Scientists Confirm Mount Vesuvius Eruption Turned Victim’s Brain Into Glass

(MILAN) — The eruption of Mount Vesuvius turned an incinerated victim’s brain material into glass, the first time scientists have verified the phenomenon from a volcanic blast, officials at the Herculaneum archaeology site said Thursday.

Archaeologists rarely recover human brain tissue, and when they do it is normally smooth and soapy in consistency, according to an article detailing the discovery in the New England Journal of Medicine. The eruption of Vesuvius in the year 79 instantly killed the inhabitants of Pompeii and neighboring Herculaneum, burying an area 20 kilometers (12 miles) from the volcano in ash in just a few hours.

The remains of a man lying on a wooden bed were discovered at Herculaneum, closer to Vesuvius than Pompeii, in the 1960s. He is believed to have been the custodian of a place of worship, the Collegium Augustalium.

A team led by Pier Paolo Petrone, a forensic anthropologist at the Federico II University in Naples, determined that the victim’s brain matter ..

From Threats of Gang Rape to Islamophobic Badgering, Indian Women Politicians Face High Levels of Online Abuse, Says Report

Women politicians in India receive on average 113 problematic or abusive tweets per day, including threats and badgering, according to a report released today by Amnesty International.

The report, which analyzed 114,716 tweets directed at 95 Indian women politicians during the last Indian general election in 2019, found that 1 in 7 tweets about female politicians were abusive or problematic.

“Online abuse has the power to belittle, demean, intimidate and eventually silence women,” the report said.

While women around the world face sexist abuse online, Indian female leaders deal with nearly twice as much harassment than their counterparts in the U.K. or the U.S., according to the report.

Gender inequality remains a salient issue in India, which ranks 135 out of 187 on the Gender Inequality Index. In 2018, India was ranked the most dangerous country in the world for women and in recent months, violence against women has resurged. While last year’s election ushered in a record-high le..

Why Chile’s SATs Have Become the New Frontline of Inequality Protests

School’s out for summer in Chile. But the vacation isn’t proving very relaxing for high school students in the South American country. A group of Chilean teenagers have spent the last few weeks opening a new and controversial front in the nationwide protests over inequality that started in October: Chile’s version of the SAT.

On Jan. 6 and 7, roughly 300,000 high school seniors were set to take the University Selection Test (PSU) – a prerequisite for applying to college in Chile. But hundreds of young people, led by ACES, a far-left students’ union for highschoolers, disrupted the test centers, blocking entrances, burning test papers and clashing with security forces. At least 82,000 students were unable to take one of the four tests that make up the PSU. ACES is promising to repeat the disruption on Jan. 27 and 28, when authorities plan to rerun the exams. In the meantime, students have occupied the offices of exam authorities, and protested in the streets, calling for an end to the ..

‘Who is She?’ Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin Questions Greta Thunberg’s Economic Expertise at Davos

U.S. Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin suggested that Greta Thunberg isn’t the best person to give advice on economic issues related to climate change — at least not until she goes to college.

At a press briefing at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Mnuchin criticized the 17-year-old environmental activist’s call to divest from fossil fuels immediately, according to the Associated Press.

Asked how such restrictions would affect the U.S. economic model, Mnuchin responded, “Is she the chief economist or who is she? I’m confused,” the AP reported. He paused before adding that his comments were “a joke.”

“After she goes and studies economics in college she can come back and explain that to us,” Mnuchin said.

Thunberg, who has been outspoken about the lack of progress on climate change, tweeted Thursday that “it doesn’t take a college degree in economics” to realize that our remaining 1.5° carbon budget and ongoing fossil fuel subsidies and investments don’t add up.”

My gap year ends i..

University of Minnesota Student Jailed for 6 Months for Critical Tweets He Sent in the U.S.

The case of a Chinese student jailed for tweets he sent while studying in America underscores that being overseas is no protection from Beijing’s censors.

Luo Daiqing, who attends the University of Minnesota in the U.S., was sentenced to six months in jail by a district court in November for “provocation” after he posted tweets that “defaced the image of the country’s leaders” and had a “negative impact” on society. He was detained in his hometown of Wuhan between July 12 and Jan. 11.

A Twitter account linked to Luo posted photos showing government slogans printed over a cartoon villain who looks similar to Chinese President Xi Jinping, according to Axios, which first reported the case Wednesday. The account, which was inaccessible on Thursday, also posted images of Winnie the Pooh, whose likeness is considered sensitive on Chinese social media due to unflattering comparisons to the Communist Party chief.

The case is another sign that China is cracking down on government criticism, ..

3 Americans Killed in Australia After Tanker Plane Crashes While Battling Bushfires

(SYDNEY) — Three American crew members died Thursday when a C-130 Hercules aerial water tanker crashed while battling wildfires in southeastern Australia, officials said.

New South Wales Premier Gladys Berejiklian confirmed the crash deaths in the state’s Snowy Monaro region as Australia attempts to deal with an unprecedented fire season that has left a large swath of destruction.

Coulson Aviation in the U.S. state of Oregon said in a statement that one of its Lockheed large air tankers was lost after it left Richmond in New South Wales with retardant for a firebombing mission. It said the accident was “extensive” but had few other details.

“The only thing I have from the field reports are that the plane came down, it’s crashed and there was a large fireball associated with that crash,” said Rural Fire Service Commissioner Shane Fitzsimmons.

He said all three aboard were U.S. residents.

“Unfortunately, all we’ve been able to do is locate the wreckage and the crash site and we have..

Free Speech Groups Call for Release of U.S. Environmental Journalist Arrested in Indonesia

Free speech advocates are calling for the release of an American journalist for an environmental news site after he was jailed on this week in Indonesia on allegations that he violated the conditions of his visa, according to his employer.

Philip Jacobson, an editor for the non-profit U.S.-based conservation and environmental science platform Mongabay, was traveling on a business visa in the city of Palangkaraya, the capital of Central Kalimantan province, on the island of Borneo when he was detained on Dec. 17, according to a post on Mongabay’s website. He had attended a dialogue between Central Kalimantan’s parliament and an indigenous rights group, the Indigenous Peoples Alliance of the Archipelago (AMAN), the day prior.

Jacobson, 30, was released after his initial detention, but ordered to remain in the city while authorities investigated. On Tuesday, police arrested him.

His lawyer Aryo Nugroho, the head of Indonesian Legal Aid, said that the case appears to focus on his use of..

The Global Mental Health Crisis Requires a Worldwide Investment, Advocates Say On TIME Davos Panel

Mental health issues affect billions of people across every corner of the globe, touching every community and every family, and mounting evidence shows the issue is worsening.

To combat the issue, we need to urgently grow our investment in programs that expand access to care, mental health advocates said at a TIME lunch on Wednesday in Davos, Switzerland. “Invest in the system, invest in our rights,” said Elisha London, founder and CEO of United for Global Mental Health. She called for $1 billion in spending on mental health programs worldwide: “It has to happen now.”

The event, held on the sidelines of the annual meeting of the World Economic Forum, featured a discussion with Indian actress Deepika Padukone, a tribute to Bernard J. Tyson (the late former Chairman and CEO of Kaiser Permanente), and a panel of mental health advocates in discussion with TIME Executive Editor Susanna Schrobsdorff.

The call for investment received attention for a very good reason: current mental health ..

Airlines and Airports Across the World Are Working to Limit the Spread of Deadly Coronavirus. Here’s What to Know

Airports and airlines are stepping up efforts to protect staff and passengers amid heightened concern over the outbreak of a deadly virus originating from the Chinese city of Wuhan. At least 17 people have died with close to 500 infected, including the first confirmed case in the U.S.

The level of alarm is rising as the coronavirus spreads. China said it will conduct nationwide screening and improve monitoring of transportation links for the Lunar New Year holidays, which start at the end of this week. That complicates efforts to contain the virus as hundreds of millions of people travel during the period, the biggest annual migration of humans on the planet. People found to have symptoms such as fever at travel checkpoints are being stopped from boarding planes and trains.

Read more: Here’s What It’s Like in Wuhan, the Chinese City at the Center of the Deadly Coronavirus Outbreak

Elsewhere, major hubs like London Heathrow have begun to monitor people disembarking flights from the c..

‘You Can Feel the Emptiness There.’ Auschwitz Survivor Reflects on 75th Anniversary of Nazi Death Camp’s Liberation

(MUNICH) — Only 2 years old and so ill she had to stay on for weeks after liberation, Eva Umlauf was one of the youngest prisoners to be freed from Auschwitz.

Although she has no conscious memories stretching so far back, her early childhood in the Nazi death camp was to cast a dark shadow over her entire life.

“Auschwitz is deeply burned inside my body and soul,” Umlauf said on a January day almost 75 years after Auschwitz was freed by the Soviet Red Army. A petite woman with a pageboy haircut and eyes as blue as the camp tattoo on her arm, the 77-year-old doctor reminisced about her post-war childhood.

“There was an emptiness growing up after Auschwitz, so many of our family members were gone,” she said.

“It was just my mom, my sister and me who survived,” Umlauf added in a calm, measured voice, sitting in her elegant apartment on the outskirts of Munich. “We saw my father for the last time at the ramp at Auschwitz when we were taken off the train.”

It’s a miracle that Umlauf su..

Africa’s Richest Woman Is Being Accused of Stealing Money from a Country Suffering from an Economic Crisis. Here’s What to Know

In a video interview at a summit hosted by the London School of Economics in May 2017, Isabel dos Santos, Africa’s richest woman, addresses the camera face on. “What’s important is that we start telling the real African story…we hear a lot of the stories of what’s wrong, and I don’t think we hear enough of the stories of what’s right,” says the Angolan businesswoman, before explaining that she strives for “a culture of excellence, a culture of merit, a culture where young people have the opportunity to get a good job.”

Dos Santos was speaking in her capacity as chairwoman of Angola’s giant state oil company, Sonangol Group—a post to which she’d been appointed the previous year by her father, Angola’s president. When her father retired later that year, dos Santos was fired from the position. Leaked documents now show that a day later, she approved $58 million in payments from Sonangol to a company in Dubai directed by one of her business partners.

It’s just one of many corruption al..

Mexican Police Say They’ve Arrested a Suspected Tijuana Serial Killer After Finding 5 Bodies

(TIJUANA, Mexico) — A fifth body has been found on a property in this border city, and Mexican officials said Tuesday that they are beginning to suspect they may have a serial killer in custody.

Baja California state prosecutor Hiram Sánchez said the suspect, who is the son-in-law of the first couple found buried on the property last week, may have lured victims with offers of cars for sale. The suspect’s name has not been released.

Sánchez said the suspect will face murder charges in the deaths of his in-laws. But he added that investigators are looking into several other reported disappearances in which the missing people were last ween near the property on the city’s south side.

A fifth body was found found there Monday, a male who had not yet been identified, officials said.

Four bodies were uncovered at the property last week. Authorities said they initially found the bodies of the suspect’s in-laws, dual U.S.-Mexican citizens. Then late Saturday, officials announced two more ..

More U.S. Troops Evaluated for Possible Injuries After Iranian Missile Attack on Base

(WASHINGTON) — Additional U.S. troops have been flown out of Iraq for closer evaluation of potential concussion injuries from the Iranian missile attack of Jan. 8, U.S. defense officials said Tuesday.

The exact number of troops flown to Germany was not immediately clear, but officials said it was a small number. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because some details were still being sorted out. Last week, 11 U.S. service members were flown from Iraq to U.S. medical facilities in Germany and Kuwait for further evaluation of concussion-like symptoms.

Navy Capt. Bill Urban, spokesman for U.S. Central Command, which oversees military operations across the Middle East, confirmed the additional evacuations but did not say how many were included.

“As medical treatment and evaluations in theater continue, additional service members have been identified as having potential injuries,” Urban said Tuesday evening. “These service members — out of an abundance of caution — have been t..

Here’s What It’s Like in Wuhan, the Chinese City at the Center of the Deadly Coronavirus Outbreak

Rows of blue-shuttered market stalls remain bolted behind streams of police tape. On one side of the street, a queue of market workers line up for inspection by health personnel. On the other, under a sign that reads “Huanan Seafood Market,” figures clad in white hazmat suits carry bundles of evidence into a small camouflage tent.

It’s been six weeks since a mysterious pneumonia-like virus was first discovered in China’s central city of Wuhan, and the investigation continued Wednesday at the market deemed the source of the outbreak. There have now been more than 440 confirmed cases. The vast majority are here in Wuhan, though the disease has spread beyond mainland China to Japan, Thailand, South Korea, Taiwan and the United States. Nine deaths have been confirmed.

Whether the ongoing work at the market indicates thoroughness or a misstep on the part of the local authorities is difficult to decipher in China’s notoriously opaque political system. President Xi Jinping issued a directiv..

‘A Trust Paradox.’ New Report Finds Distrust in Capitalism, Government and Global Institutions — Despite a Strong Economy

A new report found widespread distrust in societal institutions — defined as government, business, NGOs and the media — despite a strong global economy, a phenomenon it deemed a “trust paradox.” The report concluded that people’s fears about the future are driving this trend, and proposed institutions prioritize balancing competence with ethical behavior to rebuild public trust.

The “Trust Barometer 2020” report was conducted by the communications firm Edelman, which has been running the survey for the past 20 years. The Barometer, which aims to survey trust and credibility around the world, is usually released at the start the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, which began on Tuesday. The 2020 barometer surveyed over 34,000 people in 28 countries.

Despite the strong global economy, the report found that 56% of respondents believe capitalism as it exists today does more harm than good in the world; fewer than one in three people in developed markets said they believe they an..

Hundreds of Central American Migrants Stuck in River ‘No-Man’s Land’ After Mexican Troops Block Their Way North

(CIUDAD HIDALGO, Mexico) — Hundreds of Central American migrants who waded across a river into Mexico in hopes of eventually reaching the U.S. were sent back to their homeland or retreated across the border Tuesday after Mexican troops blocked their way.

Fewer than 100 remained in the no-man’s-land along the river between Guatemala and Mexico.

The caravan of thousands had set out from Honduras last week in hopes Mexico would grant them passage, posing a fresh test for President Donald Trump’s effort to reduce the flow of migrants arriving at the U.S. border by pressuring other governments to stop them.

Mexican Foreign Secretary Marcelo Ebrard said 2,400 of the migrants entered Mexico legally over the weekend. About 1,000 of them requested Mexico’s help in returning to their countries. The rest were being held in immigration centers while they start legal processes that would allow them to seek refuge in Mexico or obtain temporary work permits that would confine them to southern Mexi..