TIME movies

Martin Scorcese Set Collapse Kills One

Taiwan Movie Accident
AP—AP Police inspect a demolished film set where a worker died in an accident at a film lot during preparations for the shooting of a new Martin Scorsese movie titled "Silence," in Taipei, Taiwan, Thursday, Jan. 29.

The structure was being fortified for Scorsese’s next film, Silence

One worker died and two others were injured when an old structure under renovation for Martin Scorsese’s next film, “Silence,” collapsed on Thursday in Taiwan.

The workers were fortifying the 83-year-old structure at the Chinese Culture and Movie Center ahead of production for Scorsese’s historical drama, based on the book by Shusaku Endo, about Jesuit priests facing resistance in 17-th century Japan, according to the LA Times.

The film, casting Adam Driver, Andrew Garfield and Liam Neeson, is scheduled for release next year.

Scorsese and other core crewmembers were not at the site at the time of the accident, the LA Times reports.

[LA Times]

TIME South Sudan

South Sudan Militant Group to Release 3,000 Child Soldiers

UNICEF Child soldiers at Cobra camp in Gumuruk, South Sudan go to a demobilization ceremony.

UNICEF calls it "one of the largest ever demobilizations of children."

Nearly three hundred children between ages 11 and 17 laid down their arms Tuesday, in the first step of an ambitious program to reintegrate some 3,000 child soldiers in South Sudan, according to UNICEF.

The children are members of the South Sudan Democratic Army Cobra Faction, a militant group in eastern Sudan whose leader, David Yau Yau, signed a peace agreement with the government last year amid ongoing violence in the country.

UNICEF, which helped broker the children’s release, said it would mark one of the largest demobilization of children soldiers ever. It expects the full handover to take weeks.

“These children have been forced to do and see things no child should ever experience,” UNICEF South Sudan Representative Jonathan Veitch said in a statement.

Since fighting broke out between President Salva Kiir and supporters of Vice President Riek Machar in December 2013, the country—which broke off from Sudan, its northern neighbor, in 2011—has been embroiled in a conflict between the government and rebel groups that has killed more than 10,000 people and displaced some 1.5 million others.

But the conflict has taken a disproportionate toll on children, forcing some 400,000 students out of school and prompting a surge in the number of child soldiers, according to Ettie Higgins, the deputy representative for UNICEF in South Sudan. Since the fighting began, an estimated 12,000 children have been recruited to fight with armed groups on both sides.

Now UNICEF and other organizations, in conjunction with the government, are aiming to return those children to their families.

“They’re happy to give their gun up and they just want to go to school,” Higgins said in a telephone interview from South Sudan after the first group of 280 children were released. “That’s been the key message we’re getting.”

UNICEF and its partner organizations said they will provide counseling and health care to the children as they attempt to reunite them with their families. The aid groups are also working with local communities, which have agreed to welcome back the children recruited by the Cobra Faction, to prevent discrimination and limit the chances that the children are again recruited.

But UN officials stress that the program risks stalling if funding dries up. UNICEF, which is appealing for $10 million in funding, says the process of reintigrating the children costs roughly $2,330 a child over two years.

“At the risk of sounding like other conflict zones, we don’t want to lose another generation here,” Higgins said. “These children, despite everything they’ve gone through, they’re still looking to the future. We mustn’t let them down.”

TIME Yemen

Yemen’s Tumultuous History in 12 Pictures

As Sana'a is again rocked by unrest, TIME looks back at key moments in Yemen's turbulent history

Yemen’s embattled President Abdel-Rabbo Mansour Hadi resigned Thursday after failing to reach a power-sharing agreement with Shi’ite rebels who have held Sana’a, the capital, since September.

Hadi’s departure leaves Yemen’s fate in the balance. The poorest nation in the Arab world is fractured by tribal fighting, a separatist movement in the south, a robust Al-Qaeda presence, and the rising influence of the Shi’ite rebel group known as the Houthis.

But Yemen is no stranger to turmoil. In the images above, TIME looks at key moments in the country’s past that provide a historical context for the unfolding unrest.

TIME Germany

German Court Affirms Man’s Right to Stand While Peeing

Man at Urinal
Brett White—Getty Images/Flickr RF

People who stand should "expect regular significant quarrels with housemates, especially women"

A German court ruled on Thursday that men who pee while standing aren’t responsible for the potential consequences on the bathroom floor.

The Düsseldorf court ruled in favor of a tenant after his landlord tried to withhold part of a security deposit because of stains on the marble bathroom floor allegedly caused by urine, the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung reports.

“Despite growing domestication of men in this matter,” Judge Stefan Hank said, urinating while standing up is still widespread.” Still, he added, people who stand should “expect regular significant quarrels with housemates, especially women.”

[Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung]

TIME food and drink

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

Courtesy of Terry Folsom The 'Undisputable Cuz'

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.

Courtesy of Terry FolsomThe ‘Undisputable Cuz’

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
Khaled Abdullah—Reuters 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

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

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

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

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.
Hani Mohammed—AP 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.

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

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