TIME Innovation

Why the Euro Was a Mistake

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

These are the best ideas of the day

1. The euro was a big mistake, and Greece is paying the price.

By Timothy B. Lee in Vox

2. Homeownership is fading and we’re not ready for the renting explosion.

By Laurie Goodman, Rolf Pendall and Jun Zhu at the Urban Institute

3. How to power Africa’s renewables revolution.

By Kevin Watkins in World Economic Forum

4. What if our moral code explains the human propensity for violence?

By Tage Rai in Aeon

5. Can hip-hop overcome the conflict inside itself to be the voice of a changing culture?

By Talib Kweli at the Perception Institute

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

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.


Why Facebook Is Opening An Office In Africa

Views of The Facebook Inc. Logo Ahead of Earnings
Bloomberg—Bloomberg via Getty Images

Facebook is to open a new office in Africa, a region with more than one billion people but only 120 million Facebook users.

To lead the new office, located in Johannesburg, South Africa, Facebook has hired Nunu Ntshingila, the chairman of Ogilvy South Africa, according to Bloomberg. The new office will focus on sales and improving Facebook’s ability to attract local businesses to advertise on the social network.

Facebook has been increasing its efforts to win over Africa in the last couple of years, especially through its Internet.org initiative and its new Facebook Lite app, a stripped down version of the app that works better with lower-end phones. One of Internet.org’s projects is a free app the company has released in several countries in the developing world that lets people use certain websites and apps–without paying for data–to provide access to basic information and online services. The plan is to entice these users to purchase data plans (Facebook’s partner telecom companies foot the bill for the data used).

Facebook also launched what it called “missed call ads” in Africa and India last year. When links for an ad on Facebook are clicked, the advertiser calls the user’s phone and plays a audio ad and takes on the costs of that call. The new office will likely explore various such ways to better connect businesses to consumers.

The company plans to hire 25 employees in its new office, according to Recode.

TIME Burundi

Burundians Vote In Parliamentary Elections Marred By Unrest

Burundi Political Tensions
Berthier Mugiraneza—AP Burundian police take positions as they chase opposition demonstrators on the main road in the capital Bujumbura, Burundi on June 4, 2015

There is heavy security across the city

(BUJUMBURA, Burundi) — Voting is underway in Burundi’s parliamentary elections despite an opposition boycott and the threat of violence as police battle anti-government protesters in the capital.

Gunfire could be heard in some parts of Bujumbura as voting started at 6 a.m., and there is heavy security across the city.

In the Musaga neighborhood, which has seen violent protests against President Pierre Nkurunziza’s bid for a third term, there were few civilians in sight Monday as mostly police and soldiers lined up to vote.

The voting is taking place despite calls by the international community for a postponement until there is a peaceful environment for credible elections.

Bujumbura has suffered unrest since the ruling party announced on April 26 that Nkurunziza would be its candidate in presidential elections scheduled for July 15.

TIME well-being

This Surprising Country Leads the World in Feeling Good

RODRIGO ARANGUA—AFP/Getty Images A merchant ship sails along the Panama Canal.

The U.S. has fallen to No. 23

Panama leads the world in well-being, surpassing even wealthier countries such as Switzerland, Norway, and the United States, according to the research released Wednesday.

It’s the second-year running that Panama has topped the Gallup-Healthways Global Well-Being Index. About 53% of residents are thriving in three or more areas of well-being tracked by Gallup, which includes a person’s sense of purpose, financial well-being, and physical health.

“People in Panama will report a lot of daily happiness, a lot of daily smiling and laughter, and a lot of daily enjoyment without a lot of stress and worry,” Dan Witters, who compiled the index, told Reuters.

Panama’s also had the benefit of a strong and growing economy in the last year, plus the country’s had relative political stability and investments in national development.

Meanwhile, the U.S. has fallen in its well-being ranking, dropping to No. 23 of 145 countries, territories and areas tracked by the index. That’s down from 12th place a year earlier. The decline is credited to a drop in the number of people saying they are satisfied with their sense of community, which includes safety as well as strong social ties, according to Witters.

At the bottom of the list are Afghanistan areas across sub-Saharan Africa, including Togo and Cameroon.

The index is compiled using feedback from more than 146,000 people who are 15-years-old or older. It asks them questions relating to five key areas of well-being: purpose, social, financial, community and physical.

TIME Innovation

Why the International Criminal Court Is Broken

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

These are today's best ideas

1. The International Criminal Court is broken.

By Elizabeth Peet in Wilson Quarterly

2. Stop giving away public land for pocket change.

By Jayni Foley Hein in the Washington Post

3. While Syria burns next door, Lebanon’s fabric is fraying.

By Mohamad Bazzi at Reuters

4. Beat the flu — by not targeting the flu.

By Michael Byrne at Motherboard

5. The rise of Africa’s super vegetables.

By Rachel Cernansky in Nature

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

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 South Africa

Angelina Jolie Pitt Says Violence Against Women ‘Is Still Treated as a Lesser Crime’

Gordon Harlons—AFP/Getty Images African Union Commssion Chairperson Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma and Angelina Jolie attend a panel discussion on Conflict related Gender Violence during an African Union Summit session in Johannesburg on June 12, 2015.

"Women and girls are bearing the brunt of extremists"

Angelina Jolie Pitt addressed a room of delegates at the African Union summit Thursday to encourage more global support to end violence against women around the world.

The award-winning actress, 40, who is the special envoy to the United Nations High Commission for Refugees, sat on a panel of foreign leaders to deliver a speech at the biannual event, held in Johannesburg and Pretoria, South Africa, this year.

“There is a global epidemic of violence against women – both within conflict zones and within societies at peace – and it is still treated as a lesser crime and lower priority,” the actress-director told the crowded ballroom.

“The near-total impunity that exists worldwide for crimes against women, in conflict zones in particular, means that we are seeing more and more armed groups turn it into their weapon of choice. Women and girls are bearing the brunt of extremists that revel in treating them barbarically. This is inextricably linked to our overall failure to prevent and end conflicts worldwide, which is causing human suffering on an unprecedented level.”

The Unbroken director, wearing a dark gray Michael Kors dress and beige heels, went on to pay tribute to African victims for their “extraordinary resilience, dignity and strength in the face of trials that would break any of us.”

“They are some of the most formidable and impressive people I have ever met and they deserve better than to be left alone to suffer,” Jolie Pitt continued.

She wrapped up her speech by stating that the solution needs to be tailored to, and pioneered by, women themselves.

“We need policies for long-term security that are designed by women, focused on women, executed by women – not at the expense of men, or instead of men, but alongside and with men,” she said. “There is no greater pillar of stability than a strong, free and educated woman, and there is no more inspiring role model than a man who respects and cherishes women and champions their leadership.”

Jolie Pitt joined former British foreign minister William Hague, Senegalese activist Bineta Diop and Zainab Bangura, who is the U.N.’s Special Representative on Sexual Violence in Conflict, on the panel at the event.

The group was called together by African Union chairwoman Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, the first female head of the A.U. Dlamini-Zuma made women’s empowerment the focus of this year’s summit.

South Africa began buzzing about the star’s arrival when Twitter users spotted the actress, who was accompanied by her 11-year-old son Pax, at Tambo International Airport on Thursday shortly after they landed.

Activists also took to social media to share photos from the meeting.

The actress has made her humanitarian work a major priority in recent years. She was appointed to her current position as special envoy in 2012, previously acting as one of the agency’s Goodwill Ambassadors.

This article originally appeared on People.com.

TIME portfolio

Chronicling the Struggles of LGBT People Around the World

Robin Hammond shot the portraits of 65 survivors of discrimination

By many measures, the world is a safer and more welcoming place for gay people than it was ten years ago.

A growing number of national and regional governments have passed laws legalizing gay marriage and unions between people of the same sex. Other countries have tightened legislation that prohibits anti-gay discrimination and hate speech targeted at people who are lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender (LGBT). “There’s been enormous progress globally and locally,” wrote Kenneth Roth, executive director of Human Rights Watch earlier this year. “It’s important to note that the fight for LGBT rights is not a Western phenomenon; many of the governments at the forefront of the defence of LGBT rights are from the developing world.”

But while LGBT rights may be generally improving around the world, many more people live in countries where homosexual acts or identifying as gay can lead to state-ordered physical punishment.

Human rights groups say that in some of these countries — including Russia, Nigeria and Uganda — governments have targeted LGBT people as a way to redirect peoples’ anger from the governments to a vulnerable minority. All three countries have introduced anti-gay legislation in the past three years and in all three countries human rights groups have reported simultaneous increases in attacks on LGBT people.

Photographer Robin Hammond, who is from New Zealand, first started documenting these issues when he was on assignment in Lagos, Nigeria, and read about five people who had been arrested for being gay. He then decided to expand his work to seven countries, photographing LGBT people of 15 different nationalities.

Hammond says he wants to improve peoples’ lives rather than simply chronicling their suffering and is today launching a non-governmental organization named Witness Change, which aims to kickstart social media campaigns and put on traveling exhibitions to help raise funds for grassroots organizations that are dealing with the highlighted human rights issues, including LGBT rights.

He described the process he has developed for taking his portraits — and for asking his subjects to write down their personal stories:

While I predominantly use photography to talk about the issues that are important to me, the medium has shortcomings — it can connect, but rarely does it explain. So I wanted the survivors of discrimination to talk for themselves about what they’ve been through. With each of the 65 subjects I asked that they write down their story of discrimination and survival. They chose what to say and how to say it. This resulted in extremely powerful testimonies, some five pages long, some a single sentence.

For many it was the first time they’ve told their story. The point is to have their voices heard. Many have lived lives of silence.

After they wrote their testimony I would ask more questions.

We would then take a photograph. The photographs are all posed portraits. The way the photograph is posed is a collaboration between myself and the subject. I would ask them how we could illustrate their story. The results were sometimes interesting. Some told me to come back another day and I would return to find them in full drag. Others said. “They tied me like this — show it”. Kasha, the Ugandan lesbian activist, wanted to be shown as a strong leader. I asked her if she had a symbol of strength — she rose her fist. Joseph, a transgender woman from Uganda, spoke about his mum and how grateful he is that she accepts him for who he is, so I photographed them together.

Of course some did not really know how to stand or pose. I would offer them ideas on what I thought might look interesting. Some took on those ideas, some were rejected.

Many of the photographs were unexpected. Many are not posed as I would have visualized before meeting the subjects. The poses were informed by their stories and very much by how they wished to be photographed. The point is that it was really important the subjects had as much control as possible. It is their story, and their image.

I photographed these portraits on a large format 5×4 (5-inch by 4-inch) field camera using Polaroid-type film. The reason is aesthetic but also so I could show the subject the photograph. I always gave them the veto over the image. Some subjects were obviously concerned about their safety, so it was important they felt safe if they had requested to have their identity hidden.

I would do, on average, one portrait per day. A lot of time was spent with each subject getting to know them, discussing their lives, and talking about the project.

The photographs and testimonies personalize and make real an issue often spoken about in abstract ways, in discussions about laws and sanctions and politicians.

Some people may find some of the images uncomfortable. I know many people will be saddened by the testimonies. This is the reality of life for many LGBTQI people in our world.

Robin Hammond is a freelance photojournalist based in Paris, France.

Alice Gabriner, who edited this photo essay, is TIME’s International Photo Editor.

TIME global health

Man Dies of Rare Lassa Fever in New Jersey

He had recently returned from traveling in Liberia

A man died of a rare African virus in New Jersey Monday after recently returning from Liberia, officials confirmed.

The man died of Lassa fever, a virus that causes hemorrhagic symptoms but is very different from Ebola, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said. Lassa fever is only fatal for 1% of those who are infected, while Ebola can be fatal for 70% of those infected without treatment. Lassa fever is also much harder to spread from person to person (it’s usually picked up from rodent droppings). About 100,000 to 300,000 Lassa fever cases are reported in West Africa every year, resulting in about 5,000 deaths.

The man with Lassa fever had arrived at JFK airport from Liberia on May 17, and went to a hospital the following day complaining of fever, sore throat and tiredness, officials said. At that time, he did not say he had been traveling in West Africa, and he was sent home the same day. On May 21 his symptoms worsened and he returned to the hospital, at which point he was transferred to a facility equipped to deal with viral hemorrhagic fevers. The patient was in “appropriate isolation” when he died Monday evening. The CDC is working to compile a list of people who may have encountered the patient while he was sick, and they are monitoring close contacts for 21 days to see if they develop the virus.

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