TIME North Korea

North Korean Dictator’s Brother Spotted At Eric Clapton Concert

Kim Jong-chul is clearly a big Clapton fan

Footage has emerged that appears to show the older brother of North Korean dictator Kim Jong-Un attending two Eric Clapton concerts in London. According to the BBC, Kim Jong-chul has been seen attending Clapton concerts abroad in the past, in Germany and in Singapore.

The video footage filmed by a Japanese television network Wednesday shows a car arriving outside London’s Royal Albert Hall. A man resembling Kim Jong-chul and a woman emerge from inside, both dressed in green leather jackets and sunglasses.

Reporters ask Kim several questions, including about his relationship with his brother, but he does not reply.

A BBC journalist at the same venue the following night said the pair were there again, surrounded by officials. “But he was having a great time, singing along to all the words,” said Simeon Paterson from the BBC.

Kim Jon-chul’s father reportedly overlooked him for the North Korean leadership in 2009. His younger brother Kim Jon-un took over when their father died in Dec. 2011.

TIME China

A Chinese App That Steals Wifi Passwords Just Raised $50 Million

Wifi Master Key lets users access wifi without user name or password

A Chinese App used for connecting to the country’s ubiquitous Wifi hotspots without a login or password just raised substantial money in a series A venture funding round, according to a source at Northern Light Venture Capital, one of its investors.

Wifi Master Key shares login data with all the users of hotspots run by China Mobile, one of the country’s big three telecom giants, which offers blanket coverage in all China’s major cities.

China cynics might think that a business model that looks like brazen theft is a pretty good summary of the country’s whole business model in the tech sphere. The reality is somewhat more nuanced. Wifi has been assiduously promoted as a public good by the powers-that-be, and China Mobile is, after all, a state-controlled (if publicly-listed) company. Wifi Master Key would argue it just helps to deliver that public good by getting round an infuriating bureaucratic.

Living in Beijing, it becomes easy to understand how the App boasts of 270 million monthly users. The frustrations of seeing a Wifi hotspot, but not being able to access without a cumbersome login process, is a daily occurrence. Cynthia Meng, an analyst at Jefferies in Hong Kong, says Wifi Master Key was the 21st most popular app in China in March.

The Chinese tech blog QQ Tech originally reported the fundraising news, speculating that Master Key earned a $1 billion valuation. Fortune couldn’t independently confirm the figure, but the amount raised appears to have been around $50 million. The overall valuation may be lower, as Master Key faces reports of security risks—potentially leaving users vulnerable to hackers—and competition from a rival app in China, Wifi Companion.

This article originally appeared on Fortune.com

TIME europe

Why Australia Is Competing In Europe’s Biggest Song Contest

Guy Sebastian of Australia performs on stage during rehearsals ahead of the Eurovision Song Contest 2015 in Vienna on May 20, 2015.
Nigel Treblin—Getty Images Guy Sebastian of Australia performs on stage during rehearsals ahead of the Eurovision Song Contest 2015 in Vienna on May 20, 2015.

Australia joins Israel as a non-European competitor

VIENNA — For the first time in its 60-year history, the Eurovision Song Contest may be won by — Australia.

The land from Down Under is making its debut in Europe’s favorite songfest, invited as a wild card due to its strong fan base. Its entry, Guy Sebastian, is one of the bookmakers’ favorites.

Sebastian is touted as being among the top five contestants along with entries from Sweden, Italy, Russia and Estonia. But all 27 nations contesting the top spot Saturday after surviving the elimination rounds have at least a theoretical chance of walking away the winner.

Still, Australia’s participation is this year’s buzz at the extravaganza, which catapulted into world consciousness last year with the win of bearded Austrian diva Conchita Wurst. A co-host in this year’s competition, she has opted for a small role, so the spotlight stays on this year’s singers.

The Aussies are already stoked, or as Sebastian put it, “bitten by the Eurovision bug.” Australian delegation head Paul Clarke attributed the huge interest among his countrymen in part to the country’s “incredibly strong European presence.”

Delayed TV broadcasts of Eurovision contests have been shown for 30 years in Australia and Eurovision parties are common there. This year it will be shown live in Australia’s early morning hours — and like citizens of other nations vying for the win, Australians can vote for their candidate.

But Europeans also will be watching — and voting. Organizers expect a television audience of about 200 million to tune in globally to the spectacle taking place in Vienna’s sprawling Stadthalle, which has been outfitted with the latest stage and light technology.

Huge public viewing screens have also been set up in key locations throughout the city for those brave enough to ignore Saturday’s predicted cold and windy showers.

The annual competition is supposed to be removed from politics, and fittingly, this year’s theme is “Building Bridges.” Even so, the Ukraine crisis is making its presence felt.

Kiev is not sending a candidate this year. With many in the West viewing Moscow as the aggressor in the Ukraine conflict, Russian contestant Polina Gagarina is raising some eyebrows with her pacifist-themed song, “A Million Voices.”

And in Russia, where propagating homosexuality is against the law and many view Wurst as a threat to traditional family values, the Orthodox Church already is warning of the consequences should Gagarina win, since the winner’s nation usually hosts the next year’s contest.

Tass and other Russian news agencies quoted Patriarch Kirill as saying her victory would bring the contest to Russia “with all those bearded female singers.” Acts such as Wurst’s promote values “repulsive to our soul and our culture,” he declared.

Despite such sentiments, millions saw Wurst’s win last year as a triumph for tolerance. But it was not the first time Eurovision has pushed the boundaries of gender identity.

The 1998 winner was Israel’s Dana International, who had male-to-female gender reassignment surgery before competing. Israel can participate due to its membership in the European Broadcasting Union, the event’s organizer.

If Australia wins, the event will not go Down Under. The Aussies would be invited to compete next year but in a European country.

Even without a change of continents, contest horizons can be further widened this year with a triumph by Polish contestant Monika Kuszynska, who is partially paralyzed and performs from a wheelchair. But hopes of a breakthrough by the Finnish punk band PKN — consisting of one autistic member and three others with Downs Syndrome — were eliminated in a qualifying round.

That means Eurovision will rely this year on its usual mix of eclectic, sometimes vapid and often overwrought techno beats, love songs, ballads and pop tunes.

The Finnish band was taking it all in stride.

“We didn’t make the finals,” drummer Toni Valitalo told Finnish television. “But we won the whole contest.”

TIME France

France Bans Supermarkets From Destroying Surplus Food

Supermarket
Getty Images

The government is trying to reduce food waste by 50 percent by 2025

PARIS — France’s parliament has voted to forbid big supermarkets from destroying unsold food, encouraging them to donate to charities or farms instead.

The amendment on food waste approved by the National Assembly, the lower house of Parliament, late Thursday is part of a larger environmental bill. The overall bill is still under discussion, and will need to go to the Senate for final approval.

The bill would require big supermarket chains to donate unsold goods to charity or for use as animal feed or compost. It also aims at reducing waste in school cafeterias.

Environmental groups welcomed the vote. A trade group said large supermarkets are being disproportionately targeted by the bill.

The government is trying to reduce food waste by 50 percent by 2025.

TIME Burma

Burma Rescues Over 200 Boat People

Rescued migrants sit on an Acehnese fishing boat upon arrival in Simpang Tiga, Aceh province, Indonesia, May 20, 2015
Binsar Bakkara—AP Rescued migrants sit on an Acehnese fishing boat upon arrival in Simpang Tiga, Indonesia on May 20, 2015

Southeast Asian countries have been accused of playing "maritime ping-pong"

Burma says its navy has rescued 208 migrants aboard two fishing trawlers off the western coast.

According to the director of the president’s office, Zaw Htay, the migrants are Bangladeshi men.

They were found off the coast of Rakhine state, where most of the Rohingya minority Muslims have been fleeing persecution in the majority-Buddhist nation and thousands became stranded in the Andaman Sea.

Authorities in Burma do not recognize the Rohingya, refer to them as Bengalis and consider them to be illegal immigrants from Bangladesh.

About half of the more than 3,000 migrants who landed on the shores of Indonesia and Malaysia are Rohingya from Burma and the other half from Bangladesh proper. They share the same language and religion.

Htaw says the Burma navy will provide humanitarian assistance, conduct verification and return them to where they came from.

— Aye Aye Win, Yangon, Burma

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10 a.m. (0300 GMT)

The U.N. refugee agency is estimating that over 3,000 Rohingya and Bangladeshi migrants — or even more — could still be adrift in the Andaman Sea.

The exact numbers are not known, but the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees says it triangulated reports in the media and other sources and estimates the current number could be over 3,000 — or more that no one knows about.

More than 3,000 Rohingya minority Muslims fleeing persecution in Burma and Bangladeshi economic migrants also on the boats with them have already landed in Indonesia and Malaysia, and over 100 in Thailand.

Only Rohingyas are being given a one-year temporary shelter while Bangladeshis face repatriation.

Malaysian navy chief Abdul Aziz Jaafar says four vessels are searching for any migrant ships that could still be out at sea, and three helicopters and three combat boats are on standby.

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3 p.m. (2200 GMT)

The U.S. military says it is preparing to help countries in the region address the humanitarian crisis of the Rohingya migrants stranded at sea.

Pentagon spokesman Lt. Col. Jeffrey Pool told The Associated Press Thursday that the Department of Defense “is responding to this crisis and taking this seriously. We are preparing to stand up maritime aviation patrols throughout the region and working with local partners to help with this issue.”

It was the first indication that the U.S. military is ready to take direct role. Washington has been urging governments in the region to work together to conduct search and rescue and provide shelter to thousands of vulnerable migrants.

— Martha Mendoza, Santa Cruz, California

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10 a.m. (1400 GMT)

A bipartisan group of 23 U.S. lawmakers is urging the Obama administration to prevent Southeast Asian seas from becoming a “graveyard” for thousands of Rohingya boat people.

The lawmakers made the appeal in a letter to U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry late Wednesday, ahead of discussions on the crisis between Burma’s government and the No. 2 ranking U.S. diplomat, Anthony Blinken, in Naypyitaw, Burma’s capital.

The members of the House of Representatives said the United States should provide support in search and rescue and humanitarian assistance for migrants in imminent danger in the Andaman Sea after fleeing “systematic repression” in Burma.

The U.S. should also work with Southeast Asian nations and address the “root cause” of the crisis, it says. The letter is strongly critical of President Thein Sein’s government for pursuing “hate-filled” legislation against minorities in Burma. It recommends targeted U.S. sanctions against those who incite violence against the Rohingya if the situation continues to deteriorate.

The top-ranking Republican and Democrat on the House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee are among the signatories of the letter, which was provided Thursday to The Associated Press. Lawmakers provide oversight, but don’t set U.S. foreign policy.

— Matthew Pennington, Washington, D.C.

TIME Spain

Boy Who Was Smuggled to Spain in Suitcase Is Granted a Temporary Residence Permit

In this photo released by the Spanish Guardia Civil on Friday, May 8, 2015, a boy curled up inside a suitcase is seen on the display of a scanner at the border crossing in Ceuta, a Spanish city enclave in North Africa.
Spanish Interior Ministry via Associated Press In this photo released by the Spanish Guardia Civil on Friday, May 8, 2015, a boy curled up inside a suitcase is seen on the display of a scanner at the border crossing in Ceuta, a Spanish city enclave in North Africa.

The Ivorian was discovered curled up in the case as it passed through a security scanner

An 8-year-old boy who was found hidden in a suitcase as he was being smuggled from Morocco into Spain was granted a temporary residence permit from the local government Thursday.

Adou Ouattara from the Ivory Coast was discovered when police scanned the suitcase at a checkpoint in Ceuta, a Spanish enclave in North Africa, on May 7, reports the Associated Press.

The city’s Interior Ministry office said Ouattara’s temporary visa is good for one year.

The boy’s father, Ali Ouattara, was arrested on charges of human-rights abuse for trying to have the boy smuggled across the frontier, but his legal representative insists the man knew nothing of the plan.

Lawyer Francesco Luca Caronna told AP that Ouattara, who lives legally with his wife in Spain, believed his son was traveling in a car with a visa that had been paid for abroad.

A Moroccan woman who was carrying the suitcase was also detained. She is apparently not a family relative.

[AP]

TIME Vietnam

Vietnam Outlaws ‘Filthy,’ ‘Clichéd’ and ‘Poisonous’ Romantic Novels

A publishing house employee stands at a booth selling discount foreign novels at a book festival in Hanoi on September 30, 2014
Hoang Dinh Nam—AFP/Getty Images A publishing-house employee stands at a booth selling discount foreign novels at a book festival in Hanoi on Sept. 30, 2014

Well, that's Fifty Shades of Grey nixed then

Vietnam has temporarily banned romantic novels, particularly those originating from China, as the “clichéd, useless, obscene and offensive” works are “poisoning” the youth of the country, reports local media.

The majority of unsuitable titles are foreign romantic novels, says the Vietnamese Publishing and Printing Department, which announced that all novels must be “suitable with Vietnamese habits and customs,” according to Thanh Nien News.

“We do not shut down any genre of books, but the government needs to regulate an activity related to culture and people’s way of thinking so that it can benefit people,” said department director Chu Van Hoa.

Most of the proscribed books are Chinese titles, including genres like danmei (Chinese-language gay-romance novels) that have been deemed salacious and morally objectionable, fueling erroneous notions of love or even promoting rape, according to Chu.

Vietnam will eventually remove the ban, he explained, but will only selectively permit some publishers to release books with romantic content.

[Thanh Nien News]

TIME India

Greenpeace India Employees to Work for Free Following Delhi’s NGO Crackdown

Samit Aich, executive director of Greenpeace India, gestures as he addresses the media during a news conference in New Delhi, India, May 21, 2015
Adnan Abidi—Reuters Samit Aich, executive director of Greenpeace India, gestures as he addresses the media during a news conference in New Delhi, India, May 21, 2015

"The government has made it impossible for us to operate, but our employees are willing to work without pay"

Weeks after Greenpeace India said that it might have to shut down owing to regulatory action to block its bank accounts, the environmental group’s employees have pledged to work for free to keep the organization going.

“The government has made it impossible for us to operate, but our employees are willing to work without pay for one month because they see that the larger commitment has always been to fight against injustice,” Greenpeace India head Samit Aich said on Thursday.

In a letter to Aich, more than 200 Greenpeace India employees said they would support the organization by continuing to “work for at least a month, without pay, starting June 1.”

Citing irregularities in the accounting of foreign aid, India’s Home Ministry took the action against the local arm of the international environmental group as part of a wider crackdown on nongovernmental organizations, Reuters reports.

Separate from the action against Greenpeace India, Indian officials have also placed the Ford Foundation on a security watch list, thus increasing scrutiny of its activities in the South Asian nation.

Among those who have spoken out against the Indian government’s moves targeting nongovernmental groups is the U.S. ambassador to India, Richard Verma, who in a speech in New Delhi earlier this month expressed concern about the regulatory steps against such organizations.

“I read with some concern the recent press reports on challenges faced by NGOs operating in India,” he said.

“Because a vibrant civil society is so important to both of our democratic traditions, I do worry about the potentially chilling effects of these regulatory steps focused on NGOs.”

TIME South Korea

South Korea Court Suspends Nut-Rage Executive’s Prison Term

The Korean Air executive will be released from jail on Friday

(SEOUL) — A South Korean court has suspended the prison term for the Korean Air chairman’s daughter whose onboard “nut rage” delayed a flight last year.

The Seoul High Court said Friday that Cho Hyun-ah, a former vice president of the airline, did not violate aviation security law when she ordered the chief flight attendant off a Dec. 5 flight, forcing it to return to the gate at John F. Kennedy Airport in New York.

The upper court sentenced Cho to 10 months in prison that will be suspended for two years. The court said she was guilty of using violence against flight attendants.

She’ll likely be freed from prison later Friday. She’s been in prison since her December arrest.

She’d previously been sentenced to one year in prison.

TIME Tunisia

Obama Says Tunisia to Be Non-NATO Ally of U.S.

Tunisian President Beji Caid Essebsi and US President Barack Obama shake hands after a bilateral meeting in the Oval Office at the White House in Washington on May 21, 2015.
Chip Somodevilla—EPA Tunisian President Beji Caid Essebsi and US President Barack Obama shake hands after a bilateral meeting in the Oval Office at the White House in Washington on May 21, 2015.

The special status has been granted to only a few countries

(WASHINGTON) — President Barack Obama on Thursday elevated Tunisia to new allied status, promising financial and security assistance to ensure the North African country’s transition to democracy remains a success in a fragile region.

Obama announced in an Oval Office meeting with newly elected Tunisian President Beji Caid Essebsi that he intends to designate his country as a major non-NATO ally of the United States, a special status only a few countries have been granted. “The United States believes in Tunisia, is invested in its success and will work as a steady partner for years to come,” Obama said.

Essebsi said Tunisia is still midway in its reforms and has a long road ahead, with threats coming from terrorists, anti-democracy forces and an unstable regional environment. “We need the support of the U.S., and maybe the U.S. needs Tunisia now,” said Essebsi, who was elected in December.

Obama said it’s important that the U.S. and Tunisia partner in counterterrorism and try to stabilize Libya, which is divided between two rival governments in turmoil that has enabled the rise of Libya’s Islamic State branch. Obama said the goal for Libya is that “we don’t have a failed state, a power vacuum that ends up affecting the situation in Tunisia.”

The Islamic State claimed responsibility for a March terrorist attack at Tunisia’s National Bardo Museum that killed 22 people, mostly foreign tourists.

Tunisians ended decades of dictatorship in 2011, overthrowing their longtime ruler, after a poor sidewalk vendor set himself ablaze after police confiscated his merchandise.

Obama hailed Tunisia for inspiring a series of pro-democracy uprisings that became known as the Arab Spring and praised Tunisia’s progress since then in incorporating all parties, including women and minorities, in the governing process. “It bodes well for Tunisia’s future and the future of its children,” he said.

Status as a non-NATO ally qualifies a country for certain privileges supporting defense and security cooperation but does not provide any security commitment to that country. Others with the designation include Afghanistan, Argentina, Australia, Bahrain, Egypt, Israel, Japan, Jordan, Kuwait, Morocco, New Zealand, Pakistan, the Philippines, Thailand and Korea. The White House has been discussing expanding the designation to other Arab allies.

Obama this year asked Congress for at least $100 million in assistance to Tunisia, which would bring total support since the 2011 revolution to nearly $700 million. Obama said he would expand economic assistance so ordinary Tunisians can feel the benefits of the change.

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Associated Press writer Darlene Superville contributed to this report.

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