TIME celebrities

Chris Brown Is Confused About Why He’s Stuck in the Philippines

Chris Brown
Hector Retamal—AFP/Getty Images Chris Brown performs during a free concert in Champ de Mars, downtown Port-au-Prince, Haiti, on June 26, 2015.

The singer was prevented from leaving the country on Wednesday

MANILA, Philippines — Grammy award-winning singer Chris Brown says he’s confused about why he’s stuck in Manila, where his scheduled departure has been delayed by a fraud complaint over a canceled concert last New Year’s Eve.

Officials said Thursday that the R&B singer remained in the Philippines after he was prevented from leaving on Wednesday following a concert the day before.

He has not applied for the emigration clearance he needs to be allowed to leave the country.

In videos posted on Instagram, Brown clowns around, asking, “Can somebody please tell me what the (expletive) is going on?”

In another video, he says when he gets to customs he will say he’s done nothing wrong.

He then breaks into a dance amid laughter in the background.

TIME China

Foreigners Dressed as Spartans Freak Out the Beijing Police and Get Arrested


Around 100 foreigners, dressed as Spartan warriors with leather shorts and flowing capes, prompted a swift reaction from Beijing police on Wednesday, the state mouthpiece People’s Daily reports.

The men were apparently hired actors taking part in a publicity stunt for a Beijing-based restaurant called Salad Sweetie. They were meant to be delivering salad lunches to office workers, but the stunt went wrong.

As they marched through the streets of Beijing, crowds gathered around them to comment and take pictures. Photos also showed the men standing in front of office buildings in pyramid formation. Police asked them to disperse.

A handful of the men were then arrested for “disturbing public order,” after they ignored several warnings, the People’s Daily says. Tweeted images showed police officers handcuffing and sitting on top of some of the “Spartans.”

Salad Sweetie has since apologized for the stunt, according to the New York Times, saying that the models were supposed to convey an image of health in celebration of the company’s one-year anniversary.

It is still unclear how many salads were sold or delivered that day.

Read next: This Instagram Account Offers a New Perspective on China

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TIME Qatar

The Qatari Government Says the Tennessee Shooter Did Not Visit Qatar

Four Marines and One Sailor Killed In Military Center Shootings In Chattanooga, Tennessee
Hamilton County Sheriff's Office/Getty Images Mohammod Youssuf Abdulazeez poses for a mugshot photo after he was was arrested on April 20, 2015 on a DUI offense.

A statement says he merely transited through Doha airport

The Qatari government says the man identified by the FBI as having carried out the Chattanooga shooting merely transited through Doha’s international airport and “at no time” entered Qatar.

Reports on Monday said U.S. counterterrorism officials were piecing together a trip Mohammad Youssef Abdulazeez made to the Middle East in 2014. A source told Reuters he had also traveled to Qatar at least once, although the reasons for the stopover and its duration were unknown.

But a statement released by the Qatari government’s communications team Tuesday claimed such reports were false.

“The individual known as Mohammod Youssuf Abdulazeez transited through Doha’s Hamad International Airport from Amman, Jordan to the United States in November 2014. At no time did Mr. Abdulazeez enter the State of Qatar.”

The statement continued: “The State of Qatar condemns these criminal acts such as those in Tennessee, which terrorize and kill innocent people. These acts are contrary to all humanitarian values, ethics, principles and religions and emphasize the need for unity and solidarity in order to renounce violence and reject terrorism in all its forms and manifestations, whatever its motives and causes.”

Abdulazeez, 24, killed four Marines and wounded three others in attacks on military centers in Chattanooga, Tennessee, on July 16. He was shot dead by police the same morning.


TIME India

Watch This Indian Lawmaker Brilliantly Explain Why the U.K. Owes Reparations for Colonial Rule

"Even God couldn't trust the English in the dark"

India is commonly referred to as the world’s largest democracy, and the presence of democracy in the South Asian nation is commonly attributed to Great Britain, which unified its multiple princely states during nearly two centuries of colonial rule.

But as Indian Member of Parliament Shashi Tharoor put it during a recent debate at the Oxford Union: “It’s a bit rich to oppress, enslave, kill, torture, maim people for 200 years and then celebrate the fact that they are democratic at the end of it.”

Tharoor’s speech, which went viral on social media last week, debunks several commonly cited arguments that justify British colonial rule of India from 1757 (beginning with the East India Company) until the nation’s independence in 1947. The former Indian minister of state makes a compelling case for reparations, which he says indicate “the ability to acknowledge a wrong that has been done, to simply say sorry” for decades of oppression.

Tharoor, also a former U.N. official, began by talking about the years of plunder by the U.K. of its colonies, a siphoning of wealth that propelled Europe’s industrial revolution of the 19th century. He highlighted the fact that India’s share of the global economy — 23% when the British first arrived — had dropped to 4% by the time the Union Flag was finally lowered.

Colonial apologists often argue that India’s dense and intricate railway network, one of the largest in the world, was built thanks to the British. But Tharoor’s simple rejoinder, after reiterating that the railways and roads were built only to serve British interests, is that “many countries have built railways and roads without having to be colonized in order to do so.”

But while insightful points such as these formed the crux of Tharoor’s eloquent speech, it was his rapier barbs that had the esteemed audience (and netizens alike) crowing.

“No wonder that the sun never set on the British Empire,” he says at one point, referencing a common boast used to illustrate the sheer extent of Britain’s power, “because even God couldn’t trust the English in the dark.”

TIME New York

Thousands Protest U.S.-Iran Deal in Times Square

George Pataki
Frank Franklin II— AP Supporters line Seventh Avenue during the Stop Iran protest in New York City on July 22, 2015

"That is not the way democracy should operate"

(NEW YORK) — Thousands of protesters packed into Times Square Wednesday evening to demand that Congress vote down the proposed U.S. deal with Iran.

As the crowd loomed behind police barricades, chants of “Kill the deal!” could be heard for blocks. The event, billed as the “Stop Iran Rally” consisted mainly of pro-Israel supporters, though organizers said it represents Americans of all faiths and political convictions.

The group is asking Congress to reject the deal under which the U.S. would agree to lift economic sanctions against Iran in return for measures to prevent the country from building nuclear weapons.

President Barack Obama has said the U.S. considers Iran an adversary whose activities will be closely monitored.

At the rally, Alan Dershowitz, a prominent Jewish attorney, said he was “opposing the deal as a liberal Democrat.” He said he believed democracy was “ignored” because the Obama administration negotiated the deal without congressional input.

“That is not the way democracy should operate,” he told the crowd.

In a statement Wednesday, Rep. Peter King, a former chairman of the House Committee on Homeland Security, said he attended a classified briefing with Secretary of State John Kerry and “is still convinced that this is a bad deal for America.”

“It was entirely wrong and arrogant for the Obama administration to submit the deal to the U.N. before Congress voted on it,” he said. “It is definitely my intention to vote no on this deal with Iran.”

Desiree Soper of Long Island said she was drawn to the protest because she wanted to voice her opposition.

“I don’t trust Iran,” she said. “They’ll find loopholes.”

Demonstrators also took note that U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer did not attend the protest, prompting chants of “Where is Chuck?” from the crowd.

Schumer was in Washington Wednesday evening. He said in a statement that he has read the agreement and is waiting to speak with experts from both sides before deciding how to vote on the proposal.

Organizers estimated about 10,000 people attended the event.

TIME space

Astronauts Successfuly Join Colleagues on the International Space Station

The crew is slated to stay in space for five months, returning on Dec. 22.

Three astronauts have docked with the International Space Station and are joining three existing members on board the station for the next five months.

The three astronauts arriving at the International Space Station include American astronaut Kjell Lindgren and Japanese astronaut Kimiya Yui, who are flying for the first time. They are led by Soyuz commander Oleg Kononenko. The crew is slated to stay onboard for five months, returning on Dec. 22.

The trio will join American astronaut Scott Kelly and Russian cosmonauts Mikhail Kornienko and Gennady Padalka, who have already been in space for 117 days. They launched in the early hours of March 28.

TIME is following the yearlong mission between American astronaut Scott Kelly and Russian cosmonaut Mikhail Kornienko. Click here to watch the series, or watch Episode 1, “Leaving Home,” below.

TIME Infectious Disease

‘We Are Not Prepared For Another Epidemic': World Bank Survey

Getty Images A woman, suspected of carrying ebola, looks on while under quarantine in the red zone of the Elwa clinic, an ebola treatment center in Monrovia on July 20, 2015. AFP PHOTO / ZOOM DOSSO (Photo credit should read ZOOM DOSSO/AFP/Getty Images)

A new World Bank poll reveals many countries are fearful of epidemics like Ebola and do not think the world is prepared to handle them

Correction appended, July 23

Many people living in developed countries do not think the world is prepared to appropriately respond to another infectious disease epidemic like the ongoing Ebola outbreak, a new World Bank survey shows.

The new data comes from a World Bank Foundation survey released Thursday morning. Researchers polled 4,000 people in the general public living in the regions as well as what the organization classified as opinion elites (defined as people with a university diploma who closely follow global news) and discovered that people around the world are highly concerned about global disease outbreaks, are not convinced the global community is well equipped to handle such outbreaks, and are in support of more funding for protections.

When asked to rank which global issues are most concerning, the people polled collectively ranked global health and epidemics third, after climate change and terrorism. Concern over epidemics was higher than that for global poverty and human rights abuses. When asked specifically about which global health problems concerned people most, global infectious diseases beat out other issues including HIV/AIDS, obesity and hunger.

Not only is concern over epidemics high, but twice as many people think there will be another epidemic like Ebola than people who do not. In addition, a high proportion of the people surveyed expect there could be an epidemic in their own country. That’s especially interesting, the researchers pointed out in a press conference, given that most of the countries had very few people with Ebola if any at all.

People living in the United States, France and the United Kingdom were especially unconvinced that the world is prepared to handle another outbreak. The Ebola outbreak has infected over 27,700 people and killed over 11,260. It’s been widely acknowledged that the world did not react fast enough, and a recent report cited major cultural problems at the World Health Organization (WHO) that interfered with the agency’s leadership during the outbreak and contributed to its failures to adequately respond.

The poll highlights the fact that members of the general public recognize the risk epidemics pose and support investment to prevent them. Nearly 60% of those surveyed said they support funding and policy changes in developing countries that will help protect their own country from risk, and about 70% say strengthening the health systems in developing countries will save money.

Pledges from countries to aid in the Ebola outbreak as well as vows from global agencies to reform their processes to better respond in the future have been made throughout the last year. Whether these translate to real changes and increased capacities to prevent and respond to the next outbreak remains to be seen, but it’s clear from the new poll that it’s what the people want.

Correction: The original version of this story misstated group that conducted the poll. It’s the World Bank Group.

TIME Nigeria

Blasts Have Killed at Least 29 People in Northeastern Nigeria

This is the second week in a row that the city has been attacked

Multiple bomb blasts, including at least one suspected suicide bombing, killed at least 29 people and wounded 60 at two bus stations in Gombe, Nigeria, on Wednesday.

Although no one immediately came forward to claim responsibility, the style of the attacks was typical of Islamist militant group Boko Haram, Reuters reports.

Witnesses told Reuters that the first explosion, which occurred around 7 p.m. local time at a mosque in Dadin Kowa motor park, was the work of a suspected suicide bomber and that a separate bomb went off near the same bus station not long after.

“I heard two loud explosions, one after the other; I saw people coming out of the mosque with blood gushing out … I counted about seven dead bodies,” Ahmed Abu, a bus driver, told Reuters of the second bombing.

Two more blasts were later reported near Duku bus station, southwest of Dadin Kowa.

This is not the first set of attacks in Gombe this month: at least 50 people died in dual bombings at a market there on July 17.


TIME Pakistan

Pakistan Stays Death Sentence of Christian Woman Convicted of Blasphemy

Protesters hold up placards while demanding the release of Asia Bibi, a Pakistani Christian sentenced to death for blasphemy in Karachi
Akhtar Soomro—Reuters Protesters hold up placards while demanding the release of Asia Bibi, a Pakistani Christian woman sentenced to death for blasphemy, at a rally in Karachi on Nov. 25, 2010

The mother of four was sentenced to death in 2010

Pakistan’s Supreme Court said Wednesday it would hear an appeal from Aasia Noreen, popularly known as Asia Bibi, a Christian woman sentenced to death for blasphemy.

Bibi’s lawyer Saif-ul-Malook said the court had stayed her death sentence until the appeal, Reuters reported.

“The execution of Asia Bibi has been suspended and will remain suspended until the decision of this appeal,” Malook said, adding that a date for her execution had not previously been set.

Bibi was sentenced to death in 2010 under Pakistan’s highly opaque and contentious blasphemy law, over an argument with a group of women who refused to drink the water she offered them because her status as a Christian made it “unclean.” The Muslim-majority country does not explicitly define blasphemy but stipulates the death penalty for acts deemed as such, leading to several instances of what activists say is manipulation of the law to settle personal scores or discriminate against minorities.

Bibi, a mother of four and the first woman to be so sentenced under the blasphemy law, has said in the past that she was implicated because of a personal vendetta that the group of women had against her.

Although the state has never actually carried out an execution for blasphemy, convictions are increasingly common, as are cases of mob justice. Those who speak out against the blasphemy law — including two politicians who were assassinated for trying to defend Bibi — become instant targets of religious fundamentalist groups. Pakistani lawyers often refuse to argue blasphemy cases out of a fear of being attacked, and death threats against those who do are a common occurrence.

Bibi’s husband and four daughters have also reportedly been living in hiding, fearing persecution after receiving several death threats.

TIME space

Watch Astronauts Dock With the International Space Station

The crew is slated to stay in space for five months, returning on Dec. 22.

After a successful launch, three astronauts are slated to dock with the International Space Station at 10:46 p.m. E.T. on Wednesday.

The astronauts launched from the Baikonur Cosmodrome aboard a Soyuz rocket at 5:02 p.m. EST. Over six hours, the crew orbited the Earth four times as they caught up with the space station, which orbits the Earth at 17,500 mph.

The three astronauts arriving at the International Space Station include American astronaut Kjell Lindgren and Japanese astronaut Kimiya Yui, who are flying for the first time. They are led by Soyuz commander Oleg Kononenko. The crew is slated to stay in space for five months, returning on Dec. 22.

The trio will join Kelly and Russian cosmonauts Mikhail Kornienko and Gennady Padalka, who have already been in space for 117 days. They launched in the early hours of March 28.

TIME is following the yearlong mission between American astronaut Scott Kelly and Russian cosmonaut Mikhail Kornienko. Click here to watch the series, or watch Episode 1, “Leaving Home,” below.

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