TIME Philippines

36 Dead, 19 Missing as Ferry Capsizes in Philippines

A total of 118 people have been rescued in Ormoc city on central Leyte island

(MANILA, Philippines) —The Philippine coast guard says 36 people have died and 19 are missing after an inter-island ferry capsized in the central Philippines.

Coast guard spokesman Armand Balilo says 118 people have been rescued in Ormoc city on central Leyte island, where the ferry capsized Thursday.

TIME indonesia

Crashed Plane May Have Suffered Engine Problem, Indonesia Air Force Chief Says

APTOPIX Indonesia Military Plane Crash
Gilbert Manullang—Associated Press Firefighters and military personnel inspect the site where an Air Force cargo plane crashed in Medan, North Sumatra, Indonesia, June 30, 2015

The fact that the plane turned rightward after takeoff suggests an engine failure

(MEDAN, Indonesia) — Indonesia’s air force chief said Thursday the military transport plane that crashed into a residential neighborhood of Medan killing 141 people had a propeller “abnormality” that indicates an engine stalled.

Air Marshal Agus Supriatna told reporters the fact that the plane turned rightward after takeoff and was flying at a lower than normal speed also suggests an engine failure.

Before crashing shortly after takeoff on Tuesday, the C-130 Hercules hit a 35-meter (115-foot) radio antenna, he said. “By hitting the antenna, I imagine it certainly affected the plane,” Supriatna said.

The search for bodies ended Wednesday. The plane was carrying 122 people and the impact also killed people on the ground.

Air force spokesman Dwi Badarmanto said it has grounded other B-type Hercules planes pending the investigation’s outcome. He didn’t say how many planes that involved.

The C-130 was carrying many more passengers than the military first reported. Initially, the air force said there were 12 crew members on the 51-year-old plane and did not mention passengers. It then repeatedly raised the number of people on board, indicating confusion about how many people had boarded and alighted during a journey covering several cities.

TIME India

India Says It Doesn’t Have to Declare When Its Carbon Emissions Will Peak

Views Around The NTPC Ltd. Badarpur Coal Plant As World's Worst Air Spurs Clean Up
Bloomberg—Bloomberg via Getty Images Emissions billow from smokestacks at the NTPC Ltd. Badarpur coal-fired power plant as the sun sets in Badarpur, Delhi, India, on Tuesday, April 28, 2015.

It argues that its development needs absolve it of needing to announce a specific time frame

India, the world’s third largest carbon emitter, has said that it doesn’t need to declare the year in which its carbon emissions will peak.

The remarks were made by the Minister for the Environment, Prakash Javadekar, during an interview with the BBC, and came two days after China declared that it intends to hit peak emissions by 2030.

Scientists say that carbon emissions need to peak globally very soon to avoid disastrous climate change.

Every country partaking in the Paris climate talks in December is expected to submit its Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDC) before the conference. According to the BBC, 40 countries have already established a peak year for their emissions goals.

However, Javadekar argued that the country’s clear development needs absolved it of needing to announce an emissions peak in its INDC report, the BBC said.

Like China, India’s main source of emissions is coal. Beijing and New Delhi have banded together in the past to argue that developed, Western countries should shoulder more responsibility for climate action than developing countries.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has made many public pronouncements of India’s commitment to fighting climate change through solar, wind and hydro power, but the country has taken little concrete action yet.

[BBC]

TIME Greece

How Germany Called Greece’s Bluff Ahead of Bailout Vote

German Chancellor Angela Merkel attends a debate on the Greek financial crisis, at the German parliament , the Bundestag , in Berlin on July 1, 2015.
Markus Schreiber—AP German Chancellor Angela Merkel attends a debate on the Greek financial crisis, at the German parliament, the Bundestag , in Berlin on July 1, 2015

The leftist government in Greece may have overestimated the resolve of its supporters

At first the call for a referendum was bold enough to seem clever, or at least typical of the chutzpah that helped bring Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras to power in Greece in the first place. Its logic was simple. With talks between Greece and its creditors at an impasse, why not give the people a chance to demand a better deal at the ballot box? Would Germany and the other European powers be so callous as to ignore the outcome of a democratic vote? At the very least, the referendum would renew the government’s mandate in its struggle for debt relief.

Germany, however, didn’t flinch. Chancellor Angela Merkel called the bluff on Tspiras’ last-minute gambit with an almost taunting composure. “Before a referendum, as planned, is carried out, we won’t negotiate on anything new at all,” she said on Tuesday. In other words, her response to the threat of a referendum was simple: Knock yourself out.

The Chancellor was not just being stubborn. She had seen the Greek opinion polls suggesting the July 5 referendum would not come out as Tsipras hopes. Although the polls since then have been more mixed, an early majority seemed to emerge this week in favor of a bailout deal, one that would save Greece from abandoning the euro even at the price of higher taxes and more austerity.

On Tuesday evening, tens of thousands of Greeks gathered outside the parliamentary building in Athens to support this position, defying their Prime Minister with calls for Greeks to vote in favor of the deal. Their numbers, to the surprise of many in the crowd, clearly dwarfed the demonstration that had gathered the night before to back Tsipras in rebuffing Greece’s creditors.

The Prime Minister then appeared to lose his nerve. On Tuesday night, he sent a letter to European Finance Ministers asking for another bailout — and apparently conceding to most of their demands for more cuts to the welfare system and higher taxes. The concessions were shocking, as they bowed to many of the terms that Tsipras had so vehemently opposed for months. Nevertheless, it took just a few hours for the European ministers to reject his appeal, surely not without the influence of Germany.

“This government has done nothing since it came into office,” German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble said in a speech the next day. “It has only reversed measures. It reneged on previously agreed commitments. It negotiated and negotiated.”

By that point, Greek workers and pensioners had been given a taste of what it could mean to defy their nation’s creditors. The European Central Bank had cut off its emergency cash injections to Greek banks as of Sunday, forcing them to limit the amount of money their clients could withdraw from ATMs. This measure soon caused crowds of elderly Greeks to gather outside banks in Athens to collect at least a portion of their pensions, their outstretched hands providing a grim image of what Greece could turn into without the support of its European peers.

It was not what Tsipras had in mind when he gambled on the referendum. On Friday afternoon, hours before the Prime Minister announced the vote, a senior official in his government had explained the logic of this option to TIME. “This government is determined to keep struggling to persuade the European community that Greece wants to stay in,” said Rania Antonopoulos, the Deputy Minister in charge of combating Greece’s sky-high unemployment. “But we cannot accept conditions that would bring about even more recession.”

Her reasoning was sound. When Greece first accepted austerity in exchange for a bailout in 2010, its creditors badly underestimated the damage it would do to the Greek economy. The country’s GDP wound up shrinking by a quarter over the next five years, creating a recession that has been deeper and more protracted than the U.S. Great Depression. Unemployment also rose to a peak of around 28% in February, with half of young people now jobless in Greece.

Tsipras came to power in January with a promise to change course, and he immediately took his core election promises to Greece’s creditors. The 40-year-old leftist demanded a reduction of his country’s debt, relief to the poor and, above all, no more austerity imposed on Greece from without.

“They are not carelessly engaging in this dialogue,” Antonopoulos says of Tsipras and her other Syriza party leaders. “They are exhausting all possible options before they say, ‘Well, they are kicking us out [of the euro zone]. And if they are kicking us out and we have no other way, then of course we will take it to the people, and the people will decide what is our next move.’”

But Syriza may have overestimated the people’s resolve. Among the party’s core supporters were many of Greece’s poorest citizens, who are ill prepared to face the reality of cash shortages, bank runs and a future without the euro as their currency. In the past few days, the European Union has done its best to demonstrate how painful that reality would be.

“If they vote no, it would be disastrous for the future,” said Jean-Claude Juncker, the president of the European Commission, which along with the International Monetary Fund and the European Central Bank, makes up the so-called troika of Greece’s creditors. “No would mean they are saying no to Europe,” he told a press conference on Monday.

To many in Greece, this seemed like a blatant attempt to influence the outcome of the referendum, as did the European move to cut the flow of emergency liquidity to Greek banks. The European Central Bank could have kept that assistance alive for just a few more days, allowing banks to stay open at least until the referendum. Instead it chose to turn off the faucet the day after Tsipras called the vote.

Stefanos Manos, a Greek conservative who served as Minister of Finance in the early 1990s, says he’s glad Europe is sending such a clear message. He was among the first to point out how wasteful and inefficient the Greek state had become — and, he says, was considered an “extremist” for doing so. He now sees the referendum as a chance for Greeks to finally accept that he was right — and that perhaps, Merkel is too. “It seems we will come out on top,” Manos says.

The Prime Minister isn’t so sure. In a televised address on Wednesday, Tsipras continued to defy the troika by urging Greeks to vote against the bailout deal — not as a rejection of the European Union or its currency, he said, but as a means of giving him a stronger position in negotiations going forward.

That doesn’t seem like much of an upside when compared to the referendum’s risks. If the people side with Tsipras, he’ll just have to return to the same negotiating table, albeit with a slightly better hand and a revitalized mandate to take a tough position. If voters turn against him, he won’t have any hand to play at all.

TIME Narendra Modi

Here’s How India Is Getting Serious About Wi-Fi

BJP Leader Narendra Modi Campaigns In Gujarat
Kevin Frayer—Getty Images India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

The plan is expected to create millions of jobs

India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi wants to make sure his country’s population can get fast Internet as soon as possible.

In fact, he’s pumping $18 billion into a campaign called “digital week,” which plans to do just that. The move comes after Wi-Fi became available at the iconic Taj Mahal palace for the first time.

“Now we are at a place where we can take off,” a spokesman for Communications and Information Technology Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad told Reuters. “The idea is to bridge the gap between haves and have-nots of services and deliverables.”

The plan’s goal is to create over 100 million jobs for Indian citizens.

In May, Modi, who is known for having a strong social media presence and being technologically savvy, grabbed headlines for clashing with Chinese social media users on the popular Weibo service.

TIME remembrance

‘Britain’s Schindler’ Nicholas Winton Dies at 106

An Oct. 28, 2014 file photo of the then 105 year-old Sir Nicholas Winton waiting to be decorated with the highest Czech Republic's decoration, The Order of the White Lion at the Prague Castle in Prague, Czech Republic. Winton, a humanitarian who almost single-handedly saved more than 650 Jewish children from the Holocaust, earning himself the label “Britain's Schindler,” has died. He was 106. The Rotary Club of Maidenhead, of which he was former president, said Winton died Wednesday, July 1, 2015, with his daughter Barbara and two grandchildren at his side. (AP Photo/Petr David Josek, File)
Petr David Josek—AP The then 105 year-old Sir Nicholas Winton waiting to be decorated with the highest Czech Republic's decoration, The Order of the White Lion at the Prague Castle in Prague, on Oct. 28, 2014.

Winton rescued more than 650 Jewish children from the Holocaust

(LONDON) — He was just a 29-year-old clerk at the London Stock Exchange when he faced the challenge of his lifetime. Traveling with a friend to Czechoslovakia in 1938, as the drums of impending war echoed around Europe, Nicholas Winton was hit by a key realization.

The country was in danger and no one was saving its Jewish children.

Winton would almost single-handedly save more than 650 Jewish children from the Holocaust, earning himself the label “Britain’s Schindler.” He died Wednesday at age 106 in a hospital near Maidenhead, his hometown west of London, his family said.

Winton arranged trains to carry children from Nazi-occupied Prague to Britain, battling bureaucracy at both ends and saving them from almost certain death. To top it all off, he then kept quiet about his exploits for a half-century.

His daughter, Barbara, said she hoped her father would be remembered for his wicked sense of humor and charity work as well as his wartime heroism. And she hoped his legacy would be inspiring people to believe that even difficult things were possible.

“He believed that if there was something that needed to be done you should do it,” she said. “Let’s not spend too long agonizing about stuff. Let’s get it done.”

British Prime Minister David Cameron said “the world has lost a great man.” Jonathan Sacks, Britain’s former chief rabbi, said Winton “was a giant of moral courage and determination, and he will be mourned by Jewish people around the world.”

Born in London on May 19, 1909 to parents of German Jewish descent, Winton himself was raised as a Christian.

Late in 1938, a friend contacted him and told him to cancel the skiing holiday they had planned and travel instead to Czechoslovakia.

Alarmed by the influx of refugees from the Sudetenland region recently annexed by Germany, Winton and his friend feared — correctly — that Czechoslovakia soon would be invaded by the Nazis and that its Jewish residents would be sent to concentration camps.

While some in Britain were working to get Jewish intellectuals and communists out of Czechoslovakia, no one was trying to save the children — so Winton took that task upon himself.

Returning to Britain, Winton persuaded British officials to accept children, as long as foster homes were found and a 50-pound guarantee was paid for each one to ensure they had enough money to return home later. At the time, their stays were only expected to be temporary.

Setting himself up as the one-man children’s section of the British Committee for Refugees from Czechoslovakia, Winton set about finding homes and guarantors, drawing up lists of about 6,000 children, publishing pictures to encourage British families to agree to take them.

The first 20 children arrived by plane, but once the German army reached Prague in March 1939, they could only be brought out by train.

So, in the months before the outbreak of World War II, eight trains carried children from Czechoslovakia through Germany to Britain. In all, Winton got 669 children out.

The largest evacuation was scheduled for Sept. 3, 1939 — the day that Britain declared war on Germany. That train never left, and almost none of the 250 children trying to flee on it survived the war.

The children from Prague were among some 10,000 mostly Jewish children who made it to Britain on what were known as the Kindertransports (children’s transports). Few of them would see their parents again.

Although many more Jewish children were saved from Berlin and Vienna, those operations were better organized and better financed. Winton’s operation was unique because he worked almost alone.

“Maybe a lot more could have been done. But much more time would have been needed, much more help would have been needed from other countries, much more money would have been needed, much more organization,” Winton later said.

He also acknowledged that not all the children who made it to Britain were well-treated in their foster homes — sometimes they were used as cheap domestic servants.

“I wouldn’t claim that it was 100 percent successful. But I would claim that everybody who came over was alive at the end of the war,” he was quoted as saying in the book about the Kindertransports “Into the Arms of Strangers.”

Several of the children he saved grew up to have prominent careers, including filmmaker Karel Reisz, British politician Alf Dubs and Canadian journalist Joe Schlesinger.

Winton served in the Royal Air Force during the war and continued to support refugee organizations. After the war, he became involved in numerous other charitable organizations, especially in Maidenhead.

A keen fencer who lost his chance to compete at the Olympics because of the outbreak of World War II, Winton worked with his younger brother Bobby to found the Winton Cup, still a major team fencing competition in Britain.

But for almost 50 years, Winton said nothing about what he had done before the war. It only emerged in 1988 when his wife Grete found documents in the attic of their home.

“There are all kinds of things you don’t talk about, even with your family,” Winton said in 1999. “Everything that happened before the war actually didn’t feel important in the light of the war itself.”

Winton’s wife persuaded him to have his story documented. It became well-known in Britain after the BBC tracked down dozens of “Nicky’s Children” and arranged an emotional reunion on prime-time television.

A film about his heroism, “Nicholas Winton — The Power of Good,” won an International Emmy Award in 2002. Then-Prime Minister Tony Blair praised him as “Britain’s Schindler,” after German businessman Oskar Schindler, who also saved Jewish lives during the war.

Winton was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II in 2003 and also honored in the Czech Republic, where last year he received the country’s highest state honor, the Order of the White Lion.

“He was a person I admired for his personal bravery,” said Czech President Milos Zeman.

A statue of Winton stands at Prague’s central station, while a statue commemorating the children of the Kindertransport is a popular sight at London’s Liverpool Street Station.

Winton continued to attend Kindertransport events in Britain and the Czech Republic well beyond his 100th birthday.

Still, he rejected the description of himself as a hero, insisting that unlike Schindler, his life had never been in danger.

“At the time, everybody said, ‘Isn’t it wonderful what you’ve done for the Jews? You saved all these Jewish people,'” Winton said. “When it was first said to me, it came almost as a revelation. Because I didn’t do it particularly for that reason. I was there to save children.”

Winton’s wife Grete died in 1999. He is survived by his daughter Barbara, his son Nick and several grandchildren.

___

Associated Press Writers Danica Kirka and Jill Lawless in London and Karel Janicek in Prague contributed.

TIME Greece

Here’s What Greek Austerity Would Look Like in America

Putting Greece's economic catastrophe into perspective

Greece is in the middle of a fresh round of economic tumult as its leaders try to negotiate terms for a new bailout package to keep the country financially afloat. Since 2010, Greece has been receiving money from the European Union and the International Monetary Fund in exchange for agreeing to harsh spending cuts and tax increases. The steep cost-cutting measures, known as austerity, have become a common practice across Europe as the continent has struggled to regain its economic footing following the global financial crisis of 2008.

But Greece’s case has been especially extreme. With steep slashes to health funding, salaries and pensions along with huge tax increases, Greek unemployment has skyrocketed, as have the number of people in poverty. As of Tuesday night, Greece had defaulted on a $1.7 billion payment to the International Monetary Fund, and the financial future of the country is looking increasingly dire. Greece will have to agree to even more spending cuts to continue to receive funding.

To place the severity of Greece’s austerity measures over the last several years in perspective, here’s an idea for how the same types of cuts would impact the United States.

  • Greece’s minimum monthly wage was cut by 22% in 2012, from 751 euros to 586 euros. A similar cut in the U.S. would drop the hourly minimum wage from $7.25 to $5.66.
  • In 2009 and 2010 Greece implemented a variety of cuts to salaries for public sector workers that worked out to an average pay cut of about 15%. In the U.S. that would decrease the average government employee’s pay from $51,340 per year to $43,639, using 2012 figures.
  • Pension cuts have been an especially controversial pain point in Greece, and the combined cuts have lead to a 40% decrease in pension funding since 2009, according to the Associated Press. A similar drop in Social Security payouts in the U.S. would mean the average senior citizen’s monthly would mean a drop in Social Security payouts from $1,294 per month on average to $776 per month.
  • Greece’s national health budget has been slashed by about 40% since 2008, according to the New York Times. Using U.S. health spending figures from 2013, that would drop federal, state and local government spending on health care from $1.25 trillion ($3,980 per person) to $725 billion ($2,388 per person).
  • In 2010 Greece increased the tax on cigarettes by about 20 percent. That would increase the tax on a pack of cigarettes in New York from $6.86 to $7.89.
TIME Cuba

The Hard Part Is About to Start in U.S.-Cuban Relations

After a heady six month romance, Washington and Havana now face the daunting task of untangling obstacles put into place over the last 54 years

There’s a new flagpole outside the stately Washington D.C. building that will become the Cuban Embassy later this month—and that’s a win to be savored by President Obama, who has made outreach to enemy states a main point of his foreign policy. But if flagpoles are the symbol of the day, take proper note of the forest of 138 staffs outside the Havana building that will house the U.S. Embassy. The flagpoles were placed there eight years ago by the Cuban government, to physically impede the view of the building, a mostly empty seaside edifice Washington had decided to turn into an electronic message board aimed at speaking directly to the Cuban population.

That sophomoric level of exchange is precisely what both governments have said they aim to leave behind, over the six months since Obama and Cuban President Raul Castro announced the surprise rapprochement. The leaders managed to speak to rather than past each other at the hemispheric summit in Panama in April, and U.S. and Cuban officials got on well in the series of private negotiations that produced Wednesday’s announcement. Secretary of State John Kerry will go to Havana on July 22 to formally convert the U.S. Interests Section to the U.S. Embassy. And the White House says Obama is among the Americans curious about seeing the country for himself; look for him to visit before his term ends.

But away from the large gestures and sweeping statements, the reality on the ground remains stubborn. Relations between the countries were cut off in 1961, and it’s not as though things stood still for the next 54 years. Both countries were busy producing a jungle of laws, regulations and procedures intended, like that forest of flagpoles, to act as obstacles to normal contact. And jungles are not easily untangled.

Obama’s administration did what in the weeks after the December announcement, using executive authority to remove penalties for Americans to travel to Cuba—as long as they did not call themselves tourists. Airline charters are now permitted from many U.S. cities, and passenger ferries from South Florida. But a thicket of impediments remain. The four biggest:

1. The embargo: As Obama made clear in his Rose Garden remarks, the chief executive is powerless to undo the overlapping legislation that bars U.S. citizens and companies from doing ordinary business with the island. Only Congress can repeal the embargo, and that’s one place where the Cuban expatriate lobby—dominated by staunchly anti-Castro Cubans who fled the island after Fidel took power in 1959—has yet to be tested. Presidential contender Sen. Marco Rubio, the Florida Republican, has made himself chief spokesman against making any change.

2. Guantanamo: Obama’s promise to close the controversial prison on Guantanamo Naval Base does not mean the U.S. has any intention of giving up the base itself, which it’s leased from Havana since 1903—on terms Washington dictated, in the Big Brother role it played in Cuban internal affairs before Castro. But Castro’s government has never cashed the rent checks. Both for reasons of sovereignty and credibility as anti-imperialist stalwart, Cuba wants the land back.

3. The Internet: The announcements by Netflix and AirBnB that they would be operating in Cuba made headlines, but not a lot of sense. The island is barely wired. Ordinary citizens pass information by thumb drives loaded up by someone lucky enough to grab a signal. The Havana government likes to control information, and so distrusts the Web. Obama has repeatedly expressed his keenness for U.S. business to help Cuba go digital, and if Havana allows that, it will signal a huge breakthrough. But something has to give, and there’s hope in Castro’s state choice of the official who will succeed him when he steps down as president in 2018: Miguel Diaz-Canel, 55, is known to be a Web enthusiast. As one former Cuban official told me with a look of wonder, “I’ve heard that the first thing he does in the morning is check his email!”

4. Castro: “Sometimes we allow ourselves to be trapped by a certain way of doing things,” Obama said in the Rose Garden on Wednesday. He was referring to Americans, but could have been talking about Cuba’s 84-year-old president. Often described as more flexible than his brother, Fidel, Raul Castro is not exactly Gumby. His efforts to shift Cuba from stagnant socialism to a market economy have been glacial and halting, more chastened by the example of “shock therapy” in the former Soviet Union than guided by the examples of Vietnam and China. Cuban officials speak of fashioning a new way forward, one that preserves the social equality that has been the government’s major accomplishment of the last five decades. But it’s far from clear that Havana has a strategy to channel the changes that ordinary people are expecting now that America is no longer an enemy.

“Of course,” Obama said, “nobody expects Cuba to be transformed overnight.” Raul Castro expects it least of all. The question is whether it will be up to him.

TIME

Obama Announces Cuban Embassies

But he pushed Congress to go further

President Obama called the reopening of U.S. and Cuban embassies after a half century a “historic step forward,” but pushed Congress to go even further and end the trade embargo with the island nation.

“This is a historic step forward in our efforts to normalize relations with the Cuban government and people,” he said in a brief announcement at the White House that was carried live on Cuban television. “We begin a new chapter with our neighbors in the Americas.”

The reopened embassies are just the latest step in a rapprochement that began in December when Obama announced the U.S. would normalize diplomatic relations with the communist country. The Obama Administration has also removed Cuba from an official terror list, and Secretary of State John Kerry will visit the country at the end of summer, after the expected July 20 embassy openings.

Republican presidential candidates largely oppose the move, with only Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul backing Obama’s decision. The Republican-led Congress is also unlikely to end the longstanding trade embargo, with the House already including provisions to block Obama from the moves he has already taken on Cuba.

But Obama cited one prominent Republican, former George W. Bush Commerce Secretary Carlos Gutierrez, who wrote in a New York Times column in June that he has changed his mind and now supports normalizing ties.

Obama said that “nobody expects Cuba to transform overnight,” but he stressed that he believes a new policy of engagement will advance American interests and the cause of democracy and human rights there.

“This is what change looks like,” Obama added.

 

TIME Cuba

Watch President Obama Announce Cuba Embassy Opening

The U.S. and Cuba re-established diplomatic relations earlier this year

The United States and Cuba will open embassies in each other’s capital cities, formally rebuilding diplomatic relations for the first time since 1961

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