TIME Know Right Now

Know Right Now: Human Waste on Mount Everest Creates an Environmental Issue

Nature's call maybe not be good for nature

Climbers are leaving more than just their footprints when they traverse Mount Everest, especially when they need to “use the bathroom.” People leave behind large amounts of fecal matter and urine every year.

Watch the Know Right Now above to find out more, and read more here.

TIME Italy

Migrants Risk Death to Escape War and Get to Europe

Migrants protect themselves from the rain as they wait to disembark from a ship on Feb. 17, 2015 in Porto Empedocle, south Sicily, following a rescue operation of migrants as part of the International Frontex plan.
Marcello Paternos—AFP/Getty Images Migrants protect themselves from the rain as they wait to disembark from a ship on Feb. 17, 2015 in Porto Empedocle, south Sicily, following a rescue operation of migrants as part of the International Frontex plan.

Driven out of his home by poison gas, Mohammed will take any risk to start a new life

When sea water started seeping onto the deck of an old fishing boat as it listed under the weight of hundreds of people in the middle of the Mediterranean, Mohammed decided not to tell the other passengers. He knew that panic could be as lethal as a holed hull or heavy winter seas.

The migrants set sail from Libya in darkness hours earlier. Mohammed, 33, a Syrian salesman who was made homeless by a chemical weapons attack, says he tried not to think about the danger of drowning as smugglers crammed him and hundreds of others onto a large boat in the early hours of Feb.18.

He was following an itinerary shared by hundreds of thousands. Since 2013, civil wars and oppressive regimes in the Middle East and Africa have forced ever-increasing numbers of people on the dangerous journey to Europe. According to the International Organization for Migration (IOM), arrivals so far this year are up 45% on 2014 and more than 330 migrants have died, compared to 36 in January and February last year.

After a few miles at sea, they were forced onto smaller vessels. Mohammed, who did not want his surname published as his family are still in Damascus, found himself at the front of the 11-metre long vessel as it motored towards Italy. “The sea was cold and I was worried about the condition of the boat,” he says. His photographs from the voyage show people covering every inch of the boat. They huddle in thick jackets and hats and some stand to create more room. Mohammed estimates that there were around 400 people on the boat, including 12 women and 20 children. “The children seemed afraid,” says Mohammed. “The boat was tilting. We were sitting at the front and at a certain point water started to come in the boat, but we didn’t tell anyone because we didn’t want to scare everyone.”

Mohammed had already traveled through five countries and been arrested, assaulted and forced to beg on the streets. With his pregnant wife and 20-month-old daughter still living in Syria and waiting for him to get them to Europe, he was determined not to be beaten by the sea when he was so close to his goal.

There are no legal ways for people fleeing Syria’s civil war or other situations in Somalia, Palestine, Mali or Eritrea to apply for asylum and resettlement in the European Union (E.U.). Instead they have to find a way to plant a foot on European soil and then request refugee status in that nation.

Most European governments seem determined to keep migrants out as they face political pressure from anti-immigration parties. New external border fences are going up and existing barriers reinforced but the desperation to escape remains strong. There are 3.7 million Syrian refugees living in camps in Lebanon, Jordan and Turkey, and the total number of refugees worldwide has exceeded 50 million for the first time since the Second World War. In 2013, 60,0000 people tried to reach Europe over the Mediterranean, with 600 dying, UN High Commission for Refugees figures show. Last year, that figure surged to 218,000 attempting the journey, with more than 3,500 deaths.

Libya has always been an attractive departure point for economic migrants from Africa and the Middle East. When Muammar Gaddafi was in power, the E.U. paid him to stop migrants setting sail to Europe but since his death, the flow of migrants has increased.

Political division and civil war have created a vacuum where smuggling gangs operate unimpeded and often in cohorts with militias. There are huge sums to be made, with each migrant paying up to $1,500 for the sea crossing. But the danger in Libya has also increased, so rather than wait for calmer seas, this year migrants are willing to risk hypothermia or drowning to escape the chaos, says Flavio Di Giacomo, a spokesman for the IOM. “Many migrants told us that, even if they knew that the journey is dangerous and that they could die in the desert or at sea, they did not expect all this violence in Libya,” he says.

Mohammed’s journey began on Aug. 21, 2013, when Ghouta, a Damascus suburb where he lived, was hit with rockets carrying the nerve agent sarin. At least 350 people were killed, but Mohammed and his wife were in central Damascus that day. They could not return to their contaminated home and stayed in the capital to continue with their life, but found it difficult. “Many times when I was traveling for work I found myself in the middle of the fighting, and I had to hide underneath the van,” Mohammed says.

He was struggling to make enough money to provide for his family, and when he heard that he was due to be conscripted, he decided to escape to Europe. At the beginning of November last year, he said goodbye to his wife and daughter and boarded a plane to Algeria.

Mohammed, his 14-year old nephew and three other men planned to travel overland through Algeria and Tunisia and into Libya, where they planned to make the boat trip to Italy. But the Tunisian police caught them and forced them to return to Turkey, where Mohammed had to re-plan the entire journey.

For two months he stayed with friends in Istanbul, making contacts with smugglers and trying to raise more funds. Eventually a smuggling gang agreed to get them Libyan visas under the premise that they were businessmen flying to Libya for work. On Jan. 15, they boarded a plane to Tripoli — only to find more hardship awaiting them. “The airport we flew into was controlled by rebel forces,” says Mohammed. “They took everything from us and locked us away for a week.”

As Mohammed had only agreed to pay the smugglers in Turkey their $2,500 fee once they were safely en route to Europe, they intervened — although Mohammed wonders if it was all a set up from the start. “It seemed like [the smugglers] had an agreement with the rebels because in the end they said each of us had to give them $300 and we’ll let you go,” he says.

They were freed but the rebels kept their belongings and for 10 days the men were forced to beg on the streets. Eventually their personal items were returned, and the smugglers took them on the final overland leg of the journey to the coastal town of Zuara. “We were beaten during the trip to the boats,” Mohammed says. “They punched me in the face and beat me on my feet.”

On the boat, Mohammed worried that they were not heading in the right direction. “When we got into this little boat we didn’t know where we were going — we were almost freezing and without hope,” he says.

Water was pooling at his feet and there was nothing he could do but stay still. He didn’t want to cause a panic. In one of the worst migrant boat disasters, a vessel carrying 515 sank within sight of the Italian island of Lampedusa in October 2013. A fire on board caused a panic, and as people rushed to the sides to fling themselves into the sea, the vessel capsized. At least 300 people were killed.

It was around midday when the passengers spotted an oil rig. An hour later an Italian navy ship arrived and rescued the migrants.

A week earlier, around 300 migrants had not been so lucky. Armed smugglers on the Libyan coast had forced hundreds of people into four inflatable dinghies, despite unusually rough seas. Only one dinghy made it to Italy with a handful of survivors on board. The rest were lost. The incident happened days after 29 migrants died of hypothermia while they were being towed to safety by an Italian coastguard vessel.

The tragedies provoked scorn at the E.U.’s response to the growing crisis at sea. An Italian naval operation saved 150,000 lives between October 2013 and October 2014 but was replaced by a more limited E.U. mission called Triton operating with fewer staff, a smaller budget and a limited range.

The mayor of Lampedusa, Giusi Nicolini, said that the 29 migrants would never have frozen to death if Italy’s Mare Nostrum operation was still running. The UN High Commissioner for Refugees, Antonio Guterres, called Triton “woefully inadequate”. The E.U. responded by extending Triton to the end of the year, but its scope remains unchanged.

Italy meanwhile is preparing for unprecedented numbers of migrants arriving. Already the shelters on Lampedusa are full and hundreds of migrants arrive at Milan Central Station every week. Mohammed is currently staying at a shelter in Milan for 50 people that houses 100.

The E.U. has offered another €13.7m to help Italy look after the new arrivals, but Gabriella Polifroni, spokeswoman for Milan’s director of social affairs says they also need an overhaul in E.U. policy and a fairer distribution of the refugees. “There is a whole continent, so why can’t we organize them better?” she asks.

Mohammed certainly doesn’t want to stay in Italy, where it can take up to a year for an asylum application to be processed. He has already spent $9,000 in getting to Europe and he won’t stop until he gets to Germany. “My main focus now is to go to a country in Europe where I can reunite with my family,” he says, before he returns to his room to plot the final stretch of his journey.

TIME Foreign Policy

A Speech That Fell Short and Tied Netanyahu in Knots

No one sets the table better than Benjamin Netanyahu. With Ehud Barak, his defense minister at the time, the Israeli prime minister pushed the matter of Iran’s nuclear ambitions to the front of the global agenda three years ago by threatening to launch military strikes against Tehran. And he spent the last month or so — while running for re-election back in Israel, no less — stoking the keen, keen anticipation that awaited Tuesday’s joint address to Congress.

By the time he took the rostrum in the House at ten minutes after 11, the drumroll was almost deafening; on Fox News a half hour earlier, the camera was trained on the empty hallway outside the Capitol office of Speaker John Boehner, empty of human traffic but every molecule of air charged.

So perhaps a letdown was inevitable. Going by the speech itself, though, the problem was more that Netanyahu no longer seems entirely certain what he wants, or at least how to put it. He spoke against the agreement that appears to be taking shape between Iran and six world powers, led by the United States. But at one point in the speech he seemed to concede that the agreement would go forward — calling for its final draft to include language that would extend it beyond ten years unless Iran “changes its behavior by the time the agreement expires. If Iran wants to be treated like a normal country, let it act like a normal country,” Netanyahu said.

Nor was it clear whether Netanyahu’s words were backed by the possibility of an Israel military strike, the barely veiled threat that had proved so effective in galvanizing world attention to Iran’s pursuit of the atom. Halfway through the speech, he essentially took the gun off the table by suggesting the next step would be another round of talks: “Now we’re being told, the only alternative to this deal is war,” Netanyahu said. “That’s not true. The alternative to a bad deal is a much better deal!”

Why would that be? It turns out the country that Netanyahu passed almost all of 40 minutes describing as single-mindedly obsessed with achieving nuclear weapons, may, he said, want something else as well: “If Iran threatens to walk away form the deal – and this often happens in a Persian bazaar — call their bluff. Because they need the deal a lot more than you do.”

The observation, puzzling only in the context of the speech, may well be correct. Even before plummeting oil prices delivered another staggering blow to the petroleum exporter, Iran’s economy was crippled by the array of economic sanctions that President Obama rallied world powers to impose on Tehran (operating on the logic that peaceful coercion was better than the military option Israel appeared poised to exercise). The problem is that Israel no longer appears poised to launch air strikes, yet its leader appears trapped in the rhetoric that made the threat of them credible. It’s a binary equation, where Netanyahu reliably offers the negative to whatever the question at hand: warning that sanctions won’t work, then that they must be left in place, that an interim agreement must be avoided lest it become permanent, then that talks continue beyond the March deadline both sides say they want to honor.

MORE: Why Bibi and Barack Can’t Get Along

It’s a rhetorical trope that may or may not become a trap, but certainly becomes predictable, which in speeches may be as bad. As the prime minister’s address wore on, the applause in the chamber appeared to drift into the dutiful.

Only when he turned to the Holocaust survivor Elie Wiesel (the Holocaust survivor Netanyahu tried in vain to persuade to run for the largely ceremonial office of Israel’s President) did the response reach the tumult that greeted his March 24, 2011, address, a frankly cocky appearance that cemented Netanyahu’s mastery of The Hill.

The Wiesel introduction came amid the customary expression of defiance — “Never again” — and vow that Israel would protect itself, which Netanyahu immediately walked back with the observation that the United States of course could be counted upon to do the same. Left unsaid, as always, amid the talk of an existential threats is the matter of Israel’s own nuclear arsenal, and its refusal to sign the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty that is providing so much leverage against signatory Iran.

Speeches may be what the man does best; Netanyahu cut his teeth in politics as Israel’s videogenic spokesman in America, where he attended high school and college, and Hebrew-speakers say he is every bit as effective in that language. But having assigned himself the mission of derailing the negotiations he had basically set in place, then warned against, then said must continue, Netanyahu had to thread a needle, and could not help ending up in a bit of a snarl.

TIME energy

Could Oil Prices Plummet a Second Time?

green-gasoline-pump
Getty Images

Several trends are conspiring to force prices down for a second time

Are oil prices heading for a double dip?

The surge in shale production has produced a temporary glut in supplies causing oil prices to experience a massive bust. After tanking to a low of $44 per barrel in January, falling rig counts and enormous reductions in exploration budgets have fueled speculation that the market will correct sometime later this year.

However, there is a possibility that the recent rise to $51 for WTI and $60 for Brent may only be temporary. In fact, several trends are conspiring to force prices down for a second time.

Drillers are consciously deciding to delay the completion of their wells, holding off in hopes that oil prices will rebound, according to E&E’s EnergyWire. The decision to put well completions on hold could provide a critical boost to the ultimate profitability of many projects. Higher oil prices in the months ahead will provide companies with more money for each barrel sold. But also, with the bulk of a given shale well’s lifetime production coming within the first year or two, it becomes all the more important to bring a well online when oil prices are favorable. With prices still depressed – WTI is hovering just above $50 per barrel – drillers are waiting for sunnier days.

Read more: Here’s What Will Send Oil Prices Back Up Again

Yet another reason to wait is the possibility that costs for well completions will decline. Oil and gas companies often contract out well completions to third parties, and those companies will face pressure to cut their fees in order to keep business. That works in favor of producers who put their projects on hold for the time being. Well completions can make up as much as three-quarters of the total project cost.

Several prominent shale drillers have confirmed they are undertaking such a wait-and-see strategy. EOG Resources, one of the biggest Texas shale drillers, announced its plans in late February to hold off on completions. Chesapeake Energy and Continental Resources have now followed suit.

“We’re intentionally holding production back in 2015, because we believe it’s the prudent thing to do,” Doug Lawler, Chesapeake’s CEO, said in a conference call. Chesapeake has said it may delay completing as many as 100 wells. EOG has 200 wells awaiting completion, a backlog that will intentionally rise to about 350 this year.

As the industry clears out that queue of wells awaiting completion, a rush of new supplies could come online, pushing WTI prices down once again.

Read more: US Will Never Gain Oil Market Crown Says IEA Head

Even with well completions being suspended, supplies continue to build. The latest EIA data shows that oil stocks in the United States climbed to 434 million barrels, the highest levels in storage in over 80 years. “My gut feeling is that the oil price could see a double bottom,” Jason Kenney, an analyst with Banco Santaander SA said in a Bloomberg interview. “We’ve got too much inventory.” Bloomberg noted that Kenney has a good track record of predicting price swings in the past. Even though rig counts have declined significantly, output has so far proved resilient.

Finally, there is some evidence that the ability to move excess oil into storage may run into trouble if production does not decline. Storage tanks are starting to fill, raising the possibility that a glut could worsen. There is a great deal of uncertainty around how quickly this might happen. The EIA sought to clarify, noting that the markets have confused some of its storage figures – some oil supplies in the EIA’s weekly inventory data is actually sitting in pipelines and at well sites, meaning there is more storage capacity available than many news outlets had originally thought. An EIA analyst recently told Bloomberg that overall storage capacity is only at about 60 percent, and “[w]e still have a way to go before we can consider ourselves to be full,” Rob Merriam, EIA’s head of petroleum statistics said. It would take a few months of strong inventory builds to fill up the remaining storage, perhaps an unlikely scenario, especially if production starts to take a hit. But if storage tanks did start to fill up, prices would dive once again and companies would have to shut in wells and cut back on production.

Rig counts are at six year lows, forcing oil prices up on speculation that supply reductions will soon relieve the oil glut. But a double dip cannot be ruled out.

This article originally appeared on Oilprice.com.

More from Oilprice.com:

TIME Foreign Policy

Netanyahu Tells Congress Iran Deal ‘Paves Path to a Bomb’

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu blasted the emerging nuclear agreement with Iran Tuesday in an address to a joint meeting of Congress, saying the deal to prevent the regime from obtaining nuclear weapons would have the opposite result.

Addressing a spirited Congress in the House chamber, Netanyahu warned the P5+1 nuclear deal “could well threaten the survival of my country and the future of my people,” encouraging lawmakers to oppose the agreement being negotiated by President Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry.

“It doesn’t block Iran’s path to the bomb, it paves Iran’s path to the bomb,” Netanyahu said, saying it would only embolden the Iranian government. “That deal will not prevent Iran from nuclear weapons, it would all but guarantee that Iran gets those weapons — lots of them.”

“This is a bad deal,” he added. “It’s a very bad deal. We’re better off without it.”

Netanyahu’s speech was repeatedly punctuated by applause and standing ovations, often bringing both Democrats and Republicans to their feet. The image and the speech was a thumb in the eye to Obama, who was not consulted before Netanyahu was invited to address lawmakers and who sees the potential agreement a capstone to his legacy in office. National Security Adviser Susan Rice even called Netanyahu’s visit “destructive” to the U.S.-Israel relationship.

The speech fell just two weeks before Netanyahu stands for re-election in a close race at home, shading the speech with elements of his domestic politics as much American divisions.

The Israeli leader said he didn’t intend his visit to become the partisan lightning rod it had become and praised Obama’s commitment to Israel, including record levels of security assistance under his Administration. “I know that my speech has been the subject of much controversy,” he said. “I deeply regret that some perceive my being here as political. That was never my intention.”

But Netanyahu did not pull any punches in outlining why he believes Obama is on the wrong path, painting a picture of a Middle East engaged in a furious nuclear arms race. “This deal won’t be a farewell to arms,” he said. “It would be a farewell to arms control. And the Middle East would soon be crisscrossed by nuclear tripwires. A region where small skirmishes can trigger big wars would turn into a nuclear tinder box.”

MORE: Why Bibi and Barack Can’t Get Along

Netanyahu raised objection that the emerging deal does not lengthen the so-called breakout time — the time it would take Iran to construct a nuclear weapon — and that it would lift sanctions on the country without requiring it to stop funding terrorist groups like Hizballah.

“Would Iran be less aggressive when sanctions are removed and its economy is stronger?” he asked. “If Iran is gobbling up four countries right now while it’s under sanctions, how many more countries will Iran devour when sanctions are lifted? Would Iran fund less terrorism when it has mountains of cash with which to fund more terrorism? Why should Iran’s radical regime change for the better when it can enjoy the best of both world’s: aggression abroad, prosperity at home?”

Netanyahu rejected the notion that the alternative to a deal is war, as Obama allies have maintained. “The alternative to this bad deal is a much better deal,” he said. But he offered no path toward a deal that Iran would agree to, other than calling for the continuation of global sanctions, until Iran halts funding terror and aggressive actions against its neighbors, and stops calling for the destruction of the state of Israel.

“If Iran threatens to walk away from the table, and this often happens in a Persian bazaar, call their bluff,” he said. “They’ll be back. They need a deal a lot more than you do.”

TIME politics

Netanyahu Will Be Speaking in Winston Churchill’s Shadow

Netanyahu is only the second foreign leader to address Congress three times

A leader of a close U.S. ally arrives in Washington to speak before Congress for his third time, as relations between the two countries begin to fray.

That was British Prime Minister Winston Churchill in January 1952, making what TIME then called a “cautiously billed” visit to the United States to attempt to restore the close ties that had carried the U.S. and Britain through World War II.

The same description might also work for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who addresses Congress on Tuesday, becoming only the second foreign leader to address Congress three times. The close relationship between Israel and the U.S. has been buffeted by Israeli policies in the West Bank (opposed by the White House) and by U.S.-led negotiations with Iran over its nuclear program (opposed by Netanyahu). Now, Netanyahu is hoping to convince Washington to see eye-to-eye with him on Iran’s nuclear program.

Netanyahu has already been compared to Churchill by Republicans in Congress. “There is a reason that the adjective most often applied to Prime Minister Netanyahu with respect to Iran is Churchillian,” said Senator Ted Cruz on Monday. House Speaker John Boehner said he plans to give Netanyahu a bust of Churchill.

Here’s how Churchill handled the situation:

In 1952, the post-war state of affairs had brought with it a new set of grievances between Washington and London. What approach should be taken toward Communist China? Would the U.S. support British influence in the Middle East? Would Britain allow the U.S. to use bases in England for nuclear-armed flights against Russia? “But above all else was the fact that, in the time of her own financial and foreign-affairs crises, Britain had somehow lost touch with the U.S.,” TIME wrote in the Jan. 14, 1952 issue.

Still, Churchill faced a friendlier environment than Netanyahu might on Tuesday. While the Prime Minister did not share the same bond with President Truman that he had with Truman’s predecessor, Franklin D. Roosevelt, he was warmly received in Congress and he met personally with Truman. (Obama has declined to meet with Netanyahu, citing concern about influencing upcoming elections in Israel.)

In an article in the Jan. 28, 1952 issue, TIME reported on his entrance into the chamber: “The great man, bearing his 77 history laden years with impassive dignity, walked slowly through the standing, clapping U.S. Congressmen. He had aged, of course, but Winston Churchill seemed hardly a shade less pink-cheeked, rocklike and John Bullish than when he spoke before the House and Senate during World War II.”

One of those speeches had been given nine years earlier, on May 19, 1943, when Churchill had spoken to Congress to provide a confident report on wartime progress and to pledge Britain’s support in the fight against Japan. It was “not one of Churchill’s greatest speeches,” TIME reported, “though any other orator might well have envied it.” The bar had been set high by his first appearance, on Dec. 26, 1941, when Churchill arrived in Washington to rally a disheartened nation that was still reeling from the Pearl Harbor attack three weeks earlier.

Wrote TIME:

Churchill arrived like a breath of fresh air, giving Washington new vigor, for he came as a new hero. Churchill—like Franklin Roosevelt, not above criticism at home —is, like Franklin Roosevelt in Britain, a man of unsullied popularity in his ally’s country…. There were tears in Winnie Churchill’s eyes at the ovation which greeted him, from isolationist and interventionist Congressmen alike. He shoved his thick, hornrimmed glasses over his nose, blinked, balanced himself like an old sailor. With a sly grin, he made his joke, established himself as one of the boys.

Then he let go: eloquence, blunt, polished and effective as an old knobkerrie, the growling, galling scorn for his enemies, the passages of noble purple for his friends. Between bursts of applause in which Supreme Court Justices and diplomats joined as lustily as doormen, the galleries wondered whether ever before had such a moving and eloquent speech been made on the Senate floor. Actually it was not so much the speech as the personality that put it over.

Though Churchill’s third speech was received less “lustily,” Netanyahu, who previously spoke to Congress in 1996 and 2011, might learn from the British Prime Minister’s performance that day. Despite the circumstances, and despite not accomplishing all his aims, Churchill’s visit in 1952 ultimately proved helpful.

“In spite of the very serious failure to make progress on Middle East policy,” TIME observed, “the Churchill visit was a success; it reversed the Anglo-American drift away from unity.”

Read TIME’s story about Churchill’s first speech to Congress: The U.S. at War; Great Decisions

TIME cities

These Are the World’s Most Expensive Cities

Seoul is on par with Hong Kong in terms of cost-of-living

A biannual list of the world’s most expensive cities found little change to the top five, with Singapore retaining the top spot once again.

But among the top ten there was a bit of a shift. Ten years ago, Seoul was barely rounding out the top 50; now, the city is ranked alongside Hong Kong, which was once the third most expensive city. Though the majority of cities at the higher end of the study are in Asia, Western Europe and Australia, New York City rose from 26th to 22nd.

In Singapore, the study found, a loaf of bread, a bottle of wine, and a pack of cigarettes will together cost the equivalent of $39.11.

The Economist Intelligence Unit surveys the cost of living across the world every two years, comparing prices across about 160 product and service categories including food, rent, and recreational costs. About 50,000 prices were surveyed in 2014.

[Economist]

Read next: These Photographs Show What Life Is Like on $1 a Day

Listen to the most important stories of the day.

TIME China

China Is Getting Its Very Own Saturday Night Live

Sohu CEO Charles Zhang attends the 2014 China Internet Conference at Beijing International Convention Center on Aug. 28, 2014 in Beijing.nternet Conference
ChinaFotoPress/Getty Images Sohu CEO Charles Zhang attends the 2014 China Internet Conference at Beijing International Convention Center on Aug. 28, 2014 in Beijing.

"Live from China, it's Saturday Night Live!"

China-based online video website Sohu.com has teamed up with Saturday Night Live producer Lorne Michaels to produce a Chinese version of the sketch comedy show.

The U.S. version of SNL is already available to Sohu viewers, but under the latest deal the SNL brand will get a Chinese counterpart, the Hollywood Reporter reports. Sohu and the company that produces SNL, Broadway Video Entertainment, will recruit Chinese comedians to star in a show that will feature live music and sketches.

Sohu has been shifting toward providing more original content to China’s 600 million Internet users as of late, inking a similar deal with BBC in late February. A Beijing-based professor at the Communication University of China, however, told Bloomberg that

But the network will need to be cautious about falling foul of the Chinese establishment with an SNL-type show, warned Wang Sixin, a Beijing-based professor at the Communication University of China in a Bloomberg interview. “What Sohu needs to be careful about, though, is finding the right balance when doing satire about social and political issues.”

[THR]

TIME isis

Watch Iraqi Forces Advance on ISIS-Held Tikrit

The movement towards the city has been slowed by roadside bombs

BAGHDAD — Officials in northern Iraq say troops are clashing with Islamic State militants south of the militant-held city of Tikrit, as roadside bombs have slowed an offensive launched to retake Saddam Hussein’s hometown.

The two local officials say fierce clashes were underway Tuesday outside the town of al-Dour, south of Tikrit.

They say government forces backed by Shiite militias and Sunni tribal fighters have made little progress on the second day of a large-scale military operation to recapture Tikrit, which fell to the Islamic State group last summer. They say troops are shelling militant bases inside the city but their advance has been slowed by roadside bombs.

The officials spoke anonymously as they are not authorized to brief media.

READ MORE: Inside ISIS, a TIME Special Report

TIME isis

Hear Jihadi John Defend Himself Against Charge of Extremism

Mohammed Emwazi, the Londoner who has become the face of ISIS, describes being interrogated

Mohammed Emwazi denied he was an extremist and denounced extremism in a 2009 interview he gave to an advocacy group.

The man who became known as Jihadi John and the masked face of the Islamic State of Iraq and Greater Syria (ISIS) after appearing to kill hostages in a series of videos, complained that he was victimized after he was deported from Tanzania and questioned by the security services.

Emwazi went to the London-based group CAGE, which works with people affected by what they call “the war on terror,” after being questioned by an British counterterrorism officer. In the recording of the interview with CAGE, Emwazi recounts the interrogation: “He started telling me what do you think of 9/11? I told him: ‘This is a wrong thing. What happened was wrong. What do you want me to say? If I had the opportunity for those lives to come back then I would make those lives come back.”

He added, “I told him everything that’s been happening is extremism. Everything — the bombs or whatever — that’s happening have been from extremists.”

The recording ends with Emwazi alleging that the agent threatened him and said, “We are going to keep a close eye on you, Mohammed.”

Last week, after Jihadi John’s identity was revealed, CAGE issued statements suggesting the U.K. authorities’ treatment of Emwazi was the cause of his radicalization. CAGE research director Asim Qureshi said in a statement on Feb. 26, “We now have evidence that there are several young Britons whose lives were not only ruined by security agencies, but who became disenfranchised and turned to violence because of British counter-terrorism policies coupled with long standing grievances over Western foreign policy.”

READ MORE: Inside ISIS, a TIME Special Report

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