TIME India

India’s PM Narendra Modi Is Ordering Moguls and Bankers to Clean Its Streets

Narendra Modi
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi speaks while meeting with U.S. President Barack Obama in the White House, Washington, D.C., on Sept. 30, 2014 Evan Vucci—AP

The campaign is more than a gimmick, as India contends with a long-standing hygiene problem that imperils the economy, exposes millions to sickness and heightens the risk of sexual assault

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has brought his broom and thinks it’s a mess.

Thursday marks the birthday of Indian independence hero Mahatma Gandhi, and the nation’s new leader will mark the occasion by giving brooms to the top executives of state-run companies with instructions to sweep the streets. He will also wield a broom himself, Bloomberg reports.

“I urge every one of you to devote at least 100 hours every year, two hours every week, towards cleanliness,” said Modi, in a statement last week. “We can’t let India remain unclean any longer. On the second of October I myself will set out with a broom and contribute to this pious task.”

Meanwhile, Modi, the popular new leader of this nation of 1.2 billion people, will also call on state-owned banks to fund toilet construction. In India, some 594 million people still do not have access to toilets, according to UNICEF, posing a major health hazard. (In April, UNICEF launched a video campaign starring an army of malicious, dancing turds taking over the world to raise awareness about the dangers of defecating in the open.)

The announcement is part of Modi’s broader initiative to tackle hygiene issues that expose hundreds of millions to disease and heightened risk of sexual assault.

About 11 state-run power, coal and renewable energy companies have pledged to build 50,000 new toilets in schools, of which work on 1,001 will begin on Oct. 2, according to a government statement.

TIME Foreign Policy

Records: Kissinger Made Plans to Attack Cuba

Henry Kissinger
U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger talks about his views and his new book World Order in an interview on Sept. 3, 2014 Chris Usher—AP

In several White House meetings, Kissinger advocated for strong action to stop Fidel Castro, fearful that his incursion in Africa was making the U.S. look weak

(NEW YORK) — U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger ordered contingency plans drawn up nearly 40 years ago to attack Cuba, incensed over the small island’s deployment of troops to Angola, according to declassified government documents posted online Wednesday.

In several White House meetings, Kissinger advocated for strong action to stop Castro, fearful that his incursion in Africa was making the U.S. look weak. He argued that Cuba’s actions were driving fears around the world of a wider race war that could spill over into Latin America and even destabilize the Middle East. In a series of contingency plans that followed, options ranged from a military blockade to airstrikes and mining of Cuban ports. But the documents also warned of heavy risks, including a wider conflict with the Soviet Union and a ground war to defend the U.S. Naval base at Guantanamo Bay.

“I think we are going to have to smash Castro. I don’t think we can do it before the election,” Kissinger told President Gerald R. Ford, according to a transcript of a Feb. 25, 1976 meeting in the Oval Office. Ford replied, “I agree.”

Jimmy Carter ultimately won the 1976 presidential election.

Kissinger, who had returned from a trip to Latin America, and told Ford that leaders in the region “are scared to death about Cuba. They are afraid of a race war.”

The documents were declassified by the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Library at the request of the National Security Archive, which published them online Wednesday. An account of the episode is being published in a new book, “Back Channel to Cuba,” written by William M. LeoGrande, a professor at American University, and Peter Kornbluh, director of the Cuban Documentation Project at the National Security Archive.

At another Oval Office meeting on March 15, 1976, Kissinger said “even the Iranians are worried about the Cubans getting into the Middle East countries. I think we have to humiliate them. If they move into Namibia or Rhodesia, I would be in favor of clobbering them.”

Nine days later, Kissinger chaired a high-level “Special Actions Group Meeting” at the White House Situation Room to discuss options.

“If there is a perception overseas that we are so weakened by our internal debate so that it looks like we can’t do anything about a country of 8 million people, then in three or four years we are going to have a real crisis,”Kissinger said.

The contingency plans outlined military options from blocking outgoing Cuban ships carrying troops and war material to airstrikes against Cuban bases and airfields. The documents discussed risks, including the possibility that the Soviet Union would thwart a blockade by seizing or sinking ships. “Escalation to general war could result,” one document said.

The contingency plans sounded a cautious note about what sort of Cuban provocation would trigger a U.S. military response. They stated that while the “threshold” should be low if Cuba moves against U.S. territories, it should be “highest” for Africa.

TIME History

Archaeologists Believe They Found Dracula’s Dungeon

Circa 1450, Portrait of Vlad Tepes 'Vlad the Impaler'(c 1431-1476), from a painting in Castle Ambras in the Tyrol.
Circa 1450, portrait of Vlad Tepes or Vlad the Impaler, from a painting in Castle Ambras in the Tyrol Stock Montage/Getty Images

The dungeon believed to have held Vlad the Impaler, the inspiration for the blood-thirsty character, was recently discovered in Turkey

Archeologists in Turkey have reportedly made a spooky discovery, just in time for the start of Halloween season: the dungeon where the real-life basis for Count Dracula was held.

The cell where history’s Dracula, the Romanian prince Vlad III (nicknamed Vlad the Impaler for his gruesome tendency to impale his foes), was recently discovered during a restoration project, the Turkey-based Hurriyet Daily News reports.

Researchers are reportedly restoring the ancient Tokat Castle, where the Ottomans imprisoned the infamously cruel figure, in the mid 1400s. The team there evidently discovered a tunnel leading to two dungeons — one of which is likely to have housed Bad Old Vlad.


Hong Kong Stands Up

Hong Kong International Cover-Asia Sopac 141013
Photograph by Xaume Olleros–AFP/Getty Images

Why the territory’s fight for democracy is a challenge for China

This story appears on the cover of the Oct. 13, 2014, Asia edition of TIME.

The typhoons that lash Hong Kong make quick work of umbrellas, the squalls twisting them into Calder sculptures of disarranged fabric and metal. On the evening of Sept. 28, prime typhoon season in this South China Sea outpost, flocks of umbrellas unfurled on the streets of Hong Kong. This time, they guarded not against rain and wind but tear gas and pepper spray. One of the world’s safest and most orderly cities—a metropolis of 7.2 million people that experienced just 14 homicides in the first half of this year—erupted into a battleground, as gas-mask-clad riot police unleashed noxious chemicals on thousands of protesters who were demanding democratic commitments from the territory’s overlords in Beijing.

As the first rounds of tear gas exploded in Admiralty, a Hong Kong district better known for its soaring bank buildings and glittering malls, demonstrators armed with nothing but umbrellas and other makeshift defenses—raincoats, lab glasses, ski goggles, milk and plastic wrap—defied the fumes and surged forward. The protests, drawing tens of thousands of people from all walks of life, were galvanized by mounting anger over Beijing’s decision in late August to deny locals the right to freely elect Hong Kong’s top leader, known as the chief executive (CE), in 2017.

When the onetime British colony was reunified with China in 1997, Hong Kong was promised governance under a “one country, two systems” principle that guaranteed significant autonomy for 50 years. But residents fear that, just 17 years after the handover, the freedoms that differentiate Hong Kong from everywhere else in China are eroding. Shocked by the volleys of pepper spray and tear gas, which injured dozens, the protest movement was energized by desperation. “We are not afraid of the Chinese government,” said Kusa Yeung, a 24-year-old copywriter helping to distribute water to fellow protesters just past midnight on Sept. 29. “We are fighting for a fair democracy.” The Umbrella Revolution had unfolded.

Hong Kong’s civil-disobedience campaign—which began Sept. 28 as the Occupy Central With Love & Peace movement, after the Central city district where it originated—soon occupied the city’s downtown, along with two key shopping and tourist districts. But while the sit-ins, with their umbrellas and yellow ribbons, captured the world’s attention, they will not topple China’s ruling Communist Party. The People’s Republic celebrated its 65th year of existence on Oct. 1 with a blaze of fireworks and militaristic pageantry in Beijing, a symbol of the party’s unquestioned grip on the country—though the fireworks were canceled in Hong Kong.

Still, the protests engulfing this tiny splinter of the motherland present China’s strongman President Xi Jinping with an unexpected dilemma at a time when the party is already facing scattered discontent at home. The side effects of three decades of unfettered economic growth—a poisoned environment, a growing income gap, rampant corruption—have contributed to an uneasy sense that, for all of China’s remarkable rise, things are not quite as they should be. “The Hong Kong protests are the last thing Xi Jinping wanted to see,” says Jean-Pierre Cabestan, a political scientist at Hong Kong Baptist University. “He has so many other problems to tackle.”

A canny nationalist, Xi and his coterie regularly blame “foreign forces” for fomenting social disorder in China. A scathing Sept. 29 online opinion piece in the People’s Daily, the Chinese Communist Party’s mouthpiece, accused the Hong Kong protests of being orchestrated by “anti-China forces … whose hearts belong to colonial rule and who are besotted with ‘Western democracy.’” But, if anything, the mess in Hong Kong, along with other instances of social unrest, are self-inflicted by China’s centralized leadership, which has done little to win hearts and minds on the country’s periphery. In his National Day speech in Beijing, Xi proclaimed that China’s leaders “must never separate ourselves from the people.” Yet, at the same time, the authorities detained mainland activists who expressed solidarity with the Hong Kong protesters.

Instead of taking advantage of Hong Kong’s inherently pragmatic temperament, the Chinese government spent the summer rubbing the territory’s nose in its political powerlessness. First came a Beijing white paper that asserted the central government’s “comprehensive jurisdiction” over Hong Kong and trod on treasured local institutions like rule of law. Then on Aug. 31 the Chinese government ruled that Hong Kongers could vote for their CE—but only after a Beijing-backed committee presented the electorate with two or three candidates it deemed suitable. (Currently, an electoral college selects the CE.) “Rejecting democracy in Hong Kong has dramatically backfired,” says Maya Wang, a Hong Kong–based researcher with Human Rights Watch. “People here have now lost confidence in the central government. Trying to clear the protests has just led to bigger protests.” Even if the demonstrators eventually disperse, this breach of trust fundamentally changes Hong Kong’s political calculus.

Protesters block the main street to the financial Central district, outside the government headquarters in Hong Kong
In a massive show of civil disobedience, protesters block the multi­lane thoroughfare leading to Hong Kong’s financial district. Carlos Barria—Reuters

The Umbrella Revolution

If the other democratic upheavals of recent years are defined by a single season or hue, the choice of an umbrella to symbolize Hong Kong’s dissent is as fitting as it is improbable. Umbrellas come in a riot of colors, matching a polyglot city that was birthed by quarreling Eastern and Western parents, neither of which gave much thought to gifting democracy to a few hunks of South China Sea rock.

Umbrellas are also a practical instrument, unsexy but vital, much like this financial hub that has long served as an entrepôt to the vast markets of mainland China. Efficiency is the city’s motto. This being Hong Kong, the protesters picked up their trash after the tear gas subsided. The volunteers who ferried in donated supplies even had sparkling water on tap, offering San Pellegrino to the parched hordes at nearly 3 a.m. on Sept. 29.

Neither the lingering memory of tear gas nor the advent of the workweek in this workaholic city diminished the crowds on Monday and Tuesday. As riot police withdrew amid a barrage of criticism for their tear-gas blitzkriegs, protesters further packed what are already some of the most densely populated places on earth, young families staking out spaces with bright parasols. William Ma, 47, brought his daughter Dorothy, 11, to one protest site on Sept. 30. “When I was young, democracy never came,” he said. “Maybe I’ll have died already, but she can have a better life, she can have democracy.”

The weekend’s anxious mood was replaced by a carnival gaiety, as stockbrokers mixed with the students who had helped kick-start the protest movement. High school kids did their homework on the pavement, squinting at their scientific calculators in the scorching sun. Some of the demonstrators admitted they were newbies, galvanized into political action by the heavy-handed police response. “[People] were just raising their hands without any weapons, and they used tear gas without any warning,” said Raymond Chan, a math teacher, who joined the movement on Monday. “But the fact that they did that just makes us stronger, more unified.”

Such a movement in Hong Kong threatens the national unity Xi and Co. are so keen to maintain. For all of Beijing’s emphasis on enhancing national security—the surveillance apparatus gets more official funding than does the military—China’s fringes are fraying. Beyond Hong Kong, the vast ethnic enclaves of Tibet and Xinjiang are rebelling, with violence in the latter largely Islamic region claiming hundreds of lives over the past year. Taiwan, the island that Beijing has desperately wanted back ever since Chiang Kai-shek’s Nationalists fled there after losing the civil war in 1949, has been assimilating economically with the mainland. But the Hong Kong crisis has spooked even ardent integrationists in Taiwan, making it hard for Xi to argue that “one country, two systems” can bring the island back into the fold. Even activists in tiny Macau, the former Portuguese outpost that slid back into Beijing’s embrace in 1999 even more eagerly than Hong Kong had two years before it, are demanding more latitude in choosing their local leader.

Hong Kong’s cry for freedom resonates far beyond its 400 sq miles (1,035 sq km); it directly challenges the narrative of a unified People’s Republic. “The truth is Hong Kong is more than ready for democracy,” wrote Anson Chan, Hong Kong’s former chief secretary, the No. 2 leadership post in the territory, in an exclusive commentary for TIME. “It is China that is not ready for a democratically governed Hong Kong it fears it cannot totally control.”

Alternate Universe

Three decades ago, when prime ministers Margaret Thatcher and Zhao Ziyang signed the Sino-British joint declaration setting the conditions for Hong Kong’s return to China in 1997, the then colony was considered an apolitical place, a striving city of businessmen and bankers who would obey whoever was in charge—as long as there was money to be made. Back then, it was communist China that was in the throes of political tumult. Five years later, tanks crushed the pro-democracy student protests at Tiananmen. Hundreds, if not thousands, of students and other peaceful demonstrators were massacred. Political passion was cauterized on the mainland, and the Chinese leadership learned the perils of allowing idealistic students to preach reform in public places.

Xi has used nationalism to argue for an even stronger central command. As China’s military chief, he has taken a more assertive stance on territorial disputes in regional waters, irritating China’s neighbors. Since assuming power in late 2012, Xi has also presided over a civil-liberties crackdown, detaining hundreds of human-rights defenders, from lawyers and bloggers to journalists and artists. He has shown no allergy to repression if it means protecting the party from the people. In September, Ilham Tohti, a moderate academic from the Uighur ethnic minority that populates Xinjiang, was handed a life sentence for separatism. His true crime? Calling on the Internet for China to respect its own regional autonomy laws.

Meanwhile, Hong Kong was busy finding its political voice. Each Tiananmen anniversary, tens of thousands gather for candlelight vigils in Hong Kong, the only place in China where such remembrances are allowed. In 2012 locals balked at a proposal to incorporate patriotic dogma into their education system; a protest movement actually succeeded in scrapping that school legislation.

At the same time, Hong Kongers discovered that their territory’s competitive advantages—unfettered courts, a vibrant press, financial transparency, a clean civil service and a welcoming attitude toward foreigners—were precisely what kept the enclave from becoming just another Chinese city. If Beijing threatened these core values, what were Hong Kong’s prospects? “Hong Kong is still unique, but we see the relentless downhill trajectory,” says Willy Lam, an adjunct professor at the Center for China Studies at the Chinese University of Hong Kong.

One Country, Two Systems

It’s easy, now, to track the seemingly inevitable collision course between Hong Kong and China, between these two vastly different systems trying to coexist in a single nation. Any attempt to narrow the gap looks clumsy. Leung Chun-ying, the unpopular, Beijing-backed Hong Kong chief executive, tried to bridge the disparity, amid calls for his resignation. “Hong Kong is a democracy within the context of ‘one country, two systems,’” he said on Sept. 28, before the pepper-spray charge began. “It is not a self-contained democracy.” Leung went on to characterize the chief-executive selection process as “not ideal, but it is better.”

Better isn’t good enough, particularly for the young generation that has taken to Hong Kong’s streets with the greatest numbers and the greatest passion. Like their counterparts on the mainland, these youths struggle with the realization that their material lives might not improve as expansively as their parents’ once did. Hong Kong’s prime method of wealth creation needs to diversify beyond real estate, just as the rest of China’s must. Housing prices have spiraled so high that ordinary young people in big cities must save their whole lives to afford their own homes.

Han Dongfang, a labor activist who was jailed for helping to organize the Tiananmen protests 25 years ago and who now lives in Hong Kong, says the territory’s young activists today “know more clearly what they want” than he did back when he was a youth leader. On Monday night, in the sweaty, swarming district of Mongkok, a 76-year-old tailor named To Fu-tat gave great consequence to Hong Kong’s students. “They’re the hope for China,” he said.

Yet student activists—no matter how much civility they display with their civil disobedience—are precisely what Beijing fears most. It is within the Chinese establishment’s political memory that the Tiananmen tragedy looms largest. Regina Ip was forced to resign as Hong Kong’s security chief in 2003 after half a million locals marched against the anti-subversion legislation she supported. Today she is a legislator heading the New People’s Party. “My own feeling is that the [Occupy] organizers have arranged the whole movement to replicate another Tiananmen incident in Hong Kong,” she says. “What about the interests of Hong Kong people like us? We want peace and stability. Issues … should be resolved through constructive dialogue not through street protests.”

Polls taken in Hong Kong show that a significant chunk—roughly half of the populace, by one estimate—is willing to accept Beijing’s electoral formula. Protests are bad for business and, for all the Tiananmen scare­mongering, it’s hard to imagine Xi ordering Chinese troops to crack Hong Kong heads. Still, given his antipathy thus far toward political reform, it’s equally hard to see him ceding significant ground to Hong Kong’s democratic forces. Even the protesters themselves don’t imagine their full demands—both the resignation of CE Leung and true electoral freedom to choose the territory’s leader—will be met. “It’s very unlikely that Beijing will reverse its position,” says Audrey Eu, chair of the Civic Party, which has supported the Occupy movement. “But the people of Hong Kong must stand up and defend themselves.”

The Umbrella Revolution has already gained a wider significance. “People in China think Hong Kong belongs to China,” says Julian Lam, a 20-year-old student. “But people in Hong Kong think that Hong Kong is part of China but belongs to the world.” With each Hong Kong citizen who emerged, coughing and crying, to face another round of tear gas, a conviction grew: a quest for liberty is not, as the Chinese government charges, some Western-imposed frippery designed to undermine Beijing’s authority, but a universal aspiration. Let the umbrellas of the world unite. —with reporting by Elizabeth Barber, Rishi Iyengar, Emily Rauhala and David Stout/Hong Kong

TIME ebola

Ebola’s Orphans Have No Place to Go

Ebola's toll includes children who lose their parents to the disease. One charity is coming up with a solution

Berlinda watched her mother die. The three-year-old may not have understood what exactly was going on as the ambulance team transported her and her grievously ill mother to Redemption Hospital, one of Monrovia’s dedicated Ebola treatment centers, but at least she knew she was with the one person who loved her more than anything else in the world.

By the time the ambulance arrived at the clinic in Liberia’s capital city on September 15, her mother had slipped into silence, then death. Berlinda, dressed in a pink plaid shirt and ruffled shorts, emerged from the ambulance wide eyed and scared. There was no one there to receive her, just a phalanx of faceless health care workers covered head-to-toe in white biohazard suits. She too was a potential Ebola patient, so no one could risk picking her up for a comforting hug. Instead she was escorted into the center, given a bed and left for observation. A day later her Ebola test came out negative, but there was no one to celebrate, no one to take her home. Her father unknown and her mother dead; she had nowhere to go.

In a crisis as overwhelming as the Ebola outbreak in west Africa, it is easy to forget that behind each daily death toll there are people left to live with unimaginable loss. For children who lose their parents to sickness or death, the results can be devastating. The United Nations Children’s Fund estimates that around 3,700 children have lost at least one parent in an outbreak that has devastated Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea. Those numbers are likely to double by mid-October. Sometimes relatives can be rounded up to take in the child, but with fears of contagion so strong, Ebola’s stigma is starting to eclipse even close blood ties.

“Thousands of children are living through the deaths of their mother, father or family members from Ebola,” said Manuel Fontaine, UNICEF’s Regional Director for West & Central Africa. “These children urgently need special attention and support; yet many of them feel unwanted and even abandoned.”

Berlinda was one of the lucky ones. As she peered through the ambulance doors before entering the clinic, she caught the attention of Katie Meyler, the American founder of a Monrovia-based education charity who was at the clinic checking in on one of her Ebola-assistance programs. Meyler snapped a few photos for Instagram (she initially thought her name was Pearlina, until she saw the girl’s paperwork a few days later). In the months before Ebola struck Liberia, Meyler’s charity, More Than Me, had been in the process of setting up a beachside guesthouse designed to earn an income for the organization, which provides schooling for vulnerable Liberian girls. Those plans had been put on hold, but when Meyler saw Berlinda she realized that she had the resources and the housing to be able to do something. “I told the doctors that I could take care of her until they figured out how to find her family,” says Meyler. Two days later, Berlinda was out of the clinic and in a clean, welcoming home full of new toys, staffed with a nurse and a former teacher, and Meyler had a new project on her hands.

For Meyler, whose decade-long, seat-of-the-pants approach to running an NGO in Liberia can be best defined as “give love and the rest will follow,” such a rapid change in objective came easy. (A few weeks ago she brought $500 worth of toys, candy and ice cream to pass out to patients in a treatment center. She admits that giving lollypops to a person afflicted with Ebola may not be sound medical practice, but “if someone is dying, it can’t be bad to bring them some joy.”)

That kind of aid in Liberia has raised eyebrows among the more traditional international NGOs, who prefer to strengthen local institutions instead of providing alternatives. But in the case of Ebola’s orphans, the need has simply become overwhelming. Ebola can take up to 21 days between exposure to the virus and the development of symptoms, so anyone who has been in direct contact with a patient must be treated as potentially contagious throughout a three-week quarantine. Few are willing to take in children under those conditions.

“The best place for those children to be quarantined is with family members,” says Amy Richmond, a child protection officer in Liberia for the Save the Children NGO. “But fear and stigma around Ebola is a growing phenomenon here, and relatives are scared to take these kids in.”

Even without the need for quarantine, Ebola’s stigma lingers. Three weeks ago, ten-year-old Esther and her family were admitted to a clinic for treatment. She survived, but her parents and her brother did not. Even though she is now immune from Ebola and cannot pass on the virus, distant relatives refused to take her.

“There was this big celebration for all the survivors at the clinic,” recalls Meyler. “Everyone was laughing and praying, but she was bawling her eyes out,” because she had nowhere to go.

That’s where Meyler’s guesthouse-turned-temporary-orphanage comes in. The cheerful blue and yellow building, dubbed HOPE House (Housing, Observation and Pediatric Evaluation), is now home to four children, including Esther and Berlinda. Once Meyler gets the appropriate registration through the government, she plans to welcome up to some 70 more. All of the city’s Ebola treatment centers are already calling, she says. “Everyone is telling me they have kids . . . I can tell you that as soon as we open our doors, it is going to be flooded.”

HOPE House isn’t limited just to orphans. The parents of the two other residents, 3-year-old twins Praise and Praises, are still alive, undergoing treatment for Ebola at Monrovia’s MSF-run isolation center. The twins’ grandmother, Marthalyne Freeman, would gladly take them in, but she works 12-hour shifts as an Ebola nurse. Letting them stay with their parents in the center, she says, is out of the question.

“The children get infected or they get traumatized because their parents can’t take care of them,” says Freeman. She has been working as a nurse since the start of the ongoing Ebola outbreak, she says, and she has seen a lot difficult cases. “Children are being abandoned, and when they are discharged there is no place to keep them. And I don’t think the government has any plans for that right now. The situation in Liberia is very hard.” It is. But for at least some children separated from their parents, things are about to get slightly less hard.

TIME Infectious Disease

Ebola Vaccines Are Being Expedited

Professor Adrian Hill, Director of the Jenner Institute, and Chief Investigator of the trials, holds a phial containing the Ebola vaccine at the Oxford Vaccine Group Centre for Clinical Vaccinology and Tropical Medicine (CCVTM) in Oxford, southern England on Sept. 17, 2014.
Professor Adrian Hill, director of the Jenner Institute and chief investigator of the trials, holds a vial containing the Ebola vaccine at the Oxford Vaccine Group Centre for Clinical Vaccinology and Tropical Medicine in Oxford, southern England, on Sept. 17, 2014 Steve Parsons—Reuters

"Nothing can be allowed to delay this work"

International experts want a fully tested and licensed Ebola vaccine scaled up for mass use in the near future, according to a recent World Health Organization (WHO) meeting.

WHO organized a panel of more than 70 experts, from scientists to medical ethicists, to reach consensus over the status of Ebola vaccines currently being tested. WHO released news from the meeting on Wednesday, the day after the U.S. confirmed its first patient with Ebola. According to the WHO statement, the mission is to “accomplish, within a matter of months, work that normally takes from two to four years, without compromising international standards for safety and efficacy.”

Two vaccines have great potential and are ready for safety testing. The first vaccine is developed by the U.S. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) and GlaxoSmithKline. That vaccine is currently undergoing a human-safety trial at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) campus in Bethesda, Md., as well as at the University of Oxford. The second vaccine is under development by the Public Health Agency of Canada in Winnepeg. That vaccine will start a human-safety trial in early October. Canada has already donated 800 vials of their vaccine to WHO, the organization says. Once more data is available on what dosing should be used, WHO says these vials could translate to around 1,500 to 2,000 doses of the vaccine.

The goal of the safety trials is to confirm that the vaccines are safe enough to move on to a larger human trial. Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of NIAID and the lead on the NIH vaccine, tells TIME the safety trial is so far “uneventful,” which is a good thing. “There really [are] no red flags so it seems to be going along quite well,” he says. The vaccine had already been tested in monkeys and showed very promising results.

WHO and other organizations have been expediting the testing and approval processes for these drugs since early summer, but the NIH’s vaccine has been under development since 2003. At the time, it did not have the pharmaceutical funding to move forward. “[In 2003] there was very little interest for the obvious reasons that there was no disease around,” says Fauci. “Recently, we now have a much more vigorous interest from pharmaceutical companies.”

WHO hopes that in October and November, the vaccines will make it through their safety trials and into next-stage human testing. Between January and February 2015, the goal is to have next-phase human trials approved and initiated in countries affected with Ebola. People at a higher risk for the disease, like health care workers, are a priority.

The meeting did not highlight ZMapp, the drug given to two American patients who were evacuated from Liberia to Emory University in Atlanta. Mapp Biopharmaceutical, the company that produces ZMapp, is a small team that says its resources are now exhausted. Their drug is grown in tobacco plants and requires waiting for a crop in order to produce more of it.

One of the ways trials could be quickened is if the researchers take a “wedge” approach, which means that a wedge or slice of the study population is selected for a first step in the trial, and what is learned in that step is then used on the next slice of the participants. While trials are ongoing, there are still significant technical obstacles that need to be addressed once a vaccine is ready for mass use: how vaccines will be distributed, for instance, and how low-resource health systems can ensure that vaccines are stored below –100 degrees.

In the WHO meeting, the phrase “Nothing can be allowed to delay this work” was repeated multiple times, and since Ebola has now infected more than 7,000 people and even made it to the U.S., the race to develop an effective vaccine is becoming all the more frantic.

TIME Hong Kong

Timeline: Hong Kong’s Struggle for Democracy

Once ruled by the British, now under China, the people of Hong Kong have long agitated for greater rights. Here are some key moments in the movement's history.

TIME europe

France Revolts Against German Austerity With New Budget

French Finance Minister Michel Sapin listens during the presentation of France's 2015 draft budget on October 1, 2014 at the Economy Ministry in Paris.
French Finance Minister Michel Sapin listens during the presentation of France's 2015 draft budget on October 1, 2014 at the Economy Ministry in Paris. Eric Piermont—AFP/Getty Images

New figures put deficit sinner Paris on crash course with Berlin, Brussels

It’s a showdown that has been coming for a while.

The French government Wednesday set out new budget plans for the next three years, baldly stating that its deficit will be a lot wider over the period than it promised its Eurozone partners.

At a news conference in Paris, Finance Minister Michel Sapin said the gap between public revenue and spending would widen to 4.4% of gross domestic product this year from 4.3% last year due to an unexpected slowdown in growth. It will fall back to 4.3% of GDP next year, but only fall under the E.U.’s cap of 3% in 2017–two years later than currently planned.

The figures set the scene for heated discussions in Brussels with the rest of the Eurozone, as the currency bloc’s second-largest economy once again relies on its political clout to defy rules on borrowing that are supposed to be binding on all. (Incoming Eurocrat-in-chief Jean-Claude Juncker is already trying to limit the ability of the Pierre Moscovici, the new economic and financial affairs commissioner, to police those rules, the Financial Times reported Wednesday.)

But specifically, it sets up a fresh clash with Germany, whose insistence on sustainable public finances has stamped Eurozone policy since the Eurozone sovereign debt crisis exploded in Greece in 2010. France has already had to negotiate two extensions to an original agreement to bring the deficit down to 3% of GDP by 2014. Under the new plans, it will have a larger budget shortfall next year than either Greece or Portugal.

“We are committed to being serious about the budget, but we refuse austerity,” Sapin told a news conference in Paris Wednesday.

Sapin has attempted to mollify Berlin and Brussels by committing to €21 billion ($26.5 billion) of government spending cuts next year, and a total of €50 billion over the next three years. Government spending accounts for over 56% of GDP, the highest in the E.U., while its public debt, at over €2 trillion, is now expected to peak at over 96% of GDP. That’s up from only 64% in 2007.

But Sapin said it would be wrong to cut spending by more because it would weaken the economy further. Any further cuts would also be hugely unpopular with the disaffected left wing of President Francois Hollande’s Socialist Party, risking a revolt by backbench lawmakers. The Socialists already lost control of the upper house, or Senate, to the center-right opposition at elections last weekend, and Hollande’s current approval ratings, at 13%, are the lowest for any serving French president since World War II.

The French economy hasn’t grown since the end of last year, and survey data suggest it contracted in the third quarter as the fall-out from the Ukraine crisis hit business and consumer confidence across Europe.

The research firm Markit said elsewhere Wednesday thatthe Eurozone economy pretty much stagnated in September, revising down its purchasing managers’ index to 50.3 from an initial reading of 50.5.

However, the economy may get some support in the last three months of the year from one corner that has been a major bugbear for Paris in recent years–the foreign exchange markets. French officials have railed all year that the euro was too strong for the health of the Eurozone, but it has slid sharply against the dollar in the last month and hit another new two-year low of $1.26 Wednesday in response to the Markit survey.

This article originally appeared on Fortune.com

TIME Infectious Disease

Liberia Hopes Ebola Diagnosis in the U.S. Will Lead to More Help

“Now the Americans know Ebola can go there, maybe they will send more doctors to Liberia”

The news that a man who recently traveled from Liberia to Dallas has been diagnosed with Ebola, the first diagnosis on American soil, was met with mixed reaction Wednesday in one of the West African countries struggling to contain the deadly disease.

Government officials in the capital Monrovia said they have no knowledge of the man’s identity, and have privately expressed frustration that the United States, citing patient confidentiality laws, has not revealed his name or even his nationality. Liberians, ever sensitive to the stigma of Ebola, repeatedly point out that just because the man departed from the capital’s international airport on Sept. 19, it does not necessarily mean he is, in fact, Liberian.

That frustration is reflected on the country’s lively call-in radio talk show. Callers want to be able to identify the man, and pinpoint his nationality, because they say they want to “clear Liberia’s name.” Liberians feel they have been unfairly identified with the Ebola outbreak, which, many point out, started in neighboring Guinea and Sierra Leone, even if Liberia now has the majority of cases. Other call-in guests are taking a longer view, expressing hopes that the case, which is already getting around the clock U.S. media attention, may elicit further American support for the Ebola effort in Liberia.

“Now the Americans know Ebola can go there, maybe they will send more doctors to Liberia,” one caller said. Another brought up the case of American-Liberian Patrick Sawyer, who caught Ebola while working in Liberia, and took it to Lagos, Nigeria, on July 20. He died five days later, unleashing a chain of transmission that ultimately infected 20 and killed eight. Nigerian officials are now saying that the outbreak has been contained. Like the Sawyer case, the caller said, this just further “proves to the world that Ebola is real, and a global threat.” The host agreed. “It is good,” he said, that the patient was getting good treatment in Dallas. It was also good, he added, that Americans can now see the reality of Ebola for themselves: “This will raise international attention, this will let Americans know that Ebola is real.”

TIME Military

Pentagon Dispatches 101st Airborne to Africa to Tackle Ebola

Transmission electron micrograph of an Ebola virus virion Getty Images

Headquarters unit from the storied division to coordinate U.S. efforts to tackle the disease

While the U.S. military has dispatched some 1,600 troops to Iraq in recent weeks to deal with the threats posed by Islamic militants there, it apparently was saving its big guns for a more insidious threat: the Ebola virus.

On Tuesday, the Pentagon announced it will soon have about 1,600 troops in western Africa dealing with the spreading scourge—and that nearly half of them will come from the Army’s storied 101st Airborne Division.

“It’s not an armed threat,” Rear Admiral John Kirby, the Pentagon spokesman, said of the Ebola virus Tuesday. But “just like any other threat, we take it very, very seriously.” While U.S. troops will not be tending to those infected with the disease, he said, they will be “trained on personal protective equipment and on the disease itself…we’ll make sure that they’ve got the protection that they need.”

Like the war against the Islamic State in Iraq and Greater Syria (ISIS), the battle against Ebola is open-ended, Kirby said. He announced that a 700-strong headquarters unit from the 101st would head to Liberia by the month’s end to help coordinate the response to the epidemic. The virus has so far killed over 1,800 in Liberia, the country worst affected by the outbreak.

A second group of 700 engineering troops are headed there to build treatment units to treat the infected, he said. Nearly 200 U.S. troops are already in West Africa dealing with the threat.

“These deployments are part of a whole-of-government response to the Ebola outbreak,” Kirby said. “The U.S. military is not in the lead, but we are fully prepared to contribute our unique capabilities.”

Last week, 15 Navy Seabees—the service’s construction arm—arrived in the Liberian capital of Monrovia to begin help building treatment and training centers. “We’re establishing command and control nodes, logistics hubs, training for health care workers, and providing engineering support,” Army General Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said. “The protection of our men and women is my priority as we seek to help those in Africa and work together to stem the tide of this crisis.”

The World Health Organization said Tuesday that the number of Ebola patients in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone had topped 6,500, with nearly half of them dying from the disease.

It was only two weeks ago that President Obama declared the U.S. would dispatch 3,000 troops to battle Ebola. “If the outbreak is not stopped now,” he warned, “we could be looking at hundreds of thousands of people infected, with profound political and economic and security implications for all of us.”

On Tuesday, in another echo of the fight against ISIS, Kirby said that might not prove sufficient. “They’ll come in waves,” he said of U.S. troops deployments. “It could go higher than 3,000 troops eventually.”

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