As Sept. 18 draws nearer, tensions are rising and some on either side of the debate are resorting to dark tactics+ READ ARTICLE
Scotland’s independence referendum is just days away and, in some corners, the debate has turned hostile.
As Scots are preparing to head to the polls on Sept. 18 in order to answer the question “Should Scotland be an independent country?” opinion polls have been neck and neck. Pro-independence campaigners have been rallying across Scotland in support of the Yes vote. Meanwhile, pro-union campaigners and politicians — who believe that Scotland and England, Wales and Northern Ireland are “Better together,” as their campaign slogan says — have been working overtime in a last minute endeavor to get Scots to vote No and keep Scotland in the U.K.
But as tensions run high, some of the rhetoric and tactics used by either side have become hostile. On Tuesday, Labour Party’s leader Ed Miliband was forced to cut short a walkabout tour of Edinburgh, where he was attempting to campaign for Scots to stay in the U.K., after he was swarmed by pro-independence protesters the Guardian reports. As Miliband tried to give interviews, he was drowned out by hecklers who branded him a “liar” and “serial murderer.”
The evening before, politicians Danny Alexander, the Chief Secretary to the Treasury, and George Galloway, a member of Parliament for the left-wing Respect Party, appeared at a No campaign event at Glasgow’s Royal Concert Hall. During Alexander’s address to the crowd, he was harassed by hecklers, some of whom walked out. In the video below, an angry heckler can be seen shouting from the audience and eventually being removed by security:
Galloway, who also took the stage, said, “In the last 30 minutes I have been told I am going to face a bullet.” According to the Telegraph, Galloway also pleaded with the crowd: “We have got to keep the hatred and violence out of this debate.”
Of course, Galloway isn’t the first politician to note the dark tone the debate has taken. When Labour MP Jim Murphy visited Scotland in August in order to campaign for the “Better together” side, he said he was met with hostility and violence. Writing in the Spectator, Murphy said that his public appearances were marred by “[g]roups of Yes voters being organized to turn up to intimidate the No campaigners and silence undecided voters” and that he was pelted with eggs and called “a terrorist and often a pedophile too.”
Even journalists covering the referendum have noted the hostile atmosphere. Tom Bradby, the political editor for ITV, wrote in an op-ed on Tuesday:
I am not enjoying covering the Scottish referendum. I should be. All journalists live for the chance to report on great events and they don’t come more momentous than the potential break-up of the UK. But pretty much all reporters I chatted to yesterday agreed that the level of abuse and even intimidation being meted out by some in the ‘Yes’ campaign was making this referendum a rather unpleasant experience.
It’s not just pro-independence supporters who have been guilty of abuse. Alex Salmond, Scotland’s First Minister and the pro-independence movement’s leader, told Sky News that he “condemn[ed] any egg throwing or any intimidation from any side,” while also pointing out that, “Somebody was convicted, of course, of online threats against me. Somebody thought his car should be a political weapon. There was a woman, a Yes campaigner, assaulted on the streets of Glasgow.”
Earlier this month, a group of pro-union men allegedly attacked a group of pro-independence campaigners outside a football ground in Edinburgh after they spied the campaigners passing out flyers. Three people were injured. And in Edinburgh on Monday, police arrested two 18-year-old men for assaulting a 48-year-old man outside a pro-independence concert at Usher Hall. The BBC reports the younger men were charged with assault and will appear in court at a later date, sometime after the referendum.
Nastiness has cropped up in other ways in the lead-up to Sept. 18: graffiti has stained public spaces, campaign posters have been vandalized and celebrities who’ve waded into the public debate — such as J.K. Rowling or David Bowie — have found themselves the targets of “cybernats,” or Yes campaign supporters who spew vitriol on social media.
All of which raises some serious questions about security on the day Scots head to the polls — and the day after when the results are announced. “We will respond appropriately to any issues which arise [on Sept. 18],” assistant chief constable Bernard Higgins, from Police Scotland, told the Herald, though he refrained from giving the exact number of officers who would be on duty. “Policing arrangements for the referendum are well in hand and will be appropriate and proportionate.”
Whether or not Scotland will gain independence will be answered once the votes are counted on Friday. But as the tension — and the hostilities — continue to mount, it seems clear that the bad blood being stirred up on both sides might have consequences that last long into Scotland’s future.
In its annual cancer status report, the American Association for Cancer Research highlights new tumor-fighting drugs, and the inevitable spike in cancer cases expected in coming years
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved six new cancer treatments between July 2013 and July 2014, five of them representing innovative ways to target tumors more precisely with fewer side effects. Thanks to those therapies, and advances in understanding how the body’s own immune system can be co-opted into fighting cancer, patients diagnosed with any of the 200 or so forms of the disease have never been in a better position to survive it. In fact, the number of cancer survivors has increased nearly five-fold from when Congress declared a war on cancer in 1971 and 2014. But despite advances in diagnosing and treating cancer, incidence and death rates may start to rise again, say experts in a new report.
That’s in part because most cancers emerge in older age—and the population of people over-65 is expected to double by 2060. “We face a future in which the number of cancer-related deaths will increase dramatically unless new and better ways to prevent, detect, and treat cancer can be developed,” according to the 2014 American Association for Cancer Research (AACR)’s Cancer Progress Report 2014. “These trends are being mirrored globally, and the number of people dying of cancer worldwide is expected to increase from 8.2 million in 2012 to 14.6 million in 2035.”
The (AACR), which has been compiling the report every year since 2011 as an educational tool to update Congress and the public on the progress and needs in the fight against cancer, also provided a “prescription” for addressing this coming wave, and for maintaining the momentum of recent victories against the disease. Noting that research grants from the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the largest funder of basic biomedical research that has contributed to many of the new anti-cancer therapies now on the market, are $3.5 billion lower than where they should be even if the funding only kept up with the rate of inflation for biomedical equipment and personnel, the AACR urges more federal investment in cancer research.
That money, they point out, can also be directed toward training the next generation of cancer researchers, since fewer grants are turning promising young scientists away from the field. They write:
We are now at a crossroads in our country’s long struggle to prevent and cure cancer; we must choose between two paths, but there is only one viable path forward to continue transforming lives.
On the viable path we seize the momentum at this exciting time in biomedical research by committing to budget increases for the NIH and NCI so that the remarkable progress of the past can continue at a rapid pace.
To take the alternative path is simply unacceptable. This particularly dangerous path leads us to a place where federal funding for biomedical research remains stagnant, or even worse, declines, seriously jeopardizing the rate at which we are able to make progress. On this path, breakthroughs and discoveries will be slowed, meaning that delivery of the cures that patients and their loved ones desperately need is delayed.
…Our federal government can do no better than invest robustly in the NIH and NCI so that the path forward will lead us to a brighter future for the millions of people whose lives have been touched by cancer.
That's up from $100 million about a month ago
The World Health Organization needs at least $1 billion to keep the number of cases in West Africa’s deadly Ebola outbreak within the “tens of thousands,” United Nations officials said at a Tuesday news conference in Geneva.
Thus far, there have been 4,985 cases of Ebola, while 2,461 have died of the disease.
“The numbers can be kept in the tens of thousands,” WHO Assistant Director Bruce Aylward said during the conference. “But that is going to require a much faster escalation of the response if we are to beat the escalation of the virus.”
And the figure could increase given the escalating nature of the outbreak.
“The amount for which we requested was about $100 million a month ago and now it is $1 billion, so our ask has gone up 10 times in a month,” said Dr. David Nabarro, senior U.N. coordinator for Ebola. “Because of the way the outbreak is advancing, the level of surge we need to do is unprecedented, it is massive.”
The United States announced its own plans Tuesday to send 3,000 troops to West Africa to help build treatment clinics and train health workers to fight the disease.
Updated 1:15 p.m.
Germany’s ban on Uber’s ride-sharing service has been lifted by a local court.
The Franklin Regional Court ruled Tuesday that UberPop, Uber’s cheaper alternative to its well-known black car service, could resume operating freely throughout the country. The ruling comes after Taxi Deutschland, a German taxi union, had successfully sought a nationwide injunction against Uber’s service last month.
The taxi union vowed that it would continue to fight Uber in Germany. “The taxi industry accepts competitors who comply with the law,” the organization said in a statement. “Uber doesn’t do that. Therefore we today announce that we will be appealing without delay.”
UberPop connects drivers and riders via a smartphone app. Critics say drivers are not subject to the same regulations and requirements as licensed German taxi drivers, a common complaint against Uber drivers around the world. The judge who lifted the injunction said that there was likely a legal basis to the taxi union’s complaint, but the organization could not have the issue tried as an expedited case. Therefore, the temporary inunction had to be lifted.
Uber, of course, is happy about the ruling. “We welcome today’s decision by the German court to lift the injunction placed on UberPOP by the incumbents,” Uber Germany spokesman Fabien Nestmann said in an emailed statement. “Demand is so great all across the country that we expect to double in size by the end of the year and plan to bring Uber to more and more cities across Germany.”
Top military leader concedes circumstances under which U.S. troops could come within close range of the battlefield+ READ ARTICLE
Updated 2:39 p.m.
The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff testified before a Congressional panel on Tuesday that he would recommend a deployment of ground troops in the campaign against the Islamic State of Iraq and Greater Syria (ISIS) should the current strategy involving airstrikes and logistical support fail to wrest the organization’s control over strategic assets in Iraq.
Army Gen. Martin Dempsey said in a Tuesday hearing before the Senate Armed Services Committees that the current goal was to degrade ISIS’ forces by sending American advisors to help Iraqi troops on the ground. Dempsey added the involvement of those advisers could extend into the battlefield under particularly complex missions, such as the re-taking of a densely populated city like Mosul.
“To be clear, if we reach the point where I believe our advisers should accompany Iraqi troops on attacks against specific [ISIS] targets, I will recommend that to the President,” Dempsey said.
Later on Tuesday, White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest emphasized that Dempsey was speaking about a strictly hypothetical scenario.
“As was clear form General Dempsey’s remarks he was referring to a hypothetical scenario in which there might be a future situation in which he might make a tactical recommendation to the President as it relates to the use of ground troops,” Earnest said.
“It is also the responsibility of the commander in chief to set out a clear policy,” Earnest added. “The President has been clear what that policy is. What he has been very specific and precise about is he will not deploy ground troops in a combat role into Iraq or Syria.”
Administration officials to date have stressed that the 1,600 U.S. military advisers currently stationed in Iraq will not be engaged in ground combat missions, a distinction lawmakers pressure-tested under questioning Tuesday. Asked if military commanders would consider sending American troops in a rescue mission to save a hypothetical downed pilot, Dempsey responded “yes and yes.”
As of October 1, the World Health Organization has reported 7,249 infections of Ebola across six countries, resulting in 3,380 deaths.
This map shows the path of the disease’s outbreak, as recorded by the World Health Organization beginning March 23, 2014. Data from this week shows the disease spreading to the United States, through Eric Duncan who returned from Liberia on September 20.
With reporting from Becca Staneck.
This article was originally published on August 8.
Says civilians being beheaded, stoned and crucified by ISIS, and bombed and tortured by regime
The civil war in Syria had reached new depths of “madness,” United Nations investigators warned at a Geneva briefing on Tuesday in which they presented fresh evidence of atrocities committed by fighters on both sides of the conflict.
“I have run out of words to depict the gravity of the crimes committed inside Syria,” said Paulo Sérgio Pinheiro, who chairs the U.N. investigative panel on Syria, the New York Times reports.
Pinheiro cited evidence of mass killings across territory held by the Islamic State of Iraq and Greater Syria (ISIS) in northeastern Syria, where fighters have executed hundreds of captive Syrian soldiers as well as members of rival tribes. Pinheiro said ISIS fighters encouraged children to attend public executions, including beheadings, stonings and crucifixions.
But the Syrian government remained responsible for the majority of civilian deaths and injuries, Pinheiro said, due to daily shelling and aerial bombardments, as well as mass arrests and widespread torture at the hands of government interrogators. Investigators released a 17-page report that included eyewitness testimony from civilians on the ground. “If you want to know what effect this war has had you must listen to its victims,” Pinheiro said.
125 mph winds raged with over six hours of rain as Hurricane Odile smashed the resort of Cabo San Lucas, Mexico. The local community was severely affected by power outages, flooding, and wind damage
In 1942, the group known as the United Nations was convened to accomplish one goal: defeat the Axis powers
The United Nations was created in 1942 — but not the United Nations as we know it, the group whose representatives are this week converging in New York City for the 69th General Assembly.
When the phrase first “slipped into the world’s vocabulary,” as TIME wrote, the world was in the midst of war, and the concept of wide-scale international collaboration was fraught. World War II had already exposed the failure of the League of Nations, the international organization set up after the previous world war. Still, in January of 1942, 26 nations, including the U.S., the U.K., Russia and China, signed a pact uniting them in one goal: to defeat the Axis powers. The name, which had been proposed by the Roosevelt administration, became the official title for the Allied powers.
“For the people of the Axis countries that fact could not be other than sobering: 26 nations—count them—26, all determined that Hitler and his tyranny shall be destroyed,” TIME wrote at the time.
Even then there was skepticism that the United Nations could be effective. Some called for a cooperative body to oversee the war effort, while others continued to call for a union of peoples and not just an intergovernmental pact.
But the United Nations prevailed, and when, after the war, world leaders descended on San Francisco for the conference to hash out the details of an intergovernmental organization to jointly confront the world’s problems, they called it the United Nations. The first session of the United Nations General Assembly opened in 1946.
Take a look at TIME’s coverage of the signing of the declaration of the original United Nations in 1942:
The significance of the pact was slower being digested. In Washington, enthusiasts compared it to the Articles of Confederation that had held the 13 States together until the Constitutional Convention. Advocates of Union Now thought it did not go far enough, wanted a union of peoples, rather than of governments. Josephus Daniels recalled his last talk with Woodrow Wilson, when Wilson had said: “The things we have fought for are sure to prevail . . . [and] may come in a better way than we proposed.” Advocates of a revived, strengthened League of Nations hoped the United Nations would prove the better way.
Taken at its face value, the Declaration was impressive. If the signing nations could actually employ their “full resources,” their power would be staggering. Their combined populations came to almost 1,500,000,000 of the world’s 2,145,000,000. They held twice as much of the world’s steel capacity as the Axis, most of its wheat, most of the materials needed for making war or prospering in peace.
Today’s United Nations, by those standards, is even more impressive: instead of 26 member nations, there are 193.
Read the 1942 story about the original United Nations here, in TIME’s archives: The United Nations