TIME faith

Pope Francis Says There’s a Place for Pets in Paradise

Pope Francis leads his Wednesday general audience in Saint Peter's square at the Vatican
Stefano Rellandini—Reuters Pope Francis leads his Wednesday general audience in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican on Dec. 10, 2014

The head of the Catholic Church promises that some dogs, at least, do go to heaven

Pope Francis confirmed during his weekly address in the Vatican’s St. Peter’s Square that canines, along with “all of God’s creatures,” can make it to heaven.

The leader of the Catholic Church made the remark in order to comfort a young boy who was mourning the death of his dog, according to the New York Times.

“One day, we will see our animals again in the eternity of Christ. Paradise is open to all of God’s creatures,” said the 77-year-old Pontiff, according to Italian news sources.

Pope Francis has been cast as a much more liberal figure compared with his predecessors. Since ascending to the church’s helm last year, he has attempted to engage with homosexuals and unwed couples and backed the Big Bang Theory.

[NYT]

Correction: The original version of this story misattributed a quotation from Pope Paul VI, who died in 1978, to Pope Francis. It was Pope Paul VI who said, “One day, we will see our animals again in the eternity of Christ.” The original version of this story misinterpreted comments made by Francis who said in recent remarks, according to Vatican Radio, “The Holy Scripture teaches us that the fulfillment of this wonderful design also affects everything around us.” This quotation was interpreted in press accounts to mean that the Pope believes all animals go to heaven. A Vatican spokesman told Reuters on Dec. 13 that this was not the Pope’s intended message.

Read next: The Pope Just Received a Fly Pair of Custom Diesel Sweatpants

TIME ebola

U.N.: Ebola Outbreak Will Take Several More Months to Contain

Liberia Ebola Missed Goals
Abbas Dulleh—AP Health workers wearing Ebola protective gear spray the shrouded body of a suspected Ebola victim with disinfectant at an Ebola treatment center at Tubmanburg, on the outskirts of Monrovia, Liberia, on Nov. 28, 2014

The U.N. goal of containing 100% of Ebola cases by Jan. 1 will not be met

The U.N.’s special envoy on Ebola said Thursday that it would be several months before the outbreak in West Africa is under control.

Dr. David Nabarro said international governments as well as local communities had taken a “massive shift” in responding to the crisis over the past four month, the Associated Press reports.

However, he noted that more needed to be done to contain the spread of the disease in western Sierra Leone and northern Mali.

“It’s going to take, I’m afraid, several more months before we can truly declare that the outbreak is coming under control,” Nabarro said.

The World Health Organization aimed to have 100% of cases isolated by Jan. 1, but acknowledges that previous targets have not been met.

[AP]

TIME europe

The E.U. Plans to Spike Key Clean-Air and Recycling Laws

Prime Minister David Cameron Tries To Take A Harder Line with Europe
Carl Court—Getty Images E.U. flags are pictured outside the European Commission building in Brussels on Oct. 24, 2014

The proposed laws are aimed at preventing tens of thousands of premature deaths and set a 70% recycling target by 2030

The E.U. is planning to scrap environmental laws aimed at averting tens of thousands of possible deaths, according to classified documents published on Thursday.

The leaked files propose the withdrawal of a plan for a clean-air law as well as a directive setting a target of 70% waste recycling by 2030, the Guardian reported.

The plan is reportedly being withdrawn because the commission in charge of it sees “no foreseeable agreement” with states that have a poor track record on recycling, and would not be able to meet the target without additional financial help.

Read more at the Guardian

TIME infectious diseases

Avian Flu Outbreak in British Columbia Spreads to Seven Farms

The virus has affected 155,000 birds in the past week

A sudden spike in avian influenza cases in British Columbia in the past week has now spread to seven farms and affected thousands of birds, according to the Canadian Food Inspection Agency.

Some 155,000 birds have either died or will be euthanized, the Associated Press reports.

The outbreak originated in the Fraser Valley near Vancouver last week, where turkeys and chickens from two farms tested positive for the H5N2 strain of the virus.

Although the bug does not pose a major threat to humans as long as the meat from these birds is cooked properly, its sudden resurgence a huge blow to the region’s poultry industry.

[AP]

TIME brazil

Brazilian Politician Tells Congresswoman She’s ‘Not Worthy’ of Sexual Assault

Rogério Tomaz Jr./CDHM—Flickr Creative Commons Brazilian Congressman Jair Bolsonaro seen in 2011

He said it on the floor of the legislature

A Brazilian Congressman apparently told a female colleague who had allegedly called him a rapist that he wouldn’t sexually assault her but because she’s “not worthy” of it.

Representative Jair Bolsonaro reportedly made the comments on the floor of the national legislature Tuesday after lawmaker Maria do Rosário gave a speech condemning the human rights abuses of the U.S.-backed military dictatorship from 1964 to 1985, a regime Bolsonaro defends, according to a translation from the Huffington Post. “Stay here, Maria do Rosário. A few days ago you called me a rapist, in the Green Room,” he said. “And I said I wouldn’t rape you because you’re not worthy of it.” The Green Room is a private room in the capitol building.

“I was attacked as a woman, as a Congress member, as a mother,” do Rosário told the Brazilian news agency O Globo. “When I go home, I have to explain this to my daughter… I’m going to press criminal charges against him.”

[Huffington Post]

TIME Business

Germany Requires Large Companies to Put More Women in the Boardroom

Chancellor Angela Merkel in the lower house of parliament Bundestag in Berlin, Nov. 26, 2014.
Stefanie Loos—Reuters Chancellor Angela Merkel in the lower house of parliament Bundestag in Berlin, Nov. 26, 2014.

Large listed companies must fill at least 30% of the supervisory board seats with female non-executive directors, under new law

Women are about to flood the corporate world in Germany.

Chancellor Angela Merkel’s government adopted a bill on Thursday that will require large listed companies to fill at least 30% of the supervisory board seats with female non-executive directors. The bill will also force thousands of large and mid-size companies to employ more women as managers.

Despite being arguably the most powerful woman in the world, Merkel has so far been unable to convince Germany’s male-dominated business world to voluntarily diversify. Only one-third of the 30 companies in Germany’s DAX stock index would currently meet the 30% quota suggested in the bill. Women’s representation on executive boards is low compared to other European countries like Norway, France and Sweden, according to the Wall Street Journal.

“I am convinced that we will set in motion a cultural change and that this law is a historic milestone for more equality between women and men in this country,” Manuela Schwesig, family minister and main sponsor of the bill, said at a news conference.

The new law will require 108 publicly-traded companies to place women in over 170 supervisory board seats. And an additional 3,500 companies with over 500 employees each will have to boost the number of women in management positions within the next two years.

But businesses are unenthused to meet these targets. A quota “ignores that professional qualification must be the decisive criterion for filling a supervisory board position,” Germany’s employer and industry federations said in a joint statement.

TIME russia

Exclusive: Gorbachev Blames the U.S. for Provoking ‘New Cold War’

Former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev in Berlin, Nov. 8, 2014.
Sean Gallup—Getty Images Former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev in Berlin, Nov. 8, 2014.

"It’s America calling the shots in everything!” the former Soviet leader tells TIME

In the offices of Mikhail Gorbachev, still sharp at 83 and plainspoken as ever, the walls are lined with photos from his travels as the leader of the Soviet Union and, in the years after its demise, as a living icon of the Cold War. One picture shows him with his late wife Raisa standing arm-in-arm with Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse. In another frame he wears a cowboy hat and jeans as he stands beside Ronald Reagan, the U.S. President who famously branded Gorbachev’s country an “evil empire” in 1983. These portraits, like many others in his Moscow office, betray Gorbachev’s affection for his former American adversaries.

But in the course of this year those feelings seem to have been subsumed in a rising sense of animosity, as Russia and the West enter what Gorbachev calls a new Cold War. “Are we in the middle of a new Cold War? Indeed we are,” he tells TIME in an interview last month at the Moscow branch of the Gorbachev Foundation, the international advocacy group he founded in 1991, when he was forced to resign from his post as President due to the dissolution of the Soviet Union.

MORE: Vladimir Putin, TIME Person of the Year runner-up

The elder statesman, who was named TIME’s Person of the Year in 1987 and ‘Man of the Decade’ two years later, is not the first to declare the start of a new Cold War this year. Russia’s annexation of Crimea in March has caused officials and pundits around the world to warn that the West’s efforts to isolate Russia have opened a dangerous gulf between them. But the roots of the present standoff run deeper than this spring, says Gorbachev, and the blame for it lies with the Americans.

In the years that followed the Soviet collapse, the West “tried to turn us into some kind of backwater, a province,” he says. “Our nation could not let that pass. It’s not just about pride. It’s about a situation where people speak to you however they want, impose limitations, and so on. It’s America calling the shots in everything!”

For a country whose leaders remember the years when Russia was a superpower, the American dominance of global affairs has always been a taunting reality and a constant source of frustration. Instead of treating Russia as an equal partner, the West tried to “push us out of politics,” says Gorbachev, most recently during the revolution that brought a pro-Western government to power in Ukraine early this year. Vladimir Putin’s reaction to that uprising sought to claw back some of the influence Russia had lost, and for that the Russian President has earned Gorbachev’s admiration.

“Putin started acting on his own,” says Gorbachev, referring to the annexation of Crimea from Ukraine. “And his position was in the interests of the majority.”

Even a year ago such praise would have been hard to imagine coming from Putin’s Soviet predecessor. In the spring of 2013, Gorbachev attacked Putin for persecuting opposition activists and silencing dissent. He called that year’s crackdown an “attack on the rights of citizens” during an interview with the BBC, and gave Putin the following advice: “For goodness sake, you shouldn’t be afraid of your own people…What people want and expect their president to do is to restore an open, direct dialogue with them.”

Such criticism has since vanished from Gorbachev’s public remarks, much as it has from the rhetoric of many of Putin’s former critics. The annexation of Crimea sent the President’s approval ratings soaring to record highs of well over 80% this year, driven upward by a jingoistic sense of pride even as Western sanctions eat into the value of the Russian currency and push its economy toward recession. Gorbachev now seems willing to forgive Putin for his authoritarian tendencies as long as he works to restore the “great power” status that Russia lost.

“There are still elements of autocracy, of authoritarianism” in Russia today, he tells TIME. “But I’ll say this. The manual control of authoritarianism was also needed to overcome the situation that our friends, our former friends and allies, created for Russia by pushing us out of geopolitics.”

MORE: Russia’s fifth column

The new East-West divide does evoke a sense of foreboding in Gorbachev. In particular Putin’s recent warnings that Russia is a “nuclear power,” and that foreigners would be wise “not to mess with us,” all feel like reminders of the arms race that kept the world on the edge of a catastrophic war as Gorbachev climbed the ladder of the Soviet Communist Party to become its last General Secretary. “People are talking again not only about a new Cold War but a hot one,” he says. “It’s as if a time of great troubles has arrived. The world is roiling.”

But that does not mean that Putin should back down in the face of Western sanctions. The man who pursued reforms at home and peace talks with the West in the late 1980s now feels it must be the Americans who learn a sense of humility toward Russia and stop resisting its rightful role as a global power. “It’s hard to belittle the Russians,” says Gorbachev. “We know our worth.” And if the U.S. does start to seek a new thaw in relations with Russia, he has a fresh bit of advice to offer Putin going forward: “I learned that you can listen to the Americans, but you cannot trust them,” he says. “When they get an idea to do something, they’ll turn the world onto a different axis to get it done.”

Still, as our interview winds down, Gorbachev seems to snap back into the mode of reconciliation that won him the Nobel Peace Prize a quarter century ago. “We have to return to dialogue. We have to stop this process,” he says warily. “We have to return to what we started with at the end of the Cold War.” But so far, he admits, the world is moving in the opposite direction.

Read next: Exclusive: Putin Cut Ukraine Criticism From Speech Ahead of Peace Talks

TIME Internet

Afghanistan’s Bruce Lee Impersonator Gains Internet Fame

Abbas Alizada, who calls himself the Afghan Bruce Lee, poses for the media in front of the destroyed Darul Aman Palace in Kabul
Mohammad Ismail—Reuters Abbas Alizada who calls himself the Afghan Bruce Lee poses for the media in front of the destroyed Darul Aman Palace in Kabulon Dec. 9, 2014.

He wants to make it to Hollywood

A Bruce Lee impersonator is gaining Internet stardom in Afghanistan, thanks to his Facebook page and imitations of famous Bruce Lee moves and poses.

“I want to be a champion in my country and a Hollywood star,” Abbas Alizada, or “Bruce Hazara,” as his Facebook page calls him, told Reuters.

Alizada trains twice a week to achieve his goal. From a poor family of 10 children, Alizada’s parents couldn’t afford to send him to a martial arts academy, but a trainer mentored him anyway. Now, he wants to make it to the big screen and bring some good press to Afghanistan in the process.

“The only news that comes from Afghanistan is about war … I am happy that my story is a positive one,” Alizada said.

[Reuters]

TIME Social Media

Malala Yousafzai’s 3 Tips for Taking Stellar Selfies

Malala Selfie
Sean Drakes/CON—LatinContent/Getty Images Malala Yousafzai poses for a selfie with admirers at the National Academy for the Performing Arts on July 30, 2014 in Port of Spain, Trinidad.

She's still a 17-year-old, after all

Sure, Malala Yousafzai just became a Nobel Peace Prize laureate, but she’s also a 17-year-old. And that means the Pakistani education activist knows a thing or two about selfies, and — believe it or not — takes selfies, too.

Here are three of Malala’s best practices for taking great selfies:

1. Use selfies for good.

In an interview with the New York Times, Malala explained her approach to taking selfies. And it has nothing to do with angles or lighting:

I think it’s important that we use social media, but for a good purpose. For instance, it’s good to take a selfie to say ‘hey what’s up’ and those things, but I think it’s also important that we use it for the good purpose of highlighting the issues that children all over the world are facing.

One of those selfies-for-good was one GMA anchor Amy Robach snapped this summer of Malala, Ban Ki-moon and herself for the #showyourselfie campaign. The campaign, launched by the United Nations Population Fund, brought awareness to the importance of including young people in decision-making processes:

2. Learn from selfies.

Malala doesn’t think that selfies and hashtag activism should be dismissed as useless forms of advocacy. In fact, she credits the #BringBackOurGirls photo campaign for bringing awareness to the public — and to herself — of the Nigerian girls kidnapped by Boko Haram earlier this year. “I came to know about Bring Back Our Girls because it was on Twitter, you could see it,” Malala told the Times. “I think this is the way we can highlight what’s happening and we can speak for our rights.”

She even was inspired to take her own “selfie:”

3. Don’t be above taking selfies.

While Malala champions selfies-for-good, that doesn’t mean she won’t take one just to take one. But make sure to bring your own cellphone — Malala still doesn’t have one.

So this happened. #malalaselfie @forbes #under30summit #techgirls #nobelpeaceprize #malalayousafzai

A photo posted by Tiphani Montgomery (@tiphanimontgomery) on

A Selfie with Noble Peace Prize winner 2014 Malala Yousafzai. Congratulations Malala.

A photo posted by Frank Carlton Mugisha (@frankmugisha) on

TIME People

9 of the Most Memorable Moments of 2014

Images of Pope Francis in a nativity scene, Hillary Clinton cuddling her grandchild , Malala Yousafzai reacting to her Nobel win and more

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