TIME celebrities

Beyoncé Already Responded to Those Divorce Rumors on Instagram

A quick guide to whether you should care

Question: How do you know if a Beyoncé rumor is worth talking about? Answer: If she decides to address it in her own special Beyoncé way — with some not-so-subtle Instagram PR a la Solange-gate. A recent blind item suggested the pop star and husband Jay Z are going to end their marriage once their joint On the Run tour wraps up, and the news has sent some Internet dwellers into a bit of a tizzy. Sure, Beyoncé and Jay Z divorce rumors happen all the time, often for no real reason — but some are taking this rumor more seriously because it comes from the same source that called the Tom Cruise-Katie Holmes divorce.

Of course, the fact that Beyoncé posted a picture of happy family time on social media doesn’t make it true — she responded to pregnancy rumors with a Tumblr post and a glass of wine, and Blue Ivy Carter is still an only child as far as we know (assuming you believe she gave birth to Blue in the first place). It just means that, were Beyoncé’s gossip troubles ever canonized, this week’s news would certainly make the List of Beyoncé Scandals page Wikipedia, which somehow does not exist yet. Get on it, #BeyHive.

TIME Music

REVIEW: La Roux Makes Long-Awaited Return With Trouble in Paradise

La Roux, Trouble in Paradise
La Roux, Trouble in Paradise. Interscope/Cherrytree

With her right-hand man gone, Elly Jackson shows what La Roux is really made of

It’s been five years since English synth-pop duo La Roux captured the sounds of the future (and, okay, a healthy dose of the 1980s) on their eponymous debut, which launched the group to the top of the U.K. charts thanks to songs that were the musical equivalent of accidentally tripping the alarm system at an interplanetary rave (“Bulletproof,” “In for the Kill”).

But as the title of the band’s sophomore album, Trouble in Paradise, suggests, it hasn’t been smooth sailing since: founding member Ben Langmaid, a key architect of the La Roux sound, quit the group due to creative differences (though he’s still credited on several songs); meanwhile, flame-haired frontwoman Elly Jackson, who says the two are “not on good terms at all, in any way shape or form,” weathered panic attacks, vocal problems and a handful of axed collaborations as she completed a radical sonic departure that drew from the disco sounds of the late 1970s and early 1980s.

Prepare yourself — the decidedly less flashy Trouble in Paradise may sound unrecognizable to casual listeners at first, but stripping away much of what made a La Roux album a La Roux album in the first place only reveals what more dedicated fans probably knew all along: Jackson has always been not just the beating heart of the project, but a keen supplier of frothy, falsetto hooks.

La Roux’s first album was a relentless assault of synthesizers and programmed beats, all smoke machines and strobe lights. Trouble in Paradise, on the other hand, sounds like Jackson took a much-needed tropical vacation (check the vivid album cover’s beach scene) and let her hair down (she no longer sprays her ‘do into gravity-defying sculptures, at least). The stripped-down songs are looser, sparser, sexier (see “Kiss and Not Tell” and “Sexotheque”) and more analog. They’re also arguably a little more fun — the catwalk strut of “Cruel Sexuality” and the jangling guitars of “Uptight Downtown” don’t quite make the trip to Funkytown, but they get close.

It might be tempting to lump La Roux’s retro sound into some kind of post-“Get Lucky” movement plundering pop’s past, but there’s no doubt Jackson worked very hard to sound like she’s hardly working. Considering how long it took to follow up La Roux, the album’s breezy nine songs must have just barely crossed the finish line. There’s also nothing quite as irresistible as the band’s most famous song, perhaps because, without so many blaring keyboards competing for attention, Jackson can choose to get lost in the groove instead of fighting to be heard. But as for Jackson’s vision of mining decades past while sounding as 21st-century fresh as ever? Mission accomplished.

TIME privacy

Italy Gives Google Deadline to Change Data-Use Policies

Google must present a game plan in September

An Italian data-regulation official told Google it has 18 months to change how it stores users’ information.

Italy is one of several European countries that have been jointly investigating Google’s consolidation of 60 different privacy policies into one last year, Reuters reports. The Italian watchdog said in a statement that Google’s disclosures about data use were insufficient, despite the company’s efforts efforts to abide by local laws.

A spokesperson for Google said the tech company has consistently cooperated with the inquiry and will continue to do so after it reviews the watchdog’s latest decision.

Google has a year and a half to, among other demands, start asking for users’ consent to profile them based off their data for commercial purposes. The official also asked Google to follow through on users’ requests to delete their personal data within two months.

In addition to the 18-month deadline, Google must also present in September a detailed plan for how it intends to meet the regulator’s demands. If Google ultimately does not comply with the regulator, it could face fines.

France and Spain have already fined the company for violating local data-protection laws. A Dutch regulator is still deciding whether to take steps to enforce changes following similar legal breaches in the Netherlands.


TIME Television

Lucy Lawless Joining Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.

Lucy Lawless
Lucy Lawless Jeff Kravitz—FilmMagic/Getty Images

Details are scarce

The Whedonverse is getting a dose of the warrior princess — although it’s unclear exactly what kind.

Lucy Lawless is joining the cast of Joss Whedon’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. for season two, TVGuide.com reports, but specifics about her role aren’t yet known.

In addition to playing the title character in Xena: Warrior Princess, Lawless has also had stints on Parks and Recreation and Battlestar Galactica.

The second season of the Marvel Comics-inspired show about a peacekeeping agency operating in a superhero-filled world returns Sept. 23 on ABC.


TIME Detroit

Detroit to Temporarily Halt Water Shutoffs

Customers have an additional 15 days to come forward if they cannot pay

The Detroit Water and Sewage Department announced Monday that it will halt its impending water shutoffs for 15 days to allow residents more time to show they cannot pay their bills.

The announcement occurred the same day 10 residents, along with several organizations, filed a lawsuit asking Detroit’s U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Steven Rhodes to restore service, the Detroit Free Press reports.

More than 7,500 customers had their water shut off by the city in April and May as part of the financially troubled city’s crackdown on unpaid bills following a long period of lax enforcement.

“In case we have missed someone who has legitimate affordability problems, this will allow them to come to us to see if they can work out payments,” said DWSD spokesman Bill Johnson, who said that he was unaware of the lawsuit. “We’ve always maintained that what we were doing was a collection effort — not a shutoff effort.”

Residents and community activists claim the city is violating constitutional and contractual rights by ending water service for those who owe money.

“Water provided through public utilities is a necessity of modern life and continued access to it is a property right accorded due process protections,” read the lawsuit filed Monday.

On Friday, Kevyn Orr, the city’s emergency manager, said that no one who could not afford water would have to go without it.

The department’s director, Darryl Latimer, said the city is beginning outreach efforts to educate residents about financial assistance and payment options to those with a documented need.

[Detroit Free Press]

TIME Israel

U.S. Issues Travel Warning for Israel, Gaza and West Bank

Gaza Strip, Gaza City: Palestinian man stands near a damaged building by Israeli airstrike targeting Hamas police chief Tayseer al-Batsh on July 13, 2014 in Gaza City. ALESSIO ROMENZI
A Palestinian man stands near a damaged building in Gaza City, July 13, 2014. Alessio Romenzi

Secretary of State John Kerry also announced $47 million in aid to Gaza

The U.S. State Department on Monday issued a new travel warning for Israel, the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, while Secretary of State John Kerry announced a $47 million aid package for Gaza amid growing conflict in the region.

The warning, which replaces the one issued in February of this year, recommends U.S. citizens postpone non-urgent travel to the region if possible, and it upholds previous warnings against traveling to the Gaza Strip, where U.S. government employees are not allowed to travel.

Because of security concerns, the embassy in Tel Aviv is working with a reduced staff and limited service, while the embassy in Jerusalem is operating as normal. The full travel warning contains additional details about which areas and neighborhoods within Israel have been recent targets. On Sunday, Israel escalated its ground operations in Gaza, and the two regions have exchanged rocket fire over the past few weeks.

The humanitarian assistance Kerry announced Monday includes $15 million for United Nations relief efforts, $3.5 million for emergency assistance from the USAID’s OFfice of Foreign Disaster Assistance, $10 million in redirected USAID funding and $18.5 million in new USAID funding to address food, shelter and medical treatments for Palestinians in Gaza.

TIME movies

Watch Benedict Cumberbatch Crack Codes in The Imitation Game Trailer

Keira Knightley joins the Sherlock star for this suspenseful World War II drama


Alan Turing was a British mathematician and computer scientist who, among his many accomplishments, helped break Germany’s “Enigma” code during World War II. He also was prosecuted for homosexuality under an 1885 law, a conviction that the Queen of England only pardoned at the end of last year.

He’s also the subject of an upcoming movie starring Benedict Cumberbatch and Keira Knightley that’s already been dubbed “Oscar bait” because it’s, well, a World War II movie coming out in the fall, a particularly jam-packed time for award-worthy releases. Though the trailer focuses mostly on his wartime accomplishments, the movie is said to cover Turin’s entire life story.

The Imitation Game opens November 21.

TIME Books

J.K. Rowling to Write a Lot More Cormoran Strike Novels

J.K. Rowling
J.K. Rowling at an appearance to promote her book "The Casual Vacancy," at The David H. Koch Theater in New York, Oct. 16, 2012. Dan Hallman—Invision/AP

The crime series could become the Harry Potter author's other legacy

If you thought J.K. Rowling’s recent short story about the Harry Potter gang was putting her on the path back to the wizarding world, guess again. The beloved author says she’ll likely write more than seven Cormoran Strike novels, outnumbering the series she’s best known for.

Rowling has published two novels about the military-veteran-turned-private-eye , The Cuckoo’s Calling and The Silkworm, under the pseudonym Robert Galbraith.

“I really love writing these books, so I don’t know that I’ve got an end point in mind,” Rowling said at a crime-writing festival, the BBC reports. “One of the things I absolutely love about this genre is that, unlike Harry, where there was an overarching story, a beginning and an end, you’re talking about discrete stories. So while a detective lives, you can keep giving him cases.”

Rowling says she’s halfway through the third Cormoran Strike novel and has already begun planning the story of the fourth. The series is not her first post-Potter release — that would be 2012′s The Casual Vacancy — but Rowling said at the festival that she wrote it under a fake name to see if she could “get a book published on the merits of the book.”


TIME National Security

Friend of Boston Marathon Bombing Suspect Guilty of Obstructing Justice

Azamat Tazhayakov
In this courtroom sketch, defendant Azamat Tazhayakov, a college friend of Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, sits during a hearing in federal court in Boston on May 13, 2014. Jane Flavell Collins—AP

Azamat Tazhayakov is the first of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev's friends to be put on trial for obstructing the investigation

A federal court found a friend of Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev guilty of obstruction of justice and of conspiring to obstruct justice for interfering with the investigation.

Azamat Tazhayakov, a former University of Massachusetts Dartmouth student, faces a possible 20-year sentence for the obstruction charge and five years for the conspiracy charge, the Boston Globe reports.

The 12-member U.S. District Court jury deliberated for 15 hours over the course of three days. The sentencing has been set for Oct. 16, according to U.S. Attorney Carmen Ortiz.

Prosecutors argued that Tazhayakov knew of another friend, Dias Kadyrbayev, who allegedly removed evidence from Tsarnaev’s room a few days after the bombing and worked with him to help protect Tsarnaev.

Tazhayakov is the first of three friends of Tsarnaev to be put on trial on charges related to hindering the investigation. Tsarnaev’s trial is scheduled to begin in November.

[Boston Globe]

TIME Israel

Obama Has ‘Serious Concern’ About Mounting Gaza Casualties

President Obama Departs White House For Camp David
U.S. President Barack Obama walks towards to the Marine One on the South Lawn prior to his departure from the White House July 18, 2014 in Washington, D.C. Alex Wong—Getty Images

John Kerry will go to Cairo to negotiate a ceasefire

In a Sunday phone call with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, President Barack Obama reaffirmed Israel’s right to defend itself, but the President expressed “serious concern” for the rising casualty count in the Gaza Strip. Obama’s concern applies to Palestinian civilians and Israeli soldiers alike, according to a White House readout of Sunday’s call.

Obama, who has previously condemned attacks on Israel by Hamas, also said that U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry will travel to Cairo to “seek an immediate cessation of hostilities” based on a 2012 ceasefire deal.

The call, the two leaders’ second in three days about Israel’s latest offensive in Gaza, occurred not long after Israeli military operations on the ground escalated in Gaza. At least 87 Palestinians and 13 Israeli soldiers were killed Sunday, according to Palestinian health officials and the Israeli military.

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