TIME europe

The European Union Has Called for Emergency Talks on the Refugee Crisis

Transit zone for migrants at Budapest Keleti railway station
Arpad Kurucz—Anadolu Agency/Getty Images Migrants camp in a transit zone at Keleti railway station in Budapest, Hungary on August 30, 2015.

Talks will be attended by Interior Ministers from each of the union's 28 member states

The European Union is calling emergency talks to discuss a solution to its rapidly escalating refugee and migrant crisis, which it says has attained “unprecedented proportions.”

The E.U. leadership announced that the talks will be held on Sept. 14 and be attended by Interior Ministers from each of the union’s 28 member states, the BBC reports.

More than 300,000 refugees and migrants have arrived in Europe since January — primarily from the Middle East and Africa — already surpassing the total number for all of 2014.

More than 2,500 of those have died making the perilous journey across the Mediterranean Sea, with 200 missing and feared dead after a boat capsized off the coast of Libya on Thursday, and 71 bodies found in a truck abandoned by the roadside in Austria, only the latest in an increasing number of fatal incidents.

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said he was “horrified and heartbroken” by last week’s deaths, and called for a “collective political response” to the crisis.

The talks in two weeks will touch upon measures against trafficking, return policies and internal co-operation, among other topics, according to the BBC.

Germany, France and the U.K. have all suggested the determination of a list of “safe countries of origin,” thereby enabling the immediate repatriation of at least a portion of the arrivals. Germany announced on Saturday that it would allow migrants from Syria — whose continued civil war is a major contributor to the European influx — to seek and obtain asylum.


Glastonbury Festival Donates Abandoned Boots to Migrants

wellington boots
Lynne Cameron—AP Wellington boots on sale during the Country Landowners' Association Gamefair at Harewood House, West Yorkshire, England on July 31, 2015.

After it rained at the U.K. music festival, many left their bulky boots behind

The Glastonbury Festival donated more than 500 pairs of rain boots (or “wellies”) to migrants in Calais, France, the festival announced Friday.

After it rained throughout the U.K. music festival on June 25-28, many left their bulky boots behind. Liz Clegg, who works with the festival, decided to gather and present the boots to migrants in Calais alongside the French charity Association Salam, according to the festival’s website.

Volunteers “meticulously sized, paired and quality controlled” the boots, the website said. Then Clegg traveled to Calais herself, transporting the boots along with 2,000 new rain ponchos and first aid kits.


Women-Only Train Carriages Are Being Considered by U.K. Opposition Leadership Contender

Jeremy Corbyn
Matt Cardy—Getty Images Labour leadership candidate Jeremy Corbyn listens to other speakers as he waits to speak at a rally for supporters at the Hilton at the Ageas Bowl in Southampton, England, on Aug. 25, 2015.

Jeremy Corbyn says it could help prevent harassment

Women only carriages in trains will be considered by U.K. Labour Party leadership contender Jeremy Corbyn in order to tackle the rise in assaults in public places.

He will propose a pilot scheme for trains where women-only carriages will be available after 10pm, reports the Independent. Corbyn also wants a 24-hour hotline for reporting harassment and assault.

“My intention would be to make public transport safer for everyone from the train platform, to the bus stop to the mode of transport itself,” Corbyn told the BBC. “I would consult with women and open it up to hear their views on whether women-only carriages would be welcome – and also if piloting this at times and [on] modes of transport where harassment is reported most frequently would be of interest.”

This comes after British Transport Police (BTP) recorded a 25% rise in sexual offences on trains and in stations between 2014 – 2015.

Some disagree with his plans, saying that it evades the issue of harassment rather than fix it. “It seems to say ‘let’s segregate people’, rather than tackling the issue,” Nicky Morgan, U.K.’s Minister for Women and Equalities, told the BBC.

Compartments for women were last used in British railways in 1977 and countries that run carriages for women include India, Mexico, Indonesia and Japan.


Big Ben Has Been Running Up to Six Seconds Late

Big Ben Time Glitch
Steve Parsons—AP Images Big Ben on Sept. 19, 2013.

"It does have a little fit every now and then"

Londoners using Big Ben as a trusty timekeeper over the past couple of weeks might have been ever so slightly late to their appointments.

The BBC reports the iconic clock tower has been running up to six seconds late, according to clock smith Ian Westworth. Big Ben is typically accurate to within two seconds of the actual time, with Westworth describing the clock’s current behavior as “temperamental.”

At 156, Big Ben is allowed some tantrums. A spokesperson was sympathetic to the clock’s missteps, acknowledging Ben “Does have a little fit every now and then,” but asking people to “Imagine running your car for 24 hours a day, 365 days a year for the last 156 years.”

The cause of the delay was traced to a mechanical error that occurred on August 15 and 16. Errors are normally fixed by adding and removing old coins in the pendulum to adjust the rate at which it swings.

Luckily for those who want to be as on time as possible, Big Ben is back in fighting shape. The clock’s accuracy is now within the second.


Death Toll Expected to Rise to 20 After British Air Show Crash

Emergency services and crash investigation officers continue to work at the site where a Hawker Hunter fighter jet crashed onto the A27 road at Shoreham near Brighton
Luke MacGregor—Reuters Emergency services and crash investigation officers continue to work at the site where a Hawker Hunter fighter jet crashed onto the A27 road at Shoreham near Brighton, U.K., Aug. 24, 2015.

The exact number of fatalies is still unknown after a fighter jet crashed into a busy highway when an air show display went wrong

Authorities are expecting the death toll to rise to around 20 after a Hawker Hunter fighter jet taking part in a British airshow, near Brighton, crashed into a busy main road and burst into flames.

The initial death toll reported on Saturday was reported to be seven people with more than a dozen others injured. On Monday, the BBC reported that at least 11 people are believed to be dead, but authorities are expecting to recover more bodies after the jet is removed from the crash site. In addition to vehicles on the road, Sussex Police’s assistant chief constable, Steve Barry, told the BBC that there were many cyclists and onlookers along the busy stretch of road where the jet crashed, which has made determining an exact number difficult.

Barry told the BBC, “The number of highly likely dead remains at 11, but may rise. However, we do not expect that figure to be greater than 20, probably fewer.”

An onlooker told the BBC that the crash took place just after the jet pilot had began his demonstration. “He’d gone up into a loop and as he was coming out of the loop I just thought, you’re too low, you’re too low, pull up,” Stephen Jones told the BBC. “And he flew straight into the ground either on or very close to the A27, which runs past the airport.”

A crane is expected to remove the jet wreckage from the highway.



Enter Dismaland: Banksy’s New Disneyland Parody Brings Life to British Coastal Town

Banksy's new show might be a catalyst for change in Weston-super-Mare

The princess-to-be hangs from the window of her overturned carriage, with little sparrows attempting to lift her limp and presumably dead figure. Paparazzi snap photos of the scene. The crash is housed in a crumbling castle with dour attendants milling outside, saying “end-joy” to those who pass. There is no happy ending for Cinderella in this diorama.

The dark parody of Disneyland – aptly named Dismaland – is the latest project of British street artist Banksy. The famous ‘guerilla’ artist first appeared 20-years ago in the U.K., where his political and often provocative work quickly made him the biggest name in the international street-art scene.

His new “bemusement park” is housed in Tropicana, a disused swimming pool complex that juts out onto the beach in the English coastal town of Weston-super-Mare, which he used to visit as a child. “I hope everyone from Weston will take the opportunity to once more stand in a puddle of murky water eating cold chips to the sound of crying children,” said Banksy to local newspaper, The Weston & Somerset Mercury.

Dismaland Park #dismaland #banksy #dismaland_park #streetart #banksyart #disney #ladydi #paparazzi

A photo posted by Dismaland Park (@dismaland_park) on

Banksy’s impish humour resounds through what he calls a “festival of art, amusements and entry-level anarchy.” Even the park’s website self-deprecatingly bills it as “the UKs most disappointing new visitor attraction.” Yet the new pop-up exhibition has enough thought-provoking and hilarious content to have encouraged hundreds of locals to line-up to see it.

“This is one of the best things to happen to Weston,” says Judith Groves, 48, who began queuing at 5.30 am. Her efforts paid off. Five-and-a-half hours later she was in the 2.5 acre theme park. “I am like a kid in a sweetshop, I feel like I have won a golden ticket.”

In Dismaland, everything one expects from a funfair has taken a dark and sarcastic turn: A grim reaper performs donuts in a bumper car. A horse-meat butcher sits on a merry-go-round, while people try to ‘Hook-A-Duck’ from an oil-spill. The puppets Punch and Judy are also there, making wicked references to popular culture. “Who bought all the copies of Fifty Shades of Grey? The Ladies! Bless their little hearts. So no more silly crying about damaged body parts,” says Punch.

#dismaland #banksy #banksyart

A photo posted by Dismaland Park (@dismaland_park) on

While the obvious jibes against manufactured theme parks are present – exampled by an installation of an orca jumping out of toilet into a tiny paddling pool – for Maskull Lasserre, a Canadian artist participating in Dismaland, the show is a trope on the coastal fairgrounds found in small towns around the globe.

“I think it is a respectful take on a seaside town,” says Lasserre, “Dismaland is saturated with the notion of things not meant to be, everything is subversive and ironic… it ends up destabilising my perception of the town.”

The temporary exhibition features over 50 artists from the U.S., Europe and the Middle East. The line-up features big names, including American artist Jenny Holzer, Britain’s Damien Hirst, and David Shrigley. There are three galleries, tents, dozens of installations, an open-air cinema showing short films and bands like Massive Attack and Pussy Riot will perform in the coming weeks.

Before its unveiling on Thursday, many of the local residents were unaware of Banksy’s plans for the area. In an effort to misdirect them, placards appeared around the Tropicana insinuating that there was a film crew at work. “The signs said it was for Grey Fox” says Julia McKenzie, who can see Dismaland from her kitchen window. She googled the name and found an IMDB website for what turned out to be a fake film. “They really did it well,” says the 39-year-old.

This is typical behaviour from the prankster, who enjoys teasing the public and having fans second guess everything from his identity, which is still unknown, to where his next work will crop up: Banksy’s New York residency in 2013 had fans following scraps of clues to new pieces of work.

Horsemeat merry-go-round at #dismaland

A photo posted by Tara John (@tarajohn) on

Dismaland is being called the artist’s biggest project yet, and residents hope that it will revitalise Weston-super-Mare. His 2009 exhibition in Bristol, a city 18 miles from Weston attracted over 300,000 visitors and generated £10 million for the local economy, reports the Guardian. The council for North Somerset, the area where Weston-super-Mare is located, has struggled to find investors for the abandoned Tropicana. Dismaland might still bring change to the town’s fortunes.

“Though the seafront is looking good, Weston has a feel of things waiting to happen and it has done for years,” says North Somerset councillor Tom Leimdorfer, “this could be a catalyst for something to happen.”

Local teaching assistant Charlotte Chambers thinks the town needs a lot of work. “I really hope our local council sees the irony of Dismaland, in the sense that the Tropicana has been derelict for so long,” says Chambers, as she played on an oil caliphate-themed crazy golf course in the exhibition. “The town centre is horrendous, shops have closed down and the council really needs to do something.”

By the simple act of putting Dismaland in Western-super-Mare, Banksy has opened the town to an international audience, with as yet uncertain consequences.


Malala Aced Her High School Exams

Congressional Leaders Meet With Nobel Winner Malala Yousafzai
Chip Somodevilla—Getty Images 2014 Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Malala Yousafzai (L) poses for photographs before a meeting with Senate Minority Whip Richard Durbin (D-IL) about the importance of girls' education and the need for universal secondary education world-wide in his office at the U.S. Capitol June 23, 2015 in Washington, DC.

Yousafzai got As and A*s on her General Certificate of Secondary Education exams (GCSEs)

Malala Yousafzai took home a string of top grades in high school exams in the U.K., and her family is celebrating accordingly.

In her General Certificate of Secondary Education (GCSE) exams, Malala received A*s (similar to an A+) in biology, chemistry, physics, religious studies, math and the international version of the math certificate, and As in history, geography, English language and English literature. She can now go on to study for her A-levels.

Malala, 18, has been an advocate for girls’ education since her childhood in Pakistan; in 2012, after writing about her school’s troubles, she was shot in the head by the Taliban. She has since been living and studying in the city of Birmingham in the U.K, and remains an icon for global education. Her father took to Twitter to celebrate her high marks:


Read next: Malala’s Dad: How I Raised a Nobel Peace Prize Winner

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100-Year Old Message in a Bottle is Finally Delivered

It was tossed into the North Sea between 1904 and 1906

LONDON (AP) — A century-old message in a bottle, possibly the oldest ever found, has finally reached its destination.

Tossed into the North Sea sometime between 1904 and 1906, the bottle washed up on the beach in the German town of Amrum, and was found by a couple in April. Inside they found a postcard asking that it be sent to the Marine Biological Association of the U.K. — which they did.

The association said Friday that the bottle was one of some 1,000 thrown into the North Sea as part of marine research more than 100 years ago. Inside each bottle was a postcard promising a shilling to anyone who returned it to the association, based in Plymouth.

Most of the messages were returned decades ago. The German couple got their shilling.


TIME Thailand

Suspects in the Koh Tao Murder Trial Were Given Woefully Unqualified Interpreters

Myanmar migrant worker Win Zaw Htun sits in a prison truck as he arrives at the Koh Samui Provincial Court, in Koh Samui
Chaiwat Subprasom—Reuters Burmese migrant worker Zaw Lin sits in a prison truck as he arrives at the Koh Samui Provincial Court, in Koh Samui, Thailand, on July 22, 2015

The accused claim they are scapegoats and face a possible death sentence if convicted

A Thai court has heard that the interpreters used to record the confessions of two Burmese men accused of murdering a pair of British backpackers last year were in fact pancake hawkers who did not properly understand Thai or the suspects’ native Burmese dialect.

Wai Phyo and Zaw Lin, both 22, stand accused of the murder of David Miller, 24, and the rape and murder of Hannah Witheridge, 23, on the Thai Gulf island of Koh Tao. The victims’ bloodied corpses were discovered in the early hours of Sept. 15 on popular Sairee Beach just yards from their guesthouse.

The suspects, both ethnic Rakhine from Burma’s restive western Arakan state, were working on Koh Tao at the time, and admitted to the double murder during interrogation. However, they soon recanted and claimed they were tortured into confessing.

On Thursday, Samui Central Court heard that two Rohingya Muslims — an ethnicity currently engaged in a bitter sectarian feud with the Rakhine — were employed as interpreters during their interrogation. However, they only had rudimentary understanding of Thai and the Rakhine language, reports the Myanmar Times.

One of the translators, named Ko Ye, admitted to the defense team that he signed a statement confirming what was said during the interrogation even though it was written in the Thai language, which he could not read.

Speaking to TIME in Koh Samui prison prior to the trial, Wai Phyo said the translator accused him of being party to mob violence against Rohingya in their homeland. “He asked me: ‘When the riots started in Burma, where were you? Did you burn down my village?’” said Wai Phyo.

The case continues.


Polish Migrants Give Blood and Strike to Show How Much U.K. Needs Them

Thousands are expected to protest against prejudice

The U.K.’s Polish community took action Thursday to protest negative attitudes and show how the country relies on them by stopping work or giving blood at local donor clinics

Over 1,000 Polish workers, reports the Guardian, are expected to protest outside British parliament. Thousands are also expected to donate blood. The blood drive was instigated by a social media campaign, which has 2,400 registered as ‘going.’

“A few weeks ago, readers of the Polish language newspaper Polish Express began discussing what would happen if 10,000s of Poles working in the UK did not go to work for the day,” George Byczynski from the British Poles Initiative told the Guardian. “There was a discussion that it would prove how hard Polish people work and the benefits immigrants in general brought to the country. It wasn’t treated as a serious idea, but then it began to get discussed online and began to grow.”

Byczynski, who organised the blood campaign, decided there were better, non-confrontational ways to show how the Polish community benefitted society. “We came up with the idea that we would ask Polish people to donate blood instead. We know the National Health Service needs 200,000 donors this year, so we hit on the idea that we could get 10,000 or more migrants to help” he told the Guardian.

Byczynski is concerned by the use of anti-Polish rhetoric by British politicians, hence the importance of tackling the remarks in a positive way. “There is an issue with the language politicians use and sometimes they do scapegoat Polish people.”

The initiatives have divided the Polish community. Tadeusz Stenzel, chairman of the Federation of Poles in Great Britain, has warned in a statement that the strike was “an irresponsible and divisive way of presenting arguments in the immigration debate.” He also warned against giving blood: “Blood is universal and has no race, religion, gender, or indeed political opinions, and we believe it should not be used for political purposes.”

There are 688,000 Poles within the U.K., according to the Office for National Statistics. As Poland is a part of the European Union, its citizens have the right to live and work in the U.K.

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