TIME Britain

Harry Potter Owls Mistreated, Animal Cruelty Group Says

PETA has accused 'The Making of Harry Potter' tour of mis-treating owls

The successful Warner Bros studio tour of ‘The Making of Harry Potter’ has come under fire for its treatment of animals.

The Harry Potter attraction at Warner Bros Studio Tour London opened in 2012 and allows fans to tour the sets, sample Butterbeer and meet animals from the franchise, including Harry’s owl.

Animal rights group PETA has accused the tour of mistreating the owls that appear on the tour. After secretly filming the tour, PETA has accused the tour operators of keeping the “distressed birds… tethered in tiny cages for hours and forced to perform tricks.”

“Confining frightened owls to tiny cages where they can only chew at their tethers in frustration goes against every message of respect and kindness that J.K. Rowling’s wonderful books taught us,” PETA director Mimi Bekhechi told the BBC.

Warner Bros Studio Tour London told the BBC, “It is essential the welfare of the birds… is of the highest standard.” They also said that they had asked the company that owns the birds, Birds and Animals, to “review this matter.”

Meanwhile a spokesperson for Birds and Animals told the BBC, “The owls are always given regular breaks and closely monitored by a vet. Now that we have had the opportunity to see the footage, we have instigated a review of the issues raised.” They added: “We will take appropriate action to ensure that the birds and animals always receive the very best care.”

[BBC]

TIME ebola

Ebola Outbreak May End This Summer, Official Says

Over 10,000 people have died from Ebola

The Ebola outbreak that has claimed thousands of lives in West Africa could end by the summer, a top health official said.

“We have been running away from giving any specific date, but I am pretty sure myself that it will be gone by the summer,” Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed, the head of the United Nations Mission for Ebola Emergency Response, told the BBC.

While there are still confirmed cases of Ebola in the most affected countries—Liberia, Guinea, and Sierra Leone—the outbreak has been substantially declining over the last few months. The requirement for declaring a country “Ebola-free” is to reach 42 days with no new cases, and Guinea recently experienced an uptick in infections.

The widespread emergence of the outbreak is about to reach one year. To date, over 24,000 people have been infected with Ebola, and over 10,000 have died from the disease.

[BBC]

Read next: Slow International Response to Ebola Epidemic Cost Thousands of Lives: MSF

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TIME France

Paris Takes Cars Off the Road to Fight Smog

135528827
Marcaux—Getty Images Paris Dusk

The restrictions—and free public transportation—helped cut traffic by 40 percent

About 750 police officers were deployed in and around Paris on Monday to enforce emergency traffic laws aimed at reducing the city’s encompassing fog.

Only “clean” vehicles, hybrids and electrics, as well as cars with odd number plates were allowed to circulate the streets on Monday, and violators faced a 22-euro ($24) fine, according to Le Monde. Exceptions were also made for emergency and some commercial vehicles. Meanwhile, public transportation was free.

According to Paris mayor Anne Hidalgo said traffic was down by 40 percent on Monday morning.

Paris has struggled to bring down high pollution rates, and last week it briefly topped cities like Beijing and Delhi as the most polluted in the world.

The government said the restrictions, which have been imposed twice before, will be lifted on Tuesday thanks to a projected improvement in conditions.

TIME faith

Watch Pope Francis Get a Pizza in a Moving Popemobile

When you’re the Pope, your wishes really do come true

Pope Francis said earlier this month that the one thing that bugged him about being Pontiff was not being able to go out unnoticed to get pizza.

At least one Neapolitan sympathized with the Pope.

In a fearless act caught on video, pizzeria owner Enzo Cacialli ran toward the Pope’s motorcade in Naples—the legendary home of pizza—and handed the Pontiff a personal pie. Pope Francis reached down and accepted the offering, which had “Il Papa” spelled out in dough on top.

“It’s really hard for me to understand what I managed to do,” Cacialli told CNN. “Giving a pizza you made with your own hands to the Pope is very emotional. It’s really hard for me to express the value of this gesture for a man we really love and value, for a beautiful person full of humanity.”

Read next: How the World Knew What to Expect From Pope Francis

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TIME Britain

King Richard III to Be Laid to Rest

Floral tributes are pictured as members of the public queue to view the coffin containing the remains of England's King Richard III in Leicester Cathedral in Leicestershire, England on March 23, 2015.
Ben Stansall—AFP/Getty Images Floral tributes are pictured as members of the public queue to view the coffin containing the remains of England's King Richard III in Leicester Cathedral in Leicestershire, England on March 23, 2015.

530 years later

The last British King to die in battle will be buried Thursday, more than 500 years after he fell fighting Henry Tudor at the Battle of Bosworth.

The remains of King Richard III, which were found beneath a parking lot in 2012, were ceremoniously taken to the Leicester Cathedral on Sunday before thousands of onlookers, BBC reports. On Monday, Cardinal Vincent Nichols, the Archbishop of Westminster, will give a mass for Richard, and the public will be able to view the coffin over the next few days

The King, who died at the end of the tumultuous War of the Roses, will be reburied at the Cathedral on Thursday.

[BBC]

TIME Argentina

Secret Nazi Hideout Believed Found in Argentina

Researchers found German coins and a porcelain plate dating back to World War II

Archeologists have discovered ruins in a remote jungle region of Argentina that are believed to be Nazi hideouts intended to act as safe havens if Germany lost World War II.

Inside three run-down buildings in the Teyú Cuaré park, near the border with Paraguay, researchers found five German coins minted during the Nazi regime and a porcelain plate marked “Made in Germany,” the Clarín newspaper reports.

“Apparently, halfway through World War II, the Nazis had a secret project of building shelters for top leaders in the event of defeat — inaccessible sites, in the middle of deserts, in the mountains, on a cliff or in the middle of the jungle like this,” team leader Daniel Schávelzon told Clarín.

In fact, the hideouts would prove unnecessary because after the war then Argentine President Juan Perón allowed thousands of Nazis, and other European fascists, to resettle in the South American nation. Most notorious among them was arguably Adolf Eichmann, a leading architect of the Holocaust, who in 1960 was found in Argentina by an Israeli intelligence group. He was abducted and eventually executed in Israel for his crimes.

[Clarín]

Read next: How a Speech Helped Hitler Take Power

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TIME Egypt

An Egyptian Activist Shot by Police Died Because She Was ‘Very Thin,’ Official Claims

Shaimaa al-Sabbagh was killed by police in January

A spokesman for Egypt’s Medical Forensics Authority claimed in a broadcast Saturday that an activist shot by police in January near Cairo’s Tahrir Square succumbed to her injuries because she was underweight.

Shaimaa al-Sabbagh, 31, died from close-range bird-shot pellets in a senseless killing that shocked the world after photographs of her death appeared in international media. A police officer is to face manslaughter charges for her death, reports the New York Times.

According to the Times, medical official Hisham Abdel Hamid said, “She was very thin. She did not have any percentage of fat. So the small pellets penetrated very easily, and four or five out of all the pellets that penetrated her body — these four or five pellets were able to penetrate her heart and lungs, and these are the ones that caused her death.”

MORE: Egyptian Activist Shot and Killed During Peaceful Protest in Cairo

Hamid argued that a man marching next to al-Sabbagh, who was also struck by police fire, survived the shots because he had more body fat.

The theory has elicited skepticism from activist groups. “These sorts of ridiculous claims just add a thick layer of absurdity to the government’s endless record of killings and impunity,” said Human Rights Watch’s Sarah Leah Whitson.

[NYT]

TIME Food & Drink

You Won’t Believe Where the World’s Best Whiskey Comes From

Taiwan Whisky Winner
Wally Santana—AP A visitor walks past casks at the Kavalan whiskey distillery in Yilan County, Taiwan

Sorry, Scotland. Nice try, Japan

Taiwan’s Kavalan Solist Vinho Barrique is now officially the best single malt whiskey on earth, according to the World Whiskies Awards.

The contest’s judges described the malt as “surprisingly smooth on the palate” and added: “it’s like Bourbon infused milk chocolate.”

The spirit is produced at the King Car distillery in northeastern Taiwan’s Yilan County, where the whiskey is aged in American oak barrels that once stored white and red wines.

The distillery, which went operational just a decade ago, has been racking up a plethora of awards in recent years and getting nods from some of the world’s top single-malt connoisseurs. In 2012, the acclaimed guide Jim Murray’s Whisky Bible named Kavalan’s Solist Fino Sherry Cask malt the “new whisky of the year.”

Read next: Calorie Count Coming Soon to a Can of Guinness Near You

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TIME India

Three Indian Policemen Took a Murderer to a Brothel Instead of Prison

The murderer escaped, went to jail by himself, and informed on his erstwhile captors

The last thing a group of Indian policemen in West Bengal expected to find when they raided a brothel last week was three of their own colleagues from a neighboring state availing themselves of its services.

The trio — tasked with transporting a convicted murderer in the eastern state of Jharkhand back to prison following a medical check-up at a nearby hospital — got drunk and decided to travel about 128 miles to the neighboring state to “enjoy,” the Times of India reported. A fourth constable who was accompanying the prisoner reportedly went home for the night instead.

The incident came to light after the conscientious convict, 40-year-old Bajju Yadav, escaped, took a train back to the prison of his own accord, and recounted the incident to the Jharkhand police. “I restrained myself while the policemen had fun,” he said.

Although the officers were carrying firearms, they were not in uniform at the time of their arrest.

“We got to know they are police only after the Jharkhand police contacted us,” an official in Asansol, where the men were arrested, told the Hindustan Times.

D.K. Pandey, the director general of Jharkhand police, told reporters that all four policemen have been suspended until further notice while a probe was conducted.

TIME Singapore

Global Leaders Pay Respects After the Passing of Singapore’s Lee Kuan Yew

Singapore Obit Lee Kuan Yew
Joseph Nair — AP A live broadcast by Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong on the death of his father is watched in a reception area at a hospital where the city-state's first Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew passed away on March 23, 2015, in Singapore

The nation’s architect was lauded for being a visionary and fostering relations between Asia and the U.S.

Messages of condolence flooded in from the East and the West on Monday as the world paid tribute to Singapore’s founding father and first Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew, following the former strongman’s death at the age of 91.

Lee died in the early hours of Monday morning local time at Singapore General Hospital, after being treated for severe pneumonia and then an infection since his initial admission over a month ago.

The former head of government has been largely credited with fostering the environment that allowed the former British colony to transform into a flourishing bastion of international business and innovation.

“The first of our founding fathers is no more. He inspired us, gave us courage, kept us together, and brought us here. He fought for our independence, built a nation where there was none, and made us proud to be Singaporeans,” said Lee’s son and serving Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong during a televised address. “We won’t see another man like him.”

Flags were at half-mast across the city-state as Lee’s compatriots began observing a week of official mourning. A state funeral has been scheduled for March 29.

During his time as head of government, Lee was also viewed as an adroit statesman who helped foster ties and understanding between Western powers and rising nation-states across Asia.

“Minister Mentor Lee’s views and insights on Asian dynamics and economic management were respected by many around the world, and no small number of this and past generations of world leaders have sought his advice on governance and development,” said U.S. President Barack Obama in a statement.

Former President George H.W. Bush echoed these sentiments. “I will always be proud that Lee Kuan Yew was my friend,” he said. “I respected his effective leadership of his wonderful, resilient and innovative country in ways that lifted living standards without indulging a culture of corruption. I was also proud of the progress Singapore and the United States achieved together as partners. Because of the example set by Lee Kuan Yew’s singular leadership, let me add I am confident that the future will be bright for Singapore.”

Chinese Foreign Minister spokesperson Hong Lei described Lee as the bedrock of the Sino-Singaporean relationship and a visionary on the continent.

“Mr. Lee Kuan Yew is a uniquely influential statesman in Asia and a strategist boasting oriental values and international vision,” said Lei.

India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi said Lee was both a “far-sighted statesman” and “a lion among leaders.”

President Joko Widodo of Indonesia called Lee “a close friend of Indonesia and renowned as the founding father of modern Singapore.”

“As a great leader and a statesman who truly loved his people, he was also known as an influential political figure in Asia,” he added. “Under his leadership, Singapore has succeeded in transforming itself into a major economic hub for the Asian region and stands in equal footing to other developed nations of the world.”

Amid the tributes, advocacy groups also cautioned against ignoring the strongman’s authoritarianism and checkered record on human rights in the wake of his death.

“Singapore still is, for all intents and purposes, a one-party state where political opponents are targeted and contrary views muzzled — and that too is a part of Lee Kuan Yew’s legacy that many of the new generation of Singaporeans are none too happy about,” said Phil Robertson, deputy Asia director of Human Rights Watch.

In his homeland, though, the overriding feeling was one of mourning a beloved patriarch.

— With reporting by Yenni Kwok

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