TIME Innovation

Five Best Ideas of the Day: March 17

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

1. Is it time for the Jews to leave Europe?

By Jeffrey Goldberg in the Atlantic

2. The divorce rate is falling. Here’s why that’s bad news for some Americans.

By Sharadha Bain in the Washington Post

3. Across the planet, cost and class determine who lives and who dies.

By Paul Farmer in the London Review of Books

4. The U.S. should consider joining — rather than containing — the Chinese-led Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank.

By Elizabeth C. Economy in Asia Unbound

5. Trade unions in Cleveland will launch a “pre-apprentice” program to prepare high school kids for construction jobs.

By Patrick O’Donnell in the Cleveland Plain Dealer

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 Spain

Spain Finds Don Quixote Writer’s Tomb

Search of human remains of Cervantes continues
Madrid Region/EPA Forensic and anthropology experts labor to find Spanish writer Miguel de Cervantes' human remains at Trinitarias Convent's crypt in Madrid, Spain.

Miguel de Cervantes' remains have been missing for almost 400 years

Spanish scientists have discovered what they believe to be the remains of Miguel de Cervantes in Madrid, almost 400 years after the Don Quixote author’s death.

His bones were found with his wife’s and others in a crypt in the Convent of the Barefoot Trinitarians, the BBC reports. Forensic scientists have yet to conduct DNA tests, and they say separating what is believed to be Cervantes from the others will be difficult. But based on extensive historical evidence, researchers say they can conclusively identify the tomb as his.

The prolific novelist and poet died in 1616 after completing the famous epic Don Quixote, considered by many scholars to be the first European novel. His remains went missing in 1673 after the convent where he was buried underwent construction. After it was rebuilt, he was moved back into the new building’s crypt along with the other individuals forensic scientists found, and his exact resting place was lost for centuries.

The team of 30 researchers are part of a project launched in 2011 to locate his burial place. They used infrared cameras, radar and 3D scanners to determine his location in the crypt.

Investigator Luis Avial said in a news conference that Cervantes would be reburied “with full honors” once a new tomb is built.

MONEY Millennials

This One Question Can Show if You’re Smarter than Most U.S. Millennials

Millennial office
Leonardo Patrizi—Getty Images

Young people in the United States ranked nearly last in a new international test of skills. See how you compare by answering this one question.

Let’s say you see an advertisement that reads:

Apply for a loan
Up to $70,000
Terms of the loan
Pay only $103 per month for each $1,000 borrowed
Payable in 12 equal monthly payments

What’s the annual simple interest rate on the loan?

If you answer correctly—you’ll have to read on to find out—you’re ahead of the curve when it comes to marketable job skills.

According to a new report from Educational Testing Service (ETS), which designs the GRE and other exams, American millennials lag far behind young people in other countries when it comes to all the top skills that employers seek.

Those include literacy, ability to follow basic written instructions, problem-solving while using technology—and math.

To arrive at these findings, ETS administered a new test called the Program for the International Assessment of Adult Competencies to thousands of people across 22 developed countries.

Out of all millennials, Americans ranked last for numeracy, tied with Italians and Spaniards. Gen Y-ers stateside also got lower reading comprehension scores than peers in 15 of the 22 countries. (Japan ranked number one across all categories.)

That sample question you saw above was described by ETS as 5/5 on the difficulty scale for numeric literacy. The answer, by the way, is around 24%.

You can see a longer list of sample questions here and read the full report on the ETS website.

More from Money.com:

Most Americans Fail This 3-Question Financial Quiz. Can You Pass It?

Europe Just Got Even Cheaper for U.S. Travelers

This Is How You Write a Perfect Interview Thank You Note

TIME Innovation

Five Best Ideas of the Day: March 9

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

1. Take a data dive to see how a ring of suburban poverty is appearing around America’s revived cities.

By Luke Juday at the Weldon Cooper Center for Public Service at the University of Virginia

2. Don’t worry about Russia giving up on nuclear cooperation and the International Space Station.

By Lisa Saum-Manning in U.S. News & World Report

3. Scientists reverse-engineered social networks to learn how to fight HIV among homeless youth by word of mouth.

By Jessica Leber in Fast Co.Exist

4. A Pyrenees pipeline could weaken Putin’s grip on European energy.

By Paul Ames in Global Post

5. For developmentally disabled kids, the benefits of organized sports are huge.

By Darrin Steele in Quartz

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 Spain

Spain Breaks Up ISIS Recruitment Ring Targeting Young Women

SPAIN-TERROR-JIHAD-POLICE-ARREST
Angela Rios—AFP/Getty Images One of four people suspected of creating and operating several Internet platforms spreading propaganda, particularly for the Islamic State group in a bid to recruit young women to join Islamic State militants is arrested in Melilla, Spain, on February 24, 2015.

Two suspects stand accused of hosting ISIS propaganda viewing parties for potential recruits

Spain has detained four propagandists for Islamic State in Iraq and Greater Syria (ISIS), including two suspects who allegedly targeted young women for recruitment campaigns.

Police arrested two suspects in the city of Melilla, a Spanish enclave along the northern coast of Morocco, and two other suspects in the cities of Barcelona and Girona, the New York Times reports.

The detainees in north Africa stand accused of running an online campaign “dedicated to the recruitment of women,” according to Spain’s interior ministry, and held viewing parties of ISIS propaganda at several residences.

The detainees on the Spanish mainland allegedly spread ISIS propaganda through social media. One detainee had accumulated more than 1,000 followers on Facebook, according to authorities.

Read more at the New York Times.

TIME Spain

American Gored by Bull in Spain Out of Intensive Care

Spain Bull Goring
Jose Vicente—AP A man runs in front of a bull during the "Carnaval del Toro" in Ciudad Rodrigo, Spain, on Sunday, Feb. 15, 2015.

He's not likely to have to undergo any further operations

(MADRID) — A 20-year-old American man who was badly gored during a bull-running festival is out of intensive care and improving, a spokesman for the Clinic Hospital in western Salamanca said Monday.

The hospital spokesman identified the man as Benjamin Miller and said he was out of danger and not likely to have to undergo any further operations. He spoke on condition of anonymity in keeping with hospital rules.

However, Tom Eppes, a spokesman for the University of Mississippi, confirmed Monday that Benjamin Milley, originally from Marietta, Georgia, and a sophomore at the school, is the injured man.

Family members could not be immediately reached on Monday.

The man suffered several wounds, including a 40-cm (16-inch) goring in the thigh, when he was caught by a fighting bull during a festival in the nearby town of Ciudad Rodrigo on Saturday.

Images showed the 20-year-old being repeatedly tossed by the bull and in obvious pain at being gored and pushed along the ground. Helpers eventually managed to pull him up from the street to safety.

Fiestas featuring bulls are common in Spain and many people are injured each year. Spain’s most famous bull-running event is in the San Fermin festival in Pamplona.

In the runs, hundreds of people test their bravery and speed by dashing ahead of bulls through the streets to a town’s bull ring.

Towns normally have special medical units ready to attend those injured in the festivals.

Ciudad Rodrigo town councilor Pedro Munoz said two other unidentified men — a man from Scotland and a Spaniard — had sustained less serious goring injuries during Saturday’s events.

_

Associated Press reporter Kathleen Foody in Atlanta contributed to this report.

TIME Spain

This Exhibit Lets Blind People Touch the Mona Lisa

A blind person feels with his hands a copy of 'The Mona Lisa" at The Prado Museum on Feb. 10, 2015 in Madrid.
Pablo Blazquez Dominguez A blind person feels with his hands a copy of 'The Mona Lisa" at The Prado Museum on Feb. 10, 2015 in Madrid.

"Hoy Toca el Prado" features artwork remastered to allow the blind to feel how they look

A museum in Madrid, Spain has unveiled an inclusive exhibit featuring artistic masterpieces recreated so the blind can feel how they look, CBS News reports.

The works on display at the Prado Museum were made using the Didu technique, which adds texture to paintings. The exhibit, titled “Hoy Toca el Prado” opened January 20 and features works like El Greco’s El caballero de la mano en el pecho and Leonardo da Vinci’s Mona Lisa.

Paintings For Vision-Impaired People At The Prado Museum
Pablo Blazquez Dominguez—Getty ImagesA blind person feels with her hands a copy of ‘The gentleman with his hand on his chest’ of El Greco at The Prado Museum on Feb. 10, 2015 in Madrid.
TIME portugal

Portugal Offers Citizenship to Descendants of Expelled Jews

Jose Oulman Bensaude Carp
Francisco Seco—AP In this photo taken on Wednesday, Jan. 28, 2015, Jose Oulman Bensaude Carp, President of the Jewish community in Lisbon, waits to be interviewed by The Associated Press at the main Jewish synagogue in Lisbon.

Portugal currently boasts around 1,000 Jews, but that number might rise soon

Portugal approved this week new rules for granting citizenship to descendants of the nation’s Sephardic Jewish community. The landmark move was first proposed two years ago, but had stalled in the absence of cabinet approval.

Under the Inquisition, which ravaged Portugal and neighboring Spain in the 15th and 16th centuries, Sephardic Jews were expelled, forced to flee, or risked death if they did not recant and convert to Christianity.

“There is no possibility to amend what was done,” said Portuguese Justice Minister Paula Teixera da Cruz, terming the new legislation “the attribution of a right.”

The Portuguese government acknowledges Jews inhabited the region before the nation as we know it today was even created. However, in order to obtain a passport, Sephardic Jews must provide strong evidence of ancestral ties to Portugal through their last names, Portuguese language use, or direct lineage to Portugal’s current Jewish minority.

Many in the diaspora still speak Portuguese in their households, despite being forced to leave the region after targeted religious pogroms on the Iberian peninsula.

Spain is also considering reinstating citizenship for its former Jewish community.

[BBC]

TIME Spain

Spanish Anti-Austerity Party Hopes to Emulate Greek Election Victors

Pablo Iglesias
Paul White—AP Pablo Iglesias, the leader of the leftist Podemos (We Can) party, speaks during a news conference in Madrid on May 30, 2014.

The one-year old Podemos party are already equal to the Popular and Socialist parties according to some polls

If there is one country in Europe where the fallout of the Sunday’s election result in Greece is felt most keenly, it is Spain.

Like in Athens, the government in Madrid has relied on a European bailout to support the economy and it has suffered from high unemployment, a large budget deficit and deteriorating living conditions.

What worries the administration of Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy most, is, like in Greece, the presence of a start-up political party whose aim is to take on the establishment and upset four decades of political homogeneity.

Podemos, which translates as “We Can,” was formed almost a year ago, and in some polls is already equal with the centre-right governing Popular Party and the opposition Socialists. Rajoy was so concerned that a victory for Podemos’s ‘sister party’ Syriza in Greece would provide a boost for Podemos in Spain that he travelled to Athens to support the then Greek prime minister, Antonio Samaras, before last Sunday’s poll. The Podemos leader, Pablo Iglesias, responded in kind by making an appearance at Syriza’s last election rally, alongside Alexis Tsipras.

“Many things unite the Greek and Spanish people to lead a new European project,” Iglesias told a rally in Valencia on Sunday. “They’ve wanted to look down on us as ‘Mediterraneans.’ They’ve called us ‘PIGS [an acronym for Portugal, Italy, Greece and Spain].’ They’ve wanted to turn us into a periphery. They want us to be countries of cheap labour forces. They want our young people to be the servants of rich tourists. Today we say that we are proud to be from the South, and that from the South we are going to return to Europe and to all its peoples the dignity that they deserve.”

Podemos currently has few policies in its manifesto although it promises to prepare a program for government before the elections. Last year it announced plans to lift wages, pensions and public investment and re-negotiate Spain’s debt. In 2015, the government proposes to sell $305 billion of bonds and bills to cover its spending.

Since the vote in Athens, Rajoy has sought to play down the implications for Spain of Syriza’s victory in Greece. He has warned Spaniards ahead of elections later this year that Podemos represents a huge risk and a return to uncertainty as the Spanish economy slowly improves. “Spain cannot afford to go back in time or leap into the void. We cannot throw overboard the sacrifices made by so many Spaniards,” he said.

On the surface, Podemos and Syriza seem similar but there are key differences. Podemos’s rise cannot be about economics alone. According to Spain’s National Statistics Institute, unemployment in the fourth quarter of last year stood at 23.7%, stubbornly above the average since the end of the Franco-era dictatorship. But it is gradually falling and growth has returned. In the fourth quarter of last year, growth was 0.5%, but it is positive and is forecast to improve throughout the year.

The message from Podemos is broader and not just about attacking the financial constraints imposed by Brussels. Spain received just a fraction of the bailout money taken by Athens to prop up its banking system via a mechanism it has now left. The Spanish government has not had to wear the fiscal straitjacket imposed on the Greek governments of recent years.

“There are evident differences [between Podemos and Syriza]. In Spain, like in much of southern Europe, there is a general dissatisfaction with political establishment. The economic situation [compared to Greece] is not as bad,” says Antonio Barroso, of the think-tank Teneo Intelligence. “Podemos has sought to exploit the gap that has been created by a desire for change among the Spanish electorate.”

As much as Angela Merkel, the German Chancellor and Mario Draghi, the head of the European Central Bank attract Iglesias’s ire, under most scrutiny is what he describes as ‘La Casta’ — the political establishment. And while it is trying to usurp the Socialists on the left, Podemos is also at pains to highlight a corruption scandal engulfing the governing Popular Party. The party’s former treasurer, himself on bail awaiting trial, now accuses Mr Rojoy directly of knowing about the presence of slush funds that benefitted the party and its leaders, an allegation Rajoy denies.

At the same time, the King’s sister, Princess Christina, is due to stand trial on charges of tax fraud, becoming the first Spanish royal to face criminal prosecution. It all adds up, Podemos claims, to a political system that is corrupt and ripe for change.

“It is difficult to know exactly what they want, beyond power,” says Barroso of Teneo Intelligence. “Podemos is not competing in many of this year’s municipal elections because it does not want to show its hand. It saw an opportunity in terms of the dissatisfaction with the political system and took advantage of that juncture. Indeed, most people still see it as a left-wing party, but slowly it is moving from the extreme left to something that looks more like a social democratic party.”

Podemos, a coalition of leftists, the poor, intellectuals and the disaffected middle classes, is due to hold a rally in Madrid on Saturday, the start of the countdown to change, it says. Iglesias likes using the imagery of ticking clock, “tick, tock, tick, tock,” he says in interviews. The message is clear. His time is coming, and that of the Spanish establishment is running out.

TIME Telecommunications

Hong Kong Billionaire Li Ka-shing Eyes British O2 Telecoms Network

Li Ka-shing, Victor Li
Vincent Yu—AP Hong Kong tycoon Li Ka-shing, right, and his son Victor Li, react during a press conference in Hong Kong Friday, Jan. 9, 2015.

Acquiring O2 may allow a merger with Li's Three mobile network

Hong Kong billionaire Li Ka-shing is negotiating to spend almost $15 billion to acquire O2, Britain’s second-largest mobile network.

Taking over O2, currently owned by Spain’s Telefonica, would allow Li, 86, to merge the company with Three mobile network, which is currently owned by his firm Hutchison Whampoa. That would create Britain’s largest mobile telecommunications group, reports the BBC.

Hutchison shares increased by 4% after reports of a potential deal emerged, but negotiations with Telefonica are expected to take weeks. The purchase may also be hampered if European industry regulators perceive the move infringes on competition protocols.

In a bid to restructure his business empire, which spans everything from telecommunications to ports, Li, who until he was overtaken by Alibaba boss Jack Ma this year was the richest man in Asia, has spent nearly $30 billion this year acquiring foreign assets to diversify his Hong Kong holdings.

[BBC]

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