TIME Syria

British Police Believe 3 Missing Teen Girls Have Entered Syria

The three Londoners were suspected of flying to Turkey to cross into Syria

London’s Metropolitan Police said Tuesday that officials believe three teenage girls who traveled to Turkey have entered Syria.

Police said in a statement they “now have reason to believe that [the girls] are no longer in Turkey,” but did not provide further details, CNN reports. Officials had been hunting the classmates—Shamima Begum, 15; Kadiza Sultana, 16; and Amira Abase, 15—after they boarded an Istanbul-bound flight on Feb. 17. The girls’ parents have publicly pleaded for them to return home.

Turkey’s Deputy Prime Minister Bulent Arinc told reporters earlier in the day it was “condemnable and shameful” that British authorities allowed the girls to leave for Turkey. “The search efforts are ongoing. If we can find them, great,” he said. “If not, then it is the British authorities who are responsible, not Turkey.”


TIME career

IMF Chief Christine Lagarde: Female Equality Laws Are Good For the Economy

JOHN THYS—AFP/Getty Images International Monetary Fund Managing Director Christine Lagarde gives a joint press after an Eurogroup Council meeting on February 20, 2015 at EU Headquarters in Brussels. ( JOHN THYS--AFP/Getty Images)

Notes GDPs would increase dramatically if laws changed to make it easier for women to work

International Monetary Fund Chief Christine Lagarde has some good news for economies in the developing world: in one step, they can boost their GDPs up by up to 30 percent. All they have to do is let women into the workforce.

In an article posted Monday on the IMF’s blog, Lagarde discusses a new study that found that over 90% of countries worldwide have some kind of legal restrictions that keep women from working, getting loans, or owning property. Women make up 40% of the global workforce, but in some regions they’re vastly underrepresented– only 21% of women in the Middle East and North Africa work outside the home.

Lagarde says that fixing the laws that keep women from fully participating in the economy could boost GDPs– by a lot. Getting women equally represented int the workforce would amount to a 9% increase in Japan’s GDP, a 12% increase in the United Arab Emirates, and a 34% increase in Egypt. In the US, our GDP would increase by 5% if we made it easier for women to participate in the economy.

Changing the laws is only the first step– Lagarde also notes that childcare and maternity leave benefits also play a major role in whether and how women work outside the home. Currently, the US is one of few developed countries that offers no guaranteed maternity leave, and the IMF study found that in 2009, the U.S. spent only 1.2% of our GDP on family benefits– less than any other developed country. Oh great.

TIME Canada

This Mystery Tunnel Has Canada’s Cops Baffled

NBC News Toronto Police photo of a tunnel found near York University in Toronto is shown during a press conference on Feb. 24, 2015.

The 33-foot-long underground pathway left no trace of the diggers

Toronto police are baffled over a “sophisticated” mystery tunnel uncovered last month near one of the venues for the Pan American Games, a sporting event that kicks off this summer.

Cops are so perplexed over who would have dug out a 33-foot-long underground pathway that on Tuesday they asked for the public’s help. “The individuals responsible for building it clearly had some level of expertise in ensuring its structural integrity,” Toronto Deputy Chief Mark Saunders said at a news conference.

No one was inside the reinforced tunnel when a conservation officer found its entrance near a pile of dirt in…

Read the rest of the story from our partners at NBC News

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TIME Nigeria

American Missionary Kidnapped in Nigeria

The kidnapping is likely to have been carried out by a criminal gang

Armed men kidnapped an American missionary from a school in Nigeria and have demanded the equivalent of almost $300,000 for her safe return, Nigerian police said Tuesday. The Rev. Phyllis Sortor, a missionary with the Free Methodist Church in Seattle, was identified by her church as the U.S. citizen abducted from the Hope Academy compound in Kogi state.

A group of five armed men, three of whom had masks over their faces, jumped the walls of the compound and fired shots into the air at 10:30 a.m. local time Monday (4:30 a.m. ET), Kogi Police Commissioner Adeyemi Ogunjemilusi said. Speaking to NBC News…

Read the rest of the story from our partners at NBC News

TIME United Kingdom

Witness This British Politician Crash and Burn in a Live Interview

Britain's Green Party leader Natalie Bennett speaks during the party's general election campaign launch in central London
Stefan Wermuth—Reuters Britain's Green Party leader Natalie Bennett speaks during the party's general election campaign launch in London on Feb. 24, 2015.

Later apologized for suffering a "mind blank"

A warning for anyone with a crippling fear of freezing up while public speaking or being interviewed: This gets awkward.

U.K. Green Party leader Natalie Bennett appeared on a London radio station Tuesday to unveil her party’s manifesto ahead of the country’s general election in May. Although the Green Party currently exists on the margins of national politics in the U.K., with just one elected member of parliament, it has big proposals to introduce a universal welfare payment or “citizen’s income” of 72 pounds ($111) a week, and to build 500,000 public housing units.

The problem came when the interviewer, Nick Ferrari of London broadcaster LBC, asked how her party proposed to pay for all those new homes. Her answer—that it would remove tax breaks for private landlords—did not satisfy her interlocutor, who pressed the question as British interviewers tend to do. And that’s when things began to get excruciating:

Ferrari: The cost of 500,000 homes, let’s start with that. How much would that be?

Bennett: “Right, well, that’s, erm… you’ve got a total cost… erm… that we’re… that will be spelt out in our manifesto.

Ferrari: So you don’t know?

Bennett: No, well, err.

Ferrari: You don’t, ok. So you don’t know how much those homes are going to cost, but the way it’s going to be funded is mortgage relief from private landlords. How much is that worth?

Bennett: Right, well what we’re looking at with the figures here. Erm, what we need to do is actually… uh……… we’re looking at a total spend of £2.7… billion.

Ferrari: 500,000 homes, £2.7billion? What are they made of, plywood?

Bennett later apologized for suffering a “mind blank” during the LBC interview. “I am very happy to confess that and I am very sorry to the Green Party members who I did not do a very good job representing our policies on,” she said. “That happens, I am human.”

Listen to the entire interview here:


TIME europe

European Officials Suggest Ban on Cloned Meat

Genetically Cloned Calves
Erik S. Lesser—Getty Images The first herd of eight genetically identical cloned calves are presented during a press conference June 26, 2001 at the University of Georgia in Athens.

A ban on consuming meat or dairy from cloned livestock has been on hold since 2013

European officials said Monday that they want to bar cloned livestock, amid debate over a proposed ban that has been stalled since 2013.

“Consumers don’t want it, farmers don’t need it and the suffering of all animals involved is severe and extreme,” Anja Hazekamp, a Dutch representative to the European Union’s parliament, said during a public hearing in Brussels. Her remarks were reported by the trade publication Global Meat News.

The E.U. drafted a proposal to ban cloned meat sales in 2013, but passage has been stalled amid questions of how to impose the ban on meat imported from abroad. European farmers do import semen from cloned animals for breeding, and industry advocates have rejected labels on cloned meat products as too onerous and costly to implement.

Read more at Global Meat News

TIME health

The Black Death May Have Been Caused By a Different Rodent Than You Think

"If we're right, we'll have to rewrite that part of history," a researcher said

The black rat that has long been assumed as the carrier of the deadly bubonic plague may not responsible for the disease that killed about 25 million people in the 14th century, according to a new study.

The report from the University of Oslo suggests instead that the culprit was likely an Asian rodent, the great gerbil, BBC reports. The Black Death infected Europe in waves, and for decades scientists believed its endurance was due to rodent “reservoirs” among the European black rats. When the climate in Europe was right, characterized by dry summers, the rat population would balloon and fleas would then pass the disease from rats to humans.

New research suggests that these weather conditions were not met in Europe. But in Asia, where gerbils thrive during wet springs and warm summers, the climate was optimum for a major boom. Now scientists theorize that it was in fact the giant gerbils that carried the disease-ridden fleas. They infected humans, who then brought the plague back to Europe along trade routes and in harbor cities.

The study appears in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America.

“If we’re right, we’ll have to rewrite that part of history,” said Christian Stenseth, a professor a the University of Oslo.


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TIME Spain

Spain Breaks Up ISIS Recruitment Ring Targeting Young Women

Angela Rios—AFP/Getty Images One of four people suspected of creating and operating several Internet platforms spreading propaganda, particularly for the Islamic State group in a bid to recruit young women to join Islamic State militants is arrested in Melilla, Spain, on February 24, 2015.

Two suspects stand accused of hosting ISIS propaganda viewing parties for potential recruits

Spain has detained four propagandists for Islamic State in Iraq and Greater Syria (ISIS), including two suspects who allegedly targeted young women for recruitment campaigns.

Police arrested two suspects in the city of Melilla, a Spanish enclave along the northern coast of Morocco, and two other suspects in the cities of Barcelona and Girona, the New York Times reports.

The detainees in north Africa stand accused of running an online campaign “dedicated to the recruitment of women,” according to Spain’s interior ministry, and held viewing parties of ISIS propaganda at several residences.

The detainees on the Spanish mainland allegedly spread ISIS propaganda through social media. One detainee had accumulated more than 1,000 followers on Facebook, according to authorities.

Read more at the New York Times.

TIME Canada

Canadian City Eyes ‘Freezeway’ for Commuters to Skate to Work

Edmonton, Alberta considers proposal to flood a 7-mile path to create a skating route into the city center

One Canadian city is looking to make the most of the frigid temperatures that come with winter in much of North America. The city of Edmonton, Alberta is eyeing plans to flood a 11km (7-mile) path in the city to create a skate route for commuters, or a “freezeway.”

Matthew Gibbs, a landscape architecture student who grew up in Edmonton, first floated the concept in 2013, when he took home the top prize in the Coldscapes international design competition. This winter, he presented it again at the 2015 Winter Cities conference, according to BBC, an event centered on finding ways for cities to make the best of the long, cold months of winter.

While Gibbs’ freezeway idea was a hit this year, many lawmakers and residents worry about cost and steering resources away from more serious issues.

Read more at BBC.


TIME Drones

Mysterious Drones Spotted Over Paris

Earth Hour In Paris
Antoine Antoniol—Getty Images The Eiffel Tower is seen before the lights are switched off for Earth Hour 2012, on March 31, 2012 in Paris, France.

Flights over U.S. embassy and landmarks raise surveillance concerns

French police are searching for the pilots behind several mysterious drones that were seen cruising over Paris landmarks and secured compounds on Monday and Tuesday nights.

Unmanned aerial vehicles are already prohibited across the French capital, the Wall Street Journal reports, but the flights spotted this week have raised surveillance concerns in a city that is on high alert after the January terrorist attacks. The drones were seen flying near the Eiffel Tower, the U.S. Embassy and the Interior Ministry.

Police have not yet established how many drones were involved, or whether there was any connection between the flights.

Read more in the WSJ

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