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.

TIME Mexico

Mexican Prison Chief, 6 Others Arrested For El Chapo Prison Break

"El Chapo" has still not been found.

Mexican authorities arrested seven people on Wednesday in connection with the escape of Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman.

Among the arrested is Librado Carmona Garcia, the head of the maximum security prison Guzman had been housed in, according to RT.

Guzman, who was deemed “the most powerful drug lord in the world,” made headlines for his daring escape on July 13 through a one-mile long lit and ventilated tunnel that some have estimated to cost millions.

The cooperation of prison authorities was long suspected, with Miguel Angel Osorio Chong, Mexico’s interior minister, saying, “Guzman must have counted on the complicity of prison personnel, which … would constitute an act of treason.”

The Mexican government has announced it is offering a 60 million peso ($3.8 million) reward for Guzman’s recapture. Guzman had previously escaped in 2001 using a laundry cart from a maximum-security prison in Jalisco.

TIME Chile

7 Army Officers Arrested for 1986 Attack on Chilean Democracy Activists

Chilean Carmen Gloria Quintana attends a ceremony marking the 30th anniversary of the Sept. 11 military coup lead by Gen. Augusto Pinochet at the government palace La Moneda, in Santiago on Sept. 11, 2003.
Santiago Llanquin—AP Chilean Carmen Gloria Quintana attends a ceremony marking the 30th anniversary of the Sept. 11 military coup lead by Gen. Augusto Pinochet at the government palace La Moneda, in Santiago on Sept. 11, 2003.

The 29-year-old attack is only now being investigated

Seven Chilean army officers were arrested Tuesday over the brutal 1986 burning of two pro-democracy activists.

During the reign of dictator Augusto Pinochet, two activists were doused with gas by soldiers, then set on fire on July 2, 1986. One, Rodrigo Rojas, an American resident, died from his burns. His fellow activist, Carmen Gloria Quintana, lived but was left severely disfigured.

Rojas was been a student at the Woodrow Wilson School in Washington, D.C. and had just returned to his native Chile to photograph anti-Pinochet protests. He and Quintana were captured, then beaten, splashed with gas, set fire, then dumped outside Santiago, where they were later found by local residents. At the time, Pinochet suggested the two had set themselves on fire.

The nearly-30-year-old case, a hallmark torture case of the Pinochet era, has recently seen new light after decades of being under a “pact of silence.” In 2013, the case was reopened; in 2014, a former army serviceman identified the seven officers allegedly involved in the attack, according to The Guardian.

Quintana, who now works with the Chilean government in diplomacy, said the officers involved in the attacks were acting under orders and should be considered victims themselves.

“The most important thing that has happened is the revelation that inside the army there is an entire system to protect this lie that they created to cover up human rights crimes,” she said.

[The Guardian]

TIME Greece

Greek Lawmakers Approve New Reforms Needed for Bailout

Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras addresses a session at the Greek parliament prior the vote in Athens early on July 23, 2015.
Louisa Gouliamaki—AFP/Getty Images Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras addresses a session at the Greek parliament prior the vote in Athens early on July 23, 2015

"We are summoned today to legislate under a state of emergency"

(ATHENS, Greece)— Greece’s radical left-led government emerged bloodied but alive early Thursday from a key vote in parliament, which overwhelmingly approved new creditor-demanded reforms despite a revolt among hardliners in the main coalition partner.

The reforms to the judiciary and banking systems were the final hurdle the financially-battered country was obliged to clear before it can start talks with its creditors on a third bailout worth around 85 billion euros ($93 billion).

Without the money Greece would face financial ruin and forced exit from the euro currency club.

Lawmakers voted 230-63 in favor of the measures, following a whirlwind debate that ended at 4 a.m. (0100 GMT). Another 5 members of the 300-seat house voted present, a kind of abstention.

Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras was unable to forestall a second revolt in a week among his own Syriza party lawmakers, but had no trouble passing the draft legislation with the backing of pro-European opposition parties.

Government spokeswoman Olga Gerovasili conceded that there is a clear rift within Syriza, but would not say whether rebels would be expelled.

“From this point on, party procedures will be followed in order to deal with the problem,” she said after the vote.

The number of disaffected Syriza lawmakers, who see the reforms as a betrayal of the anti-austerity platform that brought their party to power in January, shrunk slightly compared to last week’s similar vote — from 38 to 36. But that is still roughly a quarter of all party lawmakers.

Addressing parliament before the vote, Tsipras said the reforms were a necessary price to pay to keep Greece alive after stormy talks with its creditors nearly collapsed earlier this month.

“We have chosen a compromise that forces us to implement a program in which we do not believe, and we will implement it because the alternatives are tough,” he told lawmakers. “We are summoned today to legislate under a state of emergency.”

Tsipras also ruled out resigning.

“The presence of the left in this government isn’t about the pursuit of office, it’s a bastion from which to fight for our people’s interests,” he said. “And as far as I’m concerned, I won’t abandon this bastion, at least of my own free will.”

Tsipras said approval would give Greece breathing room to quash speculation that the country will be forced to abandon the euro, and help it regain market confidence and eventually tap bond markets again.

Before the debate got underway, about 10,000 people demonstrated outside parliament, protesting the latest measures to overhaul Greece’s judicial and banking sectors. Minor violence marred the end of the protest when a few teenagers threw petrol bombs at riot police, but no injuries or arrests were reported.

Negotiations with creditors are now expected to start soon.

“From this point on, the government will focus all its attention on negotiating efforts in order that the agreement is concluded,” Gerovasili said. She also pledged action to tackle corruption and tax evasion, address the “humanitarian crisis” in a country where more than a quarter of the workforce is jobless and poverty has soared, and restart the recession-mauled economy.

The Syriza-led coalition government hopes the new bailout talks can conclude before Aug. 20, when Greece must repay a debt worth more than 3 billion euros ($3.3 billion) to the European Central Bank.

On Wednesday, the ECB provided a new vital cash injection to Greece’s battered banks. A European banking official told The Associated Press the ECB decided to increase emergency liquidity to Greek banks by 900 million euros ($980 million) — the second such cash injection in just under a week.

Fearing a run by depositors flocking to take their savings out of Greek banks, the government imposed capital controls more than three weeks ago, restricting daily withdrawals to 60 euros ($65) per account holder. Extra ECB liquidity means that Greek banks will still be able to hand out cash.

Greece has relied on bailout loans totaling 240 billion euros since 2010 after it was locked out of international money markets. It nearly crashed out of the eurozone this month, after relations between Athens and its creditors hit rock-bottom, and was only saved by a last-minute U-turn from Tsipras.

Thursday’s vote was Tsipras’ second crunch test in parliament in a week.

Many in Syriza, including former finance minister Yanis Varoufakis, voted against last week’s austerity measures, which included a big hike to sales taxes that took effect on Monday. But Varoufakis voted in favor of the new reforms Thursday.

An increase in the number of dissenters would have left Tsipras politically hamstrung. Although he would still retain a nominal parliamentary majority — as he has shown no inclination to expel rebels — Tsipras would depend on the support of opposition parties to pass any new reforms.

Syriza rebels in Thursday’s vote included the firebrand parliament speaker, Zoe Konstantopoulou. In a letter to Greece’s president and Tsipras, Konstantopoulou asserted the measures were a “violent attack on democracy,” arguing that lawmakers had been given very little time to study the voluminous bill.

Tsipras has accused party critics of acting irresponsibly.

The reforms approved Thursday are aimed at reducing the country’s court backlog and speeding up revenue-related cases. Greek lawyers’ associations oppose them, arguing that they will have the opposite effect.

Justice Minister Nikos Paraskevopoulos conceded that the government would have preferred changes, but added that Greece is “in a state of emergency” and the alternative to accepting the proposed reforms would be the country’s forced exit from the eurozone.

“Out of two problems, I chose the milder one,” he said.

Lawmakers also approved reforms related to banking union mechanisms, aimed at reducing the risk for European governments from bank crises.

In Brussels, Pierre Moscovici, the European Union’s top economy official, said he hopes the bailout deal can be signed by mid-August, although he acknowledged that means Greece has to meet a “punishing” schedule.

In return for Greece’s bailouts, successive governments have had to enact harsh austerity measures to try to get public finances into shape. Though the annual deficit has been reduced dramatically, the country’s debt burden has risen as the Greek economy has shrunk by around a quarter.

The European Union’s statistics agency announced Wednesday that Greece was making some progress on the debt front at the start of 2015, improvement that was largely erased by the bank closures and other recent events.

Following repayments to European creditors and the International Monetary Fund, Eurostat said Greece’s debt fell to 301 billion euros at the end of the first quarter from 317 billion at the end of 2014. That took the country’s debt burden down to 168.8 percent from 177.1 percent.

Greece’s debt still remains the highest in the 19-country eurozone by a wide margin.

___

Derek Gatopoulos in Athens and Raf Casert in Brussels contributed to this report.

TIME Iraq

Car Bombs Kill At Least 26 People in Baghdad

Civilians inspect damages a day after a car bombing hit the eastern neighborhood of New Baghdad, Iraq July 22, 2015.
Khalid Mohammed—AP Civilians inspect damages a day after a car bombing hit the eastern neighborhood of New Baghdad, Iraq July 22, 2015.

No one has claimed responsibility for the attacks

(BAGHDAD)—A pair of car bombs exploded Wednesday at crowded popular markets in predominantly Shiite neighborhoods of the Iraqi capital, Baghdad, killing at least 26 people and wounding 58, authorities said.

The first explosion took place in the impoverished neighborhood of al-Bayaa in southwestern Baghdad, a police official said. The blast killed at least 18 people and wounded 36, the official said.

Later Wednesday, a second car bomb detonated in the northeastern neighborhood of al-Shaab, killing at least eight people and wounding 22, police said.

Hospital officials corroborated the casualty figures. All officials spoke on condition of anonymity as they were not authorized to brief journalists.

No one immediately claimed responsibility for the attacks. The Islamic State militant group frequently targets Shiite areas across the country, as well as military checkpoints and government installations. The radical Sunni group seeks to destabilize the Shiite-led government in Baghdad and targets those they view as apostates. They hold roughly a third of Iraq and neighboring Syria in their self-declared “caliphate.”

On Friday, the militant group attacked a popular market in Iraq’s eastern Diyala province, killing 115 people — the majority of them Shiite — in what was one of the largest single attacks in Iraq over the past decade. Bombings occur almost daily in Baghdad, but violence has been relatively subdued in the capital since the height of sectarian violence in 2006 and 2007.

Large-scale military operations are currently underway in Iraq’s western Anbar province and in Salahuddin province, north of Baghdad, as the Iraqi military and the government-sanctioned Popular Mobilization Forces look to reclaim territory in the country’s Sunni heartland. A U.S.-led coalition is supporting the operation with airstrikes.

___

Associated Press writer Murtada Faraj contributed to this report.

TIME Military

Unmanned Aerial Vengeance: Drone Takes Out Terrorist Linked to Marine’s Killing

Marines Mourn Fallen Comrade
David McNew / Getty Images Marines at Camp Pendleton, Calif., the home base of Tony Sledd, honor him three days after he was killed in Kuwait in 2002.

Thirteen years after Kuwaiti ambush, Lance Corporal Sledd’s death is avenged

“If you target Americans,” President Obama warned terrorists during a speech to the Veterans of Foreign Wars on Tuesday, “you will find no safe haven.” Like an explosive exclamation point, the Pentagon confirmed his pledge hours later, announcing that the U.S. military had killed Muhsin al-Fadhli. Thirteen years earlier, the military said, al-Fadhli played a role in the killing of Marine Lance Corporal Antonio “Tony” Sledd.

It was a lengthy wait, and one that may not bring much comfort to Sledd’s family, who complained he never should have died. But the nature of both killings—and the 4,656 days between them—highlights the unusual complications of a religion-fueled war, where traditional norms of warfare often don’t apply.

Sledd was 20 when he died on Oct. 8, 2002, on Faylaka Island, 20 miles east of Kuwait City in the Persian Gulf. He was killed by a pair of Kuwaitis who had infiltrated a U.S. military training exercise in a white truck and opened fire with their AK-47s.

USMCLance Corporal Antonio Sledd

Sledd’s killing has been described by some as the first American casualty of the second Iraq war. While the invasion was five months away, the Marines were practicing urban warfare on the island, readying for the conflict. The killers gunned down Sledd during a break in the training as he readied a makeshift baseball diamond, echoing the sport he played as a youngster in Hillsborough, Fla.

As bizarre as Sheed’s death was, so was the way the U.S. military killed al-Fadhli, 34: with a drone strike July 8 as he traveled by vehicle near Sarmada in northwestern Syria. It took the Pentagon two weeks to confirm his death. “Al-Fadhli was the leader of a network of veteran al-Qaeda operatives, sometimes called the Khorasan Group, who are plotting external attacks against the United States and our allies,” Navy Captain Jeff Davis, a Pentagon spokesman, said in a statement. He added that al-Fadhli also was “involved” in the 2002 attack “against U.S. Marines on Faylaka Island in Kuwait.”

While the Pentagon said al-Fadhli was “among the few” al Qaeda leaders who “received advance notification” of the 9/11 attacks before they happened, the attack on the Marines on Faylaka Island was the only U.S. death the Pentagon cited in the statement detailing al-Fadhli’s killing in which he was alleged to have played an active role.

U.S. GovernmentMuhsin al-Fadhli

Sledd was one of about 150 Marines on the island, from the 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit aboard a flotilla led by the amphibious assault ship USS Belleau Wood.

The day before the attack, some leathernecks had spotted the two Kuwaitis who they believed killed Sledd and wounded a second Marine. “We weren’t expecting trouble,” one Marine recalled. “I thought they were probably just curious about Marines.”

The next day, the Marines began their training using blanks, with armed sentries standing guard. But when there was a break in the action, Sledd’s platoon turned in their live ammo, according to Marines who were there. After shooting Sledd and wounding Lance Corporal George Simpson, 21, of Dayton, Ohio, Anas al-Kandari, 21, and his cousin, Jassem al-Hajiri, 26, suspected Islamic militants, were killed by a second group of Marines after firing on them.

An Army medevac helicopter picked up Sledd, who had been shot in the chin and stomach, within 10 minutes. “Marines can be as tough as woodpecker lips, and I thought he was going to live,” his first sergeant said after seeing him just before the rescue chopper lifted off, bound for a military hospital in Kuwait City. “He squeezed my hand as hard as any healthy Marine could do.” But he died during surgery.

“Till this day I don’t think I did enough and I want to apologize to Sledd’s family and friends,” a Marine comrade posted on a memorial website in 2009, more than six years after his death. “It was my job to bring him back and I didn’t, I’m so sorry!”

Sledd’s parents were upset that their son died amid armed Marines in an allied nation. “There’s no way civilians should have been in that area where Tony was,” Tom Sledd told the Orlando Sentinel shortly after his son’s death. “They should have been challenged and shot before they got close enough to shoot Tony…he was a good boy. He didn’t have to die so young.” His mother, Norma, agreed. “Security perimeters were not set up, and that is why he lost his life,” she said. “They murdered my son.”

Ten months later, a corps probe agreed that proper security would most likely have prevented the young Marine’s death. Sledd’s parents couldn’t be reached for comment on the Pentagon announcement of al-Fadhli’s death.

Sledd, whose fraternal twin, Mike, was serving in the corps when his brother died, sent his mother an email shortly before the attack. “Tell everyone I love them and we are doing the best we can to protect y’all’s country,” it read. “Love, Big T.”

Earlier this month, his government did its best to return the favor.

U.S. Government
TIME Gambia

Gambian Leader Pardons Prisoners Amid Rights Abuse Accusations

Yahya Jammeh's rule since 1994 has been marred by accusations of rights violations

(DAKAR, Senegal)—Gambia’s leader on Wednesday marked the 21st anniversary of the military takeover that catapulted him into power by pardoning all prisoners convicted for treasonable offenses. The declaration, however, comes amid a rising climate of fear, Amnesty International said.

Yahya Jammeh’s rule since 1994 has been marred by accusations of rights violations.

“The climate of fear which has blighted the lives of Gambians for more than two decades worsened over the last 12 months with journalists, people perceived to be gay or lesbian, and those considered to be opponents of the regime and their families increasingly targeted,” said Amnesty’s West Africa researcher Sabrina Mahtani.

Amnesty noted a spike in arrests, detentions and enforced disappearances since a failed coup attempt in December. “Those detained include women, elderly people, and a child, and many are believed to be unwell,” it said.

Journalists and human rights defenders have also been targeted.

Gambian authorities re-abducted radio journalist Alhagie Abdoulie Ceesay on July 17, the Committee to Protect Journalists said. Ceesay was released last week, after two weeks in custody without explanation, and was then seen being forced into a car on Friday. He wasn’t heard from until Tuesday, the group said.

Jammeh last week had indicated that executions will be resumed, announcing plans to broaden the scope of the death penalty.

However, on Wednesday he said: “All those convicted of treason from 1994 to 2013, and are in death row or serving life sentences are hereby pardoned.”

Former minister Sidi Sanneh said the prisoner pardons were welcomed, but “we will never be appeased by what amounts to a calculated move to deflect an opposition force.”

Amnesty said the international community and West African bloc “have a duty to address Gambia’s declining human rights record.”

___

Associated Press writer Abdoulie John contributed to this report.

TIME space

Watch 3 Astronauts Launch for the International Space Station

Three astronauts who will spend the next five months in space launched from the desert in Kazakhstan on Wednesday.

The astronauts launched to the International Space Station from the Baikonur Cosmodrome aboard a Soyuz rocket at 5:02 p.m. EST. Over six hours, the crew orbited the Earth four times before catching up to the space station, docking at 10:46 p.m. EST.

The astronauts’ launch was delayed after two consecutive failures of cargo vehicles that were meant to deliver supplies to the International Space Station.

The first setback occurred in April when the Russian Federal Space Agency was not able to regain control of a vehicle after launch. As a result, the Progress vehicle and the cargo it was carrying burned up in Earth’s atmosphere.

The second failure occurred on June 28 when the SpaceX Falcon exploded just two minutes after the launch.

The unsuccessful supply missions created a ripple effect through the public and private agencies that work with the International Space Station, delaying American astronaut Scott Kelly and Kjell Lindgren’s planned first spacewalk, which was supposed to occur between Aug. 10 and Labor Day. The failures also delayed work on the reconfiguration of the space station for the arrival of commercial cargo and crew vehicles.

The three astronauts arriving at the International Space Station on Wednesday include Lindgren and 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.

TIME space

Exclusive: Astronaut Talks About Going to Space for the First Time

He'll be in space for five months

Today is a big day for American astronaut Kjell Lindgren. He’s going to space for the first time.

TIME spoke with Lindgren just days before he left the United States for the launch in Kazakhstan.

“I’ve been counting down the days to the launch ever since I got assigned,” he said. “You start to have very real thoughts about what it means to climb into a rocket, to launch into orbit, and spend the next five months on the space station.”

Lindgren is board certified in emergency medicine and aerospace medicine. When he’s not training to spend time in space, he is also a husband and father of three.

He recently started an Instagram account where he’ll be posting updates from his mission.

You can watch the launch live on Time.com starting at 4pm EST Wednesday.

TIME is following the yearlong mission between American astronaut Scott Kelly and Russian cosmonaut Mikhail Kornienko, who are nearly four months into a yearlong mission aboard the international space station. Click here to watch the series, or watch Episode 1, “Leaving Home,” below.

TIME Ikea

Ikea Offers Repair Kits For 27 Million Chests, Dressers After 2 Kids Die

Kits will anchor the furniture to a wall

Ikea is offering repair kits for 27 million chests and dressers after they’ve been found to tip over, the Consumer Product Safety Commission said Wednesday. The furniture has been linked to the deaths of two children who were crushed last year, which is why the repair kits are being offered to consumers.

The kits are designed to help those who’ve bought the products anchor them to a wall and potentially limit the risk of injuries. There are 7 million MALM chests and 20 million dressers involved in the program to receive the free kits.

Ikea will “continue to collaborate with the CPSC to find solutions for more stable furniture,” said Ikea spokeswoman Mona Liss. “We don’t know yet what those solutions will be but we are committed to working in collaboration to try to find better solutions.”

A six-year-old boy died in February 2014 after a dresser fell on him, while a two-year-old child died in June of last year under similar circumstances. There have reportedly been 14 incidents of chests or dressers from Ikea falling over, which have led to four injuries.

“The kit contains replacement tip-over restraints for use by any consumer who has not secured their IKEA chest or dresser to the wall. The kit also includes complete wall anchoring hardware, instructions and warning labels to be affixed to the furniture,” said the CPSC.

The chests and dressers range from $80 to $200 in price.

USA Today noted:

CPSC is recommending that consumers immediately stop using all IKEA children’s chests and dressers taller than 23 ½ inches and adult chests and dressers taller than 29 ½ inches, unless they are securely anchored to the wall. IKEA’s free wall anchoring kit should be used to secure MALM and other IKEA chests and dressers to the wall.

The newspaper reported that three other children have died since 1989 due to Ikea’s chests and dressers, not counting the two most recent deaths.

Every two weeks, a child reportedly dies, and one is injured every 24 minutes, according to USA Today, which cited CPSC data.

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