TIME europe

Mediterranean Becomes Mass Grave as Europe Struggles With Migrant Crisis

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AFP Photo / Guardia Costiera In this video grab released by the Italian Coast Guards (Guardia Costiera) on April 19, 2015, a ship takes part in a rescue operation off the coast of Sicily following a shipwreck last night.

Only 28 passengers are believed to have survived the overnight capsizing

As many as 700 people might have drowned overnight in the Mediterranean when their boat capsized during a desperate attempt to reach Europe, officials said Sunday, deepening a crisis that has shaken politicians as they struggle to cope with the disaster unfolding off Europe’s southern coastlines.

Officials with the United Nations refugee agency, UNHCR, said on Sunday they believed only 28 passengers had survived the capsizing in the Strait of Sicily near the coast of Libya. Survivors who finally reached Italy told the agency their boat tilted, and then sank, after hundreds of passengers rushed to one side to hail a Portuguese merchant ship, which was said to be coming to rescue them and bring them ashore to a European port.

As the scale of the tragedy became clear, French President François Hollande called on E.U. leaders to act to stop the spiraling death toll in the Mediterranean, where by some estimates about 1,500 migrants have drowned this year—most of them in the past week. E.U. officials scrambled to respond to what Hollande called “the worst catastrophe in recent years,” saying that they would call an emergency meeting this week. Speaking on Canal Plus Television, Hollande said Europe needed “more boats, more over-flights and a much more intense battle against people-trafficking.”

But for many, such action will come too late.

This weekend’s huge loss of life is just the latest incident that has now made the Mediterranean the world’s most lethal sea crossing, and by a wide margin, as UNHCR estimates that about 3,419 people drowned last year while trying to make it to Europe. With warmer weather, E.U. officials expect thousands more will try their luck against death-defying odds, cramming into overloaded vessels along the North African coast, especially in Libya, where a network of traffickers have plied their cross-Mediterranean trade for many years.

For the E.U., the migrant crisis is emerging as both a failure of policy, and of the continent’s stated humanitarian values, on which Europe’s leaders have long prided themselves. Those values are now colliding headlong with the upheaval in the Middle East and parts of Africa, which has driven millions to flee. For E.U. leaders, the risk is that helping thousands of boat people could well be seen as welcoming more immigrants to Europe, a highly contentious issue when right-wing parties have campaigned successfully on border restrictions.

Italy has been overwhelmingly hard hit, since its coast is the closest European landing point from Libya. About 10,000 migrants have landed on Italian land in the past week, and about 200,000 of them arrived last year. Exasperated by the lack of help from his E.U. colleagues, Italian Foreign Minister Paolo Gentiloni said last week, “90% of the cost of the patrol and sea rescue operations are falling on our shoulders, and we have not had an adequate response from the EU.”

Indeed, the 28 E.U. countries have failed to agree on a coordinated strategy to stop vessels at sea or have simply devoted so few funds, that whatever strategy they have designed seems doomed to fail. Last year, the E.U.-run Triton search-and-rescue program on the Mediterranean replaced an Italian-led program, Mare Nostrum, that had three times as much funding, at about 9 million Euros a month, compared with Triton’s 3 million euros a month. Under Triton, E.U. patrol boats operate only within 30 miles of Italy’s coast—leaving thousands of migrants vulnerable to drowning on the high seas, or closer to North Africa’s coast.

Now with summer approaching, E.U. leaders are arguing over how to share the burden, with the political impasse continuing even as the humanitarian cost mounts. The E.U.’s new commissioner for migration, Dimitris Avramopoulos, says new policies will be up for discussion sometime in May—well into the trafficking season.

Pope Francis appealed this weekend for E.U. leaders and others to do more, just a day after saying the the disaster “demands much greater involvement.” On Sunday, he told thousands gathered in St. Peter’s Square for the weekly Angelus address that the migrants at sea “are men and women like us, our brothers seeking a better life, starving, persecuted, wounded, exploited, victims of war.” He added: “They were looking for a better life.”

This past week has been among the worst in recent memory for fleeing migrants and has highlighted how the fate of people on the rickety boats have become embroiled in conflicts raging elsewhere. On Wednesday, a group of Nigerians trying to cross to Europe allegedly threw about 12 Christian passengers overboard after they refused to pray to Allah for help, when their fishing boat sprang a leak; the migrants who the passengers said had been responsible were arrested after the group arrived in Italy.

As Italian rescue teams scoured the water for corpses, Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi said, shocked, “How can it be that we daily are witnessing a tragedy?”

TIME world affairs

GDP Is a Bad Measure of Our Economy—Here’s a Better One

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GDP growth is being challenged by a new holistic set of variables and shows the U.S. lags behind in crucial areas

Are we in the midst of a great paradigm shift?

That was the question raised this morning at the Skoll World Forum by Michael Green, the Executive Director of the Social Progress Imperative and the force behind the Social Progress Index (SPI), a new trove of data which offer a holistic snapshot of the health of societies across the world. Using 52 social and environmental indicators across 160 countries, the SPI offers a rigorous, granular and more meaningful alternative to the gospel that is Gross Domestic Product (GDP); what has become the official, if flawed, measure of a nation’s standing in the global economy.

The United States, the world’s wealthiest country in GDP terms, ranks 16th in “social progress.” Compared to our economic peers, we underperform on a number of dimensions, particularly those related to health: life expectancy, premature deaths from diseases like diabetes and cardiovascular and respiratory failure, fatal car accidents, and even maternal and infant mortality rates.

The gap in these standings underscores the limitations of GDP. By focusing exclusively on economic growth, GDP misses – or worse still, externalizes – the costs and value of a number of critical elements of well-being: basic human needs like nutrition, medical care, and shelter; access to education and information; and environmental sustainability – not to mention things harder to measure like rights and freedoms, tolerance, and inclusion.

The SPI is hardly the first challenge to GDP. This year marks the 25th anniversary of the first UN Human Development Report, created by Mahbub ul Haq and Nobel Laureate Amartya Sen and informed by Sen’s work on human capabilities and positive freedom. Accordingly, the UN Development Programme re-conceived of development as a function of human potential, rather than economic growth alone, and its Human Development Index (HDI) measures life expectancy and educational attainment alongside standard of living (GNP per capita). More recently, the UNDP has published HDIs adjusted for inequality and gender inequality along with a multidimensional poverty index. The HDI has also laid the groundwork for a number of different approaches to measuring quality of life, among them, the OECD Better Life Index, gauges of happiness, and important assessments sustainability, among them the Sustainable Society Index.

What distinguishes the SPI is that it is the only comprehensive measure that excludes economic variables.

Instead of replacing GDP, the SPI data complement it by allowing for an assessment of a country’s performance relative to GDP. On this scale, Norway is #1, followed, in a tight band, by Sweden, Switzerland, Iceland, and New Zealand. Canada is the highest performing of the G7 countries and Brazil leads the BRICs (Brazil, Russia, India and China), followed by South Africa, Russia, China and India. Russia may have a much higher GDP per capita than Brazil or South Africa, but ranks much lower on social progress, coming in at 71.

GDP surely matters. Economic growth and development around the world have raised billions of people out of poverty. The SPI data bear this out; we have made great strides towards the Millennium Development Goals of providing nutrition, basic medical care and access to education for many who lacked such.

But it is important to note that “social progress” does not always correlate with higher GDP—sometimes even when we get richer, things can get worse. Striking examples and areas of concern include environmental sustainability (measured in the SPI by greenhouse gas emissions, water usage and biodiversity). Countries like the U.S., but also rapidly developing countries like China, India, or Brazil consume more as they grow.

The U.S. is also not alone among wealthier countries grappling with diabetes and other issues of morbidity. And of course human rights, and political rights and freedoms, do not always improve with economic growth. Countries like Costa Rica “overperform” on social progress relative to GDP, rich countries like Kuwait, fall significantly short on a number of “progress” measures.

The good news: “GDP isn’t destiny,” says Green. In other words, policy matters, too, and we can choose to invest our surplus GDP in human or environmental capital. Should we choose to. The SPI leaves political economy, and politics, for another day.

In some ways, measures like SPI tell us things we already know: countries that have made substantial and historical investments in their social safety nets score well. The same is true for nations that are relatively homogenous, and—in the case places like New Zealand—somewhat isolated and immune to immigration pressures. It turns out that inclusion counts for a lot. For example, even with impressively high access to advanced education, the U.S. scores much less well on equality in educational attainment. On “access to communications” we rank lower on Internet and mobile phone use than our wealthy peers – despite being home to Silicon Valley.

In other ways, the SPI also allows for counter-intuitive findings, particularly when it comes to inequality.

With detailed information about access to basic services and opportunities, from healthcare, education, and housing to decent policing, freedom of movement and religion, and freedom from discrimination, the SPI is a measure of inclusivity and distribution; as with other alternative indices, a country cannot improve its progress score by simply boosting GDP. However, there is little or no correlation between Social Progress Index scores and the standard measure of income inequality, the GINI Coefficient. One implication: pro-poor measures and investments may matter more than redistribution per se.

All this suggests that measures like SPI offer more than a snapshot; they can be harnessed as a policy tool. Interest in applying the Social Progress Index, an idea hatched at the World Economic Forum two years ago and put into motion as the Social Progress Imperative with support by Harvard Business School’s Michael Porter, has grown dramatically; initiatives using it are under way in 40 countries and the European Commission is creating a customized SPI for the EU. In the U.S., Michigan will announce that it is using an adaptation of the SPI to guide a development agenda for Detroit and other cities. Somerville, Massachusetts is also on board. Expect to see more.

The SPI is also part of a larger revolution – across business, civil society, and government – to measure what matters. Asking the right questions is a critical step towards getting us to better answers and social outcomes, which would be progress indeed.

More from New America:

TIME Ideas hosts the world's leading voices, providing commentary and expertise on the most compelling events in news, society, and culture. We welcome outside contributions. To submit a piece, email ideas@time.com.

TIME France

French Customs Officials Seize Record Cocaine Haul in Caribbean

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Douanes Francaises—AFP/Getty Images This file photo released on April 18, 2015 by French customs in Fort Saint-Louis military base in Fort-de-France, on the French Caribbean island of Martinique shows packs of cocaine stored after they were seized on April 15, 2015 on a sailboat off the French Caribbean island of Martinique.

More than one-third of what they took in last year

More than two tons of cocaine was seized from a boat off Martinique that was falsely sailing under an American flag, French authorities said Saturday, marking a record haul.

France’s Finance Ministry said the Wednesday raid took place 125 miles off the coast of the French Caribbean island and led to the arrest of three people, one Venezuelan and two Spanish citizens. Officials from Britain and Spain also participated in the operation.

Last week’s haul accounts for more than one-third of the 6.6 tons of cocaine that French customs officials seized in 2014.

TIME Books

Quiz: How High is Your Weed IQ?

Bruce Barcott is the author of "Weed the People, the Future of Legal Marijuana in America."

Take this test to see how well you understand the new world of legal marijuana

The legalization of marijuana in Colorado, Washington, Oregon, Alaska, and Washington D.C. has moved pot from the realm of criminal arrest to customer service. But many of those now-legal customers are entering a new world of products, prices, and potency. It ain’t about a ten-dollar bag of weed anymore. During the two years I spent researching Weed the People, I acquired a new vocabulary of weights, measures, brand names, plant strains, and markers of quality. With 4/20 upon us, test your own legal pot knowledge with the quiz below.


“Weed the People, the Future of Legal Marijuana in America,” from TIME Books, is available wherever books are sold, including Amazon.com, Barnes & Noble and Indiebound.

TIME Ideas hosts the world's leading voices, providing commentary and expertise on the most compelling events in news, society, and culture. We welcome outside contributions. To submit a piece, email ideas@time.com.

TIME Italy

Hundreds Feared Dead in Mediterranean After Migrant Boat Capsizes

At least 24 were confirmed dead

(ROME) — A boat crowded with migrants capsized in the sea north of Libya overnight, leaving at least 24 confirmed dead with the death toll expected to rise into the hundreds, Italy’s Coast Guard said Sunday.

The Coast Guard said in a statement that the migrants’ 20-meter (66-foot) vessel was reported to be sinking as a Portuguese-registered merchant ship, the King Jacob, approached to attempt a rescue. It picked up 28 passengers, but the boat then capsized, sending hundreds more tumbling into the water.

The Coast Guard’s command and rescue coordination center in Rome said the boat may have overturned “because its occupants moved to the side closest to the cargo ship.”

The Italian news agency ANSA said the boat may have held 700 passengers. But the Coast Guard and other authorities said they had no immediate way to determine how many were aboard or how many might still be rescued. The estimated death toll was expected to be clarified as officers interviewed survivors, although many bodies were expected never to be recovered.

Pope Francis was among those following the news. “There are fears there could be hundreds of dead,” Francis told the faithful in St. Peter’s Square. He bowed his head in silent prayer as did many of the tens of thousands in the crowd.

Wreckage of the boat was spotted in the sea.

“There are large fuel stains, pieces of wood, life jackets,” Italian Border Police Gen. Antonino Iraso, whose force has boats deployed in the rescue effort, told Sky TG24 TV.

When asked whether the boat capsized because the migrants rushed to one side as the Portuguese vessel pulled alongside, Iraso replied: “The dynamics aren’t clear. But this is not the first time that has happened.”

Italy is the No. 1 destination for illegal immigration to the European Union, and the numbers of migrants attempting the dangerous crossing by sea from Libya swells as the springtime weather improves, providing calmer seas and warmer water temperatures. But the smugglers’ boats are invariably overcrowded and often too small for the open seas.

So far this year, more than 900 have died in failed crossings. Last week, 400 people were presumed drowned when another boat capsized.

TIME Healthcare

How to Tell When Feeling Tired Is a Sign of a Health Problem

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When should I see my doctor about my low energy?

In our go, go, go lives, it’s not always easy to spot problematic lack of energy. But if you’re sleeping a solid seven to eight hours a night and still feeling sluggish, that should raise a red flag. The best advice is to pay close attention to exactly how it feels so you can describe it to your doctor in detail. If your fatigue is more like weakness, for example, the problem might be your thyroid gland, which regulates energy levels; either an overactive or underactive thyroid can zap you. Blood tests will show if there’s an issue, and your doctor can prescribe medicines that help.

Read more: 14 Reasons You’re Always Tired

More general daytime sleepiness or fogginess, on the other hand, is more likely related to stress or a lingering infection. Your doctor might order a sleep study to rule out sleep apnea, which causes your breathing to pause while you snooze. This can disrupt your z’s, even if you don’t notice. To treat it, your doctor might prescribe a mouthpiece or breathing machine so you can get good rest.

Read more: A Sleep Meditation for a Restful Night

If you also have breathlessness, that’s a possible sign of a heart condition like cardiomyopathy, a disease that causes overgrowth of the heart muscle. Treatment ranges from diet changes to surgery to remove tissue or implant a pacemaker. Finally, if you feel apathy, too, that’s a sign of depression or grief. Thankfully, most of the time persistent tiredness can be solved with a little detective work.

Read more: 11 Secrets to All Day Energy

Health‘s medical editor, Roshini Rajapaksa, MD, is assistant professor of medicine at the NYU School of Medicine and co-founder of Tula Skincare.

This article originally appeared on Health.com.

TIME Crime

The Meaning of the Oklahoma City Bombing Anniversary

May 1, 1995, cover of TIME
Cover Credit: RALF-FINN HESTOFT Timothy McVeigh on the May 1, 1995, cover of TIME

The deadly act of domestic terrorism took place 20 years ago, on April 19, 1995

When a truck bomb blasted through a federal office building in Oklahoma City on a Wednesday morning 20 years ago — April 19, 1995 — it was the deadliest terrorist attack in the history of the nation to that point.

Though fingers pointed many directions in the immediate aftermath, it didn’t take long for investigators to find Timothy McVeigh. As TIME reported in a special issue devoted to the crime — with McVeigh’s face on the cover, alongside the words “The Face of Terror” — only a little more than an hour had passed since the bombing when he was pulled over for a traffic stop and arrested for driving without tags and insurance, and for carrying a concealed weapon. Two days later, the rogue driver was determined to be the same man who was suspected of masterminding the attack.

McVeigh and his accomplices’ possible link to antigovernment organizations immediately drew additional scrutiny to the subject, and offered some insight into the twisted mind that planned such a crime—and why it happened when it did:

Although the Michigan Militia, along with members of other groups, has moved quickly to repudiate any connection with McVeigh or the bombing, the significance of the date on which it took place–April 19–was not lost on those familiar with the patriot movement. Says Ron Cole, a former leader of the Branch Davidian sect who describes himself as a patriot: “It’s a date that has a significance like no other day of the year.” On April 19, 1775, the Battle of Lexington–the opening salvos in America’s Revolutionary War–began. On April 19, 1993, the siege at Waco ended in flames and despair. On April 19, 1995, Richard Wayne Snell, a member of the white supremacist group The Covenant, the Sword and the Arm of the Lord, was executed for the murder of a Jewish businessman and a black police officer. And when Timothy McVeigh rented the Ryder truck, he used a forged South Dakota driver’s license on which the date of issue was listed as April 19, 1993. “He probably meant that he woke up on that day,” says Cole. “I can see his perspective on that.”

In the years since, Oklahoma City has tried to make that date stand for something very different: rather than an example of separatism, they’ve made April 19 a date to remember a community coming together to help one another, living by the idea they call the “Oklahoma Standard.”

Read more from TIME’s special 1995 issue about the bombing, here in the TIME Vault: A Blow to the Heart

TIME 2016 Election

Ohio Governor Kasich Flirts With Presidential Run in New Hampshire

John Kasich
Jim Cole—AP In this March 24, 2015, file photo, Ohio Gov. John Kasich, R-Ohio speaks at a Politics and Eggs Breakfast with state political activist and area business leaders hosted by the New Hampshire Institute of Politics at Saint Anselm College, in Manchester, N.H.

“Don’t commit too soon," he told local Republicans

Ohio Governor John Kasich took his presidential flirtations to a new level Saturday, asking New Hampshire Republicans to keep their powder dry as he decides whether to run.

“Think about me, would ya,” he said at the party’s first in the nation conference. “Don’t commit too soon.”

Buoyed by a growing economy in Ohio, Kasich has been floating a presidential run for more than a year in GOP circles, but has done little to expand his profile nationally or in Iowa and New Hampshire. In an 18-minute address followed by a brief question-and-answer session, Kasich, a former House budget chairman, set about trying to change that, educating a roomful of GOP voters about his record in Washington and Columbus.

“Foreign policy experience, actual success in Washington…changing Ohio and having people say, ‘pretty good guy, not perfect, pretty good guy,”’ Kasich said. “Whether I run for president or not, I want you to think about this, because Ohio is a microcosm of America.”

Kasich said he has yet to make up his mind whether to run. “I’m trying to figure out what the Lord wants me to do with my life,” he said. “If I feel this is my call, I will come back again and again and again—and in the meantime I’m not going to change my message.”

“My only goal and my only purpose is to build a stronger situation for the people that I serve,” he said. “And that’s why I wanted to come here”

Known for a do-it-his-own-way approach to governance, Kasich tried to curb the power of public sector unions, but expanded Medicaid. In Congress, he fought to balance the budget—and has embraced the cause of passing a national balanced budget amendment to the Constitution. He won re-election in 2014 by an overwhelming margin against a scandal-plagued Democratic opponent.

Kasich joked about his failed 2000 run for president, when he withdrew before the first votes were cast, saying he couldn’t hold town halls because voters wouldn’t show up.

Kasich’s remarks avoided the criticism of Democrats or his Republican opponents that has become a staple of GOP stump speeches. Instead, he said he wanted to lay out a conservative vision for the nation.

“You know, I’m a fighter,” Kasich said. “I could fight with the best of ‘em. I could come in here and spend this whole speech blasting Barack Obama, and all this other stuff, but that’s not what I wanted to do.”

TIME Television

Anne of Green Gables Star Jonathan Crombie Dead at 48

Ahmanson Theatre Opening Performance Of "The Drowsy Chaperone"
Ryan Miller—Getty Images Jonathan Crombie during the party for the opening night performance of "The Drowsy Chaperone" held at the CTG Ahmanson Theatre on July 9, 2008 in Los Angeles.

The actor was best known for his role as Gilbert Blythe

Jonathan Crombie, the actor who played Gilbert Blythe in the CBC miniseries Anne of Green Gables, has died. He was 48.

His sister Carrie Crombie told CBC News that her brother died of brain hemorrhage in New York City on April 15.

Crombie’s best-known role was as Gilbert Blythe, the love interest and boy next door in the Anne of Green Gables TV movies. Cast in the first film at the age of 17, Crombie beat out many actors including Jason Priestley. Crombie was also the son of David Crombie, the mayor of Toronto from 1972 to 1978.

“He was funny, he was sweet, he loved acting, he loved comedy and singing and dancing. As a little kid, he just loved Broadway shows and all of that kind of stuff and would sing and dance in the living room,” his sister said.

TIME Music

Bahamas R&B Singer Johnny Kemp, Known for ‘Just Got Paid,’ Dies at 55

6th Annual BMI Urban Awards At Roseland Ballroom - Show & Backstage
Ray Tamarra—Getty Images Recording artist Johnny Kemp attends the 6th Annual BMI Urban Awards at the Roseland Ballroom August 30, 2006 in New York City.

His song "Just Got Paid" was a No. 1 hit

(KINGSTON, Jamaica)—Bahamian R&B singer Johnny Kemp, who is best known for the hit song “Just Got Paid,” has died in Jamaica. He was 55.

Jamaica police said Friday that Kemp was found floating at a beach in Montego Bay on Thursday morning. It had not yet been determined how he died.

Police said Kemp arrived in Jamaica on a cruise ship but added that they did not have further details.

Reach Media Inc. said Kemp had been scheduled to be on a Caribbean cruise this week, but the U.S.-based parent company of the “Tom Joyner Morning Show” said it did not have further details.

Kemp was nominated in 1989 for a Grammy Award for “Just Got Paid” in a category that included Bobby Brown and Luther Vandross. The song was a No. 1 hit on the U.S. Billboard R&B chart.

Kemp appeared on a 2007 Keith Sweat DVD called “Sweat Hotel Live” and had been performing at musical events across the U.S. in recent years.

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