TIME Obesity

U.N. Official Says Junk Food Just as Bad as Cigarettes

U.N. Special Rapporteur on the right to food Olivier De Schutter warned that obesity is a bigger global health threat than tobacco use, lamenting that it isn't taken as seriously as it should be

A United Nations official called for greater regulation of unhealthy foods on Monday, saying junk food is just as bad for global health as tobacco.

Olivier De Schutter, the U.N. Special Rapporteur on the right to food, said the world needs to come together to regulate diet. “Unhealthy diets are now a greater threat to global health than tobacco,” he said in a speech at the opening of the World Health Organization’s annual summit. “Just as the world came together to regulate the risks of tobacco, a bold framework convention on adequate diets must now be agreed.”

De Schutter voiced frustration that the world hasn’t taken obesity seriously enough. “It has been two years since my report on nutrition and the right to food, and ten years since the World Health Organization (WHO) launched its Global Strategy on Diet Physical Activity and Health,” he said. “Yet obesity continues to advance—and diabetes, heart disease and other health complications along with it. The warning signs are not being heard.”

The Special Rapporteur has previously agitated for greater governmental action on junk foods, including taxing unhealthy products, regulating fats and sugars, cracking down on advertising for junk food, and rethinking agricultural subsidies that make unhealthy food cheaper.

“Governments have been focusing on increasing calorie availability,” he said, “but they have often been indifferent to what kind of calories are on offer, at what price, to whom they are made available, and how they are marketed.”

TIME foreign affairs

Too Many of Nigeria’s Women Are Targets—Not Just the Kidnapped Girls

Protest Against Abduction Of Nigerian Schoolgirls In Wellington
People protest against the abduction of Nigerian schoolgirls at the Civic Square on May 14, 2014 in Wellington, New Zealand. Marty Melville—Getty Images

When Nigerian states adopt sharia laws that are in their application blatantly unfavorable to women, it creates an environment in which a terrorist group like Boko Haram believes it has a right to do as it pleases with girls without prosecution.

Boko Haram’s recent kidnappings of schoolgirls from the town of Chibok in Borno state, Nigeria, at least in its explosive aftermath, is reminiscent of the legal cases of two northern Nigerian women, Safiya Hussaini and Amina Lawal, who were sentenced to death by stoning under sharia law in 2002. Though unrelated – the stoning sentences were state-sanctioned punishments that were later overturned, and the kidnappings are a criminal act by a terrorist group – these cases illustrate how the legal climate in northern Nigeria has reached a point where girls can be seen as chattels to be taken, held, sold and, according to the latest video purportedly released by Boko Haram, indoctrinated and bartered.

Before 2000, the scope of sharia law in Nigeria was limited to civil cases. Since then, nine northern Nigerian states have adopted sharia law fully, to include criminal cases as well. A further three northern states have adopted sharia law in populations where Muslims are the majority. Sharia law, a group of Islamic moral codes and laws that determine what is and isn’t allowed for Muslims, exists side by side with civil law in these states.

The case of Hussaini, a divorced mother, was the first of its kind in Nigeria to have an international impact following the adoption of sharia law into the penal code system in some northern Nigerian states. Hussaini’s crime was that she had a child out of wedlock, with a married man. Despite being divorced, she was tried for adultery and sentenced in a sharia court in Sokoto state. In the month her case was dismissed after an appeal, Amina Lawal, another divorced mother, was sentenced for the same crime in a sharia court in Katsina state. Lawal’s case was eventually overturned in 2003 by a sharia court of appeal.

In both cases, the women won their appeals because of the grassroots efforts of activists, such as human rights lawyer Hauwa Ibrahim and Dr. Ayesha Imam of Baobab for Women’s Human Rights, both are highly accomplished women from northern Nigeria. Also in both cases, the fathers of Hussaini and Lawal’s children were not prosecuted. To prosecute men for adultery, four male eyewitnesses are required. Hussaini, after her sentencing, allegedly said that her crime was being a woman. Meanwhile, the attorney general of Sokoto, Aliyu Abubakar Sanyinna, declared the sharia court was merely following Allah’s law.

In 1999, the then governor of Zamfara state, Ahmed Sani Yerima, began a campaign to adopt sharia law in his state, and in 2000 became the first governor to formally adopt sharia when the law took effect. The federal government considers the adoption of sharia law a state right, but has criticized sharia punishments such as stonings, hand amputations and floggings. Despite the objections of members of the judiciary, the adoption of sharia law remains a state right in Nigeria.

Boko Haram’s kidnappings may not have been state-sanctioned, but its leader, Abubakar Shekau, declared that the group was following Allah’s order. Regardless of his fanatical motivation, the kidnappings were a criminal act and should have been handled as such by state authorities. But they failed to address the matter until it became a national and international embarrassment.

The facts surrounding the kidnappings are still unclear: for instance, were state authorities warned about Boko Haram’s plans? What is clear is that for a state that would have been swift to prosecute the girls for adultery and other sharia-related crimes, Borno was incredibly slow to respond when the girls became victims of a crime. Shekau’s response to the national outcry that ensued—that he would sell the girls as slaves in the market—is evidence of Boko Haram’s assumption of ownership of the girls, and it begs the question, “what gave him the right to make such a reprehensible statement?” Shekau has made known his wish to see sharia law imposed throughout Nigeria. I would suggest that when a state adopts sharia laws that are in their application blatantly unfavorable to women, it creates a legal climate in which a terrorist group like Boko Haram believes it has a right to do as it pleases with girls without prosecution.

I doubt that any level of public outrage in Nigeria would change how Boko Haram sees the girls. I say this as a Nigerian woman of Muslim parentage who writes fiction and plays to protest the adoption of sharia law in northern Nigeria, and who has often wondered if there is any value in doing that. Nigerians knew not to bother addressing Boko Haram when they began their campaign to “Bring Back Our Girls”; otherwise, their campaign slogan would have been “Release Our Girls.” If nothing else, the outrage of the rest of the world forced our president, Goodluck Jonathan, to declare his commitment to finding the girls and returning them to their families.

It should also, once again, put a spotlight on the adoption of sharia law in northern Nigeria and its dangerous trajectory. I worry that Boko Haram might confuse the negative attention they’re getting worldwide for acclaim, and trying to shame them as a group of cowardly men scared of girls might only encourage them to toughen their stance. But without the international attention the kidnappings have received, we might still be waiting for the findings of yet another committee on terrorism.

The Nigerian government has yet to catch up with acts of terrorism, and Boko Haram may well be afraid of girls and their potential to develop into educated, accomplished women. But, ultimately, Boko Haram kidnapped the schoolgirls because, in the current legal climate in northern Nigeria, they could.

Sefi Atta is the author of Everything Good Will Come, Swallow, News from Home and A Bit of Difference. Also a playwright, her radio plays have been broadcast by the BBC and her stage plays have been produced internationally. Her play Hagel auf Zamfara, adapted from her short story “Hailstones on Zamfara” and directed by Nick Monu, finished its two-year run in Germany in 2013. In 2006, she was awarded the Wole Soyinka Prize for Publishing in Africa, and in 2009, the Noma Award for Publishing in Africa. She divides her time between Nigeria, England and the U.S.

TIME Uganda

Ugandan Nurse Jailed for Negligence Over HIV Exposure

Ugandan nurse Rosemary Namubiru sits at the dock at the Buganda Road Magistrates Court on May 19, 2014 in Kampala during a ruling on a case where she was charged with "Criminal Negligence" and sentenced to 3 years in prison after she was found guilty by the Ugandan court.
Ugandan nurse Rosemary Namubiru sits at the dock at the Buganda Road Magistrates Court on May 19, 2014 in Kampala during a ruling on a case where she was charged with "Criminal Negligence" and sentenced to 3 years in prison after she was found guilty by the Ugandan court. Isaax Kasamni—AFP/Getty Images

Rosemary Namubiru, who is HIV positive, claims she accidentally used a needle that she had pricked herself with on a baby, whose tests have not yet shown an infection as a result. Authorities found her guilty of negligence and sentenced her to three years in jail

Correction appended, May 22, 2014

A Ugandan nurse was sentenced on Monday to three years in jail for criminal negligence involving HIV exposure.

The court found Rosemary Namubiru, who is HIV positive herself, guilty of exposing a patient to the virus, the Associated Press reports.

Namubiru has maintained her innocence, saying she accidentally pricked herself with a needle she then used to give a baby an injection. The child’s mother realized the needle had not been changed and alerted authorities, after which Namubiru was immediately arrested. According to court records, two tests have shown the child was not infected with HIV. The nurse was denied bail as a magistrate ruled she posed a danger to the public.

International activists claimed Namubiru was the victim of discrimination because she is HIV positive, and said that her trial was unwarranted. Uganda is one of the 60 countries that criminalizes the intentional transmission of HIV. According to the Ugandan Ministry of Health, 7.3%of the population is HIV positive.


Correction: The original version of this story misstated that Rosemary Namubiru intentionally spread HIV to a patient. She was found guilty of criminal negligence.

TIME Aviation

Former Malaysian Leader Accuses CIA of Cover-Up in Missing Jet

The former Malaysian Prime Minister accused the C.I.A., Boeing and the media of covering up crucial facts about the missing plane

A former Malaysian leader on Sunday accused American intelligence agents of covering up what really happened to the Malaysia Airlines plane missing since March.

Former Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad claimed that Flight 370, which disappeared on March 8 with 239 people on board, claimed that the CIA could have taken control of the Boeing 777, and lamented that the Malaysian government is bearing the brunt of the blame for a mystery that sparked a massive, expensive and as-of-yet unsuccessful international search for the plane.

“What goes up must come down,” Mohamad wrote in a blog post. “Airplanes can go up and stay up for long periods of time. But even they must come down eventually. They can land safely or they may crash. But airplanes don’t just disappear. Certainly not these days with all the powerful communication systems, radio and satellite tracking and filmless cameras which operate almost indefinitely and possess huge storage capacities.”

Mohamad said “the ‘uninterruptible’ autopilot would be activated—either by pilot, by on board sensors, or even remotely by radio or satellite links by government agencies like the Central Intelligence Agency, if terrorists attempt to gain control of the flight deck.”

No evidence has emerged to support his theory, one of many conspiracy theories that have proliferated since the plane disappeared. Authorities believe it crashed in the Indian Ocean and that no one survived.

“Clearly Boeing and certain agencies have the capacity to take over ‘uninterruptible control’ of commercial airliners of which MH370 B777 is one,” Mohamed wrote.

“Someone is hiding something,” he added. “It is not fair that… Malaysia should take the blame. For some reason the media will not print anything that involves Boeing or the CIA.”

TIME South Korea

South Korean President Vows to Disband Coast Guard Over Ferry Disaster

Passersby at a Seoul train station watch a live television broadcast of South Korean President Park Geun-hye's speech to the nation on the Sewol ferry tragedy on May 19, 2014 Lee Jin-man—AP

In a tearful, televised apology — and facing vociferous criticism from political opponents — President Park Geun-hye says the coast guard failed those who drowned in the Sewol tragedy and must be done away with as part of a regulatory overhaul

South Korea’s President Park Geun-hye vowed Monday to disband the national coast guard, as part of a reformist push and “great transformation,” that she said the country was owed after hundreds of high school students died in April’s Sewol ferry disaster.

Park’s nationally televised speech was her most heartfelt apology so far, and a reflection of the political crisis the tragedy has spawned. Over the weekend, police detained over 200 people attempting to march to her office to call for her resignation.

The outrage has been caused by what critics feel was a slow initial response to the sinking of the Sewol, as well as the systemic failings that allowed the ferry to set sail despite being dangerously overloaded.

Park said the coast guard had failed to do enough to save the students on board the ill-fated ferry, and that their duties would either be transferred to the national police force or into a new safety agency she intends to set up.

The tearful Park also declared a war on deeply entrenched ties between businesses and government regulators, which many say has led to lax regulatory enforcement.


TIME Libya

Libyan Government Defiant After Renegade Militia Storms Parliament

Mideast Libya
Joint security forces on vehicles with heavy artillery stand guard on the entrance road to Libya's parliament area after troops of General Khalifa Hifter targeted Islamist lawmakers and officials at the parliament in Tripoli on Sunday, May 18, 2014. Libyan national army/AP

Assault on legislature with shells and mortars leaves two dead and dozens wounded as Tripoli's interim administration deplores the use of force

Libya’s interim government has condemned an attack on its parliament and attempted to dispel fears of its ouster.

General Khalifa Hifter, a former rebel commander who claims to have operated with U.S. backing in the struggle to topple former dictator Muammar Gaddafi, suspended parliament Sunday after militia loyal to him attacked the building in Tripoli with truck-mounted artillery, rockets and mortars. Lawmakers fled as gunmen ransacked the legislature, with two people reportedly killed and more than 50 wounded.

Early on Monday, Libyan Justice Minister Salah al-Marghani issued a statement condemning “the expression of political opinion through the use of armed force,” according to the Associated Press. He called “on all sides to resort to dialogue and reconciliation.”

General Mokhtar Farnana, an ally of Hifter, told Libyan TV that the assault was not a coup but “fighting by the people’s choice.”

The unrest, some of the worst to scar Libya since the fall of Gaddafi three years ago, spread to the southern edge of Tripoli and along the airport highway. Hifter had already deployed troops to Benghazi on Friday to battle Islamist militants there, reports Reuters.

Since the end of Libya’s civil war, the nation’s fragile democracy has endured numerous crises. It is currently under its third Prime Minister since March, with no new constitution and politics dogged by relentless squabbling.


Ruins of Normandy: Portraits From a Post-Invasion Wasteland

Color photos made in northwestern France in the weeks and months after D-Day detail the devastating impact of the invasion and its aftermath

The ruins left behind after warfare speak a language of their own. Even more strikingly, perhaps, no matter where the conflict has taken place —northern Europe or the Pacific, the Middle East or Central Africa — the vernacular of destruction is often the same. Buildings reduced to rubble and dust. A scarred, tortured landscape nearly devoid of life, aside from small human forms trying to piece it back together. Twisted, rusting steel. Burned, abandoned vehicles. And always, above it all, the indifferent sky.

These color photographs made in northwest France by LIFE photographer Frank Scherschel — most of which never ran in LIFE — detail the devastating impact of the Normandy invasion and its aftermath. The impulse behind building this gallery, meanwhile, is really no more complicated than this: to commemorate the Allied troops who fought and died; to honor those who fought and lived; and to mark the 70th anniversary of D-Day by remembering what happened to countless towns — and townspeople — in France and around the globe when a world war unleashed hell in the midst of their lives.

[WATCH: 'Behind the Picture: Robert Capa's D-Day']

TIME Colombia

31 Children Die in Colombian Bus Inferno

The charred remains of a bus, in which children died in, is seen in Fundacion, northern Colombia, on May 18, 2014
The charred remains of a bus, in which children died in, is seen in Fundacion, northern Colombia, on May 18, 2014 Reuters

A bus that was returning from a religious service in Fundación, near the historic city of Cartagena, on Sunday erupted in flames and caused 31 children and an adult to burn to death, and another 24 kids to be injured

Thirty-one children and one adult burned to death and another 24 youngsters were injured after a bus caught fire in northern Colombia.

The vehicle was returning from a religious service in the town of Fundación, near the historic city of Cartagena, when it erupted in flames around noon on Sunday, the local mayor, Luz Stella Duran, told reporters.

Most of the victims were between 1 and 8 years old, and many of the survivors are battling horrific injuries in hospitals in the area of nearby Santa Marta.

“The injured have second- and third-degree burns, and many are still in a critical condition,” Cesar Uruena, working for the Red Cross, told Agence France-Presse.

Colombia’s President Juan Manuel Santos traveled to Fundación on Sunday, where he promised that the authorities would cover all medical and funeral expenses faced by the families.

“The entire country is in mourning for the death of these children,” said Santos, who is currently in the midst of a bitter election campaign ahead of May 25 national polls.

The police initially blamed the blaze on a mechanical problem. Nevertheless, furious locals quickly besieged the home of the driver, who vanished shortly after the incident.

One witness told CNN affiliate Caracol that the driver had left the children to put gasoline into the vehicle’s tank.


Two Ships Have Arrived in Vietnam to Evacuate Chinese Nationals

China Vietnam
Chinese passenger ships Wuzhishan, center, and Tongguling, left, seen at Haikou, capital of south China's Hainan province, before their departure on May 18, 2014 Wei Hua—AP

Three more Chinese vessels are on their way in an evacuation operation being conducted in response to anti-Chinese violence last week over long-standing territorial disputes, one day after 290 Chinese citizens were flown out aboard two chartered planes

Two Chinese passenger ships arrived early on Monday at the central-Vietnamese port of Vung Ang to evacuate Chinese nationals, who are fearing for their safety after anti-Chinese riots last week saw foreign businesses attacked, two Chinese killed and about 140 people injured.

More than 3,000 Chinese have already been helped to leave the country following protests that flared up across Vietnam over a Chinese oil rig that is drilling in waters claimed by both sides. Beijing has announced a 4.8-km exclusion zone around the rig, and Hanoi claims that there are 119 Chinese vessels in the area, including warships.

On Sunday, 290 Chinese citizens were flown out aboard two chartered planes, with another 16 critically injured Chinese evacuated on a medical flight, Xinhua news agency reports.

Public protests are a rarity in communist Vietnam. The security forces have been deployed in Ho Chi Minh City to quell new waves of demonstrations, and mobile carriers have sent repeated texts to subscribers with a message from Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung asking people to stay away from further protests.

However, small groups of peaceful protesters continued to gather on Sunday, and neither side has shown any real sign of backing down over the territorial conflict, which has revived a long-standing enmity between Beijing and Hanoi.

The two Chinese vessels that arrived on Monday each have a capacity of 1,000 people and are among five boats that will take part in the evacuation operation, a port official told the Associated Press. The vessels are presently berthed at a huge Taiwanese steel-mill complex that was overrun by an anti-China mob, and their presence is eerily reminiscent of a similar evacuation in 1978 that horribly backfired.

That year, with a war with Hanoi in the offing, China also sent ships to Vietnam — to evacuate members of Vietnam’s ethnically Chinese minority, known as Hoa. Hanoi took grave affront when the vessels arrived (“The South China Sea is not China’s own pond. Haiphong and Ho Chi Minh City are not Chinese ports” read a Vietnamese commentary at the time). Instead of allowing Hoa to board the Chinese ships, the Vietnamese Public Security Bureau built boats and fleeced the ethnic Chinese of gold and currency in exchange for being allowed to leave the country aboard the rickety vessels. Thirty thousand to 40,000 Hoa, and Vietnamese pretending to be Hoa, are believed to have perished at sea as a result.

China’s Foreign Ministry meanwhile said on Sunday it had issued a warning against travel to Vietnam and was suspending some diplomatic contact.


Fighting Words: Long-Winded (and Stunning) Wartime Magazine Ads

American magazine ads from the 1940s referenced World War II, obliquely or directly, to an extent that is utterly mind-boggling today

In elemental ways, magazines have not really changed all that much in the past, say, 75 years or so. A striking cover image; some snappy cover lines; a number of articles, some long, some short; and all of the editorial “content,” whether words or photos, surrounded by ads — which, of course, along with subscriptions, help pay the bills and keep the issues coming, week after week, month after month.

In other respects, though, the magazines of three-quarters of a century ago could not have been more different than today’s.

For example: take a look at those ads that we just mentioned. In almost any World War II-era issue of any magazine, you’ll notice two striking characteristics of the ads that differentiate them from those in most contemporary publications. First, there are all those words. Scores, sometimes even hundreds of words, as if the copywriters had been instructed not to get the point across as succinctly and memorably as possible, but to compose a kind of rhetorical argument — or maybe weave a short story — around why the reader should buy a particular cigarette, tire or light bulb.

Second, almost without exception, the ads one encountered in the midst of WWII referenced the conflict, obliquely or directly, to an extent that is mind-boggling today. Anyone seeking proof that the war effort of the 1940s permeated every aspect of everyday American life need only consider magazine ads of the time. From the makers of pens to booze to cars, anyone who was selling anything found a way to tie their product to the fight against the Axis.

Here, on the 70th anniversary of D-Day, are 10 examples of ads from TIME in June 1944 — ads that illustrate the era’s intricate nexus of commerce, patriotism and warfare as clearly, and as candidly, as we’re ever likely to see.

[WATCH: 'Behind the Picture: Robert Capa's D-Day']

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