TIME ebola

WHO: Millions of Ebola Vaccine Doses Could Be Ready Next Year

Liberia Races To Expand Ebola Treatment Facilities, As U.S. Troops Arrive
U.S. Navy microbiologist Lt. Jimmy Regeimbal handles a vaccine box with blood samples while testing for Ebola at the U.S. Navy mobile laboratory on October 5, 2014 near Gbarnga, Liberia. John Moore—Getty Images

Five new experimental vaccines are expected to undergo testing

Pharmaceutical companies are committed to making millions of doses of Ebola vaccines available next year, the World Health Organization announced Friday.

The United Nations organization said that two vaccines are currently ready for clinical trials and five more experimental vaccines are expected to undergo testing in the first four months of 2015.

The remarks were made by WHO Assistant Director-General for Health Systems and Innovation Dr. Marie-Paule Kieny and publicized on the WHO’s Twitter account. Kieny cautioned that the the vaccines might be “proven not usable” but it’s still “prudent” to prepare a large amount, according to the Twitter account. Over 4,800 people have died from Ebola this year.

If early testing goes well, more advanced trials of the potential Ebola vaccines could take place in the West African countries hardest hit by the Ebola outbreak as soon as December.

TIME ebola

NYC Doctor With Ebola Described As a ‘Dedicated Humanitarian’

Doctor Quarantined At NYC's Bellevue Hospital After Showing Symptoms Of Ebola
A health alert is displayed at the entrance to Bellevue Hospital October 23, 2014 in New York City. Bryan Thomas—Getty Images

Friends and colleagues have high praise for Dr. Craig Spencer as he begins a fight for his life

The New York City-based doctor who tested positive for Ebola Thursday after working with virus patients in the West African country of Guinea is a high achiever and a “dedicated humanitarian,” the hospital where he works said in a statement.

Dr. Craig Spencer “is a committed and responsible physician who always puts his patients first,” said a statement from New York Presbyterian/Columbia University Medical Center, where Spencer serves as an emergency room doctor. Before being diagnosed with Ebola, Spencer had been working with humanitarian aid group Doctor’s Without Borders fighting the virus’ outbreak in West Africa.

Spencer, 33, left Guinea, one of the countries hardest hit by the recent Ebola outbreak, on Oct. 14. Spencer returned to the U.S. via New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport on Oct. 17. He began showing symptoms on Thursday, Oct. 23, when his temperature was recorded at a slightly elevated 100.3 degrees fahrenheit, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Friday morning, clarifying widespread reports Thursday that Duncan’s temperature was above 103 degrees. Ebola can incubate undetected in the body for up to 21 days before an infected person shows symptoms. Ebola patients are not contagious until they show symptoms, and they become increasingly contagious as they get more sick.

Spencer graduated from Baltimore’s Johns Hopkins University, studied Chinese language and literature at Henan University in China, earned a medical degree from Detroit’s Wayne State University School of Medicine and, in 2008, started his residency in New York, becoming a fellow at the Columbia University Medical Center’s International Medicine Program, according to information drawn from his LinkedIn profile by The Wall Street Journal. Spencer’s LinkedIn page has since been taken down.

“He was an outstanding student, humanitarian, excellent physician,” one of Spencer’s professors told the Journal. “He’s done a lot of good international work. He had been to parts of the world—marginalized, disenfranchised—working to improve the human condition.”

According to a friend who met Spencer through the website Couchsurfing, which connects travelers with free places to stay, he’s a runner who plays the banjo and speaks French, Chinese and Spanish.

TIME royals

Queen Elizabeth II Sends Her First Tweet

Britain’s monarch dabbled in social media on Friday by sending her very first tweet.

While opening the Information Age exhibit at London’s Science Museum, the Queen, referring to herself as Elizabeth R., tapped out her first tweet from the official Twitter account of Buckingham Palace.

A statement from the museum said director Ian Blatchford had invited Queen Elizabeth to mark the occasion on social media. “I mentioned earlier that Queen Victoria took a great interest in the invention of the telephone, and Your Majesty has followed in this tradition of embracing new technology,” he told her. “You made the first live Christmas broadcast in 1957 and an event relished by historians took place on [March 26, 1976], when you became the first monarch to send an email, during a visit to the Royal Signals and Radar Establishment. May I now invite you to join me so that you may send your first tweet.”

The tweet’s author was then verified by the @BritishMonarchy account with a follow-up tweet and a photo of the Queen sending the message.

Read next: See Kate Middleton’s Stunning Fashion Evolution

TIME Canada

Canada Gunman Wanted a Passport to Go to Mideast

ISIS media Twitter account posted a picture claiming to show Michael Zehaf-Bibeau, the dead Ottawa Parliament Hill shooting suspect.
ISIS media Twitter account posted a picture claiming to show Michael Zehaf-Bibeau, the dead Ottawa Parliament Hill shooting suspect. Postmedia News/Polaris

(OTTAWA, Ontario) — He seemed lost, “did not fit in,” had drug problems, and went more than five years without seeing his mother. In recent weeks, he had been living at a homeless shelter and had talked about wanting to go to Libya — or Syria — but became agitated when he couldn’t get a passport.

A day after Michael Zehaf-Bibeau launched a deadly attack on Canada’s seat of government, a portrait of the 32-year-old Canadian began to emerge, along with a possible explanation for what triggered the shooting rampage.

Bob Paulson, commissioner of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, said that Zehaf-Bibeau — a Muslim whose father was from Libya — may have lashed out in frustration over delays in obtaining a passport.

“I think the passport figured prominently in his motives. I’m not inside his head, but I think it was central to what was driving him,” Paulson said.

In what the prime minister called a terrorist attack, Bibeau shot a soldier to death at Canada’s national war memorial Wednesday, then stormed the Parliament building, where he was gunned down by the sergeant-at-arms. Bibeau was armed with what police said was a lever-action Winchester rifle, an old-fashioned, relatively slow-firing weapon.

The attack was the second deadly assault on Canadian soldiers in three days and forced the country to confront the danger of radicalized citizens in its midst.

It also exposed weak spots in security:

— During the attack, Prime Minister Stephen Harper hid in a closet-like space within a Parliament caucus room. The Mounties who are assigned to protect him were on the other side of the doors to the room. From now on, Paulson said, the Mounties will guard the prime minister around the clock, wherever he goes.

— In the wake of the tragedy, all members of the Canadian military have been ordered to avoid wearing their uniforms in public while doing such things as shopping or eating at restaurants.

— Earlier this week, the Mounties said that there are about 90 people in the country who are suspected of planning to join up with extremist fighters abroad or who have returned from such activity. But Paulson said Thursday that Zehaf-Bibeau was not on that list and was not under surveillance, in part because it was not until after the shooting rampage that they learned from his mother that he wanted to go Syria, where a host of militant groups such as Islamic State are fighting.

— Authorities are investigating how the gunman obtained the rifle, when he should been prohibited from possessing one because of his criminal record.

As for Zehaf-Bibeau’s passport application, it “was not rejected. His passport was not revoked,” Paulson said. “He was waiting to get it, and there was an investigation going on to determine to see whether he would get a passport.”

That obstacle appeared to weigh heavily on Zehalf-Bibeau, a petty criminal with a long rap sheet, including a string of drug offenses.

Abubakir Abdelkareem, who often visited the Ottawa Mission, a homeless shelter downtown where Zehaf-Bibeau stayed in recent weeks, said Zehaf-Bibeau told him he had had a drug problem but had been clean for three months and was trying to steer clear of temptation by going to Libya.

But in the three days before the rampage, “his personality changed completely,” Abdelkareem said. “He was not talkative; he was not social” anymore and slept during the day, said Abdelkareem, who concluded the man was back on drugs.

Lloyd Maxwell, another shelter resident, said that Zehaf-Bibeau had lived for some time in Vancouver, then Calgary, then came to Ottawa specifically to try to get a passport, believing that would be more easily accomplished in the nation’s capital.

“He didn’t get it, and that made him very agitated,” Maxwell said. Maxwell said that he suggested to the man that he might be on a no-fly list, and “he kind of looked at me funny, and he walked away.”

In an email to the AP expressing horror and sadness at what happened, Zehaf-Bibeau’s mother, Susan Bibeau, said that her son seemed lost and “did not fit in,” and that she hadn’t seen him for more than five years until having lunch with him last week.

“So I have very little insight to offer,” she said.

In a brief and tear-filled telephone interview with the AP, Bibeau said that she is crying for the victims of the shooting rampage, not her son.

“Can you ever explain something like this?” said Bibeau, who has homes in Montreal and Ottawa. “We are sorry.”

While he was living in Vancouver in 2011, Zehaf-Bibeau was arrested on a robbery charge, but during a court-ordered psychological evaluation, he said he committed the crime for the sole purpose of getting incarcerated.

“He wants to be in jail as he believes this is the only way he can overcome his addiction to crack cocaine,” the evaluation report said. “He has been a devoted (Muslim) for seven years and he believes he must spend time in jail as a sacrifice to pay for his mistakes in the past and he hopes to be a better man when he is eventually released.”

The evaluator said that while Zehaf-Bibeau was making “an unusual choice,” he didn’t appear to be mentally ill. He pleaded guilty to a lesser charge of making threats and was released after just over two months.

After initially reporting that two or three assailants may have taken part in the shooting rampage, Canadian police conceded Thursday that Zehaf-Bibeau was the lone gunman.

The bloodshed raised fears that Canada is suffering reprisals — perhaps so-called lone-wolf attacks — for joining the U.S.-led air campaign against Islamic State extremists in Iraq and Syria.

On Monday, a man described as an “ISIL-inspired terrorist” ran over two soldiers in a parking lot in Quebec, killing one and injuring the other before being shot to death by police. Before the attack, Canadian authorities feared he had jihadist ambitions and seized his passport when he tried to travel to Turkey.

The prime minister noted that both attacks were carried out by citizens born in Canada.

“The fact of the matter is there are serious security threats in this country, and in many cases those serious security threats continue to be at large and not subject to detention or arrest,” Harper said.

Elizabeth May, leader of the Green Party, said in Parliament that this week’s attacks were probably “the acts of isolated, disturbed and deeply troubled men who were drawn to something crazy.”

Paulson appeared to agree in Zahef-Bibeau’s case, saying that his history of crime, violence, drugs and “mental instability” contributed to his radicalization. Court records indicate Zehaf-Bibeau had a string of convictions for assault, robbery, drug and weapons offenses, and other crimes.

The police commissioner said Zehaf-Bibeau’s email was found on the hard drive of someone charged with a terrorist-related offense. He didn’t say who and described the connection as tenuous.

Meanwhile, Kevin Vickers, the 58-year-old Parliament sergeant-at-arms credited with shooting and killing Zehaf-Bibeau, got a rousing standing ovation in the House of Commons for saving lawmakers’ lives. Vickers, dressed in his ceremonial robe and carrying his heavy mace, acknowledged the applause by nodding solemnly.

The former Mountie said in a statement that he was “very touched” by the attention but that he has the close support of a remarkable security team.

___

Gillies reported from Toronto. Satter contributed from London.

Read next: The Rise of the Lone Wolf Terrorist

TIME

The South Korean Ferry Tragedy Has Exposed a Bitter Political Divide

Sewol Disaster Impact On South Korea Continues
A man holds a candle as protesters continue their fight at the Sewol ferry protest camp September 16, 2014 in Seoul, South Korea. Paula Bronstein—Getty Images

Incredibly, right-wing groups in South Korea have a problem with families of Sewol victims continuing to mourn their loved ones

When the Sewol ferry sank in April, South Korea was united in trauma over the tragedy of a routine ferry ride that somehow resulted in the deaths of around 300 people, many of them high school kids.

More than six months later, that grief has mutated into bitterness along political lines, and given rise to a slow-burn faceoff between antagonistic civic groups in the heart of the South Korean capital.

In Gwanghwamun Square, Seoul’s symbolic center, amid groups of tourists taking selfies, relatives of some of those who died on the Sewol and their supporters have, for more than three months, been camped out in a makeshift tent city. And on a sidewalk across the square, civic groups with a very different take on the issue of the sinking have set up their own camp.

The relatives are calling on the government to mandate a thorough investigation into the cause of the sinking. “All we want is the truth,” said Kim Sung-shil, the 50-year-old mother of a high school boy who died in the sinking. More than six months after her son’s death, Kim still introduces herself as “Dong-hyuk’s mom.”

The families and their supporters argue that corruption and corner-cutting were behind the sinking, and need to be rooted out. The company that operated the Sewol is believed to have violated safety regulations by overloading the ship and failing to train the crew in how to carry out an emergency evacuation. The government’s emergency response has also been criticized for being late and ineffective.

When it went down on Apr. 16, the Sewol was carrying 476 people, only 172 of whom were rescued, many by private vessels who went to the scene to help out. Ten bodies have still not been recovered.

“If we never find the real truth behind the tragedy, our society will just become a darker place where people fear for their safety,” Kim said.

In part because most of them came from a working class suburb, victims of the sinking have become identified with the political left, leading to a forceful backlash from right wing groups that have their roots in red-bashing. Across the road from where Kim is camped out, right-wingers argue that the grieving families have been at it long enough and it’s time to get back to business as usual.

“It’s time for someone to stand up and say enough is enough,” said Bae Sung-gwan, a conservative activist and retired career soldier. He added, “At the time of the sinking, everyone felt sympathy for them, but a long time has passed and that sympathy has run out.”

In late September, while Sewol families and supporters were holding a hunger strike, rightwing activists held a protest of their own where they feasted on pizza and fried chicken directly in front of them.

Kim Sung-shil said of her conservative adversaries, “I have no idea why they’re here. It’s like they don’t have families.”

The Sewol incident and its fallout even led Lee and some associates, all graying men, to revive the Northwest Youth Association, a conservative youth group with a history of anti-communist purges.

After the 1951-53 Korean War, South Korea was, for decades, led by military dictatorships who argued that harsh controls were necessary to protect the country’s fragile peace from North Korean communist infiltration.

Some far-right activists also still believe that South Korea could at any time be overrun by communists from North Korea. “The leftists are using this [the Sewol sinking] as a chance to seize power. If they come to control the government, our country will be vulnerable to communists,” said Kang In-ho, a rightwing activist manning his side’s main table, gathering signatures for a petition seeking for any special Sewol investigation to be cancelled.

Parliament was deadlocked for weeks due to disagreement over the composure of the investigative body and the limits of its authority. The ruling and opposition parties reached a compromise on the law in early October, but the families are refusing to accept it on the grounds that they weren’t given a say in choosing who will carry out the investigation. The bill mandating the investigation will be passed at the end of October, once parliament finishes regular audits of government ministries.

The outdoor struggle is therefore likely to continue, even as Seoul’s crisp autumn weather segues into the bitter cold of winter. Kim says she’s in for the long haul. “I know Dong-hyuk is watching,” she said. “I can’t give up now.”

Kang In-ho says it’s time to move on from the Sewol tragedy. “The economy is suffering because they’re trying to keep everyone sad.”

But, Kang says, he’s not ready to move on from his own activist camp just yet. When asked how long his group planned to keep their post, Kang points over his shoulder at the Sewol families and says, “One day longer than them.”

TIME Malaysia

Malaysia’s Opposition Leader Anwar Ibrahim Awaits Sodomy Appeal Verdict

MALAYSIA-POLITICS-OPPOSITION
Malaysian opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim addresses the media after a meeting with senior Pan-Malaysian Islamic Party (PAS) leaders in Subang Jaya on Aug. 17, 2014. Manan Vatsyayana—AFP/Getty Images

The 67-year-old's conviction has been slammed by human rights groups as "politically motivated"

Malaysia’s opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim returns to court next week to learn whether he will be jailed on sodomy charges.

On Tuesday, Malaysia’s Federal Court will hear Anwar’s appeal of his March conviction for engaging in homosexual acts, charges both Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International say amount to “politically motivated persecution.”

Speaking to TIME on Friday, Anwar said his chances “didn’t look good.”

“Most of Malaysia does not believe that I will get a fair trial or a decision based on the facts of the law,” he said. “But I want to show young people that [my conviction] is a small price to pay in the struggle for freedom and justice.”

Anwar was originally arrested on July 16, 2008, after a former male aide alleged the pair had engaged in consensual sexual relations — criminalized under Malaysia’s colonial-era “sodomy law.” The High Court then acquitted Anwar on Jan. 9, 2012, ruling that DNA samples vital to the prosecution case could have been contaminated.

On March 7, 2014, the Court of Appeal overturned the acquittal and sentenced Anwar to five years imprisonment. The hearing was originally scheduled for April but was curiously moved forward a month. This meant Anwar was disqualified from running in the Kajang district state assembly election on March 23.

Phil Robertson, Asia director of Human Rights Watch, has urged the Malaysian authorities to drop the case or risk making a “travesty of the country’s criminal justice system.”

“Prosecuting Anwar for something that should never be considered a crime shows how far the government is prepared to go to remove a political opponent,” he said.

Anwar’s imprisonment has been stayed during his appeal, but if convicted he faces five years in prison plus a mandatory five-year prohibition on running for office, effectively ending the 67-year-old’s political career.

Malaysia’s May 5, 2013, general elections saw the Pakatan Rakyat (People’s Alliance) coalition led by Anwar win 50% of the popular vote. However, this only translated to 89 parliamentary seats due to the “first past the post” electoral system. (The incumbent National Front coalition government of Prime Minister Najib Razak gained 47% of the vote but 133 seats.)

Anwar and independent observers have alleged electoral irregularities and widespread gerrymandering, and thousands took to the streets to demand an investigation. Najib’s administration strenuously denies any impropriety.

TIME Nigeria

Dozens More Women And Girls Abducted By Boko Haram in Nigeria

Nigeria Kidnapped Girls
A man poses with a sign in front of police officers in riot gear during a demonstration calling on the government to rescue the kidnapped girls of the government secondary school in Chibok, in Abuja, Nigeria, Oct. 14, 2014. Olamikan Gbemiga—AP

Residents say the kidnappings come a day after a truce between the militants and the Nigerian government

The militant Islamist group Boko Haram has been accused of abducting dozens more women and girls from two villages in Nigeria’s northeastern Adamawa state.

Residents say the alleged kidnappings, which haven’t been confirmed by authorities, took place a day after a reported truce between the militants and Nigerian government, the BBC says.

The government hopes negotiations with Boko Haram will secure the release of more than 200 girls who were taken hostage by the militants in April. But the Islamist group has not confirmed the ceasefire.

The April kidnapping, in Borno state, sparked mass protests in Nigeria and calls for the government to do more to save the girls under the #BringBackOurGirls campaign.

Meanwhile a bomb blasted through a bus station Wednesday in northern Bauchi state, killing five people and injuring 12. No group has come forward to claim responsibility for the attack.

[BBC]

TIME The Philippines

Philippine Transgender Murder Becomes a Rallying Point for LGBT Rights

A Filipino activist holds flowers and a slogan during prayers in suburban Quezon city, Philippines on Thursday Oct. 23, 2014, to call for justice for the killing of Filipino transgender Jeffrey "Jennifer" Laude. Aaron Favila—AP

Activists say the death of Jennifer Laude highlights the vulnerable position of trans people in the Philippines

The burial of transgender woman Jennifer Laude has sparked a “National Day of Outrage” in the Philippines, with LGBT organizations staging candlelight vigils across the country on Friday.

A U.S. Marine has been accused of her killing.

“We will deliver messages of solidarity and push for justice,” says Charlese Saballe, chairwoman of the Society of Transsexual Women of the Philippines (STRAP). “The media attention to Jennifer’s case means a slow movement toward bringing transgender issues to the mainstream.”

Following Laude’s Oct. 11 murder, media have mostly focused on the fact that suspect Joseph Scott Pemberton has been held under U.S. guard, under a defense agreement between the two countries. Loud criticism has been raised over the agreement, with protesters attempting to carry a mock coffin to the U.S. embassy in Manila on Friday.

However, as Steven Rood, the Asia Foundation’s representative in the Philippines, points out, much of that will blow over.

“There’s the sensitivity of not treating Filipinos as second-class citizens in their own country,” he says. “But the backdrop is that the average Filipino citizen is very much in favor of having U.S. troops here. This doesn’t threaten U.S.-Filipino relations; the strategic benefits for the alliance will override this specific issue.”

Rather, some people hope that the strong bilateral connection between the two countries could impact the LGBT rights struggle in the Philippines. LGBT groups have participated in several protests outside the U.S. embassy in Manila and at vigils in the U.S.

“If media and other groups in the U.S. frame [Laude’s murder] as a hate crime and focuses on transgender rights, it might trickle down to people in society here and affect how they treat transgender and LGBT people,” says Saballe.

While visible, LGBT people in the Philippines lack anti-discriminatory legislation and the legal recognition of transgender available in many other countries, including the U.S.

“[Seen] with American eyes, the position of the LGBT community in the Philippines is an unusual one,” says Rood. “It’s a normal part of the Filipino community, but the violence they may be subjected to has not been very visible. This will certainly be a rallying cry.”

Saballe, whose organization also monitors violence against LGBT people in the Philippines, stresses that the community is “not really accepted in society.” She adds, “Only days after Jennifer was killed, two other trans women were murdered.”

Friday’s protest action is being held simultaneously in four cities in the Philippines, with a solidarity event also arranged in the Netherlands and a discussion forum in Thailand.

TIME Hong Kong

Hong Kong’s Protesters Feel Betrayed by Their Own Government

Students Continue To Protest In Hong Kong Following Negotiation Talks
A pro-democracy protester displays his T-shirt on a street in Mongkok district on October 22, 2014 in Hong Kong. Kong Ng—Getty Images

The only solution to the monthlong protest, they insist, is for the local government to fight for Hong Kong's rights instead of always capitulating to China

Hong Kong and China are “one country” with “two systems.” Yet these days, pro-democracy protesters say, the emphasis is patently on “one country.”

Just shy of one month into the protests paralyzing key traffic arteries in Hong Kong, democracy supporters here are outraged over what they say is the local government’s failure to meet even low expectations for interceding on their behalf to Beijing.

“Under normal circumstances, the government should argue the people’s case in Beijing and help Hong Kong to secure universal suffrage,” says Emily Lau, chair of Hong Kong’s Democratic Party.

“But it has done the reverse,” she says, “by urging Hong Kong people to accept the unacceptable.”

Indeed, supporters of the protests point to concrete steps Hong Kong’s top leader, Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying, could take — but hasn’t — to get Beijing to end the deadlock. That Leung hasn’t approached Beijing for reforms, but has instead encouraged protesters to back down, illustrates to demonstrators one of the chief reasons for their ongoing sit-ins: if Beijing gets to vet candidates for Hong Kong’s top leader, as it plans to do in 2017, this city is bound to get another local government unwilling to defend “two systems.”

“We are supposed to have autonomy,” said 30-year-old civil servant Cheong Kung on Thursday night, as he leaned back on his hands in the main protest area of Harcourt Road (recently dubbed Umbrella Square by protesters after the movement’s symbol). “Supposed to have it,” he added with wry emphasis. “Supposed.”

“This is why we are here,” said his friend Yai Pon, 30, a travel writer. “If we don’t get universal suffrage, we will never really have autonomy.”

Hong Kong’s mini-constitution, called the Basic Law, promises the territory “a high degree of autonomy” from China, to which it was returned in 1997 after 156 years of British rule. But protesters say the Hong Kong government has let Beijing chisel at that autonomy for years — most recently by not challenging the Aug. 31 decision by the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress (NPC), in Beijing, on electoral reforms in Hong Kong.

The NPC’s decision says Beijing will sieve candidates for Hong Kong’s top leader through a 1,200-member committee widely seen as stacked with Beijing loyalists. To get on the ballot, candidates must win at least half the committee’s votes. Protesters see this process as a violation of the Basic Law’s promise that Hong Kong people can elect the chief executive by “universal suffrage upon nomination by a broadly representative nominating committee in accordance with democratic procedures.” They say it is undemocratic to put someone in Hong Kong’s top seat who, by virtue of the manner in which they were elected, has already let the whittling of local autonomy to continue.

“The concept of autonomy assumes that is in in the interest of the autonomous government is to defend its autonomy,” says Michael Davis, a law professor at the University of Hong Kong.

“But there is a feeling that what we have in Hong Kong is a government that represents Beijing’s interests and is delinquent in representing Hong Kong’s interests to Beijing,” says Davis. “I think that’s at the heart of all this.”

Since Sept. 28, protesters, who on at least one night numbered 10,000, have stood, sat and slept in the streets to lobby Beijing to revisit the Aug. 31 decision. In recent days, Umbrella Square has acquired a sense of semi-permanence, turning into a village of tents arranged in tidy rows under the perennial neon twinkle of the city’s skyscrapers.

Not everyone in Hong Kong agrees with the protests. Many residents are anguished over the disruption the protests are presenting to local commerce, especially retailers in the protest areas, and to taxi and truck drivers affected by the traffic diversions and gridlocks the sit-ins have wrought. A sizable portion of the population — mostly working class and elderly — is also pro-Beijing and view the democracy movement as a threat to their livelihoods.

Yet the most recent public-opinion poll from the Chinese University of Hong Kong shows that support for the protests for the first time exceeds opposition to them. The results of the poll, conducted between Oct. 8 and 15, indicate that 37.8% of respondents support what’s been dubbed the Umbrella Movement, while 35.5% oppose it.

In September, before the protests kicked off, 46.3% of public opposed activists’ plans to occupy the streets, and 31.3% said they favored such plans.

Protesters say that demonstrable support here for electoral reform obligates the Hong Kong government to communicate such support to Beijing and ask that the demands be addressed. They point in particular to a line in the Basic Law that says the election method “shall be specified in the light of the actual situation” in Hong Kong.

“The actual situation right now is very different than it was on Aug. 31,” says Surya Deva, a professor of law at the City University of Hong Kong. “The chief executive should submit a report to the NPC on the new situation. He should convey that there should be a pathway for a democratic candidate to stand for election.”

“There is no legal issue here,” says Deva. “The chief executive is legally allowed to ask the NPC to reconsider, and the NPC is constitutionally allowed to change, or even void, its decision.”

In a televised meeting between students and government officials this week, students urged the officials to “have courage” and bring protesters’ demands to Beijing.

The Hong Kong government “has the constitutional duty to fight for a democratic reform proposal for Hong Kong,” said Yvonne Leung, a delegate for the Hong Kong Student Federation.

Yet Carrie Lam, Hong Kong’s No. 2 official, said the government was prepared to send a new report just to the relatively lowly Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office, not to the NPC. Students pressed Lam for an explanation of what could come of sending a report to the office, which was uninvolved in the Aug. 31 decision, but received no answer.

Neither the students nor the government has announced plans for a second round of talks. On Friday activists said they will poll protesters on the government’s offer to write to the council, while on Thursday the government said it would stage an exhibition on the Basic Law, so that “members of the public may also gain a better understanding” of it. The government has repeatedly insisted that the NPC decision is consistent with Hong Kong’s laws.

Hilary Lee, 20, a manager at a local school who was staffing a supplies station near the outskirts of the protests in Admiralty district on Thursday night, said she would be willing “to go step by step” toward a more democratic government, but did not see the government taking any steps.

“I’m waiting here until C.Y. Leung apologizes and until he does something that would make me feel like, O.K., change is coming,” she says, referring to Leung by his initials, as he is commonly known. “But the government is not doing anything.”

Mark Cheung, 28, a videographer who has lived in Umbrella Square for almost a month, said he is not optimistic that the government’s do-nothing zeitgeist will change: “The Hong Kong government has not fought for the right of Hong Kong people to have fair elections. And I’m pretty sure they’re not going to do anything different now.”

“They could,” he says, “but they won’t.”

TIME sweden

Sweden Calls Off Search for Submarine

The Swedish minesweeper HMS Kullen under way in Namdo Bay, Sweden, Tuesday, Oct. 21, 2014 on their fifth day of searching for a suspected foreign vessel in the Stockholm archipelago. The navy has demanded a 1000-meter, (yard) no-go radius around naval vessels taking part in the current operation. (AP Photo/Fredrik Sandberg) SWEDEN OUT
The Swedish minesweeper HMS Kullen under way in Namdo Bay, Sweden, Oct. 21, 2014 on their fifth day of searching for a suspected foreign vessel in the Stockholm archipelago. Fredrik Sandberg—AP

Sweden's military launched its biggest anti-submarine operation since the height of the Cold War on Friday

(STOCKHOLM) — Swedish authorities say they have called off their weeklong search for a suspected submarine in the Stockholm archipelago.

Military authorities said Friday that they have ordered naval and amphibious forces to end their hunt for the submarine, though some ground forces will remain involved.

Sweden’s military launched its biggest anti-submarine operation since the twilight of the Soviet Union last Friday after receiving credible reports of foreign underwater activity in the archipelago that extends from the capital, Stockholm, into the Baltic Sea.

Military officials haven’t blamed any country for the suspected intrusion, though most Swedish defense analysts say Russia would be a likely culprit.

Sweden built up an anti-submarine force after a Soviet sub with nuclear weapons ran aground off its southern shores in 1981 but started dismantling it as part of deep cuts in defense spending after the Cold War ended. Anti-submarine helicopters were phased out in 2008 and replacements are not expected until 2018.

Apart from cutting defense spending, Sweden has shifted its focus from territorial defense to international peacekeeping operations and abolished conscription. In 2012 Sweden had 20,000 troops on active duty and 200,000 reserves, down from 50,000 active-duty personnel and almost 600,000 reserves in 1999, according to statistics from the Britain-based International Institute for Strategic Studies.

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