TIME France

2,000 Migrants Tried to Storm the Channel Tunnel in a Desperate Bid to Reach the U.K.

Migrants walk along railway tracks at the Eurotunnel terminal on July 28, 2015 in Calais-Frethun.
Philippe Huguen—AFP/Getty Images Migrants walk along railway tracks at the Eurotunnel terminal on July 28, 2015, in Calais-Fréthun.

Eurotunnel called the incident “the biggest incursion effort in the past month and a half”

More than 2,000 migrants tried to breach the Channel Tunnel in the French port of Calais on Monday, in an attempt to reach the U.K., operator Eurotunnel announced.

Several migrants were reportedly injured in what authorities described as “the biggest incursion effort in the past month and a half,” reports the BBC.

For several weeks, large numbers of migrants have tried to smuggle themselves onto trucks around the terminal in the hopes of reaching the U.K. Some 3,000 displaced people — most of them fleeing conflict, persecution and poverty in Africa and the Middle East — have set up camp near the port and risk death and injury attempting to cross the channel to Britain.

Since the beginning of June, eight migrants have died trying to enter the Channel Tunnel.

Monday’s mass incursion caused delays to the train service on Tuesday, and Eurotunnel reported damage to fences.

“There was some damage to our fences — which we’ll have to repair — as they tried to board shuttles. Fortunately, there wasn’t any damage to shuttles,” a Eurotunnel spokesperson told the BBC. “It is an almost nightly occurrence — we’re trying to run a travel business here.”

[BBC]

TIME Barack Obama

See Scenes From Obama’s Trip to Africa

President Obama spoke proudly of his Kenyan heritage on his third trip to sub-Saharan Africa, visiting Kenya before traveling to Ethiopia

TIME Zimbabwe

Authorities Hunting for Spaniard Who Paid 50,000 Euros to Kill Famous Lion

Cecil, one of Africa's most famous lions, was brutally murdered and beheaded in Zimbabwe's Hwange National Park earlier this month

Authorities are chasing a Spaniard who allegedly paid a park ranger 50,000 Euros to viciously kill and skin a lion at Zimbabwe’s Hwange National Park.

Cecil, one of Africa’s most famous lions, was murdered in an especially brutal manner, The Guardian reports. The 13-year-old had a GPS collar for an Oxford University research project, allowing authorities to track its movements.

Hunters lured the lion into leaving the park, a technique used by poachers to “legally” kill protected animals. The lion was shot with a bow and arrow. Authorities then tracked the injured animal for 40 hours before hunters shot Cecil to death with a rifle, then skinned and beheaded him.

Cecil’s headless body was found outside the town of Hwange.

“Cecil’s death is a tragedy, not only because he was a symbol of Zimbabwe but because now we have to give up for dead his six cubs, as a new male won’t allow them to live so as to encourage Cecil’s three females to mate,” Johnny Rodrigues, head of the Zimbabwe Conservation Task Force, said. “The two people who accompanied the hunter have been arrested but we haven’t yet tracked down the hunter, who is Spanish.”

Spain has a long history of importing lion heads as trophies from Africa. “From 2007 to 2012 Spain was the country that imported the most lion trophies from South Africa,” said Luis Muñoz, a spokesman for the Spanish anti-lion poaching and conservation group, Chelui4lions. “During this period it imported 450 heads, compared to 100 in Germany. Europe needs to ban these lion hunting trophies altogether.”

The Zimbabwe Professional Hunters and Guides Association has acknowledged the involvement of its members, but claims the lion was shot on a private safari and outside park borders. The country’s government has repeatedly rebuked this claim, noting Cecil lived within reserve borders and was protected.

Read next: Only 100 Tigers Remain in Bangladesh’s Sundarban Forests, Survey Shows

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TIME White House

Obama Reunites With Father’s Family in Kenya

This is Obama's first trip to Kenya as U.S. President

(NAIROBI, Kenya)—Fulfilling the hopes of millions of Kenyans, Barack Obama returned to his father’s homeland Friday for the first time as U.S. president, a long sought visit by a country that considers him a local son.

The president spent the evening reuniting with his Kenyan family, including his elderly step-grandmother who made the trip to the capital of Nairobi from her rural village. U.S. and Kenyan flags lined the main road from Nairobi’s airport, and billboards heralding Obama’s trip dotted the city.

“I don’t think that Kenyans think of Obama as African-American. They think of him as Kenyan-American,” said EJ Hogendoorn, deputy program director for Africa at the International Crisis Group.

Obama’s link to Kenya is a father he barely knew, but whose influence can nonetheless be seen in his son’s presidency.

Obama has spoken candidly about growing up without his Kenyan-born father and feeling “the weight of that absence.” A White House initiative to support young men of color who face similar circumstances has become a project dear to Obama, one he plans to continue after leaving the White House.

In Africa, Obama has used his late father’s struggle to overcome government corruption as a way to push leaders to strengthen democracies. He’s expected to make good governance and democracy-building a centerpiece of his two days of meetings and speeches in Nairobi, as well as a stop next week in Ethiopia.

“In my father’s life, it was partly tribalism and patronage and nepotism in an independent Kenya that for a long stretch derailed his career,” Obama said during a 2009 trip to Ghana, his first visit to Africa as president. “We know that this kind of corruption is still a daily fact of life for far too many.”

The president’s father, Barack Obama, Sr., left Kenya as a young man to study at the University of Hawaii. There, he met Stanley Ann Dunham, a white woman from Kansas. They would soon marry and have a son, who was named after his father.

The elder Obama left Hawaii when he son was just two years old, first to continue his studies at Harvard, then to return to Kenya. The future president and his father would see each other just once more, when the son was 10 years old. Obama’s father died in a car crash in 1982, at age 46.

“I didn’t have a dad in the house,” Obama said last year during a White House event for My Brother’s Keeper, his initiative for young men. “I was angry about it, even though I didn’t necessarily realize it at the time.”

Obama’s first trip to Kenya nearly 30 years ago was a quest to fill in the gaps in the story of his father’s life. In his memoir “Dreams From My Father,” Obama wrote that at the time of his death, “my father remained a mystery to me, both more and less than a man.”

What Obama uncovered was a portrait of a talented, but troubled man. An economist for the Kenyan government, the senior Obama clashed with then-President Jomo Kenyatta over tribal divisions and allegations of corruption. He was ultimately fired by the president, sending him into a tailspin of financial problems and heavy drinking.

The Kenyan leader Obama will meet with this weekend, Uhuru Kenyatta, is the son of the president his father confronted decades ago.

Obama met most of his Kenyan family for the first time on that initial trip to his father’s home country. As he stepped off Air Force One Friday, he was greeted by half-sister Auma Obama, pulling her into a warm embrace. The siblings then joined about three dozen family members at a restaurant at the president’s hotel for a private dinner.

Logistical constraints and security precautions prevented Obama from visiting Kogelo, the village where his father lived and is buried, on this trip. Sarah Obama, the step-grandmother he calls “Granny,” still lives in the village.

Despite the intense focus on the American leader’s local roots, the White House has cast the trip as one focused on the relationship between the U.S. and Kenya, not the president and his family. Officials say Obama’s agenda is heavily focused on trade and economic issues, as well as security and counterterrorism cooperation.

The president is traveling with nearly two dozen U.S. lawmakers, along with 200 U.S. investors attending the Global Entrepreneurship Summit. Michelle Obama and daughters Malia and Sasha did not accompany the president.

Auma Obama said she believed her late father would be proud to see his son return to Kenya as American president.

“He’d be extremely proud and say, ‘Well done,'” she said in an interview with CNN. “But then he’d add, ‘But obviously, you’re an Obama.'”

 

TIME medicine

The First-Ever Malaria Vaccine Just Got a Big Break

Drugmakers received a thumbs up from European regulators, moving the vaccine closer to human use

After nearly 30 years of development and testing, the world’s first malaria vaccine got a major push forward on Friday morning.

Drug maker GlaxoSmithKline announced that a European Medicines Agency (EMA) committee has given a positive recommendation for the company’s vaccine for malaria called Mosquirix (scientifically known as RTS,S). The drug is intended for children ages six weeks to 17 months living in Sub-Saharan Africa. Because the vaccine is not intended for countries outside of Africa, the European regulatory agency is not “approving” the vaccine, but offering a positive opinion that the World Health Organization (WHO) will use to create its own recommendation for the vaccine’s use. Countries in Africa will then approve the vaccine through their own regulatory agencies.

Mosquirix is the first vaccine to prevent malaria in humans and was first created in 1987.

The data assessed by the EMA was primarily from a phase III clinical trial of the vaccine in about 16,000 kids in multiple African countries. After 18 months, GSK reported that the vaccine had about 46% efficacy against clinical malaria and 36% efficacy against severe malaria in kids ages five to 17 months. In babies ages six to 12 weeks, the drug had a 27% efficacy against clinical malaria and 15% against severe malaria.

The efficacy rates may seem low, but the researchers tell TIME that the vaccine is the only one available thus far and will save a significant number of lives that would be lost to the mosquito-borne disease. The vaccine also shows efficacy for a few years after initial vaccination. “Is there room for improvement? Yes. We can improve a lot,” says Moncef Slaoui, co-inventor of the vaccine and the Chairman of GSK Vaccines, in an interview with TIME. At the end of the study period, the researchers found that more than 6,000 cases of clinical malaria were prevented for every 1,000 children who were vaccinated in areas of high transmission. The efficacy of the vaccine was also assessed in a safe study context in which children slept with bed nets treated with insecticide, a measure not always taken.

According to data provided by GSK, there were 584,000 deaths worldwide from malaria in 2013, and 90% of those deaths took place in Sub-Saharan Africa. More than 80% of the deaths occurred in kids under age five.

Currently, the vaccine Mosquirix requires four doses. The first three happen a month apart from each other, and the fourth happens about 18 months later. Ensuring that parents get their children the full dosage can be challenging, but Slaoui notes that most infant vaccines require multiple doses, and while not ideal, there’s still a significant benefit with just three doses.

Slaoui says GSK also has a second generation version of the vaccine in the works—one that may have even better efficacy rates. “It’s a tweak of the current vaccine,” he says. “We know the next generation is close by.”

TIME White House

This Was the First Time a Sitting U.S. President Visited Africa

FDR Inspects The Troops
PhotoQuest / Getty Images Franklin D. Roosevelt (in suit, seated in jeep at left) reviews US troops as military commander Lieutenant General George S. Patton (right), Casablanca, Morocco, Jan. 17, 1943.

President Obama visits Kenya and Ethiopia this month. The circumstances were quite different in 1943

President Obama travels to Kenya on Thursday to attend the Global Entrepreneurship Summit, and then continues his African trip with a visit to Ethiopia, the first time a sitting U.S. president will visit that country. He’ll be focused on global business and peaceful diplomacy—a far cry from what happened with the first sitting president to visit Africa.

When Franklin D. Roosevelt landed on the continent 72 years ago amid World War II, it was the first time since the Civil War that a sitting president had visited an active war zone, as well as the first time ever that one had traveled by plane. The occasion was Roosevelt’s January 1943 visit to Casablanca to discuss the conflict with Winston Churchill.

As TIME reported shortly after, the trip was a fruitful one. The air-travel part of the plan was kept secret—an important concern given that the president’s plane was flying over an ocean patrolled by Axis planes and ships—but, once he arrived safely and the meetings got underway, the world was looped in on what had happened:

U.S. news correspondents in North Africa were flown secretly to Casablanca for a press conference on the tenth day. They found well-pleased Franklin Roosevelt in the garden of the villa where he had stayed: he was comfortable in a light grey suit, the angle of his long cigaret holder was even jauntier than usual.

This was the first press conference any American President had ever held beneath a protective umbrella of fighter planes. In the desert heat, beneath the roaring planes, General de Gaulle and General Giraud shook hands while photographers’ flash bulbs popped. The President said this was a momentous moment.

The two war leaders lived up to the moment. They explained that they had reached “complete agreement” on 1943 war plans, that the goal was “unconditional surrender” of the Axis nations. The President remarked that their meeting had been unprecedented in history; the Prime Minister added that it surpassed anything in his World War I experience. The President had some good morale-building words for American troops abroad: “I have seen the bulk of several divisions. I have eaten lunch in the field, and it was a darn good lunch, too. . . . Our soldiers are eager to carry on the fight and I want you to tell the folks back home that I am proud of them. …”

Read the full story from 1943, here in the TIME Vault: Appointment in Africa

TIME Gambia

Gambian Leader Pardons Prisoners Amid Rights Abuse Accusations

Yahya Jammeh's rule since 1994 has been marred by accusations of rights violations

(DAKAR, Senegal)—Gambia’s leader on Wednesday marked the 21st anniversary of the military takeover that catapulted him into power by pardoning all prisoners convicted for treasonable offenses. The declaration, however, comes amid a rising climate of fear, Amnesty International said.

Yahya Jammeh’s rule since 1994 has been marred by accusations of rights violations.

“The climate of fear which has blighted the lives of Gambians for more than two decades worsened over the last 12 months with journalists, people perceived to be gay or lesbian, and those considered to be opponents of the regime and their families increasingly targeted,” said Amnesty’s West Africa researcher Sabrina Mahtani.

Amnesty noted a spike in arrests, detentions and enforced disappearances since a failed coup attempt in December. “Those detained include women, elderly people, and a child, and many are believed to be unwell,” it said.

Journalists and human rights defenders have also been targeted.

Gambian authorities re-abducted radio journalist Alhagie Abdoulie Ceesay on July 17, the Committee to Protect Journalists said. Ceesay was released last week, after two weeks in custody without explanation, and was then seen being forced into a car on Friday. He wasn’t heard from until Tuesday, the group said.

Jammeh last week had indicated that executions will be resumed, announcing plans to broaden the scope of the death penalty.

However, on Wednesday he said: “All those convicted of treason from 1994 to 2013, and are in death row or serving life sentences are hereby pardoned.”

Former minister Sidi Sanneh said the prisoner pardons were welcomed, but “we will never be appeased by what amounts to a calculated move to deflect an opposition force.”

Amnesty said the international community and West African bloc “have a duty to address Gambia’s declining human rights record.”

___

Associated Press writer Abdoulie John contributed to this report.

TIME Cameroon

2 Suicide Bombers Kill At Least 20 People in Cameroon

CAMEROON-RELIGION-ISLAM
Reinnier Kaze—AFP/Getty Images Muslim women walk in the Brituetterie district of Yaounde in northern Cameroon on July 16, 2015.

The suicide bombings happened in the middle of a crowded marketplace and a popular neighborhood

(YAOUNDE, Cameroon) — Cameroon’s police say that at least 20 bodies have been found in the regional capital of Maroua after two suicide bombers blew themselves up in a busy marketplace and a popular neighborhood.

Police officer Eric Bambue said the toll could rise as the search for bodies continues.

Cameroon, which borders Nigeria and has contributed troops to the multinational force fighting the Boko Haram Islamic extremist rebels there, has been attacked twice before by suicide bombers.

Boko Haram’s six-year-old insurgency to establish an Islamic State in Nigeria region has spilled over into neighboring countries.

According to Cameroonian businessman Ousmaila Toukour, hundreds more people were wounded and most of the goods sold in the market came from Nigeria.

TIME Africa

George Clooney’s New Initiative Seeks to Expose Those Who Profit From War in Africa

"Tomorrowland" Premiere In Tokyo
Jun Sato—WireImage George Clooney attends the Tokyo premiere of "Tomorrowland" at Roppongi Hills on May 25, 2015 in Tokyo, Japan.

The Hollywood actor has teamed up with human rights activists to seek out conflict financiers

George Clooney has joined human rights activist John Prendergast to launch a new project that aspires to fight corruption in war zones in Africa. Called The Sentry, the project aims to trace the flow of money into African conflicts and identify the people profiting from violence.

The Sentry will set up a website that will allow people to anonymously submit information to elucidate how money is transferred and laundered in areas like the Democratic Republic of Congo, Central African Republic, Sudan and South Sudan.

“Real leverage for peace and human rights will come when the people who benefit from war will pay a price for the damage they cause,” Clooney said in a statement.

The two-time Oscar winner has become famous for his human rights work, especially in the Sudan. Clooney and Prendergast, a former Africa director at the National Security Council and founder of the Enough Project, also worked together in 2010 on the Satellite Sentinel Project, which used satellites to map human rights violations.

TIME Africa

President Obama Must Help Tackle Africa’s Hijacked States

A man walks away after leaning his bicycle against a mural of President Barack Obama, created by the Kenyan graffiti artist Bankslave, at the GoDown Arts Centre in Nairobi on July 22, 2015.
Ben Curtis—AP A man walks away after leaning his bicycle against a mural of President Barack Obama, created by the Kenyan graffiti artist Bankslave, at the GoDown Arts Centre in Nairobi on July 22, 2015.

John Prendergast is the founding director of the Enough Project and a former director of African Affairs at the National Security Council.

African civil wars often mask criminal corruption on a grand scale. Anti-corruption measures could be more effective than aid in giving respite to victims

On July 23rd, President Obama will be visiting what has been the deadliest neighborhood in the world over the past twenty years. He’ll be touching down in the two most stable countries in the region, Kenya and Ethiopia. Though beset with human rights issues of their own, they are swimming in a sea of extreme instability. The armies of Somalia, Sudan, South Sudan, the Democratic Republic of Congo, and the Central African Republic, along with a veritable alphabet soup of rebel groups and criminal militias, are the most visible manifestations of Africa’s biggest challenge: the nexus between massive corruption and violent conflict.

The good news story that Africa has become in many parts of the continent will continue to be undermined by these hijacked states and their long-running, predatory civil wars. Without countering systematic looting by governments and rebel groups, peace and protection efforts stand little chance of success. A new framework must be developed to adapt, implement, and enforce the tools of financial crimes enforcement to give these countries back to the people.

In the region President Obama is visiting, which stretches from northeast to central Africa, more than nine million people have perished and fifteen million people have been rendered homeless over the past two decades. The region is rife with child soldiers, modern-day slavery, and war-related sexual and gender-based violence.

The status quo – violence and grand corruption – is good for a certain kind of business: the illegal kind. Illicit financial flows out of Africa are double the inflow of foreign aid. The irony of the “resource curse” is particularly true in the region that President Obama is headed to, as vast natural resource wealth is violently pillaged by African and non-African collaborators. Meanwhile, U.S. taxpayers have spent tens of billions of dollars in emergency aid, peace processes, and peacekeeping missions, frequently without a focus on root causes.

Countries in this region are often referred to as failed states. In reality, these states are very successful at what they have been restructured to accomplish by those in control. They instead should be considered hijacked states, in which rulers use state authority, institutions, and deadly force to finance and fortify crony networks. In these states, corruption is not an anomaly — it is the foundation of the intended system. For example, Congolese leaders have siphoned off vast amounts of the country’s mineral wealth through bogus contracts and smuggling networks, and manipulate the judiciary, military and police to service the corrupt system.

Access to a complex global financial system enables violent kleptocratic networks to exploit natural resource endowments, pillage, and launder their profits to wage war. Technically savvy and skilled at abusing legitimate systems of finance, trade, and transport, these networks have remained largely untouched by law enforcement, regulation, or international sanction.

Conventional tools of diplomacy usually have not worked because they don’t alter the calculations of those fueling war and committing atrocities. Given the current profitability of conflict, policy efforts must center on how to make war more costly than peace. One way is follow the money and deny those war profiteers the proceeds from their crimes.

In response, there are United Nations expert groups that study the problem and the World Bank tries to combat corruption, but the kleptocrats are undeterred. My organization, the Enough Project, just launched a new initiative called The Sentry, which is investigating the war economies sustaining Africa’s deadliest conflicts and supporting efforts to dismantle the illicit networks that allow government and rebel leaders to fund their violent campaigns. Going forward, a new policy framework is needed.

First, anti-corruption measures like the Department of Justice’s Kleptocracy Asset Recovery Initiative should be used to counter hijacked states, as legal prosecutions can be highly effective in holding corrupt elites to account. Second, targeted sanctions regimes – asset freezes and travel bans on individuals and entities – should focus on the nerve centers of the financial networks that sustain and profit from war.

Third, working with local and global civil society organizations, naming and shaming corrupt actors can be an effective tool of isolation. Fourth, law enforcement efforts focused on trafficking of wildlife and resources can play a critical role in squeezing the profits from violence.

Fifth, regulatory efforts also can be strengthened to improve supply chain transparency, such as the Kimberley Process for blood diamonds. Sixth, peace processes attempting to end Africa’s deadliest conflicts must design agreements that prevent these states from being hijacked again by unscrupulous leaders.

On his trip, President Obama will have to address the degree to which hijacked states benefit from war economies and thus are largely impervious to conventional diplomatic tools. To have a chance at success, future peacemaking partnerships between the U.S. and Africa need to ensure that human rights crimes no longer pay.

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.

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