TIME The Philippines

U.S. Marine Asks for Lesser Charge in Killing of Transgender Filipina

Lorgina Minguito—Reuters Activists participate in a protest to seek justice for a Filipina transgender Jennifer Laude outside a justice hall where a preliminary investigation was held at the Philippine city of Olongapo, north of Manila, on Oct. 27, 2014

The high-profile killing has sparked protests in the Philippines

The U.S. Marine accused of killing a transgender Filipina has asked prosecutors to reduce the murder charge to homicide if the case is brought to court, since there is no “probable cause for murder.”

Lawyers for Private First Class Joseph Scott Pemberton presented the motion at a preliminary hearing in the northern Philippine city of Olongapo on Monday, Rappler reports. Pemberton did not attend the hearing.

Jennifer Laude, 26, was found strangled and drowned on Oct. 11 in a motel bathroom where witnesses last placed her together with Pemberton. The case has become politically charged because of a defense agreement giving the U.S. military custody over the suspect.

Last week, Pemberton was transferred to a Philippine military base, and he is now detained at the Philippines’ military headquarters in Manila under joint custody.

According to Philippine broadcaster ABS-CBN, Pemberton’s lawyer Rowena Garcia Flores said he did not file an expected counter-affidavit because he had not yet had the “opportunity to examine the case.”

Laude’s killing has sparked widespread protests against the defense agreement between the U.S. and the Philippines, and has also led to calls for greater protection for LGBT people in the country.

On Monday, Laude’s German boyfriend, Marc Suselbeck, was charged with gross arrogance and serious disrespect to Filipino authorities after climbing the fence surrounding the camp where Pemberton was held, and shoving a military guard, the Philippine Star reports.

TIME england

Man Sues Sotheby’s Over Painting Valued at $17.7 Million

Caravaggio Exhibit
Kimbell Art Museum/AP Caravaggio's The Cardsharps

Sotheby's calls the valuation of what it determined to be a Caravaggio copy "preposterous"

A man is suing Sotheby’s in London after a painting he sold in 2006 for $68,000 was valued to be worth up to $17.7 million.

Bill Thwaytes, from northern England, has accused Sotheby’s of “professional negligence,” according to the BBC, after the new owner declared the painting to be done by the Italian baroque master Caravaggio.

Thwaytes, whose family bought the painting for $226 in 1962, says Sotheby’s failed to thoroughly research the artwork when it determined that the painting–depicting a wealthy man playing cards with two swindlers, called “The Cardsharps”–was a 17th century follower’s copy rather than the real deal.

Sotheby’s stands by its analysis and says the $17.7 million valuation is “preposterous.”

[BBC]

TIME Ukraine

Ukraine’s Elections Mark a Historic Break With Russia and Its Soviet Past

Ukrainian Voters Head To The Polls For The General Election
Vladimir Simicek—Isifa/Getty Images A woman leaves a polling booth as she votes during the parliamentary elections in Kiev, Ukraine, on Oct. 26, 2014

With more than half the votes counted in the country's parliamentary ballot, an unprecedented national consensus has emerged in support of a lasting break with Moscow and a turn toward European integration

On Sunday night, as the votes in Ukraine’s parliamentary elections were being tallied, President Petro Poroshenko went on television to congratulate his citizens on the successful ballot and, citing early results, to highlight one of the milestones the country had crossed: Ukraine’s Communist Party, a political holdover from the nation’s Soviet past that had always championed close ties with Russia, had failed to win a single parliamentary seat.

“For that I congratulate you,” the Ukrainian leader told his countrymen. “The people’s judgment, which is higher than all but the judgment of God, has issued a death sentence to the Communist Party of Ukraine.” For the first time since the Russian revolution of 1917 swept across Ukraine and turned it into a Soviet satellite, there would be no communists in the nation’s parliament.

Their defeat, though largely symbolic, epitomized the transformation of Ukraine that began with this year’s revolution and, in many respects, ended with the ballot on Sunday. If the communists and other pro-Russian parties had enormous influence in Ukraine before the uprising and a firm base of support in the eastern half of the country, they are now all but irrelevant. The pro-Western leaders of the revolution, by contrast, saw a resounding victory over the weekend for their agenda of European integration. “More than three-quarters of voters who cast their ballots showed firm and irreversible support for Ukraine’s course toward Europe,” Poroshenko said in his televised address.

With half the ballots counted on Monday, his political party was projected to get the most votes and more than a quarter of the seats in parliament. The party of his ally, Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk, was in a close second place, setting them up to form a ruling coalition of Westernizers and Ukrainian nationalists. They will likely need no support from the shrunken ranks of the pro-Russian parties in order to pass legislation and constitutional reform.

In many ways they have Russian President Vladimir Putin to thank for that success. Since the revolution overthrew his allies in Ukraine in February, Putin has alienated most of the Ukrainian voters who had previously supported close ties with Moscow. His decision to invade and annex the region of Crimea in March, when Ukraine was just emerging from the turmoil of the revolution, awakened a hatred toward Russia in Ukraine unlike any the two countries had seen in centuries of unity and peaceful coexistence. Putin’s subsequent support for Ukrainian separatists, who are still fighting to turn the country’s eastern provinces into protectorates of Moscow, sealed the divide between these once fraternal nations.

Nowhere has that been more apparent than in the results of Sunday’s ballot. The only party that made it into parliament with an agenda of repairing ties with Moscow was the so-called Opposition Bloc, which was forecast to take fourth place with less than 10% of the vote. Only a year ago, its politicians were part of the ruling coalition in Ukraine made up of the Communist Party and the Party of Regions, whose leader, Viktor Yanukovych, had won the presidential race in 2010 on a platform of brotherly ties with Russia. Now Yanukovych, who was chased from power in February, has taken refuge in Russia at Putin’s invitation, while his Party of Regions was so certain of defeat in this weekend’s elections that it decided not to run. Whatever chance remained for Putin to keep his allies in power in Ukraine now looks to have been lost, and with it he loses his dream of forming a new political alliance made up of the biggest states in the former Soviet Union.

Putin’s narrative about far-right radicals taking power in Ukraine — during a speech in March, he referred to the leaders of the revolution as a bunch of “neo-Nazis, Russophobes and anti-Semites” — was also exposed as a fabrication in the course of Sunday’s ballot. Though hard-line nationalists did play a key role in the revolution, few of them made it into parliament. The right-wing Svoboda (Freedom) Party is expected to get around 6% of the vote, roughly the same as the populists from the Radical Party, just squeaking by the 5% minimum needed to enter the legislature. The ultra-nationalist party known as Right Sector, which Russian state media has cast as the demonic force behind Ukraine’s new government, failed to make it past the post with its projected 2%.

But the real threat to Russia was never from the demagogues of the Ukrainian right. It was from the politicians like President Poroshenko who are determined to set Ukraine on a path toward joining the European Union. That path will not be easy, as Western leaders are hardly eager to welcome Ukraine’s failing economy and its 45 million citizens into the E.U. But the national consensus behind European integration, and the lasting break with Russia that this agenda entails, is now stronger than at any point in Ukraine’s post-Soviet history.

TIME United Kingdom

Watch a Wayward Jogger Collide With the British Prime Minister

Police say runner was merely "in the wrong place at the wrong time"

A British jogger made national news on Monday after his midday run set him on a collision course with Prime Minister David Cameron, prompting the man’s arrest, speculation as to why he did it, and an official review of Cameron’s security detail.

Footage of the incident shows Cameron and his security retinue walking out of the civic hall in Leeds, a city in West Yorkshire, when a dreadlocked jogger runs into the frame, cutting a direct path between the security guards and into the prime minister, appearing to give him a gentle shove.

Security officers seized the man and bundled Cameron into a waiting car. Initial reports identified the jogger as a protester, which local police later denied, calling the incident “nothing sinister.”

‘‘No threats were made, and after the man’s details were checked, he was de-arrested and allowed on his way,” read a statement from the West Yorkshire Police department.

The runner, later identified as Dean Balboa Farley, also took to Facebook (in a post that has since been taken down) to set the record straight on his motives. “So I’m all over the news as ‘the protester that attacked David Cameron in Leeds,'” he wrote. “Yeah, if you call brushing into someone while running then getting assaulted by half a dozen coppers in suits…”

TIME South Africa

South African Prosecutors to Appeal Oscar Pistorius Sentence

Oscar Pistorius Is Tried For The Murder Of His Girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp
Phill Magakoe—Getty Images Oscar Pistorius sits in the Pretoria High Court on September 11, 2014, in Pretoria, South Africa.

Pistorius was convicted of culpable homicide in the 2013 shooting death of his girlfriend

Prosecutors will appeal Oscar Pistorius’ culpable homicide conviction and five-year prison sentence, South African officials said Monday. Judge Thokozile Masipa had cleared Pistorius of murder but found him guilty of culpable homicide, a charge similar to manslaughter, for the Valentine’s Day killing of his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp. Prosecutors had asked for the athlete to serve a decade behind bars but Masipa, in handing down her sentence last week, described five years as “fair and just both to society and to the accused.”

The National Prosecuting Authority of South Africa said in a statement Monday that its team had been…

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

TIME animals

See the Most Amazing Biology Photos of the Year

The Society of Biology, a British group dedicated to the life sciences, holds an annual amateur photography competition. The theme this year was home, habitat and shelter

TIME South Korea

South Korean Prosecutors Seek Death Penalty for Ferry Captain

Lee Joon-seok
Hyung Min-woo—AP Lee Joon-seok, the captain of the sunken South Korean ferry Sewol, arrives at Gwangju District Court in Gwangju, South Korea, June 10, 2014.

Capsizing in April killed nearly 300 people

Prosecutors on Monday requested the death penalty for the captain of a ferry that capsized off the peninsula’s southwestern coastline and killed nearly 300 people in April, marking an unusually severe punishment in a nation that hasn’t carried out the sentence in almost two decades.

CNN reports that the request was made during the closing arguments in court, with the prosecutors charging that Lee Joon-seok and three crew members of the sunken Sewol should be held guilty of murder for failing to deploy life rafts or life vests as the ship lurched into frigid water. Hundreds of high school students died inside of the flooded vessel on April 16, stoking widespread outrage at what became known in the local press as one of South Korea’s worst peacetime disasters.

A 30-year prison sentence for the crew member who was at the helm at the time of the ship’s sinking was also sought.

[CNN]

TIME Nigeria

Girls Who Escaped Boko Haram Tell of Horrors in Captivity

New Human Rights Watch report details the Nigerian Islamist group's abuse of abducted women and girls

Women and girls kidnapped by the Nigerian Islamist group Boko Haram are raped and forced to marry fighters even if they are underage, according to testimonies from women who have escaped the group.

In its latest report, “Those Terrible Weeks in the Camp: Boko Haram Violence Against Women and Girls in Northeast Nigeria,” New York-based Human Rights Watch estimates that the militant group has abducted about 500 women and girls from Northern Nigeria since 2009. Earlier this year Boko Haram kidnapped 276 girls from a secondary school in the town of Chibok in the northeast of the country. The mass abduction drew international outrage and sparked a viral social media campaign fuelled by the hashtag #bringbackourgirls. Human Rights Watch spoke to 12 of the 57 of the girls who have escaped; 219 are still missing.

Human Rights Watch explains that Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau has taken responsibility for abducting women and girls, and has justified the kidnappings as retaliation for the detention of Boko Haram family members held by the Nigerian government. In a 2012 video, Shekau says: “Since you are now holding our women, just wait and see what will happen to your own women … to your own wives according to Sharia law.”

But there’s also another motive for the kidnappings: punishing women who seek education. One victim who was kidnapped while traveling home from school in Konduga said that when the militants found out that she and her friends were students they said, “Aha! These are the people we are looking for. So you are the ones with strong heads who insist on attending school when we have said ‘boko’ is ‘haram.’ We will kill you here today.” Boko Haram’s name roughly translates to “Western education is a sin.”

The report confirms some of the worst fears about Boko Haram’s treatment of the girls they capture, specifically when it comes to sexual violence. According to interviews with survivors, most of the sexual violence and rape occurs within the context of forced marriages, although there are exceptions.

According to the interviews in the report, Boko Haram does not consider any girls too young for marriage. After one 17-year old prisoner complained that she was not yet old enough to marry a Boko Haram commander pointed to his 5-year-old daughter and said, “If she got married last year, and is just waiting till puberty for its consummation, how can you at your age be too young to marry?”

One woman who was raped in 2013 in a Boko Haram camp told Human Rights Watch that other women (specifically wives of Boko Haram leaders) were often complicit in sexual abuse of female prisoners. “I was lying down in the cave pretending to be ill because I did not want the marriage,” the woman told the researchers. “When the insurgent who had paid my dowry came in to force himself on me, the commander’s wife blocked the cave entrance and watched as the man raped me.”

Another girl was only 15 when she was forcibly married off to a Boko Haram commander after her abduction in 2013. “After we were declared married I was ordered to live in his cave but I always managed to avoid him,” the girl told Human Rights Watch. “He soon began to threaten me with a knife to have sex with him, and when I still refused he brought out his gun, warning that he would kill me if I shouted. Then he began to rape me every night. He was a huge man in his mid-30s and I had never had sex before. It was very painful and I cried bitterly because I was bleeding afterwards.”

The report cites numerous other reports of women being sexually assaulted by Boko Haram militants; some were raped within context of a forced marriage, others for being Christian, another was attacked for a perceived slight against the militants. The report acknowledges, however, that the group’s leaders did make some effort to protect kidnapped girls from random sexual abuses outside the context of “marriage.”

Human Rights Watch notes that rapes by Boko Haram are severely under-reported, largely due to the stigma around sexual abuse and the loss of virginity that sometimes occurs during the rapes in the conservative northeastern part of the country.

The report also delves into some of the specifics of the kidnapping of the Chibok schoolgirls, thanks to testimony from 12 girls who escaped. The escaped girls said that Boko Haram did not discriminate based on religion when they abducted the schoolgirls, and took both Christian and Muslim girls. They said that they believe the militants were originally after the school’s brick-making machine, and only decided to kidnap the girls once they realized they were unguarded the principal, teachers, administrators were not on campus, and the only guard, an elderly man, had fled. One girl described the night Boko Haram arrived: “Two men told us we should not worry, we should not run. They said they had come to save us from what is happening inside the town, that they are policemen. We did not know that they were from Boko Haram. The rest of the men came and started shouting ‘Allahu Akbar’ and at that moment we realized, they were Boko Haram. We were told to be quiet. One of them told us that the horrible things we heard happening elsewhere, like burning houses, killing people, killing students, kidnapping people, would happen to us now. We all started crying and he told us to shut up.”

Another woman at the camps told Human Rights Watch she saw some of the Chibok schoolgirls forced to work for other women who were selected for “special treatment because of their beauty.”

The report also specifies that of all the girls who have escaped from Boko Haram interviewed by Human Rights Watch, only the Chibok schoolgirls have received any kind of state-sponsored medical aid or counseling. But one Chibok schoolgirl says the aid they received was more like a religious sermon, which is not what she needs.

“I just want someone who will listen to me and help me to stop the fear that takes over my mind when I think of my sisters (school mates) who are still with Boko Haram,” the girl told Human Rights Watch. “I am so afraid for them. Why can’t the government bring them back?”

[Human Rights Watch]

Read next: Boko Haram Kidnaps 30 Children in Nigeria

TIME Nigeria

Boko Haram Kidnaps 30 Children in Nigeria

File photo shows Rachel Daniel holding  up a picture of her abducted daughter Rose Daniel as her son Bukar sits beside her at her home in Maiduguri
Joe Penney—Reuters Rachel Daniel, 35, holds up a picture of her abducted daughter Rose Daniel, 17, as her son Bukar, 7, sits beside her at her home in Maiduguri, May 21, 2014. Boko Haram kidnapped an additional 30 boys and girls from a village in northeast Nigeria during the weekend.

Latest in a string of abductions despite reports of a cease-fire

Boko Haram militants reportedly abducted at least 30 boys and girls from a remote village in northeastern Nigeria over the weekend, throwing into question a government-declared cease-fire with the insurgents.

The Islamist extremists on Friday raided Mafa, a town in Borno state, CNN reports, and news of the abductions slowly got out because regional telecom service has taken a severe hit during Boko Haram’s five-year campaign of terror. Throughout the weekend, local leaders said the gunmen seized a dozen and a half boys and girls — some as young as age 11 — in what was thought to be an attempt at recruiting child soldiers.

The mass kidnapping in the restive region diminished hopes that the Nigerian government was close to striking a deal with the militants to secure the release of more than 219 schoolgirls abducted by the group in April.

[CNN]

TIME National Security

Nobel Peace Prize Winners Push Obama for Release of Torture Report

US-POLITICS-OBAMA
Brendan Smialowski—AFP/Getty Images President Barack Obama pauses while speaking during a rally at Chicago State University Oct. 19, 2014 in Chicago.

Say American leaders have “eroded the very freedoms and rights that generations of their young gave their lives to defend”

Twelve winners of the Nobel Peace Prize asked President Barack Obama late Sunday to make sure that a Senate report on the Central Intelligence Agency’s use of harsh interrogation tactics is released so the U.S. can put an end to a practice condemned by many as torture.

The release of the report, which is the most detailed account of the CIA’s interrogation practices in the wake of the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, would be an opportunity for the U.S. and the world to come to terms with interrogation techniques that went too far, the laureates said in an open letter and petition. The release of the report by the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence has stalled as the Obama Administration the CIA, and lawmakers clashed over how much of it should be redacted.

American leaders have “eroded the very freedoms and rights that generations of their young gave their lives to defend” by engaging in and justifying torture, the peace prize winners said. The letter was published on TheCommunity.com, a project spearheaded by Peace Prize winner and international peacemaker José Ramos-Horta.

Archbishop Desmond Tutu of South Africa is among the laureates behind the letter, which also calls for the closure of the military prison at Guantanamo Bay.

Read next: The Tragic Nobel Peace Prize Story You’ve Probably Never Heard

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