TIME weather

The Strongest Typhoon This Year Is Heading Toward Taiwan, Japan and China

It is expected to weaken as it nears Taiwan, however

Supertyphoon Soudelor has rapidly strengthened into a Category 5 storm in the northwest Pacific, with peak sustained wind speeds of 180 m.p.h., the Weather Channel reports. That makes it the strongest tropical cyclone recorded this year.

On Sunday, Soudelor, which made landfall as a Category 2 storm, slammed into the Northern Mariana Islands, causing “extensive” damage on Saipan. The storm brought down power lines, toppled roofs and flooded the island’s power plant. Hundreds of Saipan’s residents sought shelter until Monday afternoon.

Saipan’s acting governor Ralph D.L.G. Torres declared “a state of disaster and significant emergency” for the island, reports the Pacific Daily News.

According to the Joint Typhoon Warning Center, the supertyphoon is expected to continue on its path northwestward across the Pacific Ocean over the next few days but will weaken as it nears Taiwan, China and Japan’s southwestern Ryukyu islands by Friday.

The name Soudelor comes from the Federated States of Micronesia and is a Pohnpeaian word for a legendary chief or ruler.

[Weather Channel]

TIME brazil

Brazilian Police Killed More Than 5,000 Civilians in Rio Between 2005 and 2014, Report Says

Brazil Beefs Up Security Ahead Of Olympic Games
Bloomberg—Bloomberg via Getty Images Armed officers from the Pacifying Police Unit (UPP) patrol in the Providencia favela of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, on Monday, June 22, 2015.

The report, by Amnesty International, also suggests killings are largely performed with impunity

A new 90-page report from Amnesty International titled You Killed My Son says law enforcement claimed the lives of 5,132 Brazilians in the city of Rio de Janeiro between 2005 and 2014, out of a total 8,466 killings in the state of Rio de Janeiro during that period.

It also makes the chilling allegation that 9 out of 10 police killings in 2014 and 2015 in one Rio favela, Acari, were “extrajudicial executions” — the intentional, illegal killing of a person after they have already surrendered or been apprehended.

Nearly 16% of Rio’s homicides in 2014 were committed by police officers, Amnesty alleges. Furthermore, the report suggests that these killings are by and large performed with impunity. Amnesty found that of 220 investigations opened into alleged police killings in Rio in 2011, “only one case led to a police officer being charged,” and that as of this past April, “183 investigations were still open.”

“The lack of adequate investigation and conviction of the perpetrators of police killings sends a message that these crimes are tolerated by the authorities, which in turn fuels a cycle of violence,” the report says.

The report comes almost exactly a year prior to the opening ceremonies of the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio, which have attracted pre-emptive scrutiny for potential infrastructure, security and health risks.

TIME South Korea

South Korea to Replace Health Minister After MERS Outbreak

Last week, South Korea announced that it was virtually free of MERS

(SEOUL, South Korea) — South Korea’s president has decided to replace her health minister, officials said Tuesday, in the wake of criticism over the government’s handling of the MERS virus outbreak that killed 36 people and infected nearly 200 others.

Last week, South Korea announced that it was virtually free of Middle East respiratory syndrome, which had rattled the country since an outbreak was declared in May. More than 16,000 people had been isolated at hospitals and homes as the government tried to contain the disease’s spread.

South Korean media have criticized the government for failing to swiftly cope with MERS in the initial stage of its landing in the country.

President Park Geun-hye nominated local medical professor Chung Chin Youb to replace Moon Hyung-pyo as health minister, Park’s office said in a statement. The statement described Chung as a person who can bolster South Korea’s public health care.

Chung is required to have a confirmation hearing, but his nomination does not need parliamentary approval.

MERS, discovered in 2012, is caused by a coronavirus in the same family as the common cold and SARS.

The disease usually does not spread easily, but experts suspect South Korea’s crowded emergency rooms and hospital wards might have contributed to a wider-than-expected transmission here. South Koreans’ habits of “doctor shopping” — visiting multiple facilities to treat the same illness — and having many friends and relatives visit hospitalized patients also might have contributed.

TIME Malaysia

Malaysia’s Anti-Graft Agency Says the Millions in Prime Minister Najib’s Accounts Are ‘Donations’

Malaysia's Prime Minister Najib Razak attends a presentation for government interns at the Prime Minster's office in Putrajaya, Malaysia
Olivia Harris—Reuters Malaysia's Prime Minister Najib Razak attends a presentation for government interns at the Prime Minister's Office in Putrajaya, Malaysia, on July 8, 2015

However, it did not say who donated the funds or what their purpose was

Malaysia’s embattled Prime Minister Najib Razak has been effectively absolved of misconduct in an ongoing corruption scandal, after the country’s anticorruption agency ruled that the almost $700 million found in his personal bank accounts were legitimate “donations.”

However, the agency did not reveal who donated the funds or their purpose.

A Wall Street Journal report early last month alleged that Najib received the funds from 1Malaysia Development Bhd, or 1MBD, a state investment fund set up by his government in 2009 that is currently wallowing in $11 billion of debt.

Najib, who acted as chairman of 1MBD’s board of advisers, and is also Finance Minister, strongly denies any malfeasance and has threatened legal action against the newspaper. The Journal stands by its story.

Some analysts believe that the scandal could bring down the Southeast Asian nation’s government. Najib has been in office since 2009 but some of his strongest erstwhile backers, including longtime former Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad, have recently withdrawn their support.

Last week, Najib sacked his deputy and Malaysia’s attorney general in an apparent attempt to shore up his beleaguered administration.

TIME Aviation

Airlines Ban Big Game Trophies from Cargo After Cecil the Lion Death

The ban is on all lion, leopard, elephant, rhinoceros and buffalo "trophies"

The international indignation ignited by the death of Cecil the lion in Zimbabwe last month is persuading some airlines to consider their policy on the shipment of big-game carcasses and body parts (known in hunting parlance as “trophies”).

On Monday, Delta, United Airlines and American Airlines announced that they would no longer allow such shipments.

Delta — which can get you to Lagos, Accra, Dakar and Johannesburg from Atlanta or New York — has been the subject of a major online campaign. It capitulated Monday, issuing a statement saying it would “officially ban shipment of all lion, leopard, elephant, rhinoceros and buffalo trophies worldwide as freight.”

United followed suit, telling NBC News that it too would enact a ban. American Airlines also tweeted its own prohibition on transporting big game trophies:

United noted that it “hasn’t had many big-game shipments” — a statement that TIME cannot independently confirm, though the New York Times reports that the lion’s share of non-African hunters on the continent come from the U.S. Fifteen thousand Americans go on African hunting holidays each year, and “the vast majority want to take trophies of their kills home,” conservationists told Reuters in June.

South African Airways, British Airways, Lufthansa and Emirates have all stopped freighting such trophies.

TIME Poland

When Life Gives You Apples, Make Cider

POLAND-RUSSIA-EMBARGO-EATAPPLES
WOJTEK RADWANSKI—AFP/Getty Images Jozef Czarnocki, owner of a popular Warsaw bar, is biting an apple and hoding a bottle of Polish cider to show his support for Twitter campaign "#eatapples to spite Putin", in Warsaw on July 31, 2014.

That's what the people of Poland did, when a Russian ban on Polish apples left them with a huge mountain of surplus fruit

Polish brewer Tomek Porowski knew he was taking a gamble when he opened his business in 2011. In a country obsessed with pure, strong vodka, he decided to produce, a light, sweet, low-alcohol beverage — apple cider.

“I couldn’t afford to start a winery, so I decided instead to start [making] cider,” Porowski tells TIME. With his friend Marcin Hermanowicz, who lives in Grojec, the orchard capital of Poland, they launched Cydr Ignacow with the intention of selling it to a small city-slicker niche.

Their business was a success, and as their cider started appearing in more bars and restaurants with each passing year, so other brewers were inspired to start their own craft cider operations. Porowski feels like he has sparked a trend much larger than what he initially intended — and he has Russia to thank for it.

After Warsaw criticized Moscow’s actions in Ukraine in 2014, Russia banned some Polish exports, including apples. Surplus fruit piled up, and the consumption of apples became something of a nationalist duty, spurred by its own Twitter hashtag, #eatapples. Poland’s newfound love of cider was born in this climate. Sales of the beverage have almost quadrupled in the past year alone, according to Malgorzata Przybylowicz-Nowak, the editor in chief of the website Kraina Cydru, or Land of Cider.

“Cider producers took definite advantage of the national outcry against the embargo,” Iwona Chromiak, a spokesperson for Poland’s Ministry of Agriculture, told TIME in an email interview. “The embargo directly led to the popularity of cider.”

To some, it’s no surprise that Poland would eventually become a good market for cider. After all, Poland produces more apples than Italy does grapes, explains Agnieszka Wozniak of Ambra, one of Poland’s biggest distributors of wines and alcoholic beverages.

The beverage had to overcome an image problem first. To Poles who grew up under communist rule, fizzy alcoholic beverages made from apples, known as jabolami, were the epitome of socialist shabbiness, drunk only by misty-eyed seniors lamenting the days of Gomulka and Gierek.

Even a few years ago, this reluctance to accept cider was marked. According to a 2013 KPMG study done on the Polish alcohol market, Poles consumed over 4 billion liters of alcohol a year, with beer and vodka constituting almost 80% of that total. Only 11% of the population drank cider with anything approaching regularity.

In the past two years, this number has shot up. The cider market increased from $6.63 million to $21 million, according to the Ministry of Agriculture. Ambra started mass-producing ciders like Cydr Lubelski in the summer of 2013, selling them in stores throughout the country. Przybylowicz-Nowak says she is expecting Poles to drink over 80 million liters of the beverage in the coming years — although that number still only represents about 2% of Poland’s total beer market, Wozniak says.

To gain greater market share, cider makers like Kamil Mazuruk, the owner of Dzik Cider, are counting on the drink’s appeal to young people, for whom the drink doesn’t have cheap connotations. “Hipsters are a good channel of communications — they brag about the brands they like,” says Mazuruk, who has been selling his product to trendy bars and restaurants in Poland’s bigger cities, like Warsaw and Krakow.

“We see big potential here, because more young people born in 1991 don’t know what was there before,” he adds, making a reference to the year when Poland threw off Soviet rule. It seems that apples, nationalism and antipathy toward the Russians make for a distinctly Polish cocktail, however you decide to brew it.

TIME India

India Signs Historic Peace Accord With Naga Rebel Group From Its Restive Northeast

The group has been at war with the Indian government for over 60 years

India’s government on Monday signed a landmark peace agreement with one of the major armed separatist groups based in its northeastern state of Nagaland, moving a significant step closer towards resolving one of the country’s longest-running internal conflicts.

Indian officials led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi signed the accord with the Nationalist Socialist Council of Nagaland (NSCN-IM) in New Delhi, Reuters reported.

The NSCN-IM is one of the largest militant groups fighting for an independent Naga homeland comprising parts of India’s northeast and neighboring Burma (officially known as Myanmar), from where they have been engaged in guerrilla warfare against successive Indian administrations since the 1950s.

Monday’s accord marks a resolution of peace talks between India and the NSCN-IM that began in 1997.

“We are making a new beginning today … 60 years is a long time of fighting, the wounds are deep,” Modi, standing alongside NSCN-IM secretary general and co-founder Thuingaleng Muivah, said in a press conference following the agreement.

Although the exact terms of the agreement have not yet been revealed, Modi’s government has spoken about a desire to develop and enhance infrastructure in the northeast, a region where perceived neglect is one reason behind the decades-long insurgency. A few other groups continue to battle with the government, while separatist movements in the disputed region of Kashmir to India’s north and a Maoist insurgency in parts of the country’s east remain active.

“Since becoming Prime Minister, peace, security and economic transformation of the northeast have been among my highest priorities,” Modi said. “Our oldest insurgency is getting resolved, it is a signal to other smaller groups to give up weapons.”

The true impact and implications of the accord will only be known once its details are revealed to the public. One of the main demands of groups like the NSCN-IM has been the creation of a sovereign Naga territory that includes Naga-inhabited parts of neighboring states like Manipur, Assam and Arunachal Pradesh as well as a portion of Burma across the international border, and leaders from those states have long been wary of any accord that would allow the annexation of parts of their land.

“I know that the Chief Ministers and political leaders of all three states neighboring Nagaland are watching this development very closely and with some concern,” Sanjoy Hazarika, Director of the Centre for North East Studies and Policy Research at New Delhi’s Jamia Millia Islamia university, said to TIME in an interview. “But there appears to be a subdued initial optimism, a cautious optimism about what [the accord] means.”

Hazarika says that the agreement, which he describes at this stage as more of a “preamble”, will most likely be a “broad framework of intent” that will set a time-frame for giving the long-running conflict a sense of closure.

“My own view is anything that increases the share and volume of peace in the region is not just welcome but is very much needed,” he said. “Anything that builds goodwill and not ill-will is also welcome, but these are things that will depend on the details of the accord.”

TIME Syria

U.S. Strikes in Syria and Iraq Killed 459 Civilians, Says Report

Mideast Islamic State
AP ISIS fighters parade in a commandeered Iraqi security forces armored vehicle down a main road at the northern city of Mosul, Iraq, on June 23, 2014

The strikes have killed more than 15,000 ISIS militants

(BAGHDAD) — U.S.-led airstrikes targeting the Islamic State group in Iraq and Syria have likely killed at least 459 civilians over the past year, a report by an independent monitoring group said Monday.

The report by Airwars, a project aimed at tracking the international airstrikes targeting the extremists, said it believed 57 specific strikes killed civilians and caused 48 suspected “friendly fire” deaths. It said the strikes have killed more than 15,000 Islamic State militants.

While Airwars noted the difficulty of verifying information in territory held by the IS group, which has kidnapped and killed journalists and activists, other groups have reported similar casualties from the U.S.-led airstrikes.

“Almost all claims of noncombatant deaths from alleged coalition strikes emerge within 24 hours — with graphic images of reported victims often widely disseminated,” the report said.

“In this context, the present coalition policy of downplaying or denying all claims of noncombatant fatalities makes little sense, and risks handing (the) Islamic State (group) and other forces a powerful propaganda tool.”

The U.S. launched airstrikes in Iraq on Aug. 8 and in Syria on Sept. 23 to target the Islamic State group. A coalition of countries later joined to help allied ground forces combat the extremists. To date, the coalition has launched more than 5,800 airstrikes in both countries.

The U.S. has only acknowledged killing two civilians in its strikes: two children who were likely slain during an American airstrike targeting al-Qaida-linked militants in Syria last year. That same strike also wounded two adults, according to an investigation released in May by the U.S. military.

That strike is the subject of one of at least four ongoing U.S. military investigations into allegations of civilian casualties resulting from the airstrikes. Another probe into an airstrike in Syria and two investigations into airstrikes in Iraq are still pending.

U.S. Army Col. Wayne Marotto, a spokesman for the coalition, did not address the report directly, but said “there is no other military in the world that works as hard as we do to be precise.”

“When an allegation of civilian casualties caused by Coalition forces is determined to be credible, we investigate it fully and strive to learn from it so as to avoid recurrence,” he said in a statement emailed to the Associated Press.

Navy Capt. Jeff Davis, a Pentagon spokesman, said the department has seen the press reports on the additional civilian casualties but said the Pentagon will have nothing to say until the reports are reviewed.

U.S. Central Command has finished four investigations into alleged civilian casualties, concluding that three were unfounded and that two innocent civilians were killed and two other people wounded in the fourth case.

There are six other investigations still ongoing.

Airwars said it identified the 57 strikes through reporting from “two or more generally credible sources, often with biographical, photographic or video evidence.” The incidents also corresponded to confirmed coalition strikes conducted in the area at that time, it said.

The group is staffed by journalists and describes itself as a “collaborative, not-for-profit transparency project.” It does not offer policy prescriptions.

“The coalition’s war against ISIL has inevitably caused civilian casualties, certainly far more than the two deaths Centcom presently admits to,” the group says on its website.

“Yet it’s also clear that in this same period, many more civilians have been killed by Syrian and Iraqi government forces, by Islamic State and by various rebel and militia groups operating on both sides of the border.”

In Iraq, the U.S.-led coalition includes France, Britain, Belgium, Netherlands, Australia, Denmark and Canada. Jordan has also carried out airstrikes in Iraq as well as in Syria, although it has released no further information about the dates or locations of its attacks.

The coalition conducting airstrikes in Syria include the U.S., Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates. Canada began its own strikes in April, while Britain carries out routine reconnaissance-only drone missions above Syria, and British pilots have carried out airstrikes while embedded with U.S. forces.

Airwars called for greater transparency and accountability from coalition members, since each is individually liable for any civilian deaths or injuries it causes.

“Only one of twelve coalition partners – Canada – has consistently stated in a timely fashion both where and when it carries out airstrikes,” the report said.

Other groups also have reported on major casualties suspected of being caused by the U.S.-led airstrikes. The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, which relies on a network of on-the-ground activists, said 173 Syrian civilians have been killed since airstrikes began, including 53 children under the age of 18. Most of the civilians were killed in airstrikes near oil refineries and oil fields in the northern provinces of Hassakeh, Raqqa, Aleppo and Deir el-Zour.

The Observatory said the deadliest incident was on May 4, when a U.S.-led airstrike on the northern Islamic State-controlled village of Bir Mahli killed 64 people, including 31 children. A Pentagon spokesman at the time said there was no information to indicate there were civilians in the village. The death toll was confirmed by other opposition groups in Syria.

Two videos and several photos released by a media arm of the IS group purport to show the aftermath of the strikes in the mixed Arab and Kurdish village showed children allegedly wounded in the airstrikes.

In another incident on June 8, an airstrike likely conducted by the U.S.-led coalition on the Islamic State-held village of Dali Hassan, also in northern Syria, killed a family of seven, the Observatory said.

Turkey, which recently began carrying out its own airstrikes against the IS group in Syria and Kurdish militants in northern Iraq, said it would investigate accusations by the Iraqi Kurdish regional government and activists with the Kurdistan Workers’ Party, or PKK, that its airstrikes caused civilian casualties in the northern Iraqi town of Zargel.

The United Nations said Monday that it is concerned about reports that 40 civilians may have been killed and over 30 wounded in an airstrike west of Ramadi in Iraq’s Anbar province, and called on the Iraqi government to investigate the incident.

Also on Monday, the leader of Iraq’s Kurdish region, President Massoud Barzani, said Iraqi Kurds must maintain control of areas in northwestern Iraq, including the city of Sinjar, after they are recaptured from IS militants.

His speech marked the anniversary of the fall of Sinjar to the Islamic State group, which forced tens of thousands of people from Iraq’s Yazidi religious minority to flee into the mountains, prompting the U.S. to begin the airstrikes targeting the militant group.

Other Kurdish groups, including the PKK and the Syrian Kurdish People’s Protection Units, claim Sinjar as part of their territory. All three groups are battling to retake Sinjar.

___

Karam reported from Beirut. Associated Press writer Salar Salim in Irbil, Iraq and Lolita C. Baldor in Washington contributed to this report.

TIME Ireland

Giant Inflatable Minion Causes Chaos on Dublin Road

The balloon got loose from a fairground

A 40-foot inflatable character from the movie Minions got loose from a Dublin fairground on Monday and caused confusion when it blocked a road.

The minion, which blew away during strong winds, seems not to have injured anyone, but did cause some traffic confusion.

A local resident who witnessed the incident told the Irish Independent that “everyone seems to have had a bit of fun from it,” but one Dublin city councillor took the accident more seriously, tweeting, “Escaped Minion at Omni in Santry may seem hilarious but its a dispicable breach of health & safety.”

It’s unclear whether the councillor’s choice of words was intentionally referring to the original movie the Minions characters appeared in, Despicable Me.

[Irish Independent]

TIME migrants

See the Lives of Calais’ Migrants

Thousands of migrants hope for better lives as they wait for a way into the U.K.

Every day, thousands of migrants, most of them Syrians, Sudanese, Eritreans and Afghans, try to board a train or ferry for the U.K. in Calais, France.

“People are just hiding in the shadows with hope for a chance to jump on a train,” says photographer Rob Stothard, a freelancer for Getty Images who went to the area on July 30. “But, if you ask me, it’s an impossible task.”

This immigration crisis, which has been active for more than 15 years, came back into the headlines last week after large groups of migrants defied police forces near the Eurotunnel entrance.

For four days, Stothard photographed these groups, getting close to people ready to risk their lives for a better one across the Channel. His photographs offer a close and intimate look into the migrants’ lives in a makeshift camp known as “the Jungle.”

calais migrants camps jungle
Rob Stothard—Getty ImagesA tent at a make shift camp near the port of Calais, on July 31, 2015.

“I spent a lot of time not taking pictures, which can be frustrating for a photographer,” he tells TIME. “A bit of Arabic helped break the ice. Often in these situations, there’s that kind of distance between them and journalists, especially since the narrative in the British media has been very negative. They are all very aware of that.”

As a result, Stothard was often asked about the political situation in his native Britain. “They wonder why they’re able to get this far–crossing all of Europe–and not be able to make the final step. They get so far and they’re still so far away in the end.”

Many migrants don’t understand the U.K.’s unwillingness to welcome them on British soil. “They grew up learning English, and yet they are not allowed to go to a place where they can speak that language,” says Stothard. “Why would they go to Germany, for example, if they don’t speak the language and can’t be of use there. These are people who really want to work. They want to do something and they see the U.K. as being the best place for them.”

For many migrants, the daily attempts to cross the Channel can take their tolls–physically, as many suffer injuries when they try to board a moving train or truck, and psychologically. “At the end of the night, when morning comes, some people think there’s no chance,” he says. “But there’s a collective will and every time someone makes it through, that message gets out to everybody in the camp, giving them more hope.”

Rob Stothard is a freelance photojournalist based in London, U.K.

Mikko Takkunen, who edited this photo essay, is an Associate Photo Editor at TIME. Follow him on Twitter @photojournalism.

Olivier Laurent is the editor of TIME LightBox. Follow him on Twitter and Instagram @olivierclaurent

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