TIME Haiti

Haiti Declares National Mourning After 16 Revelers Die in a Stampede

Haiti's President Michel Martelly, center left, and first lady Sophia Martelly, right center, stand at a memorial in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, Feb. 17, 2015
Dieu Nalio Chery—AP Haiti's President Michel Martelly, center left, and first lady Sophia Martelly, right center, stand at a memorial in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, Feb. 17, 2015

The final day of the annual celebrations has been canceled

Haitian Prime Minister Evans Paul has announced three days of national mourning after a Carnival stampede Tuesday left at least 16 dead and 78 injured in the capital, Port-au-Prince.

The final day of the annual celebrations has also been canceled.

Tuesday’s tragedy occurred when Haitian singer Fantom, standing on top of a float, was struck by a power line, setting off a deadly electric current. Many spectators were trampled underfoot and died in the ensuing panic, according to Reuters.

Paul said Carnival organizers would now arrange a parade to honor the deceased.

“We are telling the people of Haiti that we must be in solidarity,” Paul said. “We are all Haiti.”



Alabama’s Governor Apologizes to India After a Man Was Injured in a Police Encounter

The 57-year-old man was left partially paralyzed after being wrestled to the pavement near his son's home

The governor of Alabama has tendered an apology to the government of India for the actions of two police officers in the city of Madison last week that resulted in serious injuries to an Indian man.

“I deeply regret the unfortunate use of excessive force by the Madison Police Department on Sureshbhai Patel and for the injuries sustained by Mr. Patel,” reads a letter from Governor Robert Bentley to Ajit Kumar, the Indian Consul General in Atlanta.

Patel, 57, was left partially paralyzed after being thrown on the ground by two police officers who stopped him on the sidewalk near his son’s home on Feb 6. Patel had come from India to help take care of his 17-month-old grandson.

“I sincerely hope that Mr. Patel continues to improve and that he will regain full use of his legs,” Bentley’s letter reads.

Bentley said he has also initiated an investigation into the incident by the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency, parallel to the one being conducted by the FBI.

Eric Parker, the 26-year-old policeman who turned himself in following the release of dashcam footage of the incident, and who was subsequently fired, has pleaded not guilty to assault charges leveled against him.

TIME China

See the People of Beijing Travel Home for the Chinese New Year

Getty Images photographer Kevin Frayer captures a busy train station in Beijing as Chinese get ready to travel home to visit families during the Spring Festival holiday period that begins with the Lunar new year celebrations on February 19.

TIME Congress

What Nancy Pelosi’s Visit to Havana Means

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi
Bill Clark—CQ Roll Call/Getty Images House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi holds her weekly news conference in the Capitol in Washington D.C. on Dec. 5, 2014.

Members of Congress have been traveling to Havana for a while, preparing the ground for the coming rapprochement between Cuba and the United States. But Nancy Pelosi’s arrival on the island Tuesday adds a certain weight to the process. Pelosi, the San Francisco Democrat who leads the House minority, has become the most senior congressional leader to visit Cuba, a nominal milestone in every sense of the word but one that nonetheless helps to sustain the momentum begun with the Dec. 17 joint announcements of Presidents Obama and Raul Castro.

And momentum matters on the Cuba question. Obama has moved with real dispatch, first with the surprise announcement that he intended to re-establish diplomatic ties with a state that has been regarded as an outlaw by previous administrations dating to 1961 and then by taking less than four weeks to publish new rules allowing U.S. citizens to travel to the island and send money there. But there’s a limit how much any president can do. The matrix of legislation that together are known as the Embargo can be undone only by Congress, a constitutional reality not lost on the Cuban officials working closing with the Obama administration to sustain the sense the countries stand on the cusp of a new era.

“The power in the United States is not the President,” a senior Cuban official informed me late last month, in the corridor of the Havana hotel and convention center where a U.S. Assistant Secretary of State and her Cuban counterpart had just concluded a day of talks on re-opening embassies. “Don’t be fooled,” the official said with a knowing look. “There’s what he’s allowed to do.”

Re-opening embassies is one thing a president is allowed to do, and the talks aimed at doing that had evidently gone well, not least because the Cubans themselves gave every indication of understanding that the real challenge was not about ambassadors but the congressional battle that lay ahead. U.S. policy on Cuba had been largely dominated by the Cuban exile community that fled the island after the 1959 revolution. And if Obama’s overture to Havana was based on a calculation that the exiles’ time has come and mostly gone, the lobby’s clout remains a formidable thing on Capitol Hill, where, for instance, the ranking Democrat on the Foreign Relations Committee is New Jersey Sen. Bob Menendez, the son of Cuban emigrants.

In meeting with government officials, Pelosi’s codel, or Congressional Delegation, will no doubt be quizzed on the prospects for rolling back the Embargo. The answer is partly evident in the presence of a Democratic with a reputation as partisan as Pelosi’s: Support for the outreach to Cuba, while not defined cleanly on party lines, skews Democrat. But part of the answer lay in list of non-official Cubans the five House Democrats meet with on their visit. One stop will be Cardinal Jaime Lucas Ortega y Alamino, the local leader of the Catholic Church whose leader, Pope Francis, played a crucial role in persuading the longtime enemies to come together, and afforded an ecclesiastical cover for a political change.

More importantly, the Americans will also meet with what Pelosi’s news release referred to as “members of civil society,” code language for political dissidents who cycle in and out of detention in Cuba, a one-party state that insists that criticism can occur only “inside the system.” Hence the inclusion of Rep. Jim McGovern of Massachusetts, co-chair of the congressional Human Rights Commission. Conspicuous demonstrations of support for these lonely dissenters were a key element of the State Department delegation, and will be for all U.S. officials — not only out of principle, but to show skeptics watching on the Hill that renewing ties to Havana does not meaning letting the Castros declare victory. And since the next round of talks is slated to take place in Washington next week, Pelosi’s visit also offers the opportunity to keep the focus on the island in question.

With reporting from Dolly Mascareñas in Mexico City.

TIME ebola

Liberia’s Children Go Back to School but Ebola Is Not Over Yet

Students stand in line before heading to their classrooms at Don Bosco High School in the Liberian capital Monrovia on Feb. 16, 2015.
Zoom Dosso—AFP/Getty Images Students stand in line before heading to their classrooms at Don Bosco High School in the Liberian capital, Monrovia, on Feb. 16, 2015

All across Liberia, streets are filled with the excited laughter of children returning to school after a six-month hiatus. The children, decked in the smart cotton uniforms of both public and private schools, line up in front of their classrooms to wash their hands in chlorine solution and wait to get their temperatures read by teachers wielding infrared thermometer guns.

Once inside they will pick up lessons abandoned in August, when an Ebola epidemic cut a swath through the country, infecting nearly 9,000 and killing at least 3,826. “The Ebola outbreak has had a devastating effect on our health and education systems and our way of life in Liberia,” Liberia’s Minister of Education Etmonia Tarpeh said in a statement. “We have managed to beat back the spread of the virus through collective efforts. Reopening and getting our children back to school is an important aspect of ensuring children’s education is not further interrupted.”

Ebola taught the nation to fear contact, to avoid unnecessary gatherings and to distrust a government and an international community that seemed both unwilling and unable to bring the crisis to an end. But with the start of school — deemed safe by the Ministry of Education, even though the virus has not been completely eradicated from the country — Liberians are regaining a sense of normalcy and can allow themselves to hope for a time when Ebola is little more than a bad memory. “It’s a good sign,” says school nurse Iris Martor. “We can’t let down our guard, but we can start thinking about the future again.”

Not all schools have opened. Some have yet to receive basic sanitation kits from the government and the U.N. Children’s Fund, and others are still being cleaned up and disinfected after having served as holding centers for the ill. Some, like Martor’s More Than Me Academy, which serves underprivileged girls from Monrovia’s West Point slum, won’t open their doors until March 2.

Schools have already reopened in neighboring Guinea, where the outbreak started in late 2013, and are expected to open in Sierra Leone, which has seen the highest number of infections, at the end of March. Of the three most affected countries, Liberia has recovered the quickest. It has seen just a handful of new cases every week since January, compared with an increase from 39 to 65 new cases in Guinea and 76 new cases in Sierra Leone in the week ending Feb. 8, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). Still, it’s a dramatic decline compared with the hundreds of new cases every week during the peak of the epidemic in September and October.

On Monday, officials in the three countries announced that they had set a target of reducing the number of new cases to zero within 60 days. It is an achievable goal, but similar targets have been set in the past, only to be undermined by a sudden flare-up in unexpected areas.

Ebola, which kills nearly half its victims, is spread through contact with infected bodily fluids. Practices like the washing of the dead are deeply ingrained in West African society; all it takes is one improperly conducted funeral for a new chain of transmission to start, undermining weeks of work. The WHO, in its most recent assessment, noted that Guinea reported a total of 34 unsafe burials last week.

Elsewhere in the country, village mobs attacked health workers from the Red Cross and Doctors Without Borders, accusing them of bringing the virus. Sierra Leone was forced to quarantine a fishing community in the capital, Freetown, after the discovery of a cluster of five new cases. “We are very, very far from the end of the outbreak,” Iza Ciglenecki from Doctors Without Borders told reporters at a science conference in California on Saturday. For most illnesses, it is enough to get the number of cases down to a low rate for doctors to be satisfied they have an infectious disease under control. Not so for Ebola. Until the number of new cases stays at zero for 42 days — twice the maximum incubation period — no one can afford to let their guard down, not even the students washing their hands in chlorine in the schoolyard.

TIME Netherlands

Astronauts Vying for One-Way Ticket to Mars May Be on Reality TV

Getty Images Planet Mars, with Earth visible in the background

Mars One selects pool of 100 candidates to be winnowed down to 24

The Dutch company Mars One has selected 100 candidates who will compete for a one-way ticket to the Red Planet.

The 50 men and 50 women were narrowed down from a pool of more than 200,000 applicants, the company said in a news release Monday.

The lucky 100 will be further winnowed down to only 24 though a reality TV-style competition, which could be aired internationally.

Candidates in this round “will participate in group challenges that demonstrate their suitability to become one of the first humans on Mars, and will be interviewed,” according to the company’s site.

“Being one of the best individual candidates does not automatically make you the greatest team player, so I look forward to seeing how the candidates progress and work together in the upcoming challenges,” chief medical officer Dr. Norbert Kraft said in a statement.

The final 24 will be divided into six crews of four each. Mars One hopes to launch a new crew every two years, starting in 2024. The goal? To colonize the Red Planet.

But there are doubts about the project. An MIT study published in 2014 determined that explorers could expect to survive no longer than 68 days using current technology – and that’s assuming they’re successful at landing on the planet in the first place.

Still, as Alison Rigby, one of the final 100, told CNN: “Pioneers are always ridiculed, but I am doing this for something better, which will hopefully benefit more people than just staying at home and keeping my mum happy.”

This article originally appeared on People.com.

TIME Greece

Greek Strategy of Highlighting Germany’s Nazi Past Has Backfired

People wave Greek flags in front of the parliament during anti-austerity pro-government demonstration in Athens
Yannis Behrakis—Reuters People wave Greek flags in front of the parliament during an anti-austerity pro-government demonstration in Athens on Feb. 15, 2015.

It may have been a great tactic for Syriza in the elections but it is a major error for the Greek government in European negotiations

Of all the general rules that have evolved over time for those about to ask for money, one is pretty much at the top of every list: don’t gratuitously insult the guy you’re asking ahead of time.

Sadly, it doesn’t seem to be anywhere near the list of the new Greek government, which seems to think that the best way to get money out of Germany is to remind Germans of their criminal Nazi past at every opportunity.

Whether it’s Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras laying a rose at the site of a Nazi massacre in his first official act as Prime Minister, or Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis describing the bailout’s effects as a “social holocaust”, or Foreign Minister Nikos Kotzias banging on about a loan forcibly exacted from Greece by the German Reichsbank during the Nazi occupation, officials have gone out of their way to try to shame their biggest creditor into cutting them some slack.

And even when the government takes a break from it, it can rely on friendly elements of the press to carry on the struggle for it. Witness the cartoon in Monday’s edition of the Syriza-friendly paper “Dawn”, depicting German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble in World War 2 uniform, saying “We insist on the soap from your fat. We’re willing to discuss the compost from your ashes.” No wonder the doughty Badenser didn’t feel much in the giving vein at Monday’s Eurogroup meeting.

It’s a tactic that consciously seeks to deflect attention away from Greece’s own shortcomings, and will hit entirely the wrong target. Who exactly will pay for this? Around 300,000 Greeks live and pay taxes today in Germany (another million live in the countries that Tsipras is asking for debt forgiveness). By contrast, there are fewer than 400,000 German men over 90 left alive, only a minute fraction of whom could possibly be considered as even indirectly responsible for what happened in Greece between 1941 and 1945. It’s only a small exaggeration to say that, by the same logic, Iran should file for damages committed by Alexander the Great’s army.

The most likely result of Syriza’s German-baiting is the exact opposite from the one intended. German public opinion, which is by no means short on “European solidarity”, will harden even further against Greece, leaving it no option but to leave the Eurozone as its money runs out. An opinion poll published last week by the magazine Focus showed that 48% of Germans wanted Greece to leave the currency union, while only 29% wanted it to stay in.

Yes, it’s true that Germany hasn’t directly repaid 476 million Reichsmarks that it forced the Bank of Greece to lend it interest-free, a sum that some analysts estimate as translating into €10 billion at today’s exchange rates (best not to ask how they arrive at that calculation). It’s also true that some of the reparations agreed under various postwar settlements never arrived in Greece (although it would be more pertinent to ask how well that which did arrive was spent).

But Messrs. Tsipras, Kotzias et al. are guilty of missing the forest for the trees. In one of the more enlightened policy choices of modern history, Germany was spared a heavy reparations bill after WW2. Instead it entered into a tacit bargain that it would bankroll the European Union’s budget. The historian Niall Ferguson reckons that Germany has already recycled more through the European economy in this way than the whole of the reparations bill handed to it at Versailles for World War 1. Time to let it go and concentrate on today, and on Greece, rather than its creditors.

Since Greece joined the E.U. in 1981, it has benefited more than virtually any other country from that arrangement, getting the equivalent of €110 billion out of E.U. coffers, according to European Commission numbers crunched by the Munich-based Ifo think-tank. Around a third of that is ultimately attributable to Germany. In the E.U.’s last budget, Greece was still able to extract more subsidies, on a per capita basis, than all but two of the–much poorer–countries that joined the Union after the fall of Communism.

After the failure of Monday’s Eurogroup meeting, time is now fast running out for Athens to get real. The country only has 12 days before it loses access to billions of euros that its creditors–at great political cost domestically–approved for it in 2012. It needs to stop wasting time and energy whipping up old animosities that are increasingly irrelevant to modern Europe. And in any case, it costs nothing to ask nicely.

This article originally appeared on fortune.com


Iran Leader Criticizes American Sniper

Warner Bros.

Ali Khamenei calls the movie "propaganda"

Iran’s top leader has criticized the film American Sniper for encouraging violence against Muslims, according to a state media outlet.

Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, the country’s Supreme Leader, told the IRAN Farsi newspaper that the movie “encourages a Christian or non-Muslim youngster to harass and offend the Muslims as far as they could,” the Associated Press reports.

“You are seeing what sort of propaganda there are against Muslims in Europe and the U.S.,” Khamenei said, adding that he hasn’t seen the movie.

American Sniper, starring Bradley Cooper and directed by Clint Eastwood, focuses on the life of Chris Kyle, a Navy SEAL who became known as a lethal sniper during the Iraq War. The movie has generated more than $300 million at the U.S. box office, but it has not been released in Iran.


TIME Turkey

Turkish Student’s Murder Sparks Anger Over Violence Against Women

A man holds a poster depicting slain Ozgecan Aslan during a march of members of Turkey's Bar Association to protest against a law that strenghtens the police's powe in Ankara, Turkey on Feb. 16, 2015.
Adem Altan—AFP/Getty Images A man holds a poster depicting slain Ozgecan Aslan during a march of members of Turkey's Bar Association to protest against a law that strenghtens the police's powe in Ankara, Turkey on Feb. 16, 2015.

Ozgecan Aslan was murdered after resisting an attempted rapist

The murder of a woman after resisting an attempted rapist has sparked mass protests in Turkey and prompted outcry on social media.

Police say Ozgecan Aslan, a 20-year-old psychology student, was stabbed and beaten to death on a bus in Turkey’s Mersin province Wednesday when she pepper sprayed a man who tried to rape her, according to The Guardian. Police arrested three men in connection with Aslan’s death, after recovering her burnt body from a riverbed Friday.

The murder prompted nationwide protests and condemnation from local and national authorities. “Violence against women is the bleeding wound of our country,” Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erodgan said Monday.

Women also took to social media, where thousands have shared stories of their experiences with sexual violence and harassment, using the hashtag #sendeanlat, which translates to #tellyourstory.

The hashtag was the third most popular in the world on Sunday, Al Jazeera reports. The hashtag #ozgecanaslan also trended, with some 2.5 million tweets sent out by Monday.

The U.S. Embassy to Turkey condemned the violent act Tuesday.

TIME France

Watch the Abuse This Jewish Man Gets as He Walks Through Paris

The team filmed for 10 hours to get 90 seconds of material and they had to go to the roughest areas of Paris to get it

Zvika Klein, a journalist who works for the Israeli news outlet NRG, filmed himself walking the streets of Paris for ten hours one day while wearing a yarmulke. The video opens with Klein putting on the traditional Jewish skullcap in front of the Eiffel Tower, before walking around the city. Along the way, Klein experiences what he describes as “fear and loathing,” as the camera catches people spitting on the ground near him, shouting “Viva Palestine” or simply saying, “Jew” or “Juif.”

The video has been edited down into a minute and a half and Klein had to go to areas where he, or any outsider, was likely to arouse attention. Klein, who wore a tzitzit or tasseled prayer garment to emphasise his identity, told the BBC that filming took place earlier this month and that while few incidents took place in the central areas of Paris, the outskirts of the city were a different story. “As we went to the suburbs, or certain neighbourhoods in the city, the remarks became more violent,” he said. (Klein also told the BBC that some bystanders also spoke out against the abusive comments he received.)

Klein’s video, which has been viewed nearly a million times since it was posted on Sunday, reflects a threat felt by more and more Jewish people in Europe, where anti-Semitic incidents are being increasingly reported. That fear is more pronounced following terrorist attacks in both Copenhagen and Paris earlier this year.

The video also replicates the format of a similar clip that went viral last October, which saw a woman walking the streets the of New York and recording the sexist harassment she encountered.

Read next: Jews Face Renewed Doubt Over Their Future in Europe

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