TIME faith

Harassment of Jews Across World Hits 7-Year High

Intimidation of Jewish people was particularly prevalent in Europe

The number of countries where Jews faced harassment rose to a seven-year high in 2013, according to new study on persecution of religious groups around the world.

The Pew Research Center found that Jews were harassed by governments or social groups in 77 countries of the 198 in the study, up from 71 countries the year before. The study measured both instances of government policies that restrict religious practices and private acts of hostility and found that Jews were far more likely to face private attacks or abuse than other religious groups.

Christianity, the world’s most widespread religion, faced instances of harassment in 102 countries. Among Christians, most instances involved government harassment. Muslims were harassed in 99 countries.

Harassment of Jews in 2013 was particularly prevalent in Europe. Among 45 European countries, 34 registered instances of private attacks on Jews, a higher proportion than any other geographic region. In March 2013, for example, three men attacked a young man wearing a kippah in a Paris suburb, threatening, “We will kill all of you Jews.” In August, vandals painted a Swastika on the walls of a bull ring outside Madrid. Some 32 countries in Europe saw private attacks on Muslims.

Among the world’s 25 largest countries, the study found that overall levels of harassment against all religious groups were highest in Burma, Egypt, Indonesia, Pakistan and Russia. But overall, the share of countries worldwide with social hostilities involving religion declined in 2013 — dropping six percentage points from 33% to 27%.

 

 

 

TIME russia

Putin’s Approval Rating Rises to 86% Despite Slumping Economy

Cyprus Agrees Military Deal With Russia
Sasha Mordovets—Getty Images Russian President Vladimir Putin (R) and Cyprus President Nicos Anastasiades (L) during a joint press conference in Novo Ogaryvo State Residence on February 25 in Moscow.

Despite sinking relations with the West—or maybe because of it—Putin is nearly as popular as ever at home.

Russian President Vladimir Putin saw his approval ratings tick up to 86% even as the economy reels from Western sanctions and falling oil prices.

Levada Center, a Moscow-based pollster, released a poll Thursday showing Putin’s approval ratings increased one percentage point from a month earlier.

Putin’s approval numbers have soared nearly twenty points since early 2014, when Russia seized Crimea and sent relations with the West tumbling to the lowest levels since the end of the Cold War. His ratings reached a high of 87% in August.

The high ratings come even as the Russian economy faces recession. The ruble has lost nearly half of its value in the past twelve months, and the government expects the economy to shrink 3 percent this year, the first drop since 2009.

It can be hard to tell how reliable polling numbers are in Russia, though Levada is considered the most dependable. It’s likely though that Putin’s showdown with the West has won him fresh support amid a surge in nationalism — and the Russian media’s positive spin on everything Putin may have also helped boost his popularity.

TIME Military

China Now Has More Submarines than the U.S.

China Marks 60 Years Of The Chinese Navy (Getty)
ChinaFotoPress—Getty Images A Chinese Navy submarine participates in an international fleet review to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the founding of the People's Liberation Army Navy on April 23, 2009 in Qingdao of Shandong Province, China.

China is adding subs and sending them farther out for longer periods of time

China now has more submarines than the U.S., though the vessels are inferior to the U.S. fleet.

Vice Admiral Joseph Mulloy, deputy chief of naval operations for capabilities and resources, said the vessels are part of China’s expansion into more geographic areas of operation for longer periods of time, Reuters reports. His comments mark the latest expression of concern from some U.S. officials over the Chinese military buildup.

U.S. military officials have recently sought to highlight China’s growing capabilities in an effort to ensure that the U.S. can maintain its technical edge, though a recent study from the Rand Corp. challenged some of those concerns when it found “potentially serious weaknesses” in the Chinese military.

[Reuters]

TIME Canada

Canadian City To Overturn Ban on Sledding

Hamilton lawmakers say they will legalize tobogganing

A city in Canada that banned sledding after it was sued more than three decades ago plans to scrap the ban and take its chances.

“You can’t take the fun out of winter,” said Hamilton Mayor Fred Eisenberger, CBC reports. “In a perfect world, I would love it if people didn’t sue the city, but we can’t stop anyone from suing us for whatever reason. We can’t shut down our entire city.”

The City Council voted Wednesday to look into establishing designated tobogganing areas as well as other options to legalize the pastime, according to CBC.

Currently, violators are liable to face up to a $1,600 fine thanks to a bylaw first established in the 1970s after someone sued the city following a tobogganing accident. Another suit forced the city to pay more than $700,000 in 2004.

[CBC]

TIME

Watch Ice-T Do a Voiceover for Shaggy in Scooby Doo

Jimmy Fallon claims to have dug up cartoons from Ice-T’s days providing voice-overs for shows like Scooby Doo, G.I. Joe, and Dora the Explorer (as Dora, obviously).

Jimmy Fallon proved that Ice-T truly is a jack-of-all-trades when he aired clips of the gangster rapper and Law and Order star providing voice-over for some of your favorite cartoons on Wednesday.

“I didn’t know this, but you actually did a lot of voiceover work for cartoons,” Fallon told Ice-T on The Tonight Show. “To be honest I had no idea it was your voice until now.”

You can watch the Original Gangster take on Scooby-Doo in the clip above.

TIME celebrities

Kim Kardashian Says She is Working on a Second Child

BRIT Awards 2015 - Show
Karwai Tang—WireImage Kim Kardashian on stage at the BRIT Awards 2015 at The O2 Arena on February 25, 2015 in London, England.

Second pregnancy, "has proven to not be as easy as the first time"

Kim Kardashian says the tenth season of Keeping Up With the Kardashians will “follow my journey of trying to get pregnant for the second time.”

Kardashian and husband Kanye West, parents of the 20-month-old North West, have made no secret of hoping for another child. But in an interview with the British network ITV’s Lorraine on Thursday, Kim says it’s a work in progress.

A second child “has proven to not be as easy as the first time,” Kardashian, 34, said. “But we’re working on it.”

[ITV]

TIME Afghanistan

U.K. Paratrooper Honored for Saving U.S. Marine

Handout photograph of VC recipient Lance Corporal Joshua Leakey of the Parachute Regiment
Reuters Lance Corporal Joshua Leakey of the Parachute Regiment is seen in this undated photograph released in London by Britain's Ministry of Defence February 26, 2015.

The Victoria Cross has only been awarded 15 times since the end of World War 2

A British paratrooper was awarded the highest British military honor Thursday for his actions during a firefight in 2013 in Afghanistan.

Lance Corporal Joshua Leakey, 27, is only the third serviceman to receive the Victoria Cross for service in Afghanistan and the fifteenth since World War 2, according to the BBC.

Leakey was with a group of British and American troops who were pinned down on the side of a hill in Helmand province by about 20 insurgents. During the Taliban attack, he ran through heavy fire multiple times to assess the situation, assist the wounded U.S. Marine Captain, and fire on the enemy, ultimately helping the troops regain the initiative. During the battle, 11 Taliban were killed and four were wounded.

TIME Terrorism

Masked ISIS Executioner Is Identified

"Jihadi John" appeared in a series of videos that featured the beheading of hostages

The masked Islamist militant who shocked and horrified the world by executing journalists and aid workers in videos that marked a new level of brutality in terrorism has finally been identified, according to multiple reports Thursday.

Friends, authorities and people familiar with the case now believe that the man formerly known only as “Jihadi John” is actually Mohammed Emwazi, from West London, the Washington Post and BBC report. Emwazi is now thought to be the man in front of the camera on the beheading videos produced and circulated by the militant group Islamist State of Iraq and Greater Syria (ISIS). He’s believed to be the man who executed American journalists James Foley and Steven Sotloff, British aid worker David Haines, British taxi driver Alan Henning, and U.S. aid worker Abdul-Rahman Kassig, also known as Peter

“I have no doubt that Mohammed is Jihadi John,” the Post quoted an unnamed friend as saying of Emwazi. “He was like a brother to me. … I am sure it is him.” The New York Times cited an unnamed senior British security official who confirmed Emwazi’s identity.

MORE Inside ISIS: A TIME Special Report

Emwazi is believed to have appeared in multiple videos depicting the gruesome killing of hostages, each time wearing a black garment covering all but his eyes. Now in his mid-twenties, Emwazi was born in Kuwait but grew up in a middle class family in Britain and graduated from college with a degree in computer programming.

Friends told the Post he was radicalized after what they say was a planned safari trip in Tanzania in 2009. His group was detained en route in Somalia and deported. Emwazi later told his friends he was met in Europe by a British intelligence officer who accused him of trying to support the al-Shabab militant group in Somalia and who tried to recruit him, the Post reports.

He became increasingly disillusioned with the West, according to emails he sent to a friend. He later moved to Kuwait, but was detained on a visit to London in June 2010 and prevented from leaving the country.

Security services have known his identity for some time but have not revealed it to the public, BBC reports.

A spokesperson at the British embassy in Washington decline to confirm the identity of “Jihadi John,” citing an “ongoing police investigation,” according to the Post. “Our prime minister has been clear that we want all those who have committed murder on behalf of ISIS to face justice for the appalling acts carried out,” the spokesperson said.

Bernadette Meehan, a spokesperson for the U.S. National Security Council, did not confirm Emwazi’s identify.

“The U.S. Government continues to investigate the murder of American citizens by [ISIS],” Meehan said. “We will not comment on ongoing investigations and therefore are not in a position to confirm or deny the identity of this individual. As the President has said, no matter how long it takes, the United States will not rest until we find and hold accountable the terrorists who are responsible for the murders of our citizens. We are working closely with our international partners, including the British Government, to do everything we can to bring these murderers to justice.”

Read next: Don’t Take the Bait: The U.S. Should Not Send Troops to Fight ISIS

Listen to the most important stories of the day.

TIME North Korea

Someone Has Hacked Into Kim Jong Un’s Hair

NKOREA-POLITICS-KIM
KCNA/AFP/Getty Images North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un attends a meeting of the political bureau of the central committee of the Workers' Party of Korea (WPK) in Pyongyang, Feb. 18, 2015.

The evolution of the the North Korean leader's hairstyle continues

The Supreme Leader of North Korea appears to be changing things up stylewise, even as his government comes under renewed fire for human rights abuses.

At a politburo meeting on Wednesday, Kim Jong Un displayed a new haircut that appears to be the latest in his evolving style. The upward trapezoid-shaped hair is even more pronounced than previous hairdos, and his eyebrows aren’t getting any larger.

READ MORE Watch North Korean Leader Kim Jong Un Take the Controls of an Airplane

North Korea observer Frank Feinstein called out the makeover on Twitter.

TIME space

Black Hole Emits ‘Fierce Winds’ That Prevent New Stars Forming

Supermassive black holes at the cores of galaxies blast out radiation and ultra-fast winds, as illustrated in this artist's conception.
JPL-Caltech/NASA Supermassive black holes at the cores of galaxies blast out radiation and ultra-fast winds, as illustrated in this artist's conception.

Shouldn't have eaten that entire galaxy

Researchers say that new data from a black hole 2 billion light years away indicate that it emits powerful winds in all directions that help to regulate its growth as well as the growth of the galaxy around it.

The research, based on observations from a NASA and a European Space Agency space telescope, was published in the latest issue of the journal Science. NASA released an artist’s conception of the radiation and winds emitted by a black hole.

The study found that the black hole, labelled PDS 456, sustains winds blowing up to a third the speed of light that carry more energy per second than the amount emitted by a trillion suns. These winds, produced as the black hole sucks in matter, push gas outward and thereby help restrict both the growth of the black hole and the formation of stars in the galaxy.

 

 

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