TIME Ukraine

Clashes Erupt Outside Ukraine’s Parliament in Kiev

(KIEV, Ukraine) — Clashes broke out Tuesday between demonstrators and police in front of Ukraine’s parliament in Kiev as deputies inside repeatedly voted down proposals to recognize a contentious World War II-era Ukrainian partisan group as national heroes.

Thousands of Svoboda nationalist party supporters rallied earlier in the capital in celebration of the Ukrainian Insurgent Army, whose struggle for independence for Ukraine was tainted by its collaboration with the Nazis.

Later, masked men attacked and threw smoke grenades at lines of police outside parliament as lawmakers met inside. The Interior Ministry said 36 people were detained by police.

Svoboda said its members were not responsible for the unrest, which police said was orchestrated by a small group of people at the rally.

The unrest overshadowed the passage of laws the government hopes will contain the galloping corruption that has long hindered Ukraine’s sclerotic economy. President Petro Poroshenko urged lawmakers to keep up the fight against corruption, a problem that he equated with terrorism.

One law backed by 278 out of the 303 registered deputies creates an anti-corruption bureau to fight graft. Other approved provisions included laws to stem money-laundering and to increase corporate transparency.

Parliament also approved a new defense minister — former National Guard head Stepan Poltorak — a pressing priority as Ukraine still faces daily clashes with pro-Russian separatists in its industrial eastern regions.

A cease-fire has been in place since early September but violations are reported daily. The Ukrainian Defense Ministry said Tuesday their positions had come under rocket fire more than 30 times in the last 24 hours.

Security spokesman Col. Andrei Lysenko said seven servicemen in the east had been killed over the same time period, six of them by mines.

Much of the fighting in the east has focused on the government-held airport in the main rebel-held city of Donetsk. A rebel commander leading that assault, who identifies himself only by the nom de guerre Givi, said 27 of his fighters have been killed in the last three weeks while fighting for the airport.

___

Associated Press writer Mstyslav Chernov in Donetsk, Ukraine, contributed to this report.

TIME ebola

Heathrow Airport Starts Screening for Ebola

Ebola screening to begin at London's Heathrow Airport
Passengers walk at Heathrow Airport in London on Oct. 14, 2014. Andy Rain—EPA

A health official says he expects a "handful" of cases to enter the UK

England’s Heathrow airport began screening passengers for Ebola Tuesday.

Arrivals from at-risk countries in West Africa will be subject to filling out a questionnaire and having their temperature taken before the process gets rolled out to other terminals within Heathrow and then other airports including Gatwick and Eurostar. Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt said that although the UK’s Ebola risk is low, he expects a “handful” of cases to enter the region, the BBC reports.

Health officials said anyone suspected to have Ebola will be taken to a hospital, while those who are asymptomatic but high-risk, having reported prior contact with patients, will receive daily follow-ups.

Journalist Sorious Samura, who traveled back from Monrovia, Liberia, through Brussels and into Heathrow, told The Guardian that he underwent the screening — but noted that it was optional.

“I could have just come throughout without any screening. That is how scary it is,” he said. “They asked for various details, about the symptoms, whether you experienced any of the symptoms, did you experience headaches, vomiting and things like that, and then they did my temperature using the normal equipment that you put in someone’s ear.”

“[The screening] appears not to be a scientific decision but a political one,” Dr. Ron Behrens from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine told The Telegraph, noting that it will benefit few but disrupt “large numbers of people.”

Health Secretary Hunt said that approximately 89% of people entering the UK from impacted regions would get checked, since some might take an indirect route in the airport that avoids the screening area. He added, “This government’s first priority is the safety of the British people.”

Read next: Ebola Health Care Workers Face Hard Choices

TIME Spain

Spain’s Catalonia Calls Off Independence Vote

(BARCELONA, Spain) — The leader of Spain’s separatist-minded Catalonia region called off a Nov. 9 independence vote on Tuesday but said an unofficial poll would still be held that day to gauge secessionist sentiment.

Separatists in the wealthy northeastern region of Catalonia, which has 7.5 million people, have been trying for several years to hold a vote to break away from Spain and carve out a new Mediterranean nation.

Catalonia leader Artur Mas insisted his regional government was not backtracking with the decision. He said it still intends to push ahead with an official vote at a later date but added the symbolic vote would serve as a “preliminary” ballot.

“The Catalan government maintains its goal of holding a referendum on Nov. 9, it means there will be polling stations open, with ballot boxes and ballots,” said Mas. “It will depend on the people for a strong enough participation to show that people here want to vote.”

Mas was forced to suspended the referendum after the Spanish government challenged its legality before Spain’s Constitutional Court, which suspended its staging while it deliberates on the issue.

Spain says only the Spanish state can call referendums on sovereignty and that all Spaniards would be entitled to vote.

Mas said with the referendum suspended, the Catalan government would rely on another law that allows a public consultation. He said the decision had caused a fracture among the region’s pro-vote parties.

TIME Hong Kong

Hong Kong Democracy Protesters Lose Ground as Police Clear Barricades

Hong Kong Protests Barricades
Police officers remove barricades of pro-democracy protestors in the Admiralty district of Hong Kong on Oct. 14, 2014. Pedro Ugarte—AFP/Getty Images

The main protest site is intact, however

In a setback to pro-democracy demonstrators currently occupying a large section of central Hong Kong, police reopened two major roads on Tuesday morning after a quick and clinical dismantling of the barricades painstakingly reinforced by protesters the previous day.

In the Admiralty district, about 70 officers stood guard with plastic shields as dozens of their colleagues, armed with pliers and chainsaws, made short work of the makeshift barriers that had been built from trashcans, bamboo poles and road signs, reinforced in places with concrete. The barricades blocked the major thoroughfare of Queensway.

There was hardly any resistance from the protesters, who could only watch helplessly as police completely locked down the road, loaded the barricade materials into three large trucks and carted them away.

But a handful of protesters sat at the police line with umbrellas and cloth masks, determined and defiant.

“We will rebuild the things we built,” said 21-year-old Nick Ko, who said he was upset but would not give up. “I don’t think they will use tear gas again.”

The clashes between supporters and opponents of the pro-democracy movement that took place the previous day were largely absent, with only a few peaceful encounters and debates taking place.

Monday marked the beginning of the third week of Hong Kong’s pro-democracy protests, dubbed the Umbrella Revolution after protesters used umbrellas to shield themselves from police pepper spray.

Thousands of citizens have taken to the streets demanding the right to directly elect Hong Kong’s leader without interference from the central government in Beijing, which insists on screening candidates for the city’s top post.

By Tuesday afternoon, traffic was flowing for the first time in a fortnight on Queensway — the location of the city’s High Court and the glitzy Pacific Place development of luxury shops, hotels and offices. The barricades in the main protest area on Harcourt Road — called “Umbrella Square” by protesters — remain intact.

A section of the Causeway Bay protest site a few kilometers away was also reopened earlier in the day, with police clearing the barricades across the westbound lanes of Hennessy Road in the early morning. About a hundred protesters remained in the still-barricaded eastbound lane, planning their next steps.

“It won’t harm the momentum of the movement,” said Alex Chow, the secretary general of the Hong Kong Federation of Students and a protest leader. “The main pressure on the government is the number of people supporting the movement.”

He added, “If the police keep eliminating areas one by one, it will trigger the people to come out again.”

A protester with the last name Leung, a 25-year-old lab technician who has been at the Causeway Bay site for 13 days, said police could dismantle barricades but students would fight back if police tried “to remove all of us at once.”

—Video by Helen Regan/Hong Kong

TIME ebola

German Hospital: U.N. Worker Dies of Ebola

He was the third Ebola patient flown to Germany for treatment

(BERLIN) — A United Nations medical worker who was infected with Ebola in Liberia has died despite “intensive medical procedures,” a German hospital said Tuesday.

The St. Georg hospital in Leipzig said the 56-year-old man, whose name has not been released, died overnight of the infection. It released no further details and did not answer telephone calls.

The man tested positive for Ebola on Oct. 6, prompting Liberia’s UN peacekeeping mission to place 41 staff members who had possibly been in contact with him under “close medical observation.”

He arrived in Leipzig for treatment on Oct. 9 where he was put into a special isolation unit.

The man was the third Ebola patient to be flown to Germany for treatment.

The first patient, a Senegalese man infected with Ebola while working for the World Health Organization in Sierra Leone was brought to a Hamburg hospital in late August for treatment. The man was released Oct. 3 after recovering and returned to his home country, the hospital said.

Another patient, a Ugandan man who worked for an Italian aid group in West Africa, is undergoing treatment in a Frankfurt hospital.

TIME Iraq

180,000 People Flee Western Iraq as ISIS Inches Ever Closer to Baghdad

Mideast Iraq
Iraqi civilians sift through rubble in the ruins of homes that were damaged by fighting after an attack from the Islamic State group, in the town of Heet, in western Anbar province, Iraq on Oct. 6, 2014. AP

The Sunni jihadist group has largely consolidated control over western Iraq as terrified civilians flee its advance

Iraqi security forces evacuated another military base in restive Anbar province on Monday in the face of an offensive by the Islamic State of Iraq and Greater Syria (ISIS).

The base is the latest in a string of military installations to fall into ISIS hands, according to CNN. Its abandonment comes less than two weeks after ISIS fighters captured nearby Heet on Oct. 2, which lies just 85 miles west of Baghdad.

“Our military leaders argued that instead of leaving those forces exposed to attacks by ISIS, they would be best used to shore up the defense of Asad air base,” a senior Iraqi security official told the Agence France-Presse.

On Monday, the U.N. said that an estimated 180,000 Iraqis have fled Heet since it fell earlier this month to the radical Islamist group, which continues to cleave away large swaths of the country’s Sunni heartland from central government control.

“The town was one of the few parts of the governorate where humanitarian aid has been delivered in recent months,” read a report released by the U.N.’s Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. “This is the fourth major displacement in less than a year in Iraq.”

ISIS is currently believed to control 80% of Anbar province, which is home to a majority of Iraqi’s Sunni population.

Over the weekend, reports circulated that ISIS fighters had also infiltrated the suburb of Abu Ghraib on Baghdad’s outskirts that lies just 8 miles from the capital’s airport.

On Sunday, U.S. Joint Chief of Staff General Martin Dempsey made a candid admission that Apache helicopters were deployed earlier this month to prevent ISIS fighters from overrunning Iraqi security forces just 15 miles from the terminal.

“The tool that was immediately available was the Apache. The risk of operating in a hostile environment is there constantly,” Dempsey told ABC’s This Week.

“And had they overrun the Iraqi unit, it was a straight shot to the airport. So, we’re not going to allow that to happen. We need that airport.”

A U.S.-led coalition of nations continued to launch fresh air strikes against ISIS personnel and infrastructure in both Iraq and Syria this week; however, analysts say the aerial assaults have largely failed to reverse the group’s momentum on the ground.

TIME central america

Powerful Earthquake Rocks Central America

One fatality but no major damage reported

A shallow 7.3-magnitude earthquake struck off the coast of El Salvador and Nicaragua late Monday, killing one and sending tremors across Central America.

No major damage has been reported and an initial tsunami alert was retracted, Reuters reports. One man was killed by a falling electricity post, according to the mayor of the El Salvadorean city of San Miguel.

The quake happened at a 40-km depth, with the epicenter located 67 km west-southwest of Jiquilillo in Nicaragua and 174 km southeast of El Salvador’s capital, San Salvador, the U.S. Geological Survey says.

[Reuters]

TIME Asia

The Cost of Living the Luxe Life Has Fallen — if You Live in Asia

Images Of Thai Economy As GDP Figures Are Released
A man runs past the Gucci logo displayed outside the Central Embassy luxury mall in Bangkok on Aug. 15, 2014 Bloomberg/Getty Images

A dip in the luxury-property market is behind the trend

Asia is already poised to take over from North America as the region of the world with the most multimillionaires. Now Asia’s wealthy are about to see their money go further.

The Wall Street Journal reports that living exceptionally well in Asia cost less this year than it did last year — the first time since 2011 that it has gone down from year to year.

The 2014 Lifestyle Index from Swiss private bank Julius Baer says the cost of living la dolce vita in 11 Asian cities fell 5.3% from 2013 to 2014, the Journal says.

The good news for Asia’s rich owes much to a big dip in top-end property prices, which, for instance, are down about 14% in Hong Kong. The prices of high-end hotel suites, business-class flights and a glass of wine also fell in most of the markets.

What did not fall, though, was the price of getting an education in Asia: going to university in Tokyo is 44% pricier that it was last year. Even in Hong Kong and Shanghai, which saw the lightest increase in tuition, it’s still 22% and 21% more expensive to get a college degree in those cities than it was in 2013.

Meanwhile, in bad news for the truly well-heeled, the price of top-end women’s shoes, including red-soled heels from Christian Louboutin, is still as high as ever.

[WSJ]

TIME Iran

Iran’s President Says a Nuclear Deal With the West Is ‘Certain’

Hassan Rouhani
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani participates in an interview in Tehran on Oct. 13, 2014 Mohammad Berno—AP

President Hassan Rouhani makes the pledge during a televised national broadcast

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani took to the nation’s airwaves on Monday night to proclaim that a nuclear deal with the West will be signed ahead of a deadline in late November.

“We will find a solution to the nuclear subject and we believe that the two sides will certainly reach a win-win agreement,” said Rouhani, according to Iranian broadcaster Press TV.

Representatives from the U.S., E.U. and Iran are set to meet up in Vienna later this week to attempt to hammer out the details of the agreement. Diplomats issued the new Nov. 24 deadline after failing to meet an earlier target in July.

On Monday night, Rouhani struck a confident tone as he discussed the agreement, saying only the finer details of the deal need to be ironed out.

“Of course details are important too, but what’s important is that the nuclear issue is irreversible. I think a final settlement can be achieved in these remaining 40 days,” said Rouhani, according to a translation by Reuters.

The potential deal aims to guarantee that Iran’s nuclear program remains strictly for peaceful purposes. Iran has been hit with myriad sanctions by Western nations for moving ahead with a nuclear program that Tehran claims is engineered to meet the country’s scientific and energy needs. However, the U.S. and Israel have long argued that the Islamic Republic’s leadership has been attempting to develop a clandestine nuclear arsenal.

President Rouhani was swept into power 14 months ago after campaigning on a more moderate platform and signaling that he aimed to ease the animosity that’s been brewing between Washington and Tehran for decades. The potential nuclear deal is also seen as pivotal to staving off an all-out future war between Israel and Iran.

TIME Palestine

U.K. Parliament Votes to Recognize Palestinian State

A pro-Palestine supporter wears a Palestinian and Union flag outside the Houses of Parliament in London
A pro-Palestine supporter wears a Palestinian and Union flag outside the Houses of Parliament in London Oct. 13, 2014 Luke MacGregor—Reuters

Vote overwhelmingly in favor, although more than half of lawmakers did not participate

(LONDON) — British lawmakers voted Monday in favor of recognizing Palestine as a state, a symbolic move intended to increase pressure for a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Legislators in the House of Commons voted 274 to 12 to support a motion calling on the British government to “recognize the state of Palestine alongside the state of Israel.”

Prime Minister David Cameron and other government leaders abstained, and more than half of the 650 Commons members did not participate in the vote.

But the motion had support from both government and opposition lawmakers, who said it could help kick-start the peace process following a summer war in Gaza that claimed the lives of more than 2,100 Palestinians, the majority civilians, and more than 70 Israelis, most of them soldiers.

Labour Party legislator Grahame Morris said recognizing a Palestinian state could help break the impasse in peace negotiations before it was too late.

Otherwise, he said, “any hope of a two-state solution — the only viable solution — will have disappeared altogether.”

Conservative lawmaker Nicholas Soames — grandson of World War II Prime Minister Winston Churchill — said that “to recognize Palestine is both morally right and is in our national interest.”

The government said the vote would not change Britain’s official diplomatic stance. Middle East Minister Tobias Ellwood said the U.K. would recognize Palestinian statehood when it would help bring about peace.

In 2012 the United Nations General Assembly voted to recognize a state of Palestine on territories captured by Israel in 1967. But the United States and many European countries have not followed suit.

But Western politicians have expressed frustration with Israel’s continued settlement-building on West Bank land the Palestinians want for a future state.

Earlier this month Sweden’s new Prime Minister Stefan Lofven said his government would recognize the state of Palestine, an announcement that drew praise from Palestinian officials and criticism from Israel.

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