TIME Ukraine

Top U.S. General Says Washington Should Consider Arming Ukraine

Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Army Gen. Martin Dempsey testifies before a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing on Capitol Hill
Joshua Roberts—Reuters Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Army General Martin Dempsey testifies before a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington on March 3, 2015

"Putin’s ultimate objective is to fracture NATO," says General Martin Dempsey

The U.S. military’s leading general says Washington should now consider providing Ukrainian forces with lethal aid to help combat the nation’s pro-Kremlin insurgency.

Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Martin Dempsey argued during a Senate hearing on Tuesday that the allegedly Russian-backed rebellion threatens to undo more than six decades of peace in Europe and could potentially splinter the NATO alliance.

“I think we should absolutely consider lethal aid and it ought to be in the context of NATO allies because Putin’s ultimate objective is to fracture NATO,” Dempsey told the Senate armed services committee.

The general’s remarks echo similar pleas made in recent months by a plethora of top American foreign policy officials. The U.S. has already provided approximately $100 million in nonlethal aid to Ukraine, but has refrained thus far from directly arming the country.

However, experts question whether supplying Kiev with advanced weaponry would force the Kremlin to reassess its policy goals in Ukraine.

“Russia is not going to give up in Ukraine, because it is protecting its strategic interests in Ukraine,” Alexander Korolev, a research fellow at the National University of Singapore’s Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy, tells TIME. “Even if the costs of the conflict are very high for Russia, Russia will be willing to bear those costs.”

On Monday, the U.N. published a report claiming that an estimated 6,000 people have been killed and at least 1 million displaced since the pro-Russian uprising erupted in southeastern Ukraine last April.

“All aspects of people’s lives are being negatively affected, and the situation is increasingly untenable for the local inhabitants, especially in areas controlled by the armed groups,” said Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights, in a statement.

Representatives from the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe reported this week that fighting in rebel strongholds in the Donetsk and Luhansk regions appears to be waning, after a tenuous cease-fire was inked in Belarus last month.

But during a press conference in Tokyo on Tuesday, Ukrainian Foreign Minister Pavlo Klimkin said lasting peace wouldn’t be achievable until Moscow returns the Crimea peninsula, which was annexed by Russian forces last March.

“There could be no slightest way of normalizing or getting back to business in the relations between Ukraine and Russia without returning to status quo and establishing full Ukrainian sovereignty over Crimea,” he said.

TIME Australia

Australia Secretly Culled Almost 700 Koalas, Minister Reveals

184233586
John White Photos—Getty Images/Flickr Open

The region is facing problems such as the overpopulation and starvation of koalas

Authorities in southern Australia secretly killed hundreds of koalas in an effort to control their population, a state minister revealed on Wednesday.

A total of 686 of the furry marsupials from Cape Otway in the state of Victoria were sedated and euthanized by wildlife officials in 2013 and 2014, Australian news channel ABC reported.

“It is clear it’s an overpopulation issue and it is clear that we have had koalas suffer in that Cape Otway area because of ill health and starvation,” said Lisa Neville, the state’s environment minister.

Neville stressed a desire to be “transparent” with the Australian people in the future and said a koala-management program would be put in place for the iconic native animals, many of whom also die naturally because of lack of food.

[ABC]

TIME Australia

Australian DJs Whose Prank Call Led to Nurse’s Death Broke the Law, Says Court

People gather in the foyer of the building that houses the 2Day FM radio station in Sydney December 6, 2012.
Daniel Munoz—Reuters People gather in the foyer of the building that houses the 2Day FM radio station in Sydney December 6, 2012.

2Day FM could potentially have its broadcast license suspended

The High Court of Australia has ruled that two Sydney radio presenters broke the law when they phoned a London hospital posing as the Queen and Prince Charles in a prank that eventually led a nurse to take her own life.

In 2012, DJs Michael Christian and Mel Greig from 2Day FM phoned the hospital that was treating the Duchess of Cambridge for morning sickness to try and obtain details of her condition, reports ABC.

Nurse Jacintha Saldhana answered the call and following a media storm later killed herself.

The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) had originally ruled the station had breached New South Wales surveillance and broadcast law as they did not seek permission from hospital staff before the call.

But 2Day FM successfully appealed, saying the media watchdog had no power to determine whether they had committed a criminal offence.

On Wednesday, the High Court overturned the appeal, ruling the ACMA did in fact have the power to judge criminal actions of broadcasters.

The radio station faces serious penalties and could potentially have its broadcast license suspended.

[ABC]

TIME brazil

Judge Suspended in Brazil Tycoon’s Trial for Taking Defendant’s Porsche Home

Brazilian tycoon Eike Batista attends his court hearing next his lawyer during testimonies in Rio de Janeiro
Ricardo Moraes—Reuters Brazilian tycoon Eike Batista (R) attends his court hearing next to his lawyer during testimonies in Rio de Janeiro November 18, 2014.

Flavio Roberto de Souza said he was taking the car home because police had no place to park it

A judge presiding over the trial of one of Brazil’s biggest tycoons has been suspended after being caught driving the defendant’s high-end Porsche home.

Flavio Roberto de Souza was pronounced unfit to continue in the case against Eike Batista and will have all his decisions annulled, the BBC reports.

The judge said he was temporarily taking Batista’s Porsche home — one of the many super cars he had ordered confiscated from the Brazilian billionaire accused of insider trading — because the police had no place to park it.

Officials said a new judge will be appointed in the trial, which began in November.

Batista was once Brazil’s richest man, with a net worth of about $30 billion. He has denied all the accusations against him, and could face up to 13 years in prison if convicted.

[BBC]

TIME Chile

Watch a Volcano in Chile Spew Ash and Lava, Prompting Thousands to Flee

Columns of fiery rock and gas were sent up to 1,000m into the air

Thousands of people had to be evacuated in southern Chile on Tuesday after one of the country’s most active volcanoes erupted.

The Villarrica volcano began spewing plumes of smoke and lava at 3 a.m. local time, prompting authorities to shepherd some 3,500 people away from nearby towns, reports Agence-France Presse.

The 9,000ft-high volcano, which lies 500 miles south of the capital Santiago, is a popular tourist spot with hundreds of people hiking to peer inside its crater every summer.

After about seven hours the volcano calmed down and some residents returned to their homes.

Chile’s President Michelle Bachelet traveled to the region on Tuesday and declared an “agricultural emergency” so local authorities could deal with areas affected by the eruption.

The last time Villarrica had a major eruption was 15 years ago.

[AFP]

TIME China

Prince William Plays Soccer — and Meets Paddington Bear! — in China

CHINA-BRITAIN-DIPLOMACY-ROYALS
Johannes Eisele—AFP/Getty Images Britain's Prince William poses next to a person wearing a Paddington Bear costume prior to the screening of the Paddington movie in Shanghai on March 3, 2015

Prince William plans to be an air ambulance pilot, but he might be missing his calling as a great soccer coach.

He certainly looked like one while visiting a Shanghai high school on Tuesday – a busy day in which he also attended the Chinese premiere of the British film Paddington.

The prince, who’s a fan of English team Aston Villa, was ready with a double-handed high-five for one enthusiastic youngster who ran over to greet the 32-year-old royal.

Perhaps getting ready for his son George‘s foray into the sport, William looked thrilled to see schoolchildren learning soccer (“football” across the pond”) skills from coaches trained by England’s Premier League, even stopping to demonstrate his own skills with an expert kick.

William kept the young-at-heart theme going later in the day as he attended the premiere of the comedy Paddington, and posed with a life-size Paddington bear on the red carpet.

Some 50 local schoolkids also attended the screening at the Shanghai Film Museum after winning a competition to illustrate Paddington bear.

“We went into the cinema and had snacks, and then we met Prince William. He was very friendly, but I only smiled at him,” Yuna Goto, 10, told PEOPLE.

Her mother Emiko, a fashion designer, said her daughter was very excited about the evening. “She loves the royal family and even has a Queen Elizabeth doll whose hand can wave,” Emiko added.

William had been in Shanghai since the previous evening, when he opened the GREAT Festival of Creativity, a showcase of U.K. talent that aims to support companies looking to break into the Chinese market and promote the creative strengths of the British economy.

High-profile British guests included Jo Malone, Sir Tim Berners-Lee and Kelly Hoppen.

At the launch, William highlighted that the festival was not just a platform for promoting Britain’s highly regarded film, art and media sectors. “It is also a platform for the creativity and inventiveness that British firms apply in a wide variety of sectors, like healthcare and education,” he said.

William also commented on the “openness and warmth” of his Chinese hosts during his first visit to the country. He added that “could not help” but be impressed by Shanghai’s famous skyline.

As his wife Kate, 33, stepped out in London, William told the event at Shanghai’s Long: “Less than 24 hours into my first visit, I have a strong sense of the opportunity that exists for collaboration and partnership between our two countries.”

William also met Chinese billionaire Jack Ma, owner of Alibaba, the world’s largest e-commerce company. The former schoolteacher, who built the firm from scratch, talked to William about selling more British products on his platform, and their shared passion for environmental protection.

Also at the GREAT Festival of Creativity, William was shown four David Bailey photographs of his grandmother, Queen Elizabeth, and was delighted with them.

On Wednesday, William will visit an elephant sanctuary in south China, where he is expected to speak about the importance of wildlife conservation.

This article originally appeared on PEOPLE.com

TIME Israel

Israel is Left Divided By Netanyahu Address to Congress

Opposition attacked the Prime Minister for antagonising Obama while supporters say he has a point

After nearly two months in which the controversial address of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to Congress has dominated the headlines here, Israelis received the long-awaited talk with a mix of reactions that demonstrated just how divided the country is two weeks before heading to national elections.

Much of the prime-time coverage of Netanyahu’s speech on Tuesday, which focused on what he calls an impending “bad deal” on Iran’s nuclear development program as being negotiated with the US and other Western nations, took a critical view of the premier’s decision to make the speech despite the unprecedented tensions it has sparked with the administration of President Barack Obama.

Israel’s main opposition leader, Isaac Herzog, gave a prime-time speech soon after the televised address, in which he said that Netanyahu had failed to shift policy — or make history as he’d promised — but had simply succeeded in angering the White House.

“There’s no doubt that that Netanyahu knows how to give an address. But his speech today didn’t stop the Iran nuclear program,” Herzog said. “It did not change US policy, and now Israel stands isolated and alone.”

Alon Pinkas, a former Israeli diplomat and chief of staff to several Israeli foreign ministers, told Israel’s Channel One that Netanyahu focused his persuasive efforts in the wrong direction.

“It was too bad that this was a speech to Congress, because this talk needed to be held inside the White House,” Pinkas said. “All of the behavior that surrounded this speech has been a bit like a circus, which I don’t think serves Israel’s interests. There aren’t huge differences within Israel in terms of our outlook on Iran’s nuclear program,” he added, as many Israelis are troubled by Iran’s threats to “wipe Israel off the map.” But Netanyahu’s decision to defy the Obama administration’s wishes by accepting the invitation of Republican House Speaker John Boehner has Israelis worried about damaging relations between Jerusalem and Washington, with few gains to show for it.

Ben Caspit, a widely followed analyst for Maariv and al-Monitor, wrote on Twitter that from the point of view of the polls — where Netanyahu is lagging slightly behind the Zionist Union headed by Herzog and Tzipi Livni — the speech to Congress is like the last bullet in a faulty gun. It could misfire — or might not fire at all.

Barak Ravid, the diplomatic correspondent of the Haaretz newspaper, said little if anything new was said by Netanyahu in Washington. “We can sum this up like this — one big nothing,” he said in a tweet. His colleague Chemi Shalev, the U.S. editor of the left-leaning paper, was similarly unimpressed: “Don’t know how speech plays in Congress/America but most Israelis have heard this before and are already bored to tears.”

But not all of Israel’s opinion-makers were critical of Netanyahu, and some supporters called his speech powerful and moving. Some pundits argue that he has a point about the dangers of leaving Iran with so-called break-out capability — the ability to weaponize atomic material in a short period of time.

“Netanyahu is right,” tweeted Moav Vardi, the diplomatic correspondent for Israel’s Channel 10 news. “In another 10-15 years when this deal expires, Iran can manufacture as many bombs as it wants. To this argument, Obama doesn’t really have an answer.” He also predicted that the speech would not do either of the things Netanyahu’s friends and foes predict: It will neither stop a deal on Iran nor destroy relations with the U.S. Both of those things are beyond the power of a speech to Congress, Vardi noted.

Netanyahu was accompanied on his trip Washington by Naftali Bennett, the leader of the right-wing Jewish Home party. Although the two men are competitors for votes in the March 17 ballot, Bennett touted his backing of Netanyahu on a critical mission for Israel’s defense, and suggested that those who stayed home were not sufficiently worried about the country’s survival. To the criticism that Netanyahu presented no alternative to the ongoing negotiations, Bennett tweeted that the answer was to increase sanctions against Iran.

TIME Military

Concern Over Iran’s Nukes Drowns Out Its Growing Role in Iraq

Iraqi security forces and Shia militias against Daesh
Ali Mohammed / Anadolu Agency / Getty Images Iraqi security forces and Shi'ite militias move out against ISIS near Tikrit on Tuesday.

Tehran helps Baghdad try to retake Tikrit as U.S. watches

Consternation over Iran boiled Tuesday on Capitol Hill as Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu declared Tehran’s push for nuclear weapons “could well threaten the survival of my country.” But over at the Pentagon, the Iran focus wasn’t on Netanyahu but Iraq. That’s because Iran is playing a key role in Baghdad’s fight to retake Tikrit from the Islamic State of Iraq and Greater Syria, while the U.S. is confined to the sidelines.

After the U.S. invested $26 billion rebuilding the Iraqi army over the past decade, some Pentagon officials found it disconcerting to see Iranian-backed Shi’ite militias leading the charge into Saddam Hussein’s hometown. The Iranians, of course, are relishing the opportunity: Hussein was running Iraq when it launched the eight-year Iran-Iraq war that ended in a stalemate in 1988 with roughly 200,000 killed on each side.

American concern is justified: having Iranian-backed Shi’ite forces storm largely-Sunni Tikrit risks turning the conflict against the Sunni ISIS forces into a sectarian conflict that could balloon into a civil war. “It’s absolutely key that [the Iraqi government] make sure that they have provisions in place to accommodate the Sunnis,” Army General Lloyd Austin, chief of the U.S. Central Command, told the House Armed Services Committee Tuesday. “That lack of inclusion is what got us to this point, and I think the only way that we can ensure that we don’t go back there is if we have the right steps taken by the government.” Fewer than 1,000 of the 30,000 fighters battling ISIS for Tikrit are Sunni tribal fighters, according to Iraqi estimates.

The populations of both Iran and Iraq are primarily Shi’ite. Since Saddam’s hanging in 2006, the Sunnis of western Iraq have been treated poorly by the Shi’ite-dominated government in Baghdad. Many Sunnis welcomed ISIS’s move into the region last year, when it killed more than 1,000 Iraqi Shi’ite troops who had been stationed at a base known, when the Americans were there, as Camp Speicher. Some of the Shi’ites attacking Tikrit are bent on revenge for the slaughter, which could exacerbate intra-Muslim tensions.

Iran, according to reports from the front and Pentagon officials, is backing Iraqi forces with air power, artillery fire and advisers guiding Shi’ite militiamen, who account for perhaps 10,000 of the fighters trying to retake Tikrit. “This is the most overt conduct of Iranian support, in the form of artillery and other things,” Army General Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs, told the Senate Armed Services Committee later Tuesday. “Frankly, it will only be a problem if it results in sectarianism.”

Meanwhile, the U.S. — which has conducted thousands of air strikes against ISIS targets since August — has been grounded in the battle to retake Tikrit. The daily U.S. tally of air strikes launched Wednesday ticked off targets around al Asad, Bayji, Mosul, Ramadi and Sinjar. But there were no strikes in or around Tikrit, although U.S. drones are keeping a nervous eye on the fighting (“We have good overhead imagery,” is how Austin put it).

Iran has reportedly dispatched commanders notorious for their killings of Sunnis to the fight. That may lead Tikritis to view those seeking to free their city from ISIS’s grip not as rescuers but as bloody vengeance-seekers.

As the U.S. and Israel work to keep Iran’s nuclear genie bottled up, both Washington and Tehran have said they are not operating together inside Iraq. “We don’t coordinate with them,” Austin, whose command oversees U.S. military forces inside the country, repeated Tuesday.

In other words, they’re allied, but not allies. “The battle between Iran and ISIS doesn’t turn Iran into a friend of America,” Netanyahu told Congress on Tuesday. “Iran and ISIS are competing for the crown of militant Islam … They just disagree among themselves who will be the ruler of that empire.”

TIME

Real TIME: Netanyahu Condemns ‘Bad Deal’ With Iran in Congress Speech

“It doesn’t block Iran’s path to the bomb, it paves Iran’s path to the bomb”

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu gave a speech to Congress on Wednesday to address the possible consequences of a nuclear Iran.

Watch #RealTIME to hear what he had to say.

TIME Know Right Now

Know Right Now: Human Waste on Mount Everest Creates an Environmental Issue

Nature's call maybe not be good for nature

Climbers are leaving more than just their footprints when they traverse Mount Everest, especially when they need to “use the bathroom.” People leave behind large amounts of fecal matter and urine every year.

Watch the Know Right Now above to find out more, and read more here.

Your browser, Internet Explorer 8 or below, is out of date. It has known security flaws and may not display all features of this and other websites.

Learn how to update your browser