TIME Israel

Raising the Dead: Lack of Space Forces Cemeteries Skywards

Cemetery in Petah Tikva, Israel
Cemetery in Petah Tikva, Israel Dan Balilty / AP

From Israel to Brazil, elevated cemeteries are providing the final resting place for thousands of people as space runs out at ground level

At first glance, the multi-tiered jungle of concrete off a major highway does not appear unusual in Petah Tikva, an Israeli city of bland high-rises. But the burgeoning towers are groundbreaking when you consider its future tenants: They will be homes not for the living but rather the dead.

With real estate at a premium, Israel is at the forefront of a global movement building vertical cemeteries in densely populated countries. The reality of relying on finite land resources to cope with the endless stream of the dying has brought about creative solutions…

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

TIME Nigeria

Nigeria Says Boko Haram Cease-Fire May Lead to Release of Kidnapped Girls

Kidnapped schoolgirls are seen at an unknown location in this still image taken from an undated video released by Boko Haram
Kidnapped schoolgirls are seen at an unknown location in this still image taken from an undated video released by Boko Haram. Reuters

More than 200 schoolgirls were kidnapped in April, sparking the #BringBackOurGirls campaign

A top military official in Nigeria was reported Friday to have announced a cease-fire between the government and the military group Boko Haram, igniting both skepticism and hopes that more than 200 schoolgirls who were kidnapped in April would be released.

The truce was announced by Air Marshall Alex Badeh, Nigeria’s chief of defense, the BBC reports. The release of the girls is still being negotiated, Maj. Gen. Chris Olukolade added, according to the Associated Press, but the cease-fire would begin immediately and could take take several days to reach the groups of militants.

“Already, the terrorists have announced a cease-fire in furtherance of their desire for peace. In this regard, the government of Nigeria has, in similar vein, declared a cease-fire,” said Mike Omeri, a government spokesman on Boko Haram, at a news conference. The AP adds that Omeri confirmed negotiations about the girls’ potential release were held throughout the week.

“They’ve assured us they have the girls and they will release them,” government aid Hassan Tukur told the BBC. “I am cautiously optimistic.” He also said that final negotiations are scheduled to take place next week.

There was no announcement immediately released by the insurgent group, according to the New York Times.

Reports of the deal were met with hesitation by those who have followed the saga since the girls were abducted from their school in Chibok on April 14. The Nigerian government has in the past misled the public about the girls’ status; its fight against Boko Haram has been fraught with challenges since the militant group rose up in 2009, from inefficiency and corruption in the military to lax local support in the northern communities that are threatened most.

Boko Haram, which released a video in May that claimed responsibility for the girls’ abductions and vowed to “sell them on the market, by Allah,” has previously demanded the release of rebel prisoners in exchange for their freedom. But Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan, who has faced intense global pressure to free the students, said that’s a trade he will not make.

In August, the Wall Street Journal reported that American surveillance planes spotted groups that appeared to be the missing girls, suggesting that not all of them had been sold into marriage or slavery — as feared — and that some were perhaps being kept as a bargaining tactic.

TIME ebola

Why Airlines and the CDC Oppose Ebola Flight Bans

Dr. Tom Frieden, Director of the CDC, during testimony at the Rayburn House Office Building on October 16, 2014 in Washington, DC.
Dr. Tom Frieden, Director of the CDC, during testimony at the Rayburn House Office Building on October 16, 2014 in Washington, DC. The Washington Pos/Getty Images

Some Republicans say flight bans would be life-saving, but medical experts worry such measures could be deadly

The debate surrounding travel bans as a way to curb the spread of Ebola has intensified after Thursday’s congressional hearing, unleashing a flurry of impassioned arguments on both sides.

The stakes are high: those for a flight ban believe it’s a necessary protection against a deadly epidemic that has already reached American soil, but those against it say a ban would make the U.S. even more vulnerable to the virus.

Rep. Tim Murphy (R-Pa.), who ran the hearing, wants to prohibit all non-essential commercial travel from Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone, as well as institute a mandatory 21-day quarantine order for any American who has traveled to the stricken African nations. This quarantine would include a ban on domestic travel.

Murphy explained his position at the opening of Thursday’s hearing: “A determined, infected traveler can evade the screening by masking the fever with ibuprofen… Further, it is nearly impossible to perform contact tracing of all people on multiple international flights across the globe, when contact tracing and treatment just within the United States will strain public health resources.” Murphy is not alone; other lawmakers such as House Speaker John Boehner and Rep. Fred Upton (R-Mich.) agree.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), however, maintains that these congressmen have it backwards. While they think a travel ban would secure the U.S. border from Ebola and shrink the potential spheres of contact, CDC director Tom Frieden says instituting a flight ban would forfeit what little control we currently have over the virus.

“Right now we know who’s coming in,” Frieden said at the hearing. “If we try to eliminate travel… we won’t be able to check them for fever when they leave, we won’t be able to check them for fever when they arrive, we won’t be able—as we do currently—to see a detailed history to see if they’ve been exposed.” The White House has sided with Frieden. White House press secretary Josh Earnest said Thursday that a travel ban is “not something we’re considering.”

Even if Republican lawmakers are correct that a travel ban could curb the spread of Ebola in the U.S., it would also curb the movement of American health workers to the West African countries that are already desperate for more aid.

“If we do things that unintentionally make it harder to get that response in, to get supplies in, that make it harder for those governments to manage, to get everything from economic activity to travel going, it’s going to become much harder to stop the outbreak at the source,” Frieden said this week. “If that were to happen, it would spread for more months and potentially to other countries, and that would increase rather than decrease the risk to Americans.”

There’s also a practical concern surrounding the bans. Thomas Eric Duncan, the first person to be diagnosed with Ebola in the United States and who later died from the disease, took three flights and flew on two airlines on his trip from Monrovia, Liberia to Dallas, TX, stopping in Belgium on the way. Prohibiting travel from West Africa to the United States quickly falls down the rabbit hole of connecting flights in Europe, especially since there currently aren’t any direct flights between the U.S. and the primary Ebola hot zones.

A spokesperson for Airlines for America, the industry trade organization for leading U.S. airlines, told TIME, “We agree with the White House that discussions of flight bans are not necessary and actually impede efforts to stop the disease in its tracks in West Africa.”

And if domestic or international travel bans were to be instituted, others familiar with the airline industry warn of unintended consequences. Greg Winton, founder of The Aviation Law Firm outside Washington, D.C., told TIME that mass flight restrictions “will have a huge impact financially, certainly on the whole economy, not just the aviation sector.”

But at this point Winton says anything is possible, citing the Federal Aviation Administration’s shut down of air travel following 9/11 as an extreme precedent. “As far as FAA aviation law, none of that really takes precedence over disease control at this point,” he said.

TIME ebola

WHO Acknowledges Flubbed Response to Ebola Outbreak

A World Health Organization (WHO), instructor teaches new health workers during a training session on Oct. 3, 2014 in Monrovia, Liberia.
A World Health Organization (WHO), instructor teaches new health workers during a training session on Oct. 3, 2014 in Monrovia, Liberia. John Moore—Getty Images

It blamed in part "politically motivated appointments."

A new report reveals that the World Health Organization privately acknowledged it could have done more to contain the ongoing global Ebola outbreak, which has claimed the lives of around 4,500 people primarily in Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone.

“Nearly everyone involved in the outbreak response failed to see some fairly plain writing on the wall,” WHO said in a “draft internal document” obtained by the Associated Press.

The WHO, the United Nations health agency, blamed in part the “politically motivated appointments” of Dr. Luis Sambo, the WHO regional director in Africa, according to the AP. WHO also points fingers at its Guinea office for failing to obtain visas for Ebola experts and for tying up $500,000 in aid in red tape.

WHO Director-General Dr. Margaret Chan did not fully understand the agency’s leadership issues in West Africa until days after a June meeting of the agency’s top outbreak officials, according to the documents.

“This (was) the first news of this sort to reach her,” reads one of the forms. “She is shocked.”

[AP]

TIME weather

Hurricane Gonzalo Charges Toward Bermuda

Hurricane Gonzalo NOAA

The Category 4 storm is scheduled to hit the island Friday afternoon

A dangerous weather system named Hurricane Gonzalo is expected to slam into Bermuda Friday afternoon, where officials warn it could cause serious damage and lead to significant coastal flooding.

The National Weather Service predicts the Category Four hurricane will hit Bermuda with maximum sustained winds near 130 mph with stronger gusts, alongside rain accumulations of between three and six inches. A “dangerous and life-threatening storm surge” is expected to hit the island, causing flooding and large, destructive waves along the coast.

The eye of the storm is projected to pass near Bermuda Friday afternoon or evening.

TIME fun

Feel Good Friday: 10 Fun Photos to Start Your Weekend

From Hello Kitty to The Nobel Piece Prize, here's a handful of photos to get your weekend started right

TIME Books

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

A new book explores extreme poverty on four continents

More than a billion people live on a dollar a day, but their lives can seem worlds apart for the more fortunate among us. In a new work of photojournalism, poverty activist Thomas A. Nazario and Pulitzer Prize-winning photographer Renée Byer document the lives of the world’s most impoverished in a series of profiles, charts and photographs.

In ten chapters, Living on a Dollar a Day moves across four continents each with a focus on different issues facing those living in extreme poverty. One chapter focuses on subsistence living, another on slums. We get a bit of a respite in the chapters “And Yet the Children Play” and “Hope.” It’s at times a sad experience, though moving nonetheless.

The book also serves as a call to action. Each chapter ends with information about how readers can get involved in the fight on poverty.

“I was humbled by the grace, generosity, fortitude and bravery of the hardworking men, women, and children who allowed me into their lives,” said Byer, who is the recipient of the prestigious International Photography Award, in a press release. “I hope you’ll look deeply into these photographs and let them change your life too.”

Read next: Motor City Revival: Detroit’s Stunning Evolution in 19 GIFs

TIME weather

Powerful Hurricane Gonzalo Bearing Down on Bermuda

(HAMILTON, Bermuda) — A powerful Hurricane Gonzalo bore down on this tiny British territory early Friday, threatening to batter Bermuda with dangerous winds and life-threatening storm surge.

Premier Michael Dunkley urged residents in low-lying areas to move to higher ground.

“This hurricane is a large storm, and we should expect at least 24 hours of storm-force winds,” he warned.

Gonzalo was expected to pass within 29 miles (46 kilometers) of Bermuda on Friday night, close enough to be considered a direct hit, the Bermuda Weather Service warned. Islanders should see tropical storm conditions by Friday morning, forecasters said.

The hurricane’s arrival was coming just five days after Tropical Storm Fay damaged homes and knocked down trees and power lines in Bermuda. About 1,500 homes were still without power late Thursday.

Gonzalo was a Category 4 storm late Thursday with top sustained winds of 140 mph (220 kph). It was centered about 340 miles (545 kilometers) south-southwest of Bermuda and was moving north-northeast at 14 mph (22 kph), the U.S. National Hurricane Center said.

Dave Fox, a public affairs officer for the Bermuda government, said officials had turned a high school into a shelter, but he noted that wealthy Bermuda is known for having structures that can withstand heavy storms.

“We build for hurricanes,” Fox said. “It’s part of the building code.”

The capital of Hamilton was nearly deserted after midday Thursday, although some stores remained open and reported a steady stream of customers grabbing up essentials at the last minute.

“Some people seem to have left it until the end to get things,” said Melissa Trott, an employee at Phoenix Store. “We sold out of batteries, and our warehouse has none left.”

Gas stations also saw brisk business.

“I was here for Hurricane Fabian in 2003, so I’m not taking any chances this time,” said Susan Black, a retiree who was filling up her car and several gas cans. “I’ve been busy since 6:30 this morning getting things ready.”

The last major hurricane to strike Bermuda was Fabian in 2003, a Category 3 storm that killed four people. The last major hurricane to cross land in the Atlantic Basin was Hurricane Sandy in 2012, which hit Cuba as a Category 3 storm.

Kimberley Zuill, director of the Bermuda Weather Service, said Gonzalo’s path and duration would be similar to Fabian’s. Her agency predicted seas would reach 35 to 45 feet (11 to 14 meters) on Friday and said destructive waves could cause significant flooding on the island.

Some 3 to 6 inches (8 to 15 centimeters) of rain was predicted for Bermuda, which is an island of about 70,000 people sitting 850 miles (1,400 kilometers) off the U.S. East Coast.

Authorities evacuated two hotels along Bermuda’s southern coast, with guests either flying out or being put other hotels. The government closed all public schools by Thursday afternoon and expected to close the island’s international airport Thursday night.

Earlier this week, Gonzalo claimed one life in the Dutch Caribbean territory of St. Maarten. Large ocean swells continued for parts of the Virgin Islands, the northern shores of Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic, parts of the Bahamas and the U.S. East Coast from North Carolina southward.

___

Associated Press writer Josh Ball reported this story in Hamilton, Bermuda, and Danica Coto reported from San Juan, Puerto Rico.

TIME ebola

Flight Grounded in Madrid After Passenger Displays Symptoms of Ebola

Air France jet isolated at Madrid airport over suspected Ebola case
Medical staff wearing protection suits stand next to the Air France Airbus A321, which landed at Barajas International Airport in Madrid, Spain, on Oct. 16 2014 Paco Campos—EPA

A passenger showing fever and shaking during the flight was rushed to a local hospital after landing

An Air France flight from Paris was grounded after arriving at Madrid airport on Thursday after one of its passengers showed Ebola-like symptoms.

The passenger was promptly rushed to a local hospital after shaking and showing signs of fever throughout the flight, the Wall Street Journal reported.

Crew members and the 162 passengers were allowed to disembark on Thursday afternoon, and those who were in direct contact or sat nearby the hospitalized passenger are being closely monitored.

Air France canceled the return flight to Paris and said the aircraft would be thoroughly disinfected before resuming operations.

The London Evening Standard reported that the passenger is believed to have visited Lagos in Nigeria.

[WSJ]

TIME energy

Is Fusion Power Closer Than We Thought?

The UW reactor’s size means it needs fewer ingredients to create fusion

This post originally appeared on OilPrice.com.

The promise of generating energy with nuclear fusion is tantalizing because it would be free of toxic emissions and nuclear waste, and would have a virtually infinite fuel supply. On the downside, though, it is extremely costly compared with fossil fuels like natural gas and coal.

Now engineers at the University of Washington (UW) have developed a design for a fusion reactor that could be even less expensive than a coal-fired plant but boast similar generating capacity. The current design is for a reactor too small to generate much electricity, but the team is confident it can be scaled up to the size of a large power plant.

“Right now, this design has the greatest potential of producing economical fusion power of any current concept,” Thomas Jarboe, professor of aeronautics and astronautics and an adjunct professor in physics, told the UW news department.

Related: Breakthrough in Fusion Research Brings New Nuclear Power Source Closer

The engineers already have published the design, along with a cost-analysis study, in the journal Fusion Engineering and Design, and are scheduled present their findings at the International Atomic Energy Agency’s 25th Fusion Energy Conference in St. Petersburg, Russia, on Oct. 17.

The dynomak, as the reactor is called, began in 2012 as a mere student project for a class taught by Jarboe. Later Jarboe and a doctoral student, Derek Sutherland, worked to refine the concept.

Their plan was to create a magnetic field within a closed space to contain plasma – hydrogen gas rich in electrically-charged atoms – long enough to heat the plasma to the extreme temperatures needed to maintain thermonuclear conditions. This intense heat then would be transferred to a coolant fluid that would spin a turbine to generate electricity.

The UW power generator’s design, called a spheromak, also generates most of its magnetic fields by impelling electrical currents into the plasma itself, reducing the amounts of materials needed to generate and maintain thermonuclear fusion and thereby reducing the size of the reactor altogether.

Jarboe’s team says their reactor is an improvement on previous designs for fusion reactors, including one called Iter that’s now being built in Cadarache, France. Iter needs to be larger than the UW reactor because it needs superconducting conduits that coil around the exterior of the reactor to generate its magnetic field.

Related: The Ten Reasons Why Intermittency is a Problem for Renewable Energy

And because of the UW reactor’s size and its need for fewer ingredients to create fusion, it would cost one-tenth as much as the French reactor, yet produce five times more energy.

As for cost analysis, the UW team compared the amount of money needed to build a coal-fired plant and a fusion power plant based on their design, each capable of the same electrical output. The coal plant would cost $2.8 billion, and the fusion plant would cost a little less, $2.7 billion.

“If we do invest in this type of fusion, we could be rewarded because the commercial reactor unit already looks economical,” Sutherland said. “It’s very exciting.”

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