TIME ebola

Clashes in Liberia Slum Sealed Off to Halt Ebola

Hundreds of residents of the West Point slum in Monrovia clashed with security forces

(MONROVIA, Liberia) — Hundreds of residents of a seaside slum in Liberia’s capital clashed with security forces Wednesday to protest an armed blockade of the peninsula that is their neighborhood as part of the government’s desperate efforts to stop the spread of the deadly Ebola virus.

Protests began in the morning when roads into and out of West Point were blocked by riot police and troops and a coast guard boat patrolled the waters offshore.

When the local government representative, who had not slept at home, returned to get her family out, hundreds of people surrounded her house until police and soldiers packed her and her family into a car and hustled them away. Security forces fired into the air to disperse the crowd, and residents threw stones or whatever was at hand at them. At least one person was injured.

Deputy Police Chief Abraham Kromah said later Wednesday that forces managed to restore order in the area. He said the police were investigating whether any shots had been fired.

Fear and tension have been building in Monrovia for days, and West Point has been one of the flash points. West Point residents raided an Ebola screening center over the weekend, accusing officials of bringing sick people from all over Monrovia into their neighborhood. The move to seal off the densely populated, impoverished peninsula shows that the government is struggling to contain a deadly outbreak that is spreading faster in Liberia than anywhere else.

President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf ordered West Point sealed off and imposed a nationwide curfew from 9 p.m. to 6 a.m.

“We have been unable to control the spread” of Ebola, Sirleaf said in an address to the nation Tuesday night. She blamed the rising case toll on denial, defiance of authorities and cultural burial practices, in which bodies are handled. But many feel the government has not done enough to protect them from the spread of Ebola.

The Ebola outbreak, which according to the World Health Organization began in December, has killed at least 1,229 people in Guinea, Liberia, Sierra Leone and Nigeria.

On Wednesday, riot police and soldiers created roadblocks out of piles of scrap wood and barbed wire to prevent anyone from entering or leaving West Point, which occupies a half-mile-long (kilometer-long) peninsula where the Mesurado River meets the Atlantic Ocean.

Few roads go into the area and a major road runs along the base of the point, serving as a barrier between the neighborhood and the rest of Monrovia. Ferries to the area have been halted.

At least 50,000 people live in West Point, one of the poorest and most densely populated neighborhoods of the capital. Sanitation is poor even in the best of times and defecation in the streets and beaches is a major problem. Mistrust of authorities is rampant in this poorly served area, where many people live without electricity or access to clean water.

The community is in “disarray” following the arrival of forces on Wednesday morning, West Point resident, Richard Kieh, told The Associated Press by phone.

“Prices of things have been doubled here,” he said.

The Ebola outbreak has already touched other parts of the capital, where dead bodies have lain in the streets for hours, sometimes days, even though residents asked that they be picked up by Health Ministry workers.

Liberia has the highest death toll, and its number of cases is rising the fastest. Sirleaf also ordered gathering places like movie theaters and night clubs shut and cordoned off Dolo Town, 30 miles (50 kilometers) south of the capital.

While whole counties and districts in Sierra Leone and Liberia have been sealed off and internal travel restrictions have limited the movement of people in Guinea, the sealing off of West Point is the first time such restrictions have been put in place in a capital city in this outbreak.

The current Ebola outbreak is currently the most severe in Liberia and Sierra Leone, but the U.N. health agency said that there were encouraging signs that the tide was beginning to turn in Guinea. There is also hope that Nigeria has managed to contain the disease to about a dozen cases.

Nigeria’s health minister, Onyebuchi Chukwu, said Tuesday that a fifth person had died of the disease in that country. All of Nigeria’s reported cases so far have been people who had direct contact with a Liberian-American man who was already infected when he arrived in the country on an airliner.

___

Associated Press photographer Abbas Dulleh in Monrovia, Liberia, and writer Maram Mazen in Lagos, Nigeria, contributed to this report.

TIME Innovation

Five Best Ideas of the Day: August 20

1. Smart labels that monitor food can reduce food-related illness and waste.

By Adrienne LeFrance in the Atlantic

2. With a “Right to Work” law that lets refugees earn a living, Uganda avoids the pitfalls of wartime migration. Other countries can too.

By Gregory Warner in National Public Radio

3. Integrate the protests: Why Ferguson needs a “Freedom Summer.”

By Jay Caspian Kang in the New Yorker

4. To deter Putin and defuse the crisis in Ukraine, policymakers must be creative, strategic and collaborative.

By David Ignatius in the Washington Post

5. Extra ISP fees for companies like Netflix only stifle Internet innovation.

By Reed Hastings in Wired

The Aspen Institute is an educational and policy studies organization based in Washington, D.C.

TIME Exercise/Fitness

Yoga Makes You a Quicker, Better Thinker, Study Finds

Woman doing yoga
Getty Images

Stretching and toning exercises did not change brain functioning

Practice hatha yoga consistently for eight weeks and you’re likely to think faster and better remember things. Stretch and do toning exercises and your brain functioning is likely to stay the same, according to a new eight-week study of more than 100 adults with ages ranging from 55 to 79.

“Participants in the yoga intervention group showed significant improvements in working memory capacity, which involves continually updating and manipulating information,” said Edward McAuley, a professor at the University of Illinois and co-author of the study, in a statement. “They were also able to perform the task at hand quickly and accurately, without getting distracted. These mental functions are relevant to our everyday functioning, as we multitask and plan our day-to-day activities.”

Controlling for other factors like age and gender, the study concluded that practicing yoga did lead to the improved brain functioning. Hatha yoga requires focus and meditation, which may have caused improved brain functioning in other tasks, according to study co-author and University of Illinois researcher Neha Gothe.

Still, researchers called for additional, longer-term studies to understand the brain mechanism fully.

[Quartz]

 

TIME Opinion

Idiot Fakes Own Death to Get Out of Wedding Because Idiot

Tucker Blandford hatched a terrible plan

It was to be a transatlantic love story worthy of the big screen, but instead of Hollywood romance it ended more like a slapstick comedy.

Alex Lanchester, 23 and British, was set to marry her American fiancé Tucker Blandford, 23 and terrible, on August 15. The couple met in Connecticut in 2012 while Lanchester was studying abroad in the U.S. and Blandford proposed before she returned to the UK. They planned their wedding but as the big day approached she got the call that changed—and let’s be honest, possibly saved, because this dude seems like a creep—her life.

“Alex, this is Tucker’s dad. There’s no easy way to say this,” said the voice on the phone. “I am sorry to say that Tucker is dead.” It was Tucker spoofing his dad’s voice in order to fake his own death, reports the UK’s Mirror.

Lanchester says she then called Blandford’s mother, who of course didn’t know what she was talking about.

“All I ever did was love him,” she said. “After this I’m not sure I can trust a man ever again”—a course of action that might be a good idea considering her record of judging character.

Blandford confessed to a reporter over the phone that he is “a terrible, awful person,” so he’s making some progress in the truth-telling department. “I know I shouldn’t have told her I was dead, but I didn’t know what else to do,” he said, according to the UK’s Daily Mail.”

“At the time I just felt like I couldn’t tell the truth and thought if I could just postpone everything it would be better,” Blandford said. Because if there’s one thing we know about death it’s that it isn’t forever. Nice plan, bud.

TIME 2014 Election

Hawaii Democratic Senate Primary Finally Ends As Rep. Colleen Hanabusa Concedes

Colleen Hanabusa
U.S. Rep. Colleen Hanabusa, left, and a group of supporters do some last minute campaigning near the polling place on Aug. 15, 2014, in Pahoa, Hawaii. Marco Garcia—AP

Hanabusa announced Tuesday she will not challenge the results of the Senate primary in court

Rep. Colleen Hanabusa will not challenge the results of the close primary election between her and Sen. Brian Schatz, a race that came to an end an entire week after the originally scheduled primary.

In a statement published by several media outlets in Hawaii, Hanabusa said ,”though I will not be challenging the results of this election, I remain very concerned about the public’s confidence and trust in our election process.”

“I ask former colleagues and friends in the Hawaii State Legislature to explore what is necessary to ensure the people that their vote truly counts,” the statement continues. “I heard from many who feel strongly that they were disenfranchised from the voting process this election and I stand ready to support any collaborative effort to have those voices heard,” Hanabusa says.

Late last Friday the Associated Press called the race for Schatz, who beat Hanabusa by 1,769 votes following a rare one-day vote in two precincts in the rural Puna district of the Big Island of Hawaii. The district was ravaged by Tropical Storm Iselle, which downed trees and caused widespread power outages that kept voters from making it to the polls on Aug. 9.

Before last week’s election, Hanabusa filed a legal request to delay the election by a week so residents of Puna could focus on recovering from the storm, but a Hawaii judge denied the request. In interviews following the election, Hanabusa hinted that she might challenge the election in court.

On Tuesday, Schatz issued a statement congratulating Rep. Hanabusa for “waging a tough and spirited battle.”

“This election has been extraordinary from beginning to end. It took heart, teamwork and a belief that together we are making a real difference for our state and our country,” Schatz’s statement reads. “Now it is time for us to unite as we move forward to the general election.”

The election has been one of the toughest Democratic primaries this election season, but Schatz is expected to win the general election come November. A Republican hasn’t won a Senate election in Hawaii since 1970. Schatz and many Democrats believe his progressive stance, particularly his support for expanding Social Security, have and will carry him to victory in the general election.

TIME How-To

3 Apps That Actually Pay You Money

fronto
Fronto

“Earn extra money simply by doing the things you do every day!”

Let’s be honest: You have good reason to be skeptical of “free money” claims. But there really are a small handful of legitimate advertising-powered smartphone apps that offer you money in exchange for being able to advertise to you.

That’s right, the following three apps won’t save you money — they’ll actually pay you money. None of them will make you a millionaire, but they could put an extra $20 or more in your pocket each and every month. And that’s not too bad just for playing around with your smartphone, right?

Fronto

Would you subject yourself to extra advertising if it meant more money in your pocket? If the concept seems appealing to you, check out the Android app Fronto.

Fronto works by placing ads and curated links to content on your smartphone’s lock screen. Every time you interact with this content, you earn points. Unlock your phone while an advertisement is being shown, for example, and you might earn 20 points. Download an app that Fronto suggests for you, and you might earn 100 or more. Fronto also doles out points for referring friends.

Points do take a while to accumulate, especially if you don’t take Fronto up on any of its special offers. But that’s okay – here, it’s worth the effort. Every 25,000 points can be exchanged for $10 in cold, hard cash, payable directly to your PayPal account.

You can download the free Fronto app on Google Play.

Perk

Want to take your earnings beyond the lock screen? Then check out Perk, a series of apps, browsers, search tools and more that converts virtually everything you do on your phone into points, redeemable for cash.

There are a lot of different apps in the Perk universe: Perk Shopping, Perk Search, Perk Screen, Perk Browser, Perk TV and Perk Pop Quiz. Each offers a function along with a small reward for using it. Search using Perk and you’ll get a few points. Watch an ad on Perk TV and you’ll get a few more. Buy something on 1-800-Flowers and other similar retailers via the Perk Shopping app and you’ll earn a ton.

Like with Fronto, Perk points can be redeemed for cash via PayPal. You’ll get the most bang for your points by redeeming them for gift cards instead. Minimum payouts with Perk are $5.

You can find out more about and download the Perk family of apps at Perk.com.

Shopkick

shopkick
Shopkick

Walking around your local mall may be a good way to get a little extra exercise, but it can also be a way to get a little bit of extra money, too. That’s the idea behind Shopkick, an app that rewards you simply for visiting stores.

When you open the Shopkick app at your local mall (or really, whenever), you can see a list of nearby stores that are willing to offer you “kicks” (points) just for walking through the doors. Most of the stores tempting you with points are the type you might walk into anyway, like Walmart, Macy’s, Target or Crate & Barrel. Once you’re in the store, the app might offer you a few challenges (e.g., find and scan a certain item) to earn bonus points. You can even link a credit card to the app to earn points for completing a purchase in-store.

You can rack up enough points to get a reward in a single trip, given the right mall. The minimum reward with Shopkick is a $2 Target gift card, yours for redeeming just 500 points.

You can get the free Shopkick app for iOS via the Apple App Store and for Android via Google Play.

This article was written by Fox Van Allen and originally appeared on Techlicious.

More from Techlicious:

TIME Japan

Hiroshima Landslide Kills at Least 36

At least 36 people were killed in Japan on Wednesday when landslides triggered by heavy rain hit the outskirts of Hiroshima. Several people were missing after a month's worth of rain fell overnight, loosening slopes saturated by previous heavy rain that fell over the past few weeks

TIME faith

Pope Promotes Peace, Not Pacifism, in Iraq

Pope Francis
Pope Francis attends his weekly general audience in the Paul VI hall, at the Vatican on Aug. 20, 2014. Riccardo De Luca—AP

Pope Francis and the Catholic Church are not pacifists

Many were surprised with Pope Francis’s remarks earlier this week suggesting that he was open to military intervention to stop the ISIS’s potentially genocidal campaign in Iraq.

While it’s important to note that he didn’t outright endorse the recent American airstrikes in Iraq, Francis’s remarks that “it is licit to stop the unjust aggressor” do seem to mark a shift from the pope’s response to the Syrian crisis last September. On that occasion, he held a worldwide vigil in the hopes of stopping the violence and postponing American intervention in the region. He then famously joined his words with those of Pope Paul VI: “war never again! Never again war!”

But for those who know the intricacies of Catholic moral teaching, Francis’s openness to military intervention in Iraq makes perfect sense. For 1500 years, the Church has promoted the teaching of St. Augustine: that there can be no true peace without justice. This ancient teaching has crystallized into the Church’s modern day just war principle, which holds that nations only ought to enter into military campaigns against unjust aggressors as a last resort and only in limited scope and circumstances.

Under that paradigm, does the current situation in Iraq merit such a military response? Pope Francis isn’t ruling it out. Now contrary to the absurd claim by Vox’s Max Fisher, Pope Francis isn’t calling for the tenth crusade against the Middle Eastern people. Instead, he’s proposing a clear-eyed response to a critical crisis.

Despite what some might think, Pope Francis and the Catholic Church are not pacifists. To promote some kind of laissez-faire pacifism in Iraq is to be quiet and indifferent to the victims of the ISIS’s campaign of violence. To the contrary, the peace that Francis and the Church are calling for at times requires military intervention.

This nuance has played out interestingly over the past fifty years. Though the Vatican unequivocally opposed President George W. Bush’s invasion of Iraq in 2003 and was skeptical of American involvement in Vietnam, the Church did support American intervention in Iraq in 1991.

As President Obama and the United States contemplate the road forward in this current crisis, Pope Francis and the Church cannot offer American political and military leaders specific strategic solutions, but only broad stroke moral principles. What the Church does know is that authentic peace isn’t easy and is only reserved for societies who actively work for justice.

Despite the differences that will likely emerge in the details of President Obama’s and Pope Francis’s vision for American involvement in Iraq, both men will likely agree that peace—not pacifism—is the way forward in the region.

Christopher Hale is a senior fellow at Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good. He helped lead national Catholic outreach for President Obama’s re-election campaign. You can follow him on Twitter @chrisjollyhale.

TIME Ukraine

Ukrainian Government Troops Take Over Much of Luhansk

(KIEV, Ukraine) — A Ukrainian official says government troops have taken control of a large part of Luhansk — a besieged rebel stronghold in eastern Ukraine — after days of street battles.

Andriy Lysenko, a spokesman for Ukraine’s National Security Council, told reporters Wednesday in Kiev that government forces are now controlling “significant parts” of the eastern city.

Hard-hit Luhansk has been without electricity, running water or phone connections for 18 days due to the fighting. Russia has sent a massive aid convoy to help the residents there but it has not yet received Kiev’s approval, because the proposed route lies through rebel-held territory.

TIME movies

REVIEW: If I Stay and Life After Beth: What If She’s Not Dead?

Life After Beth
Aubrey Plaza, center, plays Beth Slocum in Life After Beth A24

Submitted for your late-summer dubious pleasure: Aubrey Plaza as a cute zombie with eating issues and Chloë Grace Moretz as a comatose teen who must decide whether to rejoin the living

The drama that plays out in the Kubler-Ross Five Stages of Grief has a happy ending — sort of. After denial, anger, bargaining and depression comes the balm of acceptance. But what if your beloved (Aubrey Plaza) died from a snake bite and was buried, then showed up undead? She has forgotten that she was about to break up with you (Dane DeHaan) and now loves you more than ever. She’s also a decomposing cannibal. If that’s your lot, you may be undergoing the Five Stages of Zombie Girlfriend response: depression, shock, lust, bargaining and throw-her-off-a-cliff.

Or how about this: You are the one who’s (Chloë Grace Moretz) are the near-dead girl, in a coma after a car crash that may have totaled the rest of your family. As doctors work desperately to revive you, your spirit wanders through the hospital and into flashbacks of your love affair with a budding rock star (Jamie Blackley). You understand that you’ll come back to life only if you can summon the heroic resolve to carry on amid the most plangent heartbreak. Will you?

(FIND: Chloë Grace Moretz among TIME’s Top Movie Performers of 2010)

In the dying light of summer come two movies about girls who are not quite dead. Life After Beth is what Plaza, from Parks and Recreation, describes as “a zom-com-rom-dram” — but mostly com — that puts a weird spin on the solemn subject of how the living rationalize the death of a loved one. If I Stay, based on Gayle Forman’s YA best-seller, is a straightforward tearjerker that creates a union of two beautiful people (Moretz’s Mia Hall and Blackley’s Adam Wilde) so it can tear it apart, to pose The Clash’s eschatological question: Should I stay or should I go? Neither film is mandatory viewing, though each has its appealing aspects.

If I Stay
Chloe Moretz plays Mia Hall in If I Stay. Doane Gregory—Warner Bros.

If I Stay, directed by documentarian R.A. Cutler (The September Issue) and scripted by Shauna Cross, rounds up all the YA clichés like cattle without applying the brand of its own personality — think The Fault in Our Stars, but substitute a car crash for terminal cancer. Filmed in Vancouver but set in Portland, Ore., the movie draws Mia’s family as an adorably boho bunch: father Denny (Joshua Leonard), a rock drummer turned music teacher; perky-cool mom Kat (Mireille Enos); and Mia’s much younger brother Teddy (Jakob Davies), who quotes Iggy Pop. It’s a Norman Rockwell portrait of an indie-rock clan, rendered in glaucomic soft focus, and ripe for parody in the IFC sketch-com Portlandia — a connection soldered by Blackley’s resemblance to a younger, much cuter Fred Armisen. All the Halls overflow with such snug, smug warmth that the gods are pretty much obliged to punish them for excess adorability. Cue the family’s dreadful crash; the fault is their car.

(READ: Corliss’s review of The Fault in Our Stars)

Something of a misfit anachronism in the family, Mia loves Beethoven and Bach, whose suites she listens to on her bedroom phonograph, and dreams of admission to the Juilliard School on the other edge of the continent. Yet following the folk wisdom that a girl marries her father, Mia falls for indie rocker Adam, who seems destined for stardom despite sporting neither skull tattoos nor outlaw attitude. He loves this cello girl and behaves like a gentleman, except for a few instances when the plot forces him into spasms of sullen prickitude over Mia’s ambition to follow her own star to New York City. In her coma state, as she wanders unseen by others but occasionally felt, like Patrick Swayze in Ghost, she is a Sleeping Beauty trying to decide if she needs a resurrecting kiss. (Not much suspense there, since fans of the source novel know that Forman wrote a sequel, Where She Went, featuring the same characters.)

The reason to catch this death-flirting, borderline-deplorable weepie is totally Chloë. Not long ago she was a preternaturally poised child star, as the elfin superheroine of Kick-Ass and the vampire darling of Let Me In. Moretz has matured into a gorgeous 17-year-old whose wide face and pensive intelligence reward a viewer’s rapt attention. Usually playing a girl far hipper than her age, she must somehow convince audiences that she is a shy prodigy of the cello who, when sensitive stud Adam takes fond notice of her, nearly wilts in his love-light and wonders, “Why me?” You may wonder how Moretz landed in the Cartoonistan of this dewy melodrama, and chalk it up to alien abduction. Yet she almost convinces you, solely on the power of her commitment.

(READ: Mary Pols on Chloë Grace Moretz in Let Me In)

The vibe is deader, and more deadpan, in Life After Beth, a first feature from Jeff Baena (who cowrote David O. Russell’s strenuously wacky I Heart Huckabees a decade ago). DeHaan is Zach Orfman, devastated by the loss of his beloved Beth. Shopping for the right gift for her memorial service, he asks a clerk if the store has black napkins. (That’s “more of a Halloween item,” the clerk replies.) He gets sympathetic counseling from Beth’s parents Maury (John C. Reilly) and Geenie (Molly Shannon) but soon finds they’re concealing something: the late Beth. Her parents want to believe she is not zombiefied but resurrected — Sleeping Beauty miraculously awakened. Evidence points to the contrary: her skin cracks in daylight; she has a habit of munching strangers and car upholstery; and she has developed a bizarre hankering for smooth jazz. Zach is at first elated and aroused, but cautious. “You don’t wanna eat me?” he asks as they loll by the backyard pool. “I mean, like, really eat me.”

Since George A. Romero’s 1968 Night of the Living Dead revived the zombie movie, filmmakers have played the genre for laughs (Shaun of the Dead) and love (Warm Bodies). Baena’s Romero-and-Juliet vamp could be called Night of the Laughing Dead or Yawn of the Dead, depending on whether you buy the notion of a nice girl who develops some unhealthy habits. At first Beth seems to be only chronologically addled; she’s “worried about my test tomorrow.” (“But it’s the summer,” Zach says, and Beth groans, “I wish.”) Soon, the movie tries to freeze that querulous smile on your face into a rictus. Beth starts to decay (“Sweetie,” Zach whispers as they kiss, “your breath“) and then to embrace her fate with wondrous fury. When Zach observes that Beth just “ate a guy,” she thunders, “What do you want from me? I’m a f—ing zombie. Zombies eat guys.”

(READ: Mary Pols on the zombies in Warm Bodies)

Packing its cast with veteran comic actors (Paul Reiser and Cheryl Hinds as Zach’s parents, Garry Marshall as a zombie grandpa) and one eligible youngster (Anna Kendrick as Zach’s long-ago, still smitten classmate), Life After Beth gets a nice defibrillating jolt from the two leads. Plaza, whose wide-eyed stare suggests a zombie as painted by Margaret Keane, plausibly navigates Beth’s journey into full-throttle Linda Blair demonic dementia. DeHaan, who made his first big impression of HBO’s In Treatment, and played Peter Parker’s nemesis Harry Osborn in The Amazing Spider-Man 2, always looks as if he had just been told of a loved one’s demise and has taken medication to soothe the shock. That makes Zach a role he was born to play.

For half the movie, Zach can ignore the Kubler-Ross guidelines. He’s just thrilled that Beth is back, and hot for his caress. Sure, she’s a zombie — but nobody’s perfect.

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