TIME India

A Twin Train Derailment in India Leaves At Least 19 Dead

Officials and members of the rescue operation stand in a carriage of a derailed train near Harda, Madhya Pradesh in this handout photograph
Handout / Reuters—REUTERS Officials and members of the rescue operation stand in a carriage of a derailed train near Harda, Madhya Pradesh in this handout provided by ANI on August 5, 2015.

This is not the first fatal railway accident in India this year

Two passenger trains derailed off a bridge and into a river in central India late Tuesday night, leaving scores injured and at least 19 dead, Indian news outlets are reporting.

Shortly before midnight local time, a number of coaches of the Kamayani Express, en route from Mumbai to Varanasi, separated from the tracks and fell into the Machak River, near the town of Harda in the state of Madhya Pradesh. Minutes later, the Janata Express, heading in the opposite direction, derailed at the same location.

NDTV, an Indian broadcasting network, reports that railway officials are blaming the recent heavy rains of the monsoon season, which may have caused the track to cave in. Some officials have speculated that high river levels — possibly caused by a nearby dam burst — washed onto the tracks, though this has not yet been confirmed.

Hundreds of passengers have thus far been rescued, but Kiren Rijiju, India’s Union Minister of State for Home Affairs, tells the Times of India that the number of casualties is “likely to be high.”

Adverse weather conditions had cleared up by dawn, permitting joint state forces to engage in a full rescue operation.

This is not the first fatal train incident in the country this year. A number of public figures have spoken out against what they deem the unsatisfactory safety conditions of India’s railway system, one of the most heavily trafficked in the world.

“I don’t consider it as an accident,” Dinesh Trivedi, who served as the country’s Minister of Railways between July 2011 and March 2012, said, according to Asian News International. “Accident [sic] is something which can’t be avoided. This could’ve been avoided.”

TIME brazil

Brazilian Police Killed More Than 5,000 Civilians in Rio Between 2005 and 2014, Report Says

Brazil Beefs Up Security Ahead Of Olympic Games
Bloomberg—Bloomberg via Getty Images Armed officers from the Pacifying Police Unit (UPP) patrol in the Providencia favela of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, on Monday, June 22, 2015.

The report, by Amnesty International, also suggests killings are largely performed with impunity

A new 90-page report from Amnesty International titled You Killed My Son says law enforcement claimed the lives of 5,132 Brazilians in the city of Rio de Janeiro between 2005 and 2014, out of a total 8,466 killings in the state of Rio de Janeiro during that period.

It also makes the chilling allegation that 9 out of 10 police killings in 2014 and 2015 in one Rio favela, Acari, were “extrajudicial executions” — the intentional, illegal killing of a person after they have already surrendered or been apprehended.

Nearly 16% of Rio’s homicides in 2014 were committed by police officers, Amnesty alleges. Furthermore, the report suggests that these killings are by and large performed with impunity. Amnesty found that of 220 investigations opened into alleged police killings in Rio in 2011, “only one case led to a police officer being charged,” and that as of this past April, “183 investigations were still open.”

“The lack of adequate investigation and conviction of the perpetrators of police killings sends a message that these crimes are tolerated by the authorities, which in turn fuels a cycle of violence,” the report says.

The report comes almost exactly a year prior to the opening ceremonies of the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio, which have attracted pre-emptive scrutiny for potential infrastructure, security and health risks.

TIME Aviation

Airlines Ban Big Game Trophies from Cargo After Cecil the Lion Death

The ban is on all lion, leopard, elephant, rhinoceros and buffalo "trophies"

The international indignation ignited by the death of Cecil the lion in Zimbabwe last month is persuading some airlines to consider their policy on the shipment of big-game carcasses and body parts (known in hunting parlance as “trophies”).

On Monday, Delta, United Airlines and American Airlines announced that they would no longer allow such shipments.

Delta — which can get you to Lagos, Accra, Dakar and Johannesburg from Atlanta or New York — has been the subject of a major online campaign. It capitulated Monday, issuing a statement saying it would “officially ban shipment of all lion, leopard, elephant, rhinoceros and buffalo trophies worldwide as freight.”

United followed suit, telling NBC News that it too would enact a ban. American Airlines also tweeted its own prohibition on transporting big game trophies:

United noted that it “hasn’t had many big-game shipments” — a statement that TIME cannot independently confirm, though the New York Times reports that the lion’s share of non-African hunters on the continent come from the U.S. Fifteen thousand Americans go on African hunting holidays each year, and “the vast majority want to take trophies of their kills home,” conservationists told Reuters in June.

South African Airways, British Airways, Lufthansa and Emirates have all stopped freighting such trophies.

TIME India

Most of India’s Execution Records Have Been ‘Lost or Destroyed by Termites’

Indian policemen stand guard near the residence of Memon in Mumbai
Shailesh Andrade—Reuters Indian policemen stand guard near the residence of Yakub Memon, in Mumbai, India, July 30, 2015. India hanged Yakub Memon on Thursday for his role in the country's deadliest bombings, which killed 257 people in Mumbai in 1993.

The absence of information shows the "callousness" of the record-keeping system, according to researchers

There is a significant dearth of official information concerning Indian death penalty cases, according to a New Delhi university legal researcher who is now struggling to complete the first comprehensive study on capital punishment in the country.

Anup Surendranath, the professor at the Indian capital’s National Law University spearheading the research project, said that prisons across India responded to record requests by claiming many documents had been “lost or destroyed by termites.” Among the missing files are the 2001 mercy pleas of four men convicted in the 1992 Bara Massacre, a mass murder carried out by Maoist insurgents in the Eastern Indian state of Bihar.

Though records confirm that capital punishment has a prominent position in India’s judiciary history — at least 1,400 executions occurred between 1953 and 1963 alone — the country’s prisons could only provide data on 765 cases between Indian independence in 1947 and the present day.

“There’s a complete lack of information — they don’t even have the names of the prisoners, let alone the official files,” Surendranath told TIME. “It just shows the callousness of the record-keeping system in the jails.”

The task of documenting the activity of the country’s gallows is left to the individual prisons, he said, with “no central authority correlating this [information].”

The absence of relevant data has limited the National Law University’s study to ongoing capital cases — those where the prisoner continues to wait on death row. Execution is an increasingly rare sentence in contemporary India, with only four prisoners hanged in the country since 2000. One of which came just last week, when the country’s Supreme Court finally moved to hang Yakub Memon, the “driving spirit” behind the 1993 terrorist bombings in Mumbai, the deadliest in the country’s history. The execution, carried out on Memon’s 53rd birthday, followed a drawn-out legal debate.

Surendranath, who resigned on Friday from his position as the Supreme Court’s Deputy Registrar of Research, has been an outspoken critic of the death penalty in India, actively speaking out against Memon’s planned execution. Though he declined to comment to TIME on his resignation, he posted on Facebook that he stepped down to “focus on death penalty work at the University.”

“It is in many ways liberating to to regain the freedom to write whatever I want and I hope to make full use of that in the next few days to discuss the events that transpired at the Supreme Court this week,” he wrote. The post came a day after one that declared the rulings to execute Memon as “instances of judicial abdication that must count amongst the darkest hours for the Supreme Court of India.”

He told TIME that his research team would release its official report on Indian capital punishment later this month.

TIME Horse Racing

Triple Crown Winner American Pharoah Finishes First at the Haskell Invitational

American Pharoah Wins Haskell Invitational
Staton Rabin—AP Victor Espinoza aboard Triple Crown champion Amiercan Pharoah heads down the stretch in the lead of the 2015 Haskell Invitational at Monmouth Park in New Jersey.

The three-year-old horse is said to be retiring later this year

American Pharoah finished first at the Haskell Invitational Stakes in New Jersey on Sunday, two months after becoming only the twelfth Triple Crown winner in a century.

“This horse, he just keeps bringing it,” Bob Baffert, the horse’s trainer, told the Associated Press. “He’s just a great horse.”

American Pharoah finished the mile-and-an-eighth course in just under a minute and 48 seconds, pulling ahead of the horse Competitive Edge in the final stretch after maintaining a second-place stride for most of the race. The victory earned the horse’s team a purse of $1.75 million, bringing his career winnings to more than $5.5 million.

Nearly 61,000 spectators came to the Monmouth County race track to watch the celebrated colt race. Barring a moment when New Jersey Governor Chris Christie was booed in the winners’ circle, the crowd, Baffert said, was electric.

“I couldn’t believe the crowd, how loud it was,” he said to the Associated Press, his voice cracking with emotion. “It was a great crowd. I love bringing my horses here. Thank you for being behind Pharoah the whole way.”

It is reported that the colt, who turned three in Februrary, will retire from competitive racing in October — notably younger than most of his peers, who sometimes continue to race into their teens.

TIME China

The U.K. Has Refused Chinese Dissident Artist Ai Weiwei a Long-Term Visa

Ai Weiwei - Visit from Germany
Peter Kneffel—picture-alliance/dpa/AP Images Chinese artist Ai Weiwei in his studio during a visit from Margarete Bause, Chairman of Alliance '90/The Greens in the Bavarian parliament, in Beijing, China, 23 Nov. 2013

Instead, he will be allotted just 20 days in the country

London’s Royal Academy of Arts will soon host a three-month landmark exhibit of Chinese artist Ai Weiwei’s most important work, but the artist himself could be conspicuously absent. The dissident auteur announced via his Instagram account on Thursday afternoon that British immigration authorities had declined to issue him the six-month business visa for which he applied, claiming he had supplied deceptive information on his application.

With characteristic cheekiness, he released the news in a caption to a picture of a toilet.

He then posted the letter from the U.K. Visas and Immigration Office — sent by way of the British Embassy in Beijing — that informed him that he would receive only a three-week permit, requiring him to leave the country shortly after the exhibit opens.

The visa form requires the applicant to declare if he or she has ever faced, among other things, criminal charges in the U.K. or elsewhere.

“You have stated: ‘No, I have never had any of these,’” the letter to the artist read. “It is a matter of public record that you have previously received a criminal conviction in China, and you have not declared this.”

The letter then informs Ai that any future visa applications containing “inaccurate” information could earn him a 10-year ban from entering the country.

Though Ai’s politically controversial work has led to several run-ins with Beijing law enforcement officials, he says the state has never formally charged him with or convicted him of a crime. According to his Instagram post, the artist attempted to prove this to British authorities in China, but “the representatives insisted on the accuracy of their sources and refused to admit any misjudgment.”

Only a week ago, China returned the artist’s passport after revoking his international travel privileges four years ago on tax-evasion charges that Ai claims are politically motivated. The Royal Academy of Arts quickly affirmed in an eager blog post that Ai would indeed be traveling to London for the his exhibition, which opens on Sept. 19.

It appears that Ai is currently on his way to Berlin, where his 6-year-old son lives with his mother. (The artist posted an Instagram of a freshly minted German visa early this week).

TIME Zimbabwe

Who’s Really Responsible for the Killing of Zimbabwe’s Lions and Other Wildlife?

The world's anger at hunter Walter Palmer is understandable but misplaced

Earlier this month, a 55-year-old American dentist named Walter Palmer went on a safari holiday in western Zimbabwe, where, over a 40-hour period, he maimed, cautiously tracked, and finally killed a lion. Palmer, a veteran big-game hunter, insists that he had secured the necessary hunting permits, unaware at the time that his target was the most famous lion in Africa.

Hwange National Park is Zimbabwe’s oldest and largest wildlife reserve, and the lion Palmer killed was its star attraction. It even had a name: Cecil. For killing Cecil, Palmer has become a figure of global hate, and the lion depicted not so much as a bloodthirsty killer himself but a sort of cuddly mascot, who would affably tag alongside caravans of delighted tourists. #CecilTheLion was a top trending topic on Google and Twitter around the world throughout Tuesday — although nobody seemed to notice that he bore the same first name as the now reviled British adventurer and colonizer Sir Cecil Rhodes, who founded the white settler state of Rhodesia, as Zimbabwe was formerly known, and whose statue was recently pulled down in Cape Town.

The press has obligingly cast Palmer as a leering sadist and gone to great lengths to unearth alleged past wrongdoing unrelated to his hunting hobby. Prominent journalist Piers Morgan said that he wanted to hunt “fat, greedy, selfish, murderous businessmen like Dr Palmer” (who is neither fat nor a businessman) and then “skin him alive” and “cut his head from his neck.” Sharon Osbourne tweeted of her hope that he “loses his home, his practice & his money” (before noting: “He has already lost his soul”). Cara Delevingne called him “a poor excuse of a human being.”

The Yelp page of Palmer’s Minnesota dental practice has meanwhile become a catalog of ad hominem attacks. “Brought my lion here for dentistry and was horrified by the result,” one user wrote. “All kidding aside, I hope you die painfully.”

Faced with a shrieking, global witch hunt of this magnitude, Palmer, understandably, has mostly been incommunicado since the maelstrom began, but as repulsive as his hobby may be to many, it is indisputable that tourists such as him are not the real reason Zimbabwe’s precious wildlife is being decimated. To understand that, one has to look at the ruinous land-management policies practiced by the Mugabe regime over the past 15 years.

It is no accident that one of the two men who accompanied the dentist on the safari, and who have now been arrested, was a farmer (the other was a professional hunter hired by Palmer as a guide). State wildlife officials claim that Honest Trymore Ndlovu helped lured the lion off the wildlife reserve and onto his property, Antoinette Farm, where the beast was killed.

Why would he do such a thing? Perhaps because he is a farmer in a country where agriculture is an industry of destitution. Zimbabwe was once celebrated as the “breadbasket of Africa,” whose fertile earth supplied the world with abundant tobacco, corn and wheat. Today, 76% of its rural population lives in abject poverty, dependent on foreign food aid and desperate measures — like the poaching of the wildlife that inhabits its otherwise barren lands, or rendering assistance to those who want to hunt or poach.

In 2000, Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe enacted a disastrous land-reform policy. Farms were divided up and nationalized and many plots were handed out to generals and ministers. Thousands of white landowners were violently evicted from their farms, which were then parceled into smallholdings and given to black Zimbabweans. The destruction of property rights led to a disintegrating economy and widespread poverty. Poaching — to feed the insatiable demand for rhino horn and ivory in China and other parts of Asia — became rife and much of the wildlife in Zimbabwe was simply wiped out.

Until 2000 Zimbabwe had a successful wildlife-management program, with many big-game animals flourishing. But by 2003, a staggering 80% of the animals that had lived on Zimbabwean safari camps (which employed firm quotas to regulate animal population sizes) had died. By 2007, there were only 14 private game farms in the country, compared with 620 prior to the land seizures of 2000, according to a National Geographic report. With the protection of private game reserves nearly nonexistent, once abundant wildlife began dying off, hunted by desperate farmers with no other options for sustenance.

Despite the passing of harsher laws for poachers in 2011 illegal hunting in Zimbabwe is still big business. Poaching syndicates earn hundreds of thousands of dollars exporting ivory and animal skins. Many conservationists believe allowing the community to reap the benefits of wildlife management — by, ironically, running the sorts of safaris on which Palmer shot his lion — will help curb illegal poaching. But it is impossible to have that debate while the world brays for the ruin of a lone Minnesotan dentist, and fails to criticize a regime whose policies were responsible for the almost complete extinction of Zimbabwean wildlife in the first place.

— With reporting by Helen Regan

TIME Markets

Chinese Markets Continue to Fall Following Worst Single-Day Drop in 8 Years

Shanghai Composite Index Slumps Below 3,500 Points On Wednesday
ChinaFotoPress—Getty Images An investor observes stock market at a stock exchange hall on July 8, 2015 in Fuyang, Anhui Province of China

Market interference by state regulatory officials has yielded ambiguous results

China’s stock markets continued their precipitous slide on Tuesday, falling almost two percent despite state regulators’ frantic attempts to stabilize the country’s volatile indices.

Tuesday’s rout came a day after the Chinese bourse’s worst drop in eight years, sending tremors of apprehension across markets worldwide. At market close on Tuesday, the Shanghai Composite Index sat at 3,663 points — more than 600 points lower than where it was just four weeks ago, illustrating the volatility of these markets and Beijing’s failure to stabilize them.

A surge that began earlier this year came to a dramatic turn last month, prompting state regulatory officials to enact drastic policies ranging from interest rate adjustments to stringent restrictions on the selling of shares.

“With Chinese markets heading further south on Tuesday after yesterday’s plunge, the question whether Beijing’s intervention is working gets louder,” market strategist Bernard Aw told the Associated Press.

TIME Smartphones

Miss Your Flip Phone? LG Has Released a New One

Snag: Right now, it's only available in South Korea

The flip phone is back. On Monday, LG unveiled the Gentle—an Android-powered flip phone that evokes the svelte simplicity of the Motorola Razr, which was all the rage back in 2005.

It’s not just a stylistic emulation, apparently: Mashable reports that the Gentle’s capabilities are “terribly outdated,” with just 4 gigabytes of storage (on par with the first iPhone model, circa 2007) and a camera operating with just three meager megapixels.

Still, it’s compact, probably user-friendly, and almost certain to go for longer between charges than its more advanced peers, whose innumerable capabilities come at the cost of battery life. It’s also super affordable. According to Mashable, the phone will sell in South Korea for the equivalent of $171. The iPhone 6 goes for about $730.

[Mashable]

TIME Culture

Hundreds Gather for Unveiling of Satanic Statue in Detroit

Matt Anderson The bronze monument was unveiled by the Satanic Temple in Detroit on July 25, 2015

The "largest public satanic ceremony in history"

A little before midnight on Saturday, a crowd of around 700 gathered in an old industrial warehouse a few blocks from the Detroit River for what they’d been told was the “largest public satanic ceremony in history.” Most of them professed to be adherents of Satanism, that loosely organized squad of the occult that defines itself as a religious group. Others came simply because they were curious. After all, Satanists exist in the popular psyche as those who casually sacrifice goats and impregnate Mia Farrow with Lucifer’s child; if this ceremony was indeed unprecedentedly big, who knew what could be in store?

Read more: The Evolution of Modern Satanism in the United States

The reality of the event — and of the contemporary Satanic movement at large — was tamer, and, if the Facebook pictures speak the truth, harmlessly festive: a cross between an underground rave and a meticulously planned Halloween party. They were there to publicly unveil a colossal bronze statue of Baphomet, the goat-headed wraith who, after centuries of various appropriations, is now the totem of contemporary Satanism. The pentagram, that familiar logo of both orthodox Satanists and disaffected teens, originated as a rough outline of Baphomet’s head.

The statue itself is impressive: almost nine feet tall, and weighing in at around a ton. The horned idol sits on a throne adorned with a pentagram, but it is the idol’s wings, and not his chair, that curiously evoke the Iron Throne from a certain celebrated HBO fantasy series. He has the jarring horns of a virile ram but the biceps of a guy who lifts four or five times a week. His legs, which are crossed, end not in feet but in hooves. It might seem more menacing if not for the two bronze-statue children standing on either side of him — a girl on his left; a boy on his right; both are looking up at him earnestly.

“Baphomet contains binary elements symbolizing a reconciliation of opposites, emblematic of the willingness to embrace, and even celebrate differences,” Jex Blackmore, who organized the unveiling, told TIME late Sunday night. In a sense, the statue is a stress test of American plurality: at what point does religious freedom make the people uncomfortable?

Blackmore directs the Detroit chapter of the Satanic Temple, one of the few coherent organizations in a field that’s otherwise disorganized and dogmatically nebulous. The Satanic Temple has chapters in Florida and Finland, in Italy and Minneapolis. Its headquarters are in New York, but the Detroit office is its first and largest outpost. Blackmore — who, by the way, uses a pseudonym for safety reasons — grew up in the Detroit metropolitan area and returned to the city to work with the Satanic Temple after attending a lecture on Satanism at Harvard.

Asked whether her group is a religious organization (or rather an anti-religious organization) she explains that it’s less of a church and more of an affinity group, built around what she repeatedly refers to as “Satanic principles.” It’s not the dogma you might expect. To quote from the group’s website:

The Satanic Temple holds to the basic premise that undue suffering is bad, and that which reduces suffering is good. We do not believe in symbolic “evil.”

Most vitally, though, the group does not “promote a belief in a personal Satan.” By their logic, Satan is an abstraction, or, as Nancy Kaffer wrote for The Daily Beast last year, “a literary figure, not a deity — he stands for rationality, for skepticism, for speaking truth to power, even at great personal cost.”

Call it Libertarian Gothic, maybe — some darker permutation of Ayn Rand’s crusade for free will. One witnesses in the Satanic Temple militia a certain knee-jerk reaction to encroachments upon personal liberties, especially when those encroachments come with a crucifix in hand. The Baphomet statue is the Satanic Temple’s defiant retort du jour.

“We chose Baphomet because of its contemporary relation to the figure of Satan and find its symbolism to be appropriate if displayed alongside a monument representing another faith,” Blackmore said.

The monument she refers to is a six-foot marble slab engraved with the Ten Commandments, controversially situated on the grounds of the Oklahoma State Capitol. In 2012, state representative Mike Ritze fronted $10,000 out of his own pocket to have the marker installed in the shadow of the capitol’s dome, prompting the ire of those who believed it flagrantly violated the separation of church and state. The American Civil Liberties Union sued the state of Oklahoma; the Satanic Temple fought fire with fire. If the Christians could chisel their credo onto public property, the argument went, why couldn’t they?

The state didn’t agree, and rejected the Satanic Temple’s petition to place Baphomet’s statute on legislative property. The point is now moot, though: a month ago, the Oklahoma Supreme Court ruled that the Ten Commandments monument violated the state constitution, a judgment that will probably stick in spite of an obstinate governor.

It seems there are battles left to fight, though. A Detroit pastor described the unveiling of the statue as “a welcome home party for evil.” A Catholic activism group in the city actively encouraged people to attend mass at a local cathedral to speak out against the statue — a pray-in, if you will. Meanwhile, Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson recently signed a bill that will put the Ten Commandments on a similar monument on the grounds of the State Capitol in Little Rock. The Satanic Temple may be planning a road trip.

Read next: Preaching Pope Francis’s Politics May Be the Key to Becoming President

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