TIME Demographics

The U.S. Is No Longer the Most Popular Country in the World

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Thumbs up, Germany. Fernando Alonso Herrero—Getty Images/iStockphoto

Everyone wants to be Germany's friend now

Germany knocked the U.S. out of the top spot in an international survey measuring the popularity of countries around the world.

Germany ranked first and the United States second out of 50 countries in the annual Anholt-GfK Nation Brands Index, which polled more than 20,000 people across 20 countries. It’s the first time the U.S. hasn’t held first place since 2009.

The study measures global perceptions of countries based on a variety of attributes, including governance, culture and sports. According to a statement from GfK, the German-based market research that runs the study, Germany benefited from a boost in the “sports excellence” category after winning the 2014 World Cup.

The United States was brought down by poor perceptions in Egypt and Russia.

Russia, meanwhile, dropped more in its global perception ranking than any other of the 50 countries.

Read next: “A Little Piece of Freedom”: David Hasselhoff Remembers the Berlin Wall

TIME ebola

Liberia Lifts Ebola State of Emergency

Liberian President Sirleaf And USAID Administrator Shah Hold Press Conference
Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf speaks at a press conference on October 14, 2014 in Monrovia, Liberia. She met with Norwegian Foreign Minister Borge Brende and USAID Administrator Rajiv Shah at her office at the Liberian Foreign Ministry. Sirleaf, winner of the 2011 Nobel Peace Prize, has called on the international community to do more to help combat the Ebola epidemic that has killed more than 4,400 people in West Africa, according to the World Health Organization, with roughly half of that total in Liberia. (Photo by John Moore/Getty Images) John Moore—Getty Images

An estimated 2,800 people have died of the disease there

The President of Liberia said she would not extend a state of emergency on Thursday, amid encouraging signs that the spread of the deadly Ebola virus there has slowed.

President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf’s announcement effectively lifts the state of emergency, which had expired earlier this month, Reuters reports.

An estimated 2,800 people have died of the disease in Liberia, the hardest hit country in an outbreak that has claimed over 5,000 lives. But the rate of increase there appears to have slowed.

“Notwithstanding these gains, a number of our compatriots are still lying in ETUs (Ebola Treatment Units), hot-spots are springing up in rural areas, and a few more of our compatriots are still dying of Ebola,” Sirleaf said.

[Reuters]

TIME Companies

GM CEO Won’t Receive Women’s Award Amid Protests

GM CEO Mary Barra Addresses Detroit Economic Club
General Motors Chief Executive Officer Mary Barra address the Detroit Economic Club October 28, 2014 in Detroit, Michigan. Barra announced that GM will be investing $540 million in its plants in Michigan. $240 million of that will be invested in the company's Warren Transmission Plant, allowing them to produce the transmissions for the next-generation Chevrolet Volt in Michigan, as opposed to in Mexico. Bill Pugliano—Getty Images

The museum said it was not presenting Mary Barra with the award “at this time”

The National Women’s History Museum has agreed not to bestow an award on General Motors CEO Mary Barra amid objections over the company’s delayed recall of vehicles with a faulty ignition switch.

Barra was slated to receive the museum’s Katharine Graham Living Legacy Award at a ceremony next Monday in Washington, D.C., but GM said late Wednesday that she was no longer going, the Detroit News reports.

The museum said it was not presenting the award “at this time.”

Activists and family members of people hurt or killed in accidents involving the faulty ignitions voiced opposition to the award this week. “We believe that Barra should focus on GM’s remaining safety problems before traveling around the country to accept awards,” Peter Flaherty, the president of the National Legal Policy Center, wrote in a letter to the museum.

The faulty ignition-switch has been linked to 32 deaths and led the automaker to recall 2.59 million vehicles in February.

TIME The Vatican

Pope Francis Warns G20 of Effect of ‘Unbridled Consumerism’

Pope attends His Weekly Audience St. Peter's Square
Pope Francis speaks during his weekly audience in St. Peter's square on November 12, 2014 in Vatican City, Vatican. During the event, the Pope asked the clergy to be humble, urging them to be understanding towards their communities and to avoid an authoritarian attitude. Franco Origlia—Getty Images

"Responsibility for the poor and the marginalized must therefore be an essential element of any political decision"

Pope Francis warned heads of states attending the annual G20 meeting in Australia about the effects of “unbridled consumerism” and called on them to take concrete steps to alleviate unemployment.

In a letter addressed to Australia Prime Minister Tony Abbott, who is chairing this year’s G20 Leaders’ Summit which begins Sunday, the Pontiff called for its participants to consider that “many lives are at stake.”

“It would indeed be regrettable if such discussions were to remain purely on the level of declarations of principle,” Pope Francis wrote in the letter.

Pope Francis, who has made a habit of addressing the leaders of the G20 meetings, has often raised his concerns with the global economy. Last year, in lengthy report airing the views of the Vatican, he criticized the “idolatry of money” and denounced the unfettered free market as the “new tyranny.”

In the letter published Tuesday, he said that, like attacks on human rights in the Middle East, abuses in the financial system are among the “forms of aggression that are less evident but equally real and serious.”

“Responsibility for the poor and the marginalized must therefore be an essential element of any political decision, whether on the national or the international level,” he wrote.

TIME space

Comet Probe Landed Successfully, Scientists Say

After three bounces, the lander came to rest at an angle.

The European Space Agency’s Philae lander successfully landed on a comet and is sending signals backs after an early mishap, scientists said at a news conference in Germany Thursday.

The lander, dropped from the Rosetta spacecraft on Wednesday after a 4-billion mile, 10-year journey, became the first craft to make a soft landing on a comet.

But the lander initially failed to fire anchoring harpoons into the surface of the comet, which has very weak gravity, and it bounced three times before coming to an awkward stop in a still undetermined area of the comet, said Stephan Ulamec, the lander project manager.

Some instruments are up and running, but the scientists are wary of activating others because the lander is not anchored into the ground and risks rising up again, Ulamec said. Only two of the craft’s three feet are touching the ground.

Based on images relayed back, the scientists believe that the lander is partially in a shadow of a cliff, reducing the amount of solar energy that the lander can collect.

“We are in a shadow permanently, and that’s part of our problem,” said Jean-Pierre Bibring, the lead lander scientist.

TIME russia

Russia Plans to Send Bomber Patrols Toward the U.S.

Russian President Vladimir Putin seen talking to President Barack Obama during the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation Summit in Beijing, Nov. 11, 2014.
Russian President Vladimir Putin seen talking to President Barack Obama during the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation Summit in Beijing, Nov. 11, 2014. RIA Novosti/Reuters

Australia said late Wednesday it was monitoring a Russian naval fleet heading toward the country ahead of the G20 meeting

Russia said it would begin long-range bomber patrols of the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean in an apparent flex of military muscle amid the worst relations with the West since the Cold War.

“In the current situation we have to maintain military presence in the western Atlantic and eastern Pacific, as well as the Caribbean and the Gulf of Mexico,” said Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu.

Tensions have soared since Russia annexed Crimea in March, with the West accusing it of backing pro-Russian rebels in east Ukraine. On Wednesday, NATO’s top military commander, U.S. General Philip Breedlove, said that columns of Russian tanks and troops were crossing the border into Ukraine, which Russia denied.

A report earlier this week identified nearly 40 incidents involving Russian forces in a “standoff” with the West, including allegedly sending a submarine into Swedish waters.

Late Wednesday, Australia said it was monitoring a Russian naval fleet in international waters heading toward the country ahead of the G20 meeting that begins on Nov. 15.

Read next: Top U.S. Envoy Says Russia Is Brazenly Violating Peace Process in Ukraine

TIME conflict

How Veterans Day Came to Be

World War One Armistice
A military parade in celebration of Armistice day following World War One, New York, 1918. Paul Thompso—FPG / Getty Images

It was almost 'Mayflower Day'

On Nov. 11, many years ago, a group of men gathered in a transport to sign a document with vast repercussions for the world.

This wasn’t the signing of the Armistice in a train car in France on Nov. 11, 1918, which brought World War 1 hostilities to an end; that happened centuries later. This was the signing of the Mayflower Compact, on the ship of the same name, that in 1620 established governing rules for the Plymouth Colony, one of the earliest settlements in North America.

The date of the Mayflower Compact signing has largely been eclipsed by the Armistice, which ended a war that killed more than 16 million people, including over 100,000 Americans. After the conflict, Americans commemorated the moment “from coast to coast and frontier to frontier,” as TIME wrote in 1927. Congress officially dubbed the date Armistice Day in 1926 and made it a national holiday in 1938.

But creating a formal holiday soon looked tragically premature. Nazi Germany invaded Poland a year later, unleashing the Second World War and shattering the tenuous peace wrought by the Armistice. Even before the United States entered the war, Armistice Day felt obsolete here. “To many Americans the events of the last 15 months have made the Armistice seem less important and less worthy of a national holiday,” TIME wrote in an article in November 1940. “So last week Dr. Francis Carr Stifler, editorial secretary of the American Bible Society, suggested that it would be far more appropriate to celebrate the anniversary of the Mayflower Compact this Monday.”

Stifler called the Mayflower Compact “the cornerstone on which stand the Declaration of Independence and the Bill of Rights.”

His proposal didn’t take hold, but the sentiment remained. How could America commemorate the end of World War I when a conflict less than two decades later mobilized 16.5 million Americans and cost the lives of 400,000? On Nov. 11, 1947, World War II veteran Raymond Weeks organized a parade in Birmingham that honored all veterans. (Memorial Day, a much older holiday, commemorates Americans who have died in the armed services.) Dubbed “National Veterans Day,” that occasion is credited as the first celebration using the term Veterans Day, according to the Department of Veterans Affairs.

U.S. Representative Edward Rees of Kansas soon proposed changing the official name of the Nov. 11 holiday from Armistice Day to Veterans Day, and Congress renamed the Nov. 11 holiday in 1954.

The official date would go through one more makeover. Veterans Day was swept up in a movement by the federal government, under pressure from the travel industry, to shift national holidays to Monday and allow for more three-day weekends. In 1968, Congress rescheduled Washington’s Birthday (later known as Presidents’ Day), Memorial Day, Columbus Day and Veterans Day to fall consistently on Mondays. But as the VA writes, ” November 11 was a date of historic significance to many Americans.” Congress shifted the official holiday back to Nov. 11 in 1978.

Read the 1927 story about how the winners and losers of World War I observed Armistice Day: Armistice

TIME Research

PTSD Raises Risk of Premature Birth, Study Says

The researchers hope that treating PTSD could reduce the risks of premature birth

An analysis of more than 16,000 births by female veterans found that women with posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) are significantly more likely to give birth prematurely.

PTSD has long been suspected of increasing the risk of premature delivery, but the study, jointly conducted by Stanford University and the U.S. Department of Veterans’ Affairs, provides strong support for the need to treat mothers with PTSD.

“Stress is setting off biologic pathways that are inducing preterm labor,” Ciaran Phibbs, the study’s senior author and an associate professor of pediatrics at Stanford, said in a statement. The study, published online on Thursday in Obstetrics & Gynecology, offered hope that treatment could prove effective in reducing the risk. While women with PTSD in the year leading up to delivery faced a higher risk of premature delivery, women who had been diagnosed with PTSD but had not experienced symptoms of the disorder in the past year did not.

“This makes us hopeful that if you treat a mom who has active PTSD early in her pregnancy, her stress level could be reduced, and the risk of giving birth prematurely might go down,” Phibbs said.

The implications extend beyond women in combat, since PTSD is not unique to combat. In fact, half of the veterans in the study had never been deployed to combat.

TIME movies

Channing Tatum, Demián Bichir Join Cast of Tarantino’s Hateful Eight

The Hateful Eight
The Hateful Eight The Weinstein Company

The Hateful Eight will have some familiar Tarantino actors as well as newcomers to the director's recognizable style

21 Jump Street and Magic Mike star Channing Tatum has joined the cast of Quentin Tarantino’s upcoming film Hateful Eight, along with Demián Bichir, an Oscar-nominated actor from Mexico probably still most recognized for his role in Showtime’s Weeds as a drug cartel boss and boyfriend of Mary Louise Parker’s character.

The Weinstein Company confirmed the lineup for the 2015 Western that is “set six or eight or twelve years after the Civil War” in “the wintry Wyoming landscape,” according to a press release.

The Hateful Eight will feature some familiar faces from the Tarantino oeuvre, including Samuel L. Jackson (of course), Kurt Russell, Tim Roth and Michael Madsen. The film also stars Tarantino newcomers (but seasoned veterans of film) Jennifer Jason Leigh and Bruce Dern.

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