also a moment where we can underscore the ways in which prior former forms of anti-Semitism have significantly diminished.”

TIME Religion

Prominent Mormon Critic Says He Faces Excommunication From LDS

John Dehlin sits in his basement studio where he broadcasts his podcast at his home in North Logan, Utah on May 16, 2014.
John Dehlin sits in his basement studio where he broadcasts his podcast at his home in North Logan, Utah on May 16, 2014. John Zsiray—AP

John Dehlin claims he is likely to be censured or excommunicated by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints at a disciplinary hearing on Jan. 25

A prominent Mormon critic of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints says he is likely to be excommunicated for questioning the church’s teachings and for his support of same-sex marriage and ordaining women.

John Dehlin, the founder of the Mormon Stories Podcast, said in a post to his website that he is scheduled for a disciplinary hearing on January 25 and has been told that the likely outcome is an official censure or excommunication.

“While my family and I would prefer to be left alone by LDS church leadership at this time, I would much rather face excommunication than disavow my moral convictions,” he said in the post.

Eric Hawkins, a spokesperson for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, declined to confirm the reasons for Dehlin’s hearing.

“We respect the privacy of individuals, and don’t publicly discuss the reasons why a member faces Church discipline. Those reasons are provided to a member by their local Church leaders,” he said in the statement. “It’s my understanding that in this case the reasons have been clearly spelled out in letters to John Dehlin. In the interest of honesty and transparency, he may choose to make those letters public.”

TIME France

Muslim Hero of Jewish Supermarket Attack Will Be Given French Citizenship

France Attacks Courage Carnage
This is a Friday, Jan. 9, 2015 file photo of a security officer directs released hostages after they stormed a kosher market to end a hostage situation, Paris. Explosions and gunshots were heard as police forces stormed a kosher grocery in Paris where a gunman was holding at least five people hostage. At the kosher supermarket in Paris, a quick-thinking Muslim employee hides several Jewish shoppers in the basement before sneaking out to brief police on the hostage-taker upstairs. (AP Photo/Michel Euler, File) Michel Euler—AP

Almost 300,000 people signed an online petition online to grant Lassana Bathily citizenship

A Muslim employee of a kosher grocery store in Paris who helped protect customers during an attack on the store last week will receive French citizenship, the Interior Ministry said Thursday.

Lassana Bathily, 24, has been hailed as a hero for ushering several customers into a walk-in freezer to hide them from the attack. Almost 300,000 people have signed an online petition to grant him citizenship.

Bathily, originally from Mali, has lived in France since 2006 and requested citizenship in July, according to the Interior Ministry. A naturalization ceremony will be held on Tuesday.

Four people were killed when a gunman stormed the store on Friday and took hostages. Police later killed the gunman in nearly simultaneous raids on the store and a printing plant north of Paris where two suspects in the deadly attack on the French satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo were holed up.

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