TIME ebola

5 Million Kids Aren’t in School Because of Ebola

Schools closed in Sierra Leone after Ebola outbreak
A classroom of a school stands abandoned on Aug. 25, 2014 in Kenema, Sierra Leone. Schools closed and villages quarantined after dozens of its congregation died with Ebola symptoms. Mohammed Elshamy—Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

Children from Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia are still out of school. Here's what's being done

Public schools in Guinea have been closed since March. Schools in Sierra Leone and Liberia never opened after the summer holiday. All told, the children’s rights and emergency relief group UNICEF estimates that 5 million children ages 3 to 17 are out of school due to Ebola.

“This Ebola crisis has been predominantly seen as a health crisis but its implications go way beyond health,” says Sayo Aoki, an education specialist for UNICEF working in the affected countries. “It’s time we start looking at it from other perspectives, and education is part of that.”

Some schools were closed out of fear the disease could spread in large gatherings while others had no access to water, making handwashing impossible. But the longer a child stays out of school, the less likely it is he or she will return—which is why UNICEF is working closely with the Ministry of Education and Ministry of Health to come up with protocols necessary to implement in order to let children back into the classrooms. The draft—which calls for measures like Ebola screenings, hygiene requirements and a plan in the event a suspected case—is currently being reviewed by experts at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in the U.S. and the World Health Organization.

MORE: TIME’s Person of the Year: Ebola Fighters

In the meantime, UNICEF and partner NGOs have trained out-of-work teachers to act as “social mobilizers,” going door to door to spread messages about how to identify Ebola and prevent its spread. UNICEF and partners are also using the radio programs to offer long-distance learning while kids are kept at home. “We are trying to make [the radio shows] simple and more interesting so children will get some learning,” says Aoki. “If they listen to it at a certain time of the day during the week, it gives them a routine they’ve lost from not going to school. It brings them a sense of normalcy, some sort of stability and hope.”

Stability has been largely destroyed for many children living in Ebola-affected countries. Many have seen family members, friends and neighbors get infected, and many have become orphans as well. Ebola has also changed social mores. “Nobody shakes hands in public,” says Aoki. “It has put a lot of stress on children. There’s no cuddling, no hugging, no kissing. The simple joys of life have been taken away.”

Even before Ebola, Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia were economically troubled countries still emerging from conflict and civil war. Guinea and Liberia were in the process of increasing their school attendance numbers—Guinea was at 58% and Liberia was at 34%—and experts worry that Ebola has set progress back. School closures, including private schools, are also a bad economic indicator. Jeff Trudeau, the director of The American International School of Monrovia (AISM) told TIME in August that he lost more than half his expected students for the 2014 school year, many of whom were children of foreign families who moved to the region for jobs in Liberia’s burgeoning business sector. That school’s earliest possible start date is January and for others, there appear to be “moving” deadlines for reopening. Guinea is aiming for January while Liberia and Sierra Leone are hoping for March.

But all the countries will have to patiently wait until their caseloads are under control, since a premature opening may only add fuel to the fire.

TIME faith

Meet the Church of England’s First Ever Female Bishop

Reverend Libby Lane poses for pictures during a photo call following the announcement naming her first woman bishop by The Church of England, after a historic change in its rules, in Stockport, northwest England, on Dec. 17, 2014.
Reverend Libby Lane poses for pictures during a photo call following the announcement naming her first woman bishop by The Church of England, after a historic change in its rules, in Stockport, northwest England, on Dec. 17, 2014. Paul Ellis—AFP/Getty Images

In a historic move, Reverend Libby Lane is the first woman in England to be named a bishop

The Church of England’s stained-glass ceiling has been smashed at last.

On Wednesday, the Rev. Elizabeth Lane was named as the first female bishop in the Church of England, just a month after the church made a change to its canon law to allow female bishops. Beginning on Jan. 26, Lane will serve as Bishop of Stockport, an assistant bishop in the Diocese of Chester.

The Church of England first allowed female priests in 1992 and the battle to have female bishops began shortly after. Female bishops are already common in the Anglican churches in Canada, the U.S. and Australia, but in the Church of England traditionalists argued that only men should serve in the role of bishops, claiming it was sanctioned by scripture. Others argued that allowing female bishops was ethical and necessary to keep the church relevant. In July, the church’s legislative body, known as the General Synod, voted to allow female bishops and formally enacted a change to canon law in late November.

So who is the woman who will be the Church of England’s first female bishop?

Lane — who goes by “Libby” — was ordained as a deacon in 1993 and a priest in 1994 after being educated at the University of Oxford and trained for ministry at Cranmer Hall, a theological college at Durham University in north-east England. Since 2010 she has been the Dean of Women in Ministry for the diocese of Chester, a post created to support other women within the church. As a bishop’s selection advisor since 2003, she has spent the last ten years making recommendations to the church about candidates offering themselves for ordination.

Speaking at a town hall on Wednesday in Stockport, Lane said that it was a “remarkable day for me and a historic day for the Church.” She continued: “On this historic day as the Church of England announces the first woman nominated to be bishop I am very conscious of all those who have gone before me, women and men, who for decades have looked forward to this moment.”

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, has backed the push for women bishops. He issued a statement about Lane’s appointment on Wednesday, saying: “Her Christ-centered life, calmness and clear determination to serve the Church and the community make her a wonderful choice. She will be bishop in a diocese that has been outstanding in its development of people, and she will make a major contribution.”

Lane’s appointment, which was approved by the Queen, was also endorsed by the U.K.’s Prime Minister David Cameron, who congratulated Lane in a statement on Wednesday, saying: “This is an historic appointment and an important step forward for the Church towards greater equality in its senior positions.”

While Lane’s appointment is being lauded as a moment of progress, the church still has a way to go until it reaches gender equality. As the Guardian reports: “About half of female clergy are unpaid. They are also less likely to hold senior positions… [and] only three of the 44 English cathedrals are run by women today and the overwhelming majority of female clergy are not running their own parishes.”

But having a woman bishop is a significant first step. For her part, Lane seems to believe her new role could lead to further appointments for women, telling the Telegraph: “Today I pray will not be simply about one woman called up a new ministry in the church but much more than that, an opportunity to acknowledge all that has gone before and to look ahead to what is still to be done.” It’s that resolve to look to the future that allows other women to believe Lane won’t be the Church of England’s only female bishop.

TIME Italy

Watch Thousands of Tango Dancers Celebrate Pope Francis’s Birthday in Rome

The Argentinian has expressed fondness for his country's dance

There’s no better way to celebrate a birthday than with a dance party, and for Pope Francis’s 78th, that means a massive tango party in the streets of Rome. Thousands gathered in and around the Vatican City to sing happy birthday in Italian, Spanish and other languages and dance to tango music—an Argentinian import like Francis himself.

Before becoming the Pope, Jorge Mario Bergoglio gave an interview for the book The Jesuit by Sergio Rubin and Francesca Ambrogetti expressing his love for the tango. “I like it a lot,” he said. “It’s something that comes from within me.”

[Reuters]

TIME photo essay

Witness Cuba’s Evolution in 39 Photos

After half a century of isolation from the Western world, Cubans are finding that change brings both hope and anxiety

“For centuries, Cuba’s greatest resource has been its people,” writes Pico Iyer in an extended essay on the Caribbean nation in the July 8, 2013 issue of TIME. In the twilight of the Castro era, Cubans are finding that change brings both hope and anxiety.

To pair with Iyer’s tome, TIME called upon Danish photographer Joakim Eskildsen. Eskildsen, who previously photographed a large portfolio for TIME on the state of poverty in America, traveled to Cuba for ten days, photographing urban housing projects in Havana and rural settlements across the countryside. With the help of local journalist Abel Gonzalez Alayon, Eskildsen photographed tobacco plantations, roadside fruit vendors, migrant workers and beachfront resorts — capturing all in the vibrant saturation of medium-format color film.

“I immediately fell in awe with the complexity of this country,” says Eskildsen. “The more you learn about the situation and how people are living, the more difficult it becomes to understand. It was like learning to view the world from a Cuban angle that kept surprising and inspiring me.”

To read Pico Iyer’s extended essay on Cuba, subscribe here. Already a subscriber? Click here.


Joakim Eskildsen is a Danish photographer based in Berlin. LightBox previously featured Eskildsen’s Home Works and Below the Line: Portraits of American Poverty.

Abel Gonzalez Alayon is a journalist based in Cuba. Follow him on Twitter @abelcuba

TIME Foreign Policy

Here’s What Hillary Clinton Said About Alan Gross, U.S.-Cuba Relations in Hard Choices

Hillary
Hillary Rodham Clinton listens before delivering remarks at an event in New York City on Nov. 21, 2014. Bebeto Matthews—AP

Former Secretary of State Clinton considers the U.S.'s failure to bring Alan Gross home one of her "regrets"

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton wrote in her recent autobiography one of her biggest regrets of her tenure was that she was not able to bring home an American who was held as a prisoner in Cuba. Today, President Obama will announce that Alan Gross, a USAID contractor who was arrested in 2009 for bringing satellite equipment to Cuba, will return to the U.S.

In Hard Choices, Clinton calls the Cuban government’s refusal to release Gross unless the U.S. released five convicted Cuban spies a “double tragedy,” saying in part:

It is possible that hard liners within the regime exploited the Gross case as an opportunity to put the brakes on any possible rapprochement with the United States and the domestic reforms that would require. If so, it is a double tragedy, cosigning millions of Cubans to a kind of continued imprisonment as well.

On the embargo, she had this to say:

Near the end of my tenure I recommended to President Obama that he take another look at our embargo. It wasn’t achieving its goals and it was holding back our broader agenda across Latin America. After twenty years of observing and dealing with the U.S.-Cuba relationship, I thought we should shift the onus onto the Castros to explain why they remained undemocratic and abusive.

In an interview with Fusion TV in July, Clinton repeated that the embargo has been a failure and said she would like to visit Cuba one day.

Read next: U.S. and Cuba Move to Thaw Relations After Prisoner Exchange

TIME Foreign Policy

What to Know About the American Released By Cuba

Alan Gross was convicted of espionage in Cuba while working as a U.S. contractor

Alan Gross, the 65-year-old American whose release from a Cuban prison was announced Wednesday, was a contractor trying to bring Internet services to Cuba.

He’s reported to be in poor health after declining medical and dental care in protest of his detention. Gross was arrested in Cuba in 2011 and charged with espionage for bringing telecommunications devices into the country while working as a subcontractor for the United States Agency for International Development. Accused of plotting to foment an insurrection along the lines of the Arab Spring, Gross was convicted of espionage and sentenced to 15 years in prison.

An attorney who has visited him in the small room in a Cuban military hospital where he has been kept with two other prisoners for the past five years says he is almost toothless, blind in one eye and severely addled with arthritis, ABC reports. He had declined medical attention in protest of his detention and threatened a hunger strike until death if he was not released by year’s end.

Gross’ release is seen as a first step toward thawing long-icy relations between the United States and Cuba.

TIME Foreign Policy

U.S. and Cuba Move to Thaw Relations After Prisoner Exchange

Alan Gross's release brings an immediate cooling of tensions

The U.S. will begin efforts to normalize diplomatic relations with Cuba and will open an embassy on the island nation following the release of an American government subcontractor and a swap of intelligence assets, President Barack Obama said Wednesday. It marks the most significant change in the U.S.-Cuba relationship since the Cuban revolution.

“Neither the American nor Cuban people are served by a rigid policy that’s rooted in events that took place before most of us were born,” Obama said in a televised address. “I believe we can do more to support the Cuban people and our values through engagement. After all, these 50 years have shown the isolation has not worked. It’s time for a new approach.”

Following a year of secret back-channel talks in Canada and at the Vatican, and culminating with a historic nearly hour-long call between Obama and Cuban President Raúl Castro on Tuesday, the Cuban government released 65-year-old Alan Gross on Wednesday on humanitarian grounds. His release clears the way for a broad relaxation of the 53-year U.S. embargo on Cuba.

In a prisoner swap, Cuba released an unnamed U.S. intelligence asset who has been imprisoned for 20 years, while the U.S. government released the final three members of the spy ring known as the Cuban Five remaining in federal prison.

A senior Administration official said the U.S. embassy would open “as soon as possible” in Havana.

Gross departed Cuba on Wednesday morning on a U.S. government plane, and arrived at Joint Base Andrews outside Washington, D.C., shortly after 11 a.m., accompanied by members of Congress and his wife who had traveled to retrieve him aboard a U.S. Air Force plane. A Cuban court convicted Gross of espionage in 2011 and sentenced him to 15 years in prison for carrying communications devices into Cuba while working as as a subcontractor for U.S. Agency for International Development setting up Internet access in local communities. According to his attorney, Gross had been in deteriorating health while in prison.

Speaking at a news conference, Gross thanked Obama, said he supports the President’s policy shift and stressed he harbors no ill will toward the Cuban people.

“It pains me to see them treated so unjustly as a consequence of two governments’ mutually belligerent policies,” Gross said. “Five and a half decades of history shows us that such belligerence inhibits better judgment. Two wrongs don’t make a right.

“This is a game-changer which I fully support,” Gross added. “I truly hope we can get beyond these mutually belligerent policies.”

MORE: What to know about Alan Gross

The Obama Administration is maximizing the ability of Americans to travel to Cuba within the limits of the American travel ban, the President is “doing everything in his authority to facilitate travel within the limits of the law,” an official said, adding that Obama would support congressional efforts to lift the ban. Obama also announced that his Administration is easing economic and financial restrictions on Cuba, including increasing permitted American exports, as well as raising the cap on remittances. U.S. financial institutions will also be allowed to open accounts at Cuban banks to process permitted transactions, and U.S. credit and debit cards will be permitted for use in Cuba for the first time. Obama is also directing Secretary of State John Kerry to launch an immediate review of the 1982 designation of Cuba as a state sponsor of terrorism, in consultation with intelligence agencies.

“I do not expect the changes I’m announcing today to bring about a transformation of Cuban society overnight,” Obama said.

Obama cannot unilaterally lift the U.S. trade embargo on Cuba.

“I look forward to engaging Congress in an honest and serious debate about lifting the embargo,” he said.

In an address that took place while Obama was speaking, Castro said he welcomes the cooling of relations between the two countries, but that differences remain that the countries need to learn to live with “in a civilized manner.”

Obama has twice previously relaxed restrictions on Cuba, in 2009 and 2011, opening the door for Americans to visit family members in Cuba and allowing travel for religious, educational and cultural endeavors. Authorized American travelers will now be able to import up to $400 in Cuban goods into the U.S., including $100 in tobacco and alcohol products. But senior Administration officials said there would be no immediate change to the ban on imports of Cuban cigars and other products for retail purposes.

Obama’s announcement was quickly criticized by Republicans and Democratic lawmakers who have long defended the embargo. Outgoing Senate Foreign Relations Committee chairman Robert Menendez (D., N.J.) blasted Obama’s decision as having “vindicated the brutal behavior of the Cuban government.”

“This asymmetrical trade will invite further belligerence toward Cuba’s opposition movement and the hardening of the government’s dictatorial hold on its people,” Menendez said.

American officials contend that the U.S. policy toward Cuba was antiquated and ineffective, failing to bring down the Castro regime after more than 50 years. Obama said he respects the “passion” of those who may disagree with his decision, but said he believes now is the time for a change. “I do not believe that we can do the same thing for over five decades and expect a different result,” he said.

In coordination with the American announcements, the Cuban government will announce that it will free 53 prisoners deemed by the U.S. to be political prisoners, American officials said. Additionally, the Cuban government has told the U.S. it intends to expand Internet connectivity for its citizens. But despite objections by the Cuban government, the U.S. will continue to fund so-called democracy programming in Cuba, meant to promote human rights and support the free flow of information into the communist country.

American officials praised the role of Canada and the Vatican, particularly Pope Francis, in helping bring about the agreement.

“Pope Francis personally issued an appeal in a letter that he sent to President Obama and to President Raúl Castro calling on them to resolve the case of Alan Gross and the cases of the three Cubans who have been imprisoned here in the United States, and also encouraging the United States and Cuba to pursue a closer relationship,” an official said, calling the papal letter “very rare … The Vatican then hosted the U.S. and Cuban delegations where we were able to review the commitments that we are making today.”

In a statement earlier this month marking the five-year anniversary of Gross’s arrest, Obama said that if the Castro-led Cuban government released him it would set the stage for other reconciliation efforts.

“The Cuban Government’s release of Alan on humanitarian grounds would remove an impediment to more constructive relations between the United States and Cuba,” Obama said.

TIME

The Most Powerful Protest Photos of 2014

There wasn't a corner of the planet untouched by protest this year, from the tear-gassed streets of Ferguson to the student camps of Hong Kong

In 2011, TIME named the Protester as the Person of the Year, in recognition of the twin people-power earthquakes of the Arab Spring and Occupy Wall Street. TIME named the Ebola Fighters as the 2014 Person of the Year, but you could have forgiven if we went back to the Protester. There wasn’t a corner of the planet untouched by protest this year, from the tear-gassed streets of Ferguson, Missouri, to the squares of Mexico City, to the impromptu student camps of Hong Kong. Many of the protests were remarkably peaceful, like Occupy Hong Kong, which was galvanized by public anger over the overreaction of the city’s police. Others turned bloody, like the Euromaidan protests in Kiev, Ukraine, which eventually brought down the government of pro-Russian Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych, in turn triggering a war that led to the annexation of Crimea by Russia, the downing of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 in May and the deaths of thousands of Ukrainians.

Not every protest was as effective as those that began the year in the cold of Kiev. Hong Kongers still don’t have full democratic rights, gay rights are on the retreat in much of east Africa and every day seems to bring news of another questionable police killing in the U.S. But the wave of social action that ended 2014 is unlikely to crest in 2015. The ubiquity of camera phones means no shortage of iconic photographs and videos from any protest, whether in Lima or Los Angeles, and social media gives everyone the means to broadcast. What follows are some of the most powerful images from the global streets in 2014.

TIME Turkey

Tourist Dies in Hot Air Balloon Accident in Turkey

(ISTANBUL) — A hot air balloon fell in the popular tourist region of Cappadocia on Wednesday, killing a Chinese tourist and injuring six other passengers from China and Malaysia, the region’s governor said.

Gov. Mehmet Ceylan said a sudden change of wind direction appeared to have caused the balloon — which took off from Goreme — to make a rough landing. The exact cause of the accident was under investigation, he added.

The injured tourists were hospitalized but were not in life-threatening condition, he said.

Dozens of hot air balloons carry tourists aloft most mornings in Goreme to watch the sunrise over the world-renowned landscape of geological formations in the area.

Three Brazilian tourists were killed last year when two balloons collided in flight over the Cappadocia region.

TIME Books

Winnie-the-Pooh Could Be Leaving New York for Britain

School children view the original Winnie the Pooh stuffed animals at the New York Public Library in 2009.
School children view the original Winnie the Pooh stuffed animals at the New York Public Library in 2009. Marc Bryan-Brown—WireImage/Getty Images

British fans are keen for the bear to leave his home at the New York Public Library

The teddy bear on which the much-loved fictional Winnie-the-Pooh was based may be returning to Britain for a home-coming visit for the first time since 1976.

Angela Montefinise, director of media relations at the New York Public Library where the visiting public can currently view the bear, said the curators were “absolutely open” to letting Pooh travel provided he was taken good care of while on loan.

Speaking to The Times of London, she said: “These dolls are very fragile. It is our responsibility to ensure their preservation and protection so they can continue to be viewed by the public.”

Christopher Robin Milne, the son of English author A.A. Milne and a character in the children’s stories, apparently intended for the bear and his other childhood toys to stay in New York.

But British fans of the children’s stories have been clamoring for the bear’s return for several years. Politician Gwyneth Dunwood asked former Prime Minister Tony Blair to raise the issue with Bill Clinton during a 1988 visit, saying “Just like the Greeks want their Elgin marbles back so we want our Winnie the Pooh back.”

More recently, residents of Hartfield, the village from where Pooh hails, and notable English writers have joined the appeal. Gyles Brandreth, broadcaster and writer, said “for some of us our childhood is never over, so we’d love to have him back – if only for a holiday.”

[The Times]

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