TIME Infectious Disease

12 Ebola Questions You’re Wondering About

We answer your burning questions about Ebola

In case you’ve missed it, the deadliest Ebola outbreak is spreading in Western Africa, taking at least 900 lives so far. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is sending 50 infectious disease specialists to the region in order to help quell the outbreak and provide much-needed resources and expertise. As the outbreak worsens, confusion—and panic—has grown.

To sort fact from doomsday fiction, we consulted current and former CDC members and infectious disease experts including Dr. Ron Behrens, of the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, and Amesh Adalija an infectious disease physician at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center.

Here are answers to common burning questions. Visit time.com/ebola for ongoing coverage of Ebola.

Where does the name “Ebola” come from?

The virus is named after the Ebola River in what is now the Democratic Republic of the Congo. That’s where the virus was discovered in 1976.

If there’s no vaccine or cure, what are doctors doing to treat Ebola patients?

For now, all doctors can do is treat the symptoms and provide supportive care like monitoring heart rate, blood pressure, and breathing while making sure the patients’ fluids are replenished. Sometimes patients are given antibiotics to treat other possible infections. The hope is to sustain the patient through the infection so their immune system can eventually clear the virus. This is harder to achieve in rural health systems in West Africa that are tasked with treating thousands of patients with insufficient resources.

How do some people recover if there’s no cure?

When the body is infected with a virus, it starts creating antibodies to attack it. The people who survive Ebola—or any virus—have created enough antibodies to neutralize it.

I hear you can only get Ebola through direct content with an infected person’s bodily fluids. Does that mean you need to have an open wound or something?

A wound, sure, but the skin can also have microabrasions you can’t see. Additionally, the virus can get into your body through your eyes and mouth if those areas come into contact with something that contains the bodily fluids of an infected person. That’s why health care workers are supposed to keep themselves completely covered while treating patients. The doctors and health care workers in West Africa are working in rural clinics, where the proper protections are scarce. Infected people may be quarantined with other people infected with the disease, making this kind of contact easier.

Since the virus has a two-to-21-day incubation period, can you get the disease from someone who doesn’t have symptoms?

No. The CDC says people who are not symptomatic are not contagious.

Can Ebola spread through sweat?

Yes, the virus can be present in sweat.

What about sex?

Sure, though sex while infected with Ebola seems unlikely. In past Ebola outbreaks, men who survived the disease were told to refrain from sex or use condoms for about three months after recovery because the virus can be present in semen.

Why is there no vaccine or drug for Ebola?

There are several promising drugs and vaccines in development, but since Ebola is less common—and research about it is not well funded—there is no drug or vaccine that has been approved for use in humans. One experimental serum was used by the two American patients, but there’s not enough for widespread use yet. Many of the other drugs and vaccines have not yet been tested in humans. The WHO is meeting next week to discuss whether experimental treatments should be used during this outbreak.

What does the virus do to the human body?

The virus is systemic. That means it can move to and affect every part of the body causing direct damage to organs as well as internal bleeding. This causes shock, which drops a person’s blood pressure and causes multisystem organ failure.

How were the two American patients brought to the U.S. safely?

The two Americans were evacuated out of Liberia in special planes equipped with the necessary medical equipment to sustain their health and keep them isolated. After the plane landed, they were taken in a similarly equipped ambulance to Emory University Hospital, which has a specially built isolation unit meant to treat patients who have been exposed to severe infectious diseases. For more details on their travel as well as photos, read TIME’s coverage of the travel here.

Why is it spreading so fast in Africa?

CDC director Dr. Tom Frieden has said that the health systems in Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia are severely lacking in resources, and health care workers may not have access to adequate protective clothing. There’s also been some pushback against healthcare workers. Since Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia share a border, it’s easier for people to move from one country to another, and increasing the risk for disease spread.

How did the virus start anyway?

The natural reservoir for Ebola remains unknown, but researchers hypothesize that the first infected in an outbreak likely becomes infected through contact with an infected animal. Bats are thought to be a carrier of the virus.

I am terrified about an outbreak in the U.S. Am I overreacting?

Yes. The outbreak is happening in rural areas of developing countries. There’s a slim chance someone with Ebola could travel to the United States. If that happens, experts say that any hospital in the U.S. would be able to successfully isolate them. The CDC says there will not be a spread of the virus akin to what we have seen in Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia because we have many ways to isolate a patient and treat their symptoms.

TIME Infectious Disease

Liberia Struggles to Contain Spread of Ebola, U.S. State Dept. Issues Travel Warning

Liberian nurses carry the body of an Ebola victim on the way to bury them in the Banjor Community on the outskirts of Monrovia, Liberia, Aug. 6, 2014.
Ahmed Jallanzo—EPA Liberian nurses carry the body of an Ebola victim on the way to burial in the Banjor community on the outskirts of Monrovia, Liberia, Aug. 6, 2014.

In a soggy field in Johnsonville, a township just outside the Liberian capital, Monrovia, Joseph Bayogar holds his hand to his chin and shakes his head as he walks through what is now a messy burial site. “We did not have Ebola in our area,” the local resident says. “Now the government has put our lives in danger by doing this.”

He was visiting the site on Aug. 4, just two days after health workers brought some 37 bodies — victims of the deadly Ebola outbreak that’s now killed almost 1,000 in West Africa — to the field on orders from the Ministry of Health. The Assistant Minister of Health, Tolbert Nyenswah, tells TIME that the government had purchased the land from the township administration in order to use the area as a burial site.

But as the health workers buried the bodies, local residents say they chased them away, fearful of the spread of the highly contagious disease. The health workers abandoned the rest of the corpses, dumping them in shallow holes in a swampy area, say locals. The Ministry of Health denies that the bodies were dumped.

Bayogar, a tall man in his early 40s, is one of many Liberians unhappy that the dead are being buried so close to home. “Look here, these are the gloves they used to play with the dead and they have left [them] all here,” he says, pointing to the debris littering the ground. “What if our children come and touch this? The entire town will be infected. We are in trouble.”

That fear has spread across Liberia as health workers abandon their posts at clinics and citizens are afraid to touch their dead or, even, one another. The situation has become so grave that President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf declared a state of emergency on Wednesday. In a televised address, the President announced that for the next 90 days the state would be suspending some citizen rights and imposing quarantines on badly affected communities in an attempt to contain the virus that has killed 932, according to the World Health Organization. In Liberia alone, 282 have died.

On Thursday evening, the U.S. State Department warned American citizens against nonessential travel to the country and evacuated family members residing with embassy staff in Monrovia starting Aug. 8. “U.S. government employees in Liberia will remain on active duty at the embassy and additional staff are being deployed to assist the government of Liberia in addressing the Ebola virus disease outbreak,” the State Department said.

In one corner of the field in Johnsonville, wooden headstones mark the graves of those killed by the virus, including Patrick Nshairndze, the chief administrator at St. Joseph Catholic Hospital, a major hospital in Monrovia. Nshairndze’s death on Aug. 1 led to the immediate shutdown of the hospital.

John F. Kennedy Memorial Hospital, Liberia’s biggest referral hospital, is now all but abandoned, though the government announced Thursday that it was reopening its emergency room. Yet it’s quiet throughout the day except for the few essential staff, including security guards, that report daily.

Ahmed Jallanzo—EPAA Liberian woman weeps over the death of a relative from Ebola in the Banjor community on the outskirts of Monrovia, Liberia, Aug. 6, 2014.

The hospitals are among several major health facilities that have been deserted by health workers who fear the virus that has claimed an increasing number of colleagues. They have good reason so to fear; a statement from the President on Wednesday estimated that as many as 32 health care workers had already died.

“The health care system in the country is now under immense strain and the Ebola epidemic is having a chilling effect on overall health care delivery,” Sirleaf said in a statement released on Wednesday. “Out of fear of being infected with the disease, health care practitioners are afraid to accept new patients, especially in community clinics all across the country.” She added that the understaffed clinics have also prevented those with other, treatable diseases from receiving necessary medical attention.

The week beginning July 27 was called “the dark week” by the Ministry of Health as it recorded 173 new cases of Ebola and 94 deaths from the virus. The climb in statistics is believed to be partly due to the lack of workers at health facilities.

But Nyenswah also tells TIME that there is hope that the facilities would reopen soon. “Fumigation is ongoing and that will cover all of the major hospitals that are closed,” he says, referring to a process of decontamination using chemicals. He hopes that will be enough “to regain the confidence of the health workers that have fled the area.”

There have also been pockets of demonstration across the country as Liberians have protested the government bringing bodies into their communities for burial. Several standoffs between town locals and government health workers, similar to the one that took place in Johnsonville, have been reported.

The Liberian military expects to have its quarantine roadblocks — called Operation White Shield — in place by Friday. Sirleaf said the extreme measures were necessary for “the very survival of our state and for the protection of the lives of our people.”

— With reporting by Zeke Miller

TIME Travel

Tokyo: What to See and What to Skip

There's nowhere else quite like Tokyo, so here's what you need to know to plan your visit

Frederic Soltan—CorbisAerial view of Tokyo and its Tower from the World Trade Center Building. April 2014

What is it about Tokyo that can make visitors feel as if the city belongs not in another country, but on another planet? Perhaps it’s the schizophrenia at the heart of what was once Edo—stately, tree-lined Omotesando giving way to the pinball frenzy of Shibuya, Tomorrowland Shinjunku meeting the timeless Meiji Jingu shrine. Tokyo contains multitudes, which we mean literally—the metro are is home to more than 35 million people, and on a muggy day in August you can feel nearly every one of them. Forget about navigating above ground—even the taxi drivers are dependent on GPS. But there is truly no other place on Earth—or elsewhere—like it, and those who can endure the over-stimulus will find themselves drawn back again and again.

  • What to see:

    -Meiji Jingu (1-1 Yoyogi-Kamizono-cho, Shibuya-ku. Meijijingu.or.jp): Tokyo doesn’t have many green spaces, which is a serious problem for a recreational runner. So you can imagine my pleasure on one of my first days there when I found a shady green park not far from where I was staying in Shibuya. Just one problem: the park housed Meiji Jingu, one of the most important Shinto shrines in Japan, and the white-gloved Japanese policeman who began whistling furiously at me was not happy to see a sweaty gaijin lumbering into a sacred space. Provided you’re not working out, however, Meiji Jingu is a rare oasis of tranquility amid the constant buzz of Tokyo.

    Edo-Tokyo Museum
    Angelo Hornak—CorbisEdo-Tokyo Museum in Tokyo, Japan.

    -Edo-Tokyo Museum (1-4-1 Yokoami, Sumida-ku; edo-tokyo-museum.or.jp): Today Tokyo is the center of Japan, home to about a quarter of the country’s population, but that reign is relatively recent. The city was founded in the 1600s as Edo, the seat of the shoguns (as opposed to the emperor, who reigned in Kyoto to the southwest). This museum details ordinary life in the city from the time of the shoguns through the firebombing during WWII to today, giving a sense of history to a city that sometimes seems to live in a perpetual present. As a bonus, the museum is located in the Ryogoku neighborhood, home to the main sumo-wrestling arena.

    -Tokyo Skytree (1-1-2 Oshiage, Sumida-ku; www.tokyo-skytree.jp/en): Visitors who believe Tokyo is a vertically-aligned, Blade Runner-esque city of skyscrapers are surprised to find that most of the capital is made up of squat buildings rarely more than a few stories high. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t towers, and at 2,080 ft., the new Tokyo Skytree is the tallest freestanding tower in the world. While the top-viewing level is only 1,480 ft. above the ground, that’s more than enough height to get a view of Tokyo’s endless sprawl.

  • What not to see:

    J
    Yuya Shino—Reuters/CorbisPedestrians walk past a show window of a clothing store at Harajuku shopping district in Tokyo February 28, 2014.

    -Harajuku: The origin point of Japan’s youthquake, the Harajuku neighborhood was played out back when Gwen Stefani appropriated Japanese girl street style for her 2004 song “Harajuku Girls.” You can still check out the pedestrian-only Takeshita Dori if you want to find an overpriced designer T-shirt, but you’d be better off strolling nearby Omotesando, one of the few tree-lined boulevards in Tokyo.

     

  • Where to eat and drink:

    148648316
    Greg Elms—Getty ImagesDetail of sushi at Sushi Dai, Tsukiji Fish Market.

    -Sushi Dai (5-2-1 Tsukiji, Chuo): It may be clichéd, but you can’t go to Tokyo without stopping by the Tsukiji fish market, where the daily catch that will find its way to sushi plates around the city is auctioned off early in the morning. Get the freshest of the fresh at nearby Sushi Dai, where you’ll discover that raw fish makes for a surprisingly good breakfast.

    -Gonpachi (1-13-11 Nishi Azabu, Minato-ku): If the cavernous Gonpachi looks familiar, that’s because it is said to have inspired the Tokyo restaurant where Uma Thurman slices through the Crazy-88s at the end of the first Kill Bill. But Gonpachi isn’t just about the scenery—it serves dressed up izakaya food, popular in Japanese pubs, and was good enough for former President George W. Bush when he visited Japan in 2002.

    -New York Bar (Park Hyatt Hotel, 3-7-1 Nishishinjuku, Shinjuku): Tokyo is a barfly’s delight, with drinking establishments that range from back-alley beer joints to cocktail lounges where your whiskey comes with perfectly spherical balls of ice. The New York Bar is more the latter—you’ll recognize it from the 2003 film Lost in Translation—and it’s not cheap. But you can’t put a price on the view from the top of the Park Hyatt Hotel.

  • Where not to eat or drink:

    148631016
    Greg Elms—Lonely Planet Images/Getty ImagesA bar in the Roppongi district, Tokyo.

    -Roppongi: This seedy district has been the foreigner’s first stop in Tokyo since American occupiers set up shop there after World War II. Roppongi has its own kind of charm, if your thing is loud bars, expensive drinks and nights that end after sunrise. It’s not as dangerous as it’s often made out to be—though there are occasional reports of spiked drinks and inflated bar tabs—and the sheer frenzy of the neighborhood makes it worth visiting once. But only once.

  • Where to stay:

    The Park Hyatt Hotel, location of the film Lost in Translation, and busy traffic at night, Shinjuku, Tokyo, Japan, Asia
    Christian Kober—Robert Harding World Imagery/CorbisThe Park Hyatt Hotel, location of the film Lost in Translation, in Tokyo, Japan.

    -Park Hyatt Hotel (Park Hyatt Hotel, 3-7-1 Nishishinjuku, Shinjuku): If you’re coming for the New York Bar, why not cut down the commute and stay a night? Possibly the price—even the least expensive rooms cost nearly $500 a day. But the Park Hyatt is the rare landmark in Tokyo—a city that has been lacking in great international hotels—that has stood the test of time, even before it was immortalized in film. And if you can swim, don’t miss a dip in the sky pool, on the 47th floor of the hotel, which has floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking the city.

TIME World

17 Maps That Will Change How You See the World

Or at least answer burning global questions, such as "Which country has the hairiest men?"

1. The map that will scare most coffee snobs.

More info via Euromonitor International

2. The map that proves how much Bhutan loves archery.

Earl Andrew / Wikipedia

More info here

3. The map that pinpoints the hairiest populations.

Undress 006 / Wikipedia

More info via Undress 006 on Wikipedia

4. The map that shows Asia prefers spirits to beer.


More info via ChartsBin

5. The map that says people in the Philippines feel the most loved.

More info via the Washington Post

6. The map that suggests more divorce lawyers should move to Spain.

More info via imgur

7. The map that proves you’re driving on the wrong side of the street (or not).


More info via ChartsBin

8. The map that reveals the “black holes” of Internet censorship.

Reporters Without Borders

More info via Reporters Without Borders on Ads of the World

9. The map that calls out Russia’s strange claims to fame.

More info via DogHouseDiaries

10. The map that suggests where people should get active. (Looking at you, Argentina and Saudi Arabia.)


More info via Chartsbin

11. The map shows America is a world leader…in incarceration rates.

More info via Jan Van der Weijst at Business Insider

12. The map that reveals France is the most popular country to visit

More info via Movehub

13. …but America has the most photographed city (New York).

More info via Sightsmap

14. The map that tracks countries’, um, endowments.


More info via Target Map

15. The map that tracks which countries offer maternity leave.

More info via World Policy Forum

16. The map that quantifies how much Scandinavia loves heavy metal.

More info via depo on The Wire

17. And the map quantifies how much everyone loves Beyoncé.


More info via CartoDB on TIME

TIME Iraq

Pentagon Denies Reports of Airstrikes on ISIS Militants in Iraq

Thousands flee Iraq's Mosul
Mustafa Kerim—Anadolu Agency/Getty Images Thousands of Yazidi and Christian people flee Hamdaniyah town of Mosul to Erbil after the latest wave of ISIL advances that began on Sunday has seen a number of towns near Iraq's second largest city Mosul fall to the militants on August 6, 2014.

Also claims reports the U.S. had begun humanitarian air drops to people in need in northern Iraq are false

Updated 6:13 p.m. E.T.

The Pentagon denied reports Thursday that it had begun conducting airstrikes on Sunni targets in Iraq or humanitarian air drops to thousands of members of a persecuted religious minority under siege from militants in the northwest of the country.

The New York Times, citing Kurdish officials, reported that U.S. forces bombed at least two targets in northern Iraq. The McClatchy news agency also reported aerial bombings outside the town of Kalak in the Kurdish region of northern Iraq, stating that Kurdish media had described jets as American bombers.

But the Pentagon press secretary, Rear Adm. John Kirby, said on Twitter that the press reports were “completely false.” The Pentagon also denied a report, by ABC News, that the U.S. had begun humanitarian air drops to people in need in northern Iraq.

Earlier on Thursday, a defense official told TIME that the Iraqi government had begun airdrops in northern Iraq and that it was considering providing “direct assistance wherever possible.” Multiple news outlets, including CBS News and the New York Times, reported Thursday that airdrops or airstrikes were among the options under consideration.

Thousands of people from the Yazidi minority—considered “devil worshippers” by the advancing Islamic State (formerly known as ISIS)—have fled their homes in the Sinjar region in northwestern Iraq and are holed up in mountains around the town of Sinjar, according to the United Nations, where they face dehydration and hunger. The UN said on Tuesday that some 40 children have died.

“According to official reports received by UNICEF, these children from the Yazidi minority died as a direct consequence of violence, displacement and dehydration over the past two days.”

TIME Infectious Disease

Nigeria Braces for More Ebola Cases Amid Outbreak

A Nigerian port health official speaks to a passenger at the arrivals hall of Murtala Muhammed International Airport in Lagos, Nigeria, Aug. 6, 2014.
Sunday Alamba—AP A Nigerian port health official speaks to a passenger at the arrivals hall of Murtala Muhammed International Airport in Lagos, Nigeria, Aug. 6, 2014.

A bustling city tries to avoid becoming the next Ebola hotspot

Until last week, many Nigerians largely ignored West Africa’s Ebola outbreak: It was several countries away and didn’t seem like an immediate threat. That changed after a Liberian-American named Patrick Sawyer boarded a plane in Liberia while ill with the disease, crossed four countries by air, landed in Lagos, and then collapsed at the airport.

Sawyer died in Lagos days later on July 25, but while being treated he infected at least six other people, including a nurse who died Aug. 5. Suddenly, the government has come under pressure to quickly raise awareness and prepare facilities for more potential cases—all while grappling with a strike by public sector doctors.

The stakes are high. Lagos is Nigeria’s commercial capital and biggest city with 21 million people, in Africa’s most populous country of more than 170 million people. An outbreak in Lagos could bring Africa’s crisis to a whole new level.

Lagos sate health commissioner Jide Idris said this week that doctors didn’t initially realize Sawyer was infected with Ebola, a virus with symptoms similar to other tropical diseases. The government is now screening travelers, obtaining isolation tents in case they receive new cases, and establishing an emergency operations center, while the other five patients with confirmed cases of Ebola are treated in isolation at a Lagos hospital.

But containing the deadly disease takes vigilance. The government’s main focus at the moment is screening incoming and outgoing passengers, treating already ill people in isolation and monitoring people with whom they’ve come in contact. As soon as people who were exposed develop symptoms, they are put in quarantine and tested for Ebola. Health experts say people infected with the virus only become contagious after they develop symptoms, and the virus has an incubation period of up to three weeks.

The government was following a total of 70 people who had primary contact with Sawyer, but the number of people being monitored is growing as the government tracks more people who were in contact with the six infected patients before they showed symptoms.

“It is possible in the first day, probably the second day, in the course of doing this, a lot of those health workers got infected,” Idris told reporters in Lagos. The doctors isolated him “immediately when they realized that ‘Oh this man came from Liberia.’ … That’s when they alerted us.” All of the people infected in Lagos had direct contact with Sawyer.

But more help is needed to contain the disease in Nigeria.

“We need volunteers now, extremely necessary, urgently needed, to assist us in tracking the contacts,” Idris said. “And more importantly to manage those cases that are already in isolation in order to give them a chance for life they need to be properly managed, so we need doctors, we need nurses, environmental health workers.”

Still, the outbreak hasn’t affected daily life in the economic hub of Africa’s largest economy. Even as some concerns mount among government officials, many people say they’re not worried.

“I don’t believe it, I don’t believe what people are saying that is happening in Nigeria,” said 28-year-old Christopher Ukpang, a security guard at an upscale Lagos supermarket. “I’m begging my fellow Nigerians, they should not be afraid of this sickness, it won’t affect us. We should have trust in God.”

Interest spiked after health authorities announced the first confirmed case of Ebola infection of a Nigerian on Aug. 4—and the local media coverage exploded.

“I’m worried about it,” said one Nigerian woman. “In my office they sent out an updated mail to everybody to be very careful and to wash your hand regularly and use the sanitizer.”

Eunice Ojodu, a 50-year-old fruit seller in the city, said she had heard about the disease in awareness messages the government is broadcasting on TV and radio.

“It’s killing people but I haven’t seen it,” she said. “I haven’t seen it and I don’t pray to see it.”

TIME technology

The World’s Top 5 Cybercrime Hotspots

"More cyber criminals are entering into the game at a quicker pace than quite honestly we can keep up with."

A Russian crime ring is suspected of obtaining access to a record 1.2 billion username and password combinations, shedding renewed light on how vulnerable online personal information can be. Cybersecurity firm Hold Security said the gang of hackers was based in a city in south central Russia and comprised roughly ten men in their twenties who were all personally acquainted with each other, the New York Times reported.
Cybersecurity experts say this enormous data breach is just the latest evidence that cybercrime has become a global business—one that, including all types of cybercrime, costs the world economy an estimated $400 billion a year. Complex malicious software, or malware, is finding its way into the hands of hackers not just in known cybercrime hubs like Russia and China but also in Nigeria and Brazil, while expanding Internet access around the world means that there are more potential cybercriminals who can easily acquire online the skills and know-how to join the craft.
“It appears more cybercriminals are entering into the game at a quicker pace than quite honestly we can keep up with [in the US] to defend our networks from these malicious hackers,” says JD Sherry, the vice president of technology and solutions at Trend Micro, a Tokyo-based cyber-security firm.
Here’s a look at the global hotspots for these cyber criminals:
Russia

Crime syndicates in Russia use some of the most technologically advanced tools in the trade, according to Sherry. “The Russians are at the top of the food chain when it comes to elite cyberskill hacking capabilities,” he says. Even before the latest revelations of stolen online records, the United States charged a Russian man, Evgeniy Bogachev, of participating in a large-scale operation to infect hundreds of thousands of computers around the world. The massive data breach of the retailer Target last year has also been traced to Eastern Europe.
But why Russia, and its smaller neighbors? Trained computer engineers and skilled techies in Russia and countries like Ukraine and Romania may be opting for lucrative underground work instead of the often low-paying I.T. jobs available there. But the Russian government has in the past also been less than helpful in helping U.S. authorities track down wanted cybercriminals. “The key really is the lack of law enforcement environment, the feeling that you can do almost anything and get away with it,” says Dmitri Alperovitch, a Russia-born U.S. citizen and co-founder and CTO of security firm CrowdStrike. “They were able to grow and evolve into organized enterprises.”
China

China is considered to be another stalwart hotbed for hackers, though the spotlight has primarily fallen not on gangs of criminals, but on the Chinese government, which has been linked to economic and political espionage against the U.S. In May, the Justice Department moved to charge five Chinese government officials with orchestrating cyberattacks against six major U.S. companies. Unaffiliated Chinese hackers have also posed a problem inside and outside the country, but according to Alperovitch there’s a surprisingly low presence relative to the size of the country. “We can speculate as to why, but the most likely reason is that the people that are identified doing this activity by the Chinese government get recruited to do this full time for the government,” he says.

Brazil

Sherry calls Brazil “an emerging cybercrime economy.” Cybercriminals there and across South America are increasingly learning from their counterparts in Eastern Europe via underground forums. They’ll also pay for Eastern European tools to use in their own attacks, using highly complex Russian-made software that Sherry says can include millions of lines of code. That black market has become so sophisticated that Eastern European hackers now provide I.T. support for customers buying their malware, according to Sherry. So far, most of the attacks that originate in Brazil target local individuals and firms, including the recently reported cybertheft of billions of dollars from an online payment system. “The question is, when will that change?” says Jim Lewis, a senior fellow at the Strategic Technologies Program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.

Nigeria

The original home of low-tech scam emails remains a key player in underground cyber activity and has become a destination for international cybercrime syndicates, according to Sherry. Authorities in Nigeria and other African countries have been slow to crackdown on scammers and hackers, even as more people connect to the Internet. “It’s proving to be a very comfortable environment for cybercriminals to set up shop, operate, and carry out their illegal activities,” Sherry says. Recent efforts by President Jonathan Goodluck to legislate cybercrime in Nigeria have served to push some of the activity into other countries in the region, such as Ghana.

Vietnam

Tech firms in Southeast Asia have a long history of working with Western software firms and other tech companies, Sherry says, meaning there is a broad base of tech expertise there. “People who are really good software engineers, those people are going to be naturals when it comes to taking off the ‘white hat’ and putting on the ‘black hat,’ Sherry says. In Vietnam, where the I.T. industry has expanded at a rapid rate in the last decade, a hacker allegedly masterminded the theft of up to 200 million personal records in the U.S. and Europe that included Social Security numbers, credit card data and bank account information. The communist government there has also been recruiting local hackers to spy on journalists, dissidents, and activists, according to the Electronic Frontier Foundation.

TIME Middle East

TIME Covers: 47 Years of War and Hope in the Middle East

A look back at nearly five decades of conflict and attempts at lasting peace

The Middle East has wrought episodes of war and attempts at peace that have defined news coverage for much of the past half-century. That has especially been the case with Israel and the Palestinian Territories. TIME’s first cover story on Israel, “The Struggle to Survive,” came in 1967, nearly two decades after it was first recognized as a state. It has been featured one way or another—from tanks and doves, to aggression and deescalation, to leaders and guns—alongside searing images and bold headlines more than 30 times since then.

TIME uk

Prince William’s New Job? Medevac Helicopter Pilot

RAF Search And Rescue Teams Practice Ahead Of The Royal Wedding
Handout—Getty Images In this image provided by the Ministry of Defence, Prince William takes the controls of a Sea King helicopter on April 14, 2011 in Holyhead, Wales.

Prince William will begin training this fall and start work spring 2015

Prince William, Duke of Cambridge, a former chopper pilot in the Royal Air Force, is taking a job as an air ambulance helicopter pilot next spring, according to Kensington Palace.

Prince William will begin training for the new role this fall and winter before working with the East Anglian Air Ambulance in England. The Duke will fly both day and night shifts, starting as a co-pilot before he may qualify as a helicopter commander.

Better known for his marriage to Kate Middleton than for his flying abilities, the palace added that though this will be his main job, he’ll continue his domestic and overseas visits that have been so widely documented, with his wife or son in tow. Prince William will also continue working for his various charities.

Though he is entitled to a salary, the Duke will be donating his medevac income to charity. He is believed to be the first member of the Royal Family in direct succession to have an employment contract with a civilian employer. The job will draw on Prince William’s experience as a search and rescue pilot for the RAF, for which he flew over 150 operations.

 

 

TIME russia

Russia Bans Wide Array of Food Imports From the U.S., EU

Russian Premier Dmitry Medvedev announces sanctions at the Cabinet meeting in Moscow on Thursday, Aug. 7.
Dmitry Astakhov—AP Russian Premier Dmitry Medvedev announces sanctions at the Cabinet meeting in Moscow on Thursday, Aug. 7.

"The situation now requires us to take retaliatory measures."

Russia banned a wide array of food imports from Western countries Thursday in a spiraling sanction war amid the worst ties between Russia and the West since the Cold War.

A day after Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered the additional restrictions, Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said he signed a decree banning for one year the import of foods such as meats, cheese and vegetables from the European Union, the United States, Australia, Canada and Norway, the Associated Press reports.

The measures will cut off what would have amounted to some $12 billion in imports from the EU and more than $1 billion in imports from the U.S., according to the AP. They are also likely to take a toll on the supply of higher-end food goods for Russia’s wealthier urbanites, according to the AP.

“Until the last moment, we hoped that our foreign colleagues would understand that sanctions lead to a deadlock and no one needs them,” Medvedev said, according to the AP. “But they didn’t and the situation now requires us to take retaliatory measures.”

The restrictions follow the harshest sanctions yet imposed by the West last week targeting a large swath of the Russian economy, including finance, oil and defense. Those measures were intended to squeeze the already troubled Russian economy even further, after Russia seized Crimea in March and is suspected of continuing to support pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine.

Medvedev also said Ukrainian airliners would be banned from flying over Russian airspace. He said such measures may be extended to Western airliners, some of which currently fly over Siberia from the U.S. en route to other parts of Asia.

[AP]

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