TIME United Kingdom

British Prime Minister David Cameron Holds Emergency Meeting Over Migrant Influx

Cameron has been criticized for saying the U.K. faced a "swarm" of migrants

British Prime Minister David Cameron is to chair an emergency meeting of his government’s Cobra security committee Friday to discuss how to address the migrant situation in the northern French port of Calais.

The meeting comes the morning after migrants made more than 1,000 attempts to breach fences and enter the Channel Tunnel Thursday night, reports Agence France-Presse.

Some 3,000 asylum seekers mainly from Africa and the Middle East are living in a makeshift camp near the port in Calais. Every night, many who have fled war, poverty and persecution risk serious injury as they attempt to enter the tunnel in search of a better life in the U.K.

France has sent in police reinforcements to guard the entrance of the tunnel and stop migrants climbing over the fences and blocking the roads.

Britain’s Ministry of Defense could be called in to make land available for the thousands of backlogged trucks waiting on the U.K. side of the tunnel, on the M20 highway in the county of Kent, reports the BBC.

Meanwhile, Cameron has come under fire from opposition leaders and the Refugee Council for saying there was a “swarm of people coming across the Mediterranean.”

“He should remember he’s talking about people and not insects,” acting Labour leader Harriet Harman told the BBC.

The U.N. Representative for Internal Migration said there had been a “xenophobic response” from British politicians to the crisis.

Kent social services are struggling to cope with the number of child asylum seekers; numbers have doubled over the past three months.

TIME France

France Sends Extra Police to Port City as Migrant Crisis Worsens

France Migrants calais
Thibault Camus—AP Police officers block migrants along a road to prevent their access to train tracks which lead to the Channel Tunnel, in Calais, northern France on July 29, 2015.

More than 2,000 migrants tried to rush the Eurotunnel which leads to Britain in just one night

CALAIS, France — Police beefed up security in this port city at the center of Europe’s escalating migrant crisis, seeking to stem a flood of illegal border crossings from France into the U.K.

France dispatched 120 extra police to Calais after officials said Wednesday that more than 2,000 migrants tried to rush the Eurotunnel which leads to Britain in just one night. One migrant was killed — the ninth since June. Around 37,000 have been blocked at the Channel Tunnel this year.

When night fell on Wednesday, flashing police lights dotted the horizon. Officers patrolled on foot and formed lines near the fences…

Read the rest of the story from our partners at NBC News

TIME Aviation

What to Know About the New Malaysia Airlines Clue

The discovery is the most significant since the Boeing 777 vanished almost 17 months ago

An Australian official warned Thursday not to jump to conclusions about a barnacle-encrusted, 9-by-3-ft. piece of flotsam that washed up on the French island of Reunion — a discovery many are saying may be debris from the missing Malaysia Airlines Flight 370.

Australia’s deputy prime minister, Warren Truss, said it was premature to link the recovered chunk of metal with the jet that went missing 509 days ago. “It is too early to make that judgment,” Truss said at a news conference in Sydney. “But clearly we are treating this as a major lead and seeking to get assurance about what has been found and whether it is indeed linked to the disappearance of MH 370.”

Other officials have a “high degree of confidence” that the discovery is an aluminum-composite wing-flap from a Boeing 777, the same type of plane that vanished shortly after departing Kuala Lumpur for Beijing on March 8, 2014. The 227 passengers and 12 crew are all presumed dead.

Now engineers from Boeing are examining the debris to confirm that it is a flaperon from a 777, and even, if possible, from MH370 specifically. “We are treating this as a major lead and seeking to get assurance about what has been found and if it is indeed liked to the disappearance of MH370,” Australian Deputy Prime Minister Warren Truss said at a press conference Thursday.

Here’s what you need to know:

1. Where does the investigation stand?

Initial search efforts were concentrated along the flight’s charted route over the South China Sea, but then moved to the Strait of Malacca when Thai military radar indicated the aircraft doubled back across the Malay Peninsula (conventional tracking wasn’t possible as the plane’s secondary radar had been disabled inside the cockpit).

Then, after still no trace was found, pioneering data analysis by British satellite telecom firm Inmarsat indicated that MH370 had traveled south into the Indian Ocean, probably running out of fuel roughly 1,000 miles off the western Australia city of Perth.

A total of 55,000 sq km of seafloor has been scoured in this area, but the lack of any success prompted the search zone to be doubled to 120,000 sq km in May. In addition, thousands of reconnaissance flights were launched, with the combined operation costing more than $100 million — an unprecedented figure.

And so, if confirmed, Wednesday’s discovery of a supposed wing-flap — found 2,500 miles (or the equivalent of the width of the U.S.) from the search zone — would be the first definitive piece of proof that the plane had crashed.

“Malaysia Airlines is working with the relevant authorities to confirm the matter,” the carrier said in an emailed statement. “At the moment, it would be too premature for the airline to speculate the origin of the flaperon.”

2. What’s next?

Proving categorically that the recovered piece came from a Boeing 777. Investigators from the U.S. aviation giant, as well as representatives from Malaysia Airlines, are currently trying to make that call. But should verification prove tricky in tiny Reunion, they may transport the object to specialist labs in France for further examination. (France has jurisdiction to handle evidence found on its territory, though will work with Malaysia, which heads the overall investigation because it involves its flag carrier; Australia has also offered assistance.)

Ideally, they would find a serial number. If there’s a part number that starts with “113W,” then we know it comes from a 777. (A marking “PB670″ was found on the object, revealed Truss, though the significance is so far unknown.)

If the part is confirmed as coming from a 777, experts say there will be little doubt it came from MH370. “Our goal, along with the entire global aviation industry, continues to be not only to find the airplane but also to determine what happened — and why,” said Boeing in a statement Wednesday.

3. So have we been searching in the wrong place all this time?

Not at all. In the almost 17 months since the plane vanished, debris could feasibly have drifted anywhere around the globe. Certainly, the buffeting South Atlantic Gyre could have swept a flaperon from Western Australia to Reunion.

“The information that we have is consistent with the search that’s being undertaken at the present time,” Truss told reporters. “It supports the satellite data and the identification of the area in the southern Indian Ocean as the likely place where the aircraft could have entered the water.

However, if confirmed, additional searches of islands near Reunion, and the coastlines of nearby Madagascar and East Africa, could also be initiated to try to find more debris.

4. What does it tell us?

If confirmed as a piece from MH370, the most telling initial detail is the size of the debris, which experts say makes a high-velocity nose-dive crash unlikely. Larger objects of this ilk are more common from slower impacts, such as a pilot deliberately plotting a gentle descent.

“It’s an indication that this broke off in some sort of a landing or a spiral down from altitude as the plane stalled and ran out of fuel,” Mary Schiavo, former inspector general of the U.S. Department of Transportation, told CNN.

But even the attached barnacles could tell an important story, given that there are over 1,000 different species throughout the oceans dependent on myriad environmental factors.

5. What’s the legal significance?

Very little. Under the Montreal Convention, litigation against an airline must take place within two years of a disaster. This is still the time frame that lawyers representing the victims’ families are working within. But Malaysia Airlines has already accepted responsibility and declared that the missing plane was “lost.”

Compensation has already been announced, although the amount could be challenged. However, as an airline has a “strict liability” to deliver passengers to a destination, the cause of the crash — pilot suicide, pilot error, hijacking, etc. — only has limited significance.

“The cause may not matter vis-à-vis the airline regarding what their duties and responsibilities are to pay compensation,” Brian Alexander, a lawyer specializing in aviation litigation for Kreindler & Kreindler LLP, which is representing 48 victims’ families, tells TIME. “And I don’t think this one finding would affect our decisionmaking regarding the timing of the filing.”

However, should more wreckage be found to indicate the disaster resulted from a mechanical fault that was not the airline’s fault, additional litigation could theoretically be brought against Boeing.

6. What about the families?

This is where the discovery could be hugely significant. Without debris, conspiracy theories have proliferated, with some suggesting an elaborate heist and that the airplane may have been stashed for reuse in a later terrorist attack, possibly in a disused Soviet-era military runway somewhere near the Caucuses. Many families have refused to give up hope until the plane has definitively been proved as crashed. That time, for better or worse, may soon be upon us.

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 France

Watch 433 Hot Air Balloons Set a New World Record for Simultaneous Flight in France

What a load of hot air

A new world record for the number of hot air balloons soaring into the sky simultaneously has been set in France.

At an air base in Chambley-Bussieres, eastern France, on Sunday, enthusiasts from more than 40 countries set out in 433 balloons in a variety of colorful designs, reports Agence France-Presse.

The event beat the previous record for simultaneous hot air balloon flights, which was set in 2013 with 391 balloons.

Philippe Buron-Pilatre, organizer of the international Lorraine Mondial Air Ballons meeting, said “a new page in ballooning history has been written.”

YouTube user Bart Lapers posted a video of the event to his channel on Sunday showing hundreds of balloons taking off, some in unusual shapes such as a castle or popular French cartoon character Obelix.

According to Buron-Pilatre, the biggest worry is if two balloons collide mid-flight and tear the fabric — something that has happened in the past.

[AFP]

TIME France

Chris Froome Wins 2nd Tour de France

This was his second win in three years

(PARIS)—Resplendent in yellow and riding a canary yellow bike, Chris Froome has won his second Tour de France in three years, with a leisurely pedal into Paris to wrap up a spectacular three-week slog of furious racing that culminated with a thrilling late fight-back by the British rider’s toughest rival, Colombian Nairo Quintana.

Cheered on the Champs-Elysees under suitably rainy skies for Britain’s third win in the 112-year-old race, Froome took it easy on the last Stage 21, his work done having grimly resisted Quintana’s last-ditch assault on his hard-won Tour lead on Saturday on the final Alpine ascent.

Just as when Froome first won in 2013, Quintana is again runner-up, although the margin is much smaller this time. Froome and his teammates crossed the finish line together in a line, arms across each other’s shoulders, with Froome grinning in the middle.

TIME France

Paris Police Open Fire at Car at Tour de France Barricades

tour de france police paris
Mike Egerton—AP Police on the Champs-Elysees in Paris where the final stage of the Tour de France is due to finish on July 26, 2015.

Police are still looking for the car's occupants

(PARIS)—Paris police officers opened fire on a car that tried to crash through barricades about eight hours before the final arrival of the Tour de France cycling race on Sunday, a police official said.

The car escaped with its two occupants apparently unharmed after coming under fire around 11 a.m. in the Place de la Concorde, where the cyclists make their final triumphant rounds to conclude the race, said Luc Poignant, a spokesman with the SGP police union. Police are hunting for the people in the car.

Tour de France race director Thierry Gouvenou said that he didn’t have much information about the incident, but he didn’t foresee any impact on the race.

The final stage of the Tour de France is due to begin at 4:35 p.m., leaving from Sevres, a town southwest of Paris. The riders are then due to arrive in the French capital at around 5:30 p.m. and do 10 laps around the Champs-Elysees before finishing at Place de la Concorde at about 7 p.m.

Hundreds of thousands of people gather in the Place de la Concorde and the Champs Elysees for the race’s final leg.

Poignant said officers were finishing setting up the barricades for the race when the car tried to crash through the barriers. Officers opened fire on the car, which ultimately drove away. Poignant told the BFM television network that no officers were injured.

 

TIME Cycling

See the Crazy Fans of the Tour de France

Wearing costumes and wielding props, these devoted fans cheer for their Tour de France favorites

TIME HIV/AIDS

A Woman Born HIV-Positive Is in Remission Despite Stopping Treatment Years Ago

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Science Stills/Visuals Unlimited, Inc./Getty Images

Doctors believe early rather than continuous treatment with antiretrovirals is key

The first case of a woman in long-term HIV remission despite not receiving treatment for many years has been documented in France.

The 18-year-old was HIV-positive at birth and given antiretroviral drugs as a child, but her family decided to cease the treatment when she reached the age of 6. Twelve years have passed and today her viral load is too low to be measured. Doctors can’t figure out why the women’s HIV has stalled.

“With this first, highly documented case of this young woman, we provide the proof of concept that long-term remission is possible in children, as in adults,” Dr. Asier Sáez-Cirión, from the Institute Pasteur in Paris, told the BBC.

“However, these cases are still very rare,” he said.

Some experts believe that early treatment is the key to future remission, but large-scale studies still need to be conducted to nail down this theory.

Although there is still much to learn, predicting HIV remission has been the subject of studies in the past. Sáez-Cirión previously led a research group of 14 patients who had no sign of the virus re-emerging after coming off antiretroviral drugs. Thirteen years passed and the patients’ viral loads remained low.

[BBC]

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