TIME climate change

Global Carbon Emissions Flatlined in 2014 Even as Economy Grew

Hans-Peter Merten—Getty Images coal power plant at dusk

In an encouraging sign, levels of the leading greenhouse gas were unchanged in 2014

Global carbon emissions did not increase in 2014, marking the first time on record that carbon levels have not grown without a concurrent decline in global demand.

Carbon dioxide emissions last year remained at 32.3 billion metric tons, the same as a year earlier, even as the global economy grew by 3 percent, according to a news release by the International Energy Agency (IEA) published Friday. Since the IEA began tracking carbon dioxide emissions 40 years ago, the rise has been halted or reversed only three times: in the early 1980s amid the oil price shock, in 1992 in the wake of the collapse of the Soviet Union, and in 2009 during the global financial crisis.

“This gives me even more hope that humankind will be able to work together to combat climate change, the most important threat facing us today,” Fatih Birol, the chief economist and next executive director of the IEA, said in a statement.

The IAE attributed part of the halt in emissions growth to China, the world’s largest carbon polluter, where the growing use of renewable sources like hydropower and solar energy have helped reduce the country’s reliance on coal. In a deal with the United States in November, China pledged to stop emission growth by 2030.

The news is an encouraging sign for the global effort to combat climate change ahead of the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Paris at the end of this year, which aims to establish a global pact on emissions.

TIME faith

Pope Francis Says His Tenure May Last Less Than 5 Years

Pope Francis arrives to lead a mass during his pastoral visit to the parish of Santa Maria Madre del Redentore in Rome
Alessandro Bianchi—Reuters Pope Francis arrives to lead a mass during his pastoral visit to the parish of Santa Maria Madre del Redentore in Rome on March 8, 2015.

"I feel that the Lord has placed me here for a short time, and nothing more"

Pope Francis, who was named pontiff two years ago on Friday, said he doesn’t expect to be Pope much longer.

In an interview with the Mexican broadcaster Televisa published Friday, the Argentine Pope predicted a “brief” tenure for himself. “I have the feeling that my pontificate will be brief: four or five years; I do not know, even two or three,” Pope Francis, 78, said. “Two have already passed. It is a somewhat vague sensation.”

“Maybe it’s like the psychology of the gambler who convinces himself he will lose so he won’t be disappointed and if he wins, is happy. I do not know. But I feel that the Lord has placed me here for a short time, and nothing more … But it is a feeling. I always leave the possibility open,” he said.

The papal post is traditionally held until death, though Francis’s predecessor Pope Benedict XVI resigned in 2013 after roughly seven years in office, becoming the first pope to step down in nearly 600 years. The current Pope has suggested in the past that he would lead a short papacy and he has not ruled out retiring.

In the interview released Friday, Francis said he does not dislike being Pope, but said one thing in particular does bug him. “The one thing that I would like is to go out, without anyone recognizing me, and go to a pizzeria to eat pizza,” Francis said.

Read an English translation of the interview here.

TIME China

Dalai Lama and China in Spat Over Reincarnation

Alison Wright—Getty Images/Photo Researchers RM Dalai Lama

The aging spiritual leader's suggestion he may not be reincarnated wasn't taken lightly by Beijing

An ideological spat between the Dalai Lama and the Chinese government spilled over into very public denunciations this week.

The 14th Dalai Lama, who fled Tibet for exile in 1959, says China does not have the right to choose his successor—contrary to government claims—and that in fact he might not be reborn at all, the New York Times reports. That would end a centuries-old tradition of selecting a successor that holds the soul of the spiritual leader is reincarnated in the body of a child.

On Monday, the autonomous region’s Chinese-appointed governor, Padma Choling, accused the 79-year-old Dalai Lama of blasphemy for suggesting as much and reiterated that Beijing has the right to choose. The Nobel Laureate’s allies fired back the next day, saying that China choosing his successor is akin to Cuban leader Fidel Castro choosing the Pope.

“It’s none of Padma Choling or any of the Communist party’s business, mainly because Communism believes in atheism and religion being poisonous,” Lobsang Sangay, prime minister of the Tibetan government in exile, told Reuters on Tuesday, the 56th anniversary of the failed uprising against Chinese Communist rule that prompted the Dalai Lama to flee.

Read more at the New York Times


Ferguson Shooter Is a ‘Damn Punk,’ Eric Holder Says

U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder delivers remarks about the shooting of two police officers in Ferguson, Missouri, while announcing the first six pilot sites for the National Initiative for Building Community Trust and Justice at the Department of Justice March 12, 2015 in Washington, DC.
Chip Somodevilla—Getty Images U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder delivers remarks about the shooting of two police officers in Ferguson, Mo., while announcing the first six pilot sites for the National Initiative for Building Community Trust and Justice at the Department of Justice in Washington, D.C., on March 12, 2015

The Attorney General offered the Justice Department's support in the manhunt for the shooter of two Ferguson police officers

The gunman who wounded two police officers in Ferguson, Mo., is a “damn punk,” Attorney General Eric Holder said Thursday.

The two officers were shot early Thursday morning at a protest in front of the Ferguson Police Department after the Ferguson police chief announced his resignation in the wake of a excoriating Department of Justice report that found widespread racial bias among the city’s police. The shooter was still at large as of Thursday afternoon.

“This was not someone trying to bring healing to Ferguson,” Holder said at a gathering for the Justice Department’s launch of a pilot program to build trust between law enforcement and local communities. “This was a damn punk who was trying to sow discord in an area that’s trying to get its act together and trying to bring together a community that has been fractured for too long.”

The Attorney General reiterated a statement he released earlier in the day condemning the “heinous attack” and offering the support of the Justice Department and the FBI.

He also said that local law enforcement in Ferguson has made “good faith steps” since the release of the Justice Department report last week.

“But make no mistake, we still have a long way to go to bring about this systemic change that is needed and that is long overdue in that area,” he said. “But I think the earlier indications have truly been positive.”

Read next: The Road from Selma to Ferguson

Listen to the most important stories of the day.

TIME celebrities

Liam Neeson Says He is Quitting Action Movies in 2 Years

"Non Stop" - Photocall
Karwai Tang—WireImage Liam Neeson attends a photocall for the film "Non Stop" at The Dorchester on January 30, 2014 in London, England.

The Taken star says he's nearly ready to shift gears

The action film stalwart Liam Neeson says he plans to stop performing in action roles in the near future.

“Maybe two more years. If God spares me and I’m healthy,” he said in an interview with The Guardian.

Neeson, who broke out with his role in the 1993 Steven Spielberg film Schindler’s List, has more recently performed in a spate of action or thriller films such as the hit 2008 film Taken, The Grey (2011), and most recently Run All Night, which comes out on Friday.

“I get sent quite a few action-oriented scripts, which is great,” Neeson, 62, told The Guardian. “I’m not knocking it. It’s very flattering. But there is a limit, of course.”

[The Guardian]

TIME Crime

Ferguson Police Hunt for Suspects in Shooting of 2 Cops

Police searched for suspects as the injured officers were released from the hospital

Police in Ferguson took people into custody for questioning after surrounding a local home Thursday morning, as they searched for suspects in the shooting of two police officers that rocked the Missouri town anew months after protests began over the shooting of an unarmed black teenager.

Television footage showed police surrounding a house at about 11 a.m. local time, following a shooting the St. Louis police chief characterized as “an ambush.” People were removed from the house by police, authorities confirmed, but no one had been arrested shortly after noon.

“People have been taken in for questioning,” said Brian Schellman, a St. Louis County Police spokesperson. “I cannot say how many at this point because I don’t know. Waiting to be briefed by detectives once they are done at the scene.”

The two injured officers—a 41-year-old from St. Louis County who was shot in the shoulder and a 32-year-old from nearby Webster Groves who was shot in the face—were released from the hospital on Thursday morning, hours after they were shot.

About 150 protesters had gathered in front of the police station on Wednesday after the Ferguson police chief announced his resignation in the wake of a excoriating Department of Justice report that found widespread racial bias among the city’s police. As the crowd began to dwindle around midnight, the shots rang out.

“This is really an ambush, is what it is,” St. Louis County Police Chief Jon Belmar said at a news conference on Thursday.

Police say that three or four shots were fired at the line of police from about 125 yards away. An investigation is ongoing.

“We’re lucky, by god’s grace we didn’t lose two officers last night,” said Belmar, who added that police drew their weapons but did not fire back.

MORE: How to Rebuild the Ferguson Police Department

The protest recalled months of sometimes violent demonstrations, which began after a police officer shot 18-year-old Michael Brown in August and that resurged after a grand jury declined to indict the officer, Darren Wilson, in November. While gunshots were heard during some of those protests, no police officers were shot.

“It’s a miracle that we haven’t had any instances similar to this over the summer and fall,” Belmar said.

Responding to the shooting on Thursday, Attorney General Eric Holder issued a statement in support of the local law enforcement after the “heinous assault.”

“Such senseless acts of violence threaten the very reforms that nonviolent protesters in Ferguson and around the country have been working towards for the past several months,” Holder said. “We stand ready to offer any possible aid to an investigation into this incident, including the department’s full range of investigative resources.”

Brown’s family released a statement condemning the shooting.

“We reject any kind of violence directed toward members of law enforcement. It cannot and will not be tolerated,” the statement said.

“We specifically denounce the actions of stand-alone agitators who unsuccessfully attempt to derail the otherwise peaceful and non-violent movement that has emerged throughout this nation to confront police brutality and to forward the cause of equality under the law for all. We must work together to bring peace to our communities.”

TIME Companies

Uber Rival Lyft Valued at $2.5 Billion

Lyft Car
Justin Sullivan—Getty Images A Lyft car drives along Powell Street on June 12, 2014 in San Francisco, California.

The ride-sharing service still trails its much larger competitor

Investments in the ride-sharing firm Lyft have valued the company founded three years ago at roughly $2.5 billion.

Lyft raised $530 million in its latest round of funding, including $300 million from Japanese online retailer Rakuten Inc., as it looks to continue expanding, Reuters reports.

But the private company still lags behind Uber, the largest startup in the U.S, which has also rapidly expanded abroad. Uber is valued at around $40 billion.


Read next: Uber, Lyft Lawsuits Could Spell Trouble For the On-Demand Economy

Listen to the most important stories of the day.


ISIS Claims Australian Involved in Suicide Attack

ISIS claims that the Melbourne teenager blew himself up in coordinated attacks in Iraq.

The Islamic State of Iraq and Greater Syria claimed on social media that an Australian teenager who joined its ranks blew himself up in an attack in Anbar province, west of Baghdad.

The extremist group circulated on Twitter on Wednesday an image that claims to show 18-year-old James Bilardi of Melbourne preparing for an attack and appears to show him driving a battered SUV, Australia’s ABC reports. The images and claims—which use Bilardi’s pseudonym Abu Abdullah al-Australi—have not been independently confirmed.

“There are unconfirmed reports to this effect. This is a horrific situation, an absolutely horrific situation,” Prime Minister Tony Abbott said, according to ABC. “It shows the lure of this death cult to impressionable youngsters.”

An estimated 90 Australian citizens have joined ISIS, according to Australian security forces, and twenty have died.

On Wednesday, at least a dozen car bombs exploded in a coordinated attack in Anbar province targeting Iraqi forces.


TIME States

Politician Apologizes for ‘Sexting’ with Woman at Center of Weiner Scandal

Exxxotica 2014 Convention - May 2-3, 2014
Larry Marano—Getty Images Sydney Leathers attends Exxxotica 2014 on May 2, 2014 in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

State representative represents Indianapolis

An Indiana politician apologized for sending illicit text messages to the same woman who was at the center of the Anthony Weiner “sexting” scandal in 2013.

The gossip website TheDirty.com reported on Tuesday that Indiana state representative Justin Moed had responded to an ad posted by Sydney Leathers, the woman at the center of the sexting scandal that derailed Weiner’s campaign for New York City mayor.

“I am truly sorry I have hurt the ones I love most with my poor judgment,” Moed, a second-term Democrat representing downtown Indianapolis, said in a statement to The Indianapolis Star. “This is a private matter and I ask for it to be treated as such.”

TheDirty.com reported that Moed had attempted to hide his identity from Leathers, but his name was accidentally included in a leash and collar he ordered for her on Amazon.com.

[The Indianapolis Star]

TIME Drugs

Police Find More Than a Ton of Marijuana in Frozen Avocado Packages

Cook County Sheriff's Office Marijuana was found hidden inside bags of avocado pulp.

About $10 million of marijuana was found

Police in Illinois seized more than a ton of marijuana that was hidden in packages of frozen avocado pulp, the Cook County Sheriff’s Office said Wednesday.

About 2,100 pounds of marijuana, worth an estimated $10 million, was discovered on March 4 in bricks dispersed throughout more than 1,500 boxes of packaged avocado at a cold storage facility in Cook County.

According to the statement from the Sheriff’s Office, police were notified of a suspicious shipment and dispatched a narcotics K9, which detected the drugs inside the pallets.

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