Disputed Venezuela assembly takes parliament’s powers

Venezuela constituent assemblyImage copyrightREUTERS
Image captionThe constituent assembly was set up despite fierce criticism at home and abroad

Venezuela’s controversial new constituent assembly has overwhelmingly voted in favour of assuming the powers of the opposition-led parliament.

Parliament has rejected the move. President Maduro says the new assembly will end political unrest, but many say it is a slide towards dictatorship.

Meanwhile Colombia says the former chief prosecutor Luisa Ortega Diaz has arrived in the capital Bogota.

Mrs Ortega said she feared for her life after being sacked by the new assembly.

Once a staunch supporter of President Maduro, she had become a strong critic of his socialist government in recent months.

Her whereabouts had been unknown following her dismissal on 5 August.

On Friday Mrs Ortega told a regional conference via videolink that she had evidence that Mr Maduro was embroiled in a corruption scandal involving the Brazilian construction company, Odebrecht.

Odebrecht has admitted paying bribes to win contracts in 12 countries, though no Venezuelans have been named.

  • Is Maduro on a power grab?
  • What lies ahead for divided Venezuela?
  • Venezuela crisis explained

The Venezuelan parliament said citizens and the international community would not recognise the constituent assembly’s new powers.

The head of the Organization of American States (OAS) Luis Almagro called the move an “illegitimate dissolution” of the elected parliament.

Regional economic bloc Mercosur – which includes the region’s two biggest economies Brazil and Argentina – also condemned the move.

Mercosur suspended Venezuela indefinitely earlier this month, urging Mr Maduro to release prisoners and begin a political transition.

Luisa OrtegaImage copyrightAFP/GETTY
Image captionFormer chief prosecutor Mrs Ortega has fled to Colombia

The heads of the parliament and the new assembly have been trading insults on social media.

Parliament head Julio Borges accused the new assembly of a “coup” while new assembly head Delcy Rodriguez – a close ally of Mr Maduro – denounced his “lies”.

Mr Maduro’s wife and son are among the 545 members of the new assembly, which was set up following a controversial election earlier this month.

More than 120 people have been killed in violent protests since April.

The president’s opponents want to hold a vote to remove him, blaming his left-wing administration for food shortages and soaring inflation in the oil-rich country.

Media captionYour video guide to the crisis gripping Venezuela

What is the new body – and why is it so controversial?

Constituent assemblies are set up for the specific purpose of drafting or adopting a constitution, and as such can fundamentally change how a country is run.

Venezuela has seen waves of violent protests, and Mr Maduro presented the assembly as a way of promoting “reconciliation and peace”.

An ally of Mr Maduro, former foreign minister Delcy Rodriguez, is president of the new body

How widely is it supported?

The election for the constituent assembly was marred by violence and accusations of fraud.

Venezuela’s electoral authorities said more than eight million people, or 41.5% of the electorate, had voted, a figure the company that provided the voting system said was inflated.

The opposition boycotted the poll and also held an unofficial referendum in which they said more than seven million Venezuelans voted against the constituent assembly.

How does the international community see it?

The US has imposed sanctions on Mr Maduro, with the Trump administration calling him a “dictator”.

The European Union and major Latin American nations say they will not recognise the new body.

Mr Maduro retains a major ally in Russia, however, and has the support of several left-wing nations in the Americas.

Steve Bannon fired as Trump White House’s top strategist

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White House chief strategist Steve Bannon is the latest top aide of President Donald Trump to leave his post.

Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders confirmed that Friday was his last day.

His exit follows a review of his position by White House Chief of Staff John Kelly.

Mr Bannon, who helped shape Mr Trump’s “America First” campaign message, is returning as head of Breitbart.com, and says he will remain loyal.

Bye Bye Bannon, Washington’s second most powerful man
Who was Donald Trump’s chief strategist?
The White House revolving door
The 63-year-old is executive chairman of the website, which has been accused of voicing anti-Semitic and white supremacist views.

In another departure from Mr Trump’s team, billionaire investor Carl Icahn announced he was ending his role as the president’s special advisor on regulatory reform, after facing criticism that his advice could benefit his own businesses.

Media captionSome of the people who have resigned or been fired under President Trump
Mr Bannon is known to have competed for influence in the West Wing against more moderate factions, including members of the Trump family.

He told the Bloomberg TV network: “I’m leaving the White House and going to war for Trump against his opponents – on Capitol Hill, in the media, and in corporate America.”

Mr Trump raised eyebrows earlier this year when he elevated Mr Bannon to the National Security Council, the main group advising the president on national security and foreign affairs.

But he was subsequently removed from the council in a move that was seen as a sign of National Security Adviser HR McMaster’s growing influence over the president.

Mr Bannon has reportedly feuded with Mr McMaster as well as Gary Cohn, the director of the president’s National Economic Council and a former Goldman Sachs chief viewed as a globalist.

Mr Cohn, along with President Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, and daughter, Ivanka Trump, were viewed as threats to Mr Bannon’s White House agenda.

Taking credit did him in

By Anthony Zurcher, BBC North America reporter

Steve Bannon may be out as a senior White House adviser, but Bannonism – if that’s what it can properly be called – is still firmly entrenched in the White House.

Donald Trump has repeatedly boasted that the success of his presidential campaign should properly be attributed to him, not Mr Bannon. And, in the end, Mr Bannon’s desire to take credit for that win may have been what did him in.

It certainly wasn’t because of any sharp ideological divides between the president and the former head of Breitbart News.

Border security, aggressive trade protectionism, immigration reform and a certain kind of cultural nostalgia – all were themes that Mr Trump ran on from the start, which Mr Bannon only sharpened and focused. They’re also issues Mr Trump has pushed in recent weeks, even as Mr Bannon has been increasingly marginalised.

Mr Bannon’s firing will be seen as a win for Chief of Staff John Kelly, whose attempts to instil discipline in the White House will get a boost without the free-wheeling Mr Bannon roaming the hallways.

Trump was Trump before Mr Bannon came on the scene, however. And as the rollercoaster ride that was politics this week indicates, the president isn’t changing anytime soon.

Mr Trump fuelled speculation when asked last week about Mr Bannon’s future as he replied: “We’ll see.”

Mr Bannon’s interview this week with the American Prospect, a liberal magazine, reportedly infuriated the president.

The White House aide was quoted as dismissing the idea of a military solution in North Korea, undercutting Mr Trump.

He told the magazine the US was “at economic war with China” and that he aimed to push out moderates whom he believed were soft on China.

Mr Bannon told associates he thought it was an off-the-record chat and did not realise he would be quoted.

He has pushed for imposing additional tariffs on China and other trade partners to reduce deficits with those countries.

He also advocated for a travel ban on citizens of certain Muslim-majority countries.

Ms Huckabee Sanders’ statement said: “White House Chief of Staff John Kelly and Steve Bannon have mutually agreed today would be Steve’s last day.

“We are grateful for his service and wish him the best.”

Source familiar with the decision said Mr Bannon had been given the chance to leave on his own terms.

Who else left Trump’s White House team?

Anthony Scaramucci, communications director – 31 July

Reince Priebus, chief of staff – 28 July

Sean Spicer, press secretary – 21 July

Mike Dubke, communications director, 30 May

Michael Flynn, national security adviser – 14 February

This photo sums up White House turmoil

Mr Bannon took over as chief of Trump’s presidential campaign in August 2016.

He was formerly a US Navy officer, Goldman Sachs investment banker, Hollywood movie producer and head of Breitbart News.

The right-wing outlet that has boisterously supported Mr Trump announced his return within hours.

Breitbart’s senior editor-at-large Joel Pollak tweeted: “#WAR” before Bannon made it clear he was staying on the president’s side.

Barcelona attack: New manhunt for suspected driver

Image copyrightAFP/GETTY
Image captionAbouyaaqoub, 22, is believed to be on the run
The driver in Thursday’s van attack that killed 13 people in a tourist area of Barcelona may still be alive and on the run, Spanish police say.

They are hunting for Moroccan-born Younes Abouyaaqoub, named by Spanish media as the suspected driver.

A man previously reported as the key suspect, Moussa Oukabir, 17, was one of five men killed by police after a later attack in Cambrils, west of Barcelona.

Police say the suspects had been planning more sophisticated attacks.

They said blasts on Wednesday in the town of Alcanar deprived plotters of bomb material so they carried out simpler attacks using vehicles.

Abouyaaqoub, 22, lived in the town of Ripoll to the north of Barcelona. Three people were arrested in Ripoll and one person in Alcanar on Friday.

What we know so far
Barcelona tells world ‘I’m not afraid’
Oukabir had previously been seen as the main suspect – but late on Friday police chief Josep Trapero told local TV that the theory that he was the driver now “had less weight”.

El Pais newspaper said there was a growing belief that Abouyaacoub was the main suspect.

Oukabir is suspected of using his brother’s documents to rent the van used in the Barcelona attack and another found hours later in the town of Vic, north of Barcelona, that was intended as a getaway vehicle.

Image captionMoussa Oukabir was one of five men killed in Cambrils
In the early hours of Friday police shot dead five attackers including Oukabir in Cambrils after they drove a car into pedestrians killing one woman and injuring six others.

The attackers’ vehicle overturned and when the men got out they were quickly fired upon by police. One was reportedly brandishing a knife.

Police chief Trapero said one officer killed four of the attackers single-handedly.

The men were wearing what appeared to be explosive belts, police said, but these proved to be fake.

American honeymooner killed in Barcelona
Spain attacks timeline
Spain’s long anti-terror experience
Police have named three of the five attackers in Cambrils – Said Aallaa, 18, Mohamed Hychami, 24, and Oukabir.

Oukabir’s brother Driss was among the three people arrested in Ripoll. He reportedly turned himself in, telling police he was not involved and that his documents had been stolen.

Media captionWhat was it like to be caught up in the Barcelona attack?
Thursday’s attack occurred when a Fiat van was driven down the pedestrianised Las Ramblas area on Thursday afternoon, killing 13 and injured scores more people.

Only five of the dead have been named so far:

American Jared Tucker, 43
Canadian Ian Moore Wilson
Spaniard Francisco López Rodríguez, in his 60s
Italian Bruno Gulotta, 35
Italian Luca Russo, 25
A 74-year-old Portuguese woman, a 40-year-old woman with dual Argentinian and Spanish citizenship and a Belgian were also killed, their governments said.

Seven-year-old Julian Cadman, a dual British-Australian national who was separated from his mother during the attack, is missing, ABC Australia reports. His mother was reportedly among the seriously injured.

Media captionFootage shows police surrounding a white van moments after the attack
The Islamic State (IS) group said it had carried out the attacks, though it is not clear whether the attackers were directly connected to the group or simply inspired by it.

What is the timeline of events?

Alcanar, Wednesday evening: An explosion rips through a house in the small town, 200km south of Barcelona. One person dies. Police chief Josep Lluis Trapero said it appeared the residents at the house had been “preparing an explosive device”. A Catalan government official says a cell may have intended to use gas canisters in the Las Ramblas attack
Barcelona, Thursday 16:50 (14:50 GMT): A white Fiat van drives down Las Ramblas in central Barcelona, killing 13 people and injuring scores. The driver flees on foot
Vic, Thursday 18:30: Police find a second van, thought to be a getaway vehicle, in the town, 80km north of Barcelona

Sant Just Desvern, Thursday 19:30: A car is driven towards officers at a checkpoint on the outskirts of Barcelona. They open fire. A man is later found dead in the passenger seat of the car with stab wounds. The dead man is not linked to the Las Ramblas attack, officials say, but investigations are ongoing. One theory is that the car was stolen and the man was killed by the carjacker, who is still at large
Cambrils, Friday 01:00: A second vehicle attack takes place in the resort south of Barcelona. Police kill five terrorist suspects said to be linked to the Las Ramblas attack. They include Moussa Oukabir, 17, initially thought to be the Las Ramblas attacker. Police later say another man, Younes Abouyaaqoub, is being hunted

Archaeologists Put Sound Back Into A Previously Silent Past

Many attempts to explain how past people experienced their wider world have focused on sight at the expense of sound, but researchers from the University at Albany and UB have developed a tool that puts sound back into the ancient landscape.

UAlbany’s Kristy Primeau and UB’s David Witt use GIS technology to advance a largely theoretical discussion into a modeled sensory experience to explore how people may have heard their surroundings throughout an entire archaeological landscape, or soundscape.

The results, published in the Journal of Archaeological Science: Reports, have more fully animated the ancient world and opened a discussion about how people at various locations, at sites ranging from sacred to political, experienced their soundscapes. The findings ultimately color what was formerly a sterile space into a living place — and sound ties itself to the identity of that place.

This attempt to infuse character into the material world and incorporate the relationship between people and their surroundings is part of what’s called phenomenology.

“From a phenomenological perspective, the difference between a space and a place is critical. People don’t live in a vacuum and we have to look at all aspects of the lived experience,” says Primeau, an archaeologist and PhD candidate at UAlbany. “There is more to the experience of the landscape than just being present there.

“The phenomenological approach tries to learn about the past by finding those things that resonate with the way we experience the landscape now,” she says. When people share a common culture it contributes to a general conception of experience within the landscape that includes meaning, memory and identity. “Sound is one way in which we hope to understand a multifaceted experience of the people that lived in these ‘places.’”

Primeau and Witt are both employees of the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC). Sound, and its effect on people and animals, is among the factors the DEC considers as part of its permitting process.

Witt, who is a research associate in the UB Department of Anthropology, developed a spreadsheet for the DEC that calculates the impact of sound on the environment. The spreadsheet models the effect of distance and intervening features on sound. That data provides a two-dimensional, point-to-point analysis that the researchers expanded further into a program for GIS technology that models sound over the entire landscape, from one point to all surrounding locations.

With this three-dimensional tool, Primeau and Witt explored Chaco Canyon, New Mexico, a major cultural center for ancestral Pueblo people that reached its high point around A.D. 1040.

Chaco Canyon offered advantages and curiosities that made it an attractive location to study. The required data for the site was readily available, but it also illustrates the sight-centered focus of archaeological research.

“Southwestern archaeologists have been talking about whether or not buildings and other structures were placed in their locations so they could see people, or be seen by people,” Witt says. “It got me wondering if these sites were located where they were to hear, as well as see, other locations.”

They explored the possible relationships between the features of the built environment and the canyon’s performance space. Their work suggests that certain features could have been placed at their locations so culturally relevant sounds like a raised voice, which might serve as an alert, could be heard elsewhere.

But it’s the sound of musical instruments that might provide the most direct evidence of intentional design, specifically the conch shell trumpet.

“Individuals at [four different points] would have heard a conch shell trumpet blown on the platform found at Pueblo Bonito,” Primeau and Witt write in their paper. “We interpret this to illustrate that events at the mound were not just meant to be experienced in front of Pueblo Bonito, but throughout Downtown Chaco.”

Witt and Primeau say they’re still working on the model and this research is a first step into an innovative area of research.

“There aren’t a lot of people who do this type of work,” says Primeau. “It brings a new component into landscape studies.”

It’s not just opioid addiction. Alcoholism may be on the rise too.

Jasper Juinen/Getty Images
You’ve probably heard of America’s increasing struggles with opioid addiction in the past few years. But there’s another drug that the country appears to be increasingly misusing as well: alcohol.

According to a new study published in JAMA Psychiatry, several signs of alcohol misuse are on the rise. Between 2001-’02 and 2012-’13, 12-month alcohol use increased from 65.4 percent to 72.7 percent, and high-risk drinking increased from 9.7 percent to 12.6 percent. And alcohol use disorder (alcoholism) increased from 8.5 percent to 12.7 percent — a whopping 49.4 percent increase. The increase in alcoholism in particular suggests that nearly 30 million Americans now suffer from alcohol addiction.

The increase in alcoholism was more pronounced among women, racial minorities, older adults, people with a high school education or less, people earning $20,000 or less a year, people living within 200 percent of the poverty threshold, and people residing in urban areas — many of which are socioeconomically disadvantaged groups.

The study looked at two waves of data from the National Epidemiologic Survey on Alcohol and Related Conditions, which involved face-to-face interviews with tens of thousands of US adults. They then compared how the findings differed in the 2001-’02 period with the 2012-’13 period. They found an across-the-board increase in alcohol misuse.

One caveat: Data from a separate survey, the National Survey on Drug Use and Health(NSDUH), indicates that the prevalence of alcohol use disorder slightly declined from 2002 to 2013. The surveys do use different methodologies, but it’s unclear why there are such stark differences in the two surveys’ findings.

Still, the JAMA Psychiatry study’s data isn’t the first to indicate a rise in alcohol-related problems in America. Between 2001 and 2015, the number of alcohol-induced deaths (those that involve direct health complications from alcohol, like liver cirrhosis) rose from about 20,000 to more than 33,000. Before the latest increases, an analysis of data from 2006 to 2010 by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) already estimated that alcohol is linked to 88,000 deaths a year — more than all drug overdose deaths combined.

In short, alcohol already posed major public health problems for the US. But now we have evidence that such problems are getting much worse very quickly.

America’s struggle with addiction

There are several possible explanations for the study’s findings. Over the past few decades, alcohol has become easier to access, while addiction treatment services have remained hard to reach. It’s also likely that socioeconomic and mental health issues are playing a role, as people turn to alcohol and other drugs to essentially self-medicate all sorts of problems.

For one, the effective price of alcohol has dropped over the past few decades — making it much easier to buy and misuse the drug. A 2013 study published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, for example, estimated that one drink per day of the cheapest brand of spirits cost the typical person 4.46 percent of his disposable income in 1950, but just 0.29 percent in 2011. There were similar decreases for wine and beer as well.

“The price of alcohol has fallen sharply over recent decades, and that is the most compelling explanation for why the population is drinking more,” Keith Humphreys, a drug policy expert at Stanford University, told me. “Even the heaviest drinkers respond to changes in the cost of alcohol.”

At the same time, treatment for alcoholism and other kinds of drug addiction remains stubbornly inaccessible. According to the surgeon general’s 2016 report on addiction, only 10 percent of people suffering from a drug use disorder get specialty treatment. The report attributed the low rate to shortages in the supply of care, with some areas of the country lacking affordable options for treatment — which can lead to waiting periods of weeks or even months just to get help.

Some experts argue that the simultaneous increase in deaths of despair — alcohol-related deaths, drug overdoses, and suicides — point to deeper problems in America. Leo Beletsky, a professor of law and health sciences at Northeastern University, points to “changes in welfare policy, changes in the economy, and social isolation” as crucial to understanding why America has seen an increase in these deaths.

We know the environment can play a big role in addiction. There’s a classic experiment behind this idea: the Rat Park. Some of the original experiments on cocaine and heroin addiction were conducted under animal testing settings in which rats were caged off and socially isolated, with drugs as their only real form of recreation. These experiments suggested the drugs were extremely addictive, leading rats to use them literally to their deaths.

So Bruce Alexander, a Canadian researcher, decided to see what would happen if drugs were instead offered in a bigger cage in which rats could interact with other rats. His results were striking: While rats in cramped, isolated cages preferred drug-laced water, rats in healthier, more social environments preferred plain water — even when the drug-laced water was made intensely sweet. The results suggest that it’s not just the presence of drugs but other variables that drive people to use these substances.

The alcohol study in JAMA Psychiatry cites socioeconomic conditions to explain the increases in alcohol-related problems among racial minorities: “Wealth inequality between minorities and whites has widened during and after the 2008 recession, possibly leading to increased stress and demoralization.”

When you put all of these issues together, you begin to get an idea of how America has over the past few years seen its alcohol problem grow worse and worse.

There are policies to deter alcohol misuse

There are policies to combat alcohol-related problems. Now, when Americans think about alcohol policy, the first thing that comes to mind is probably Prohibition, which effectively banned the manufacture and sale of alcohol from 1920 to 1933. But there are all sorts of other policies that could help address bad outcomes due to drinking.

A small sample:

A higher alcohol tax: A 2010 review of the research in the American Journal of Public Health came out with strong findings: “Our results suggest that doubling the alcohol tax would reduce alcohol-related mortality by an average of 35%, traffic crash deaths by 11%, sexually transmitted disease by 6%, violence by 2%, and crime by 1.4%.”
Reducing the number of alcohol outlets: A 2009 review published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine also found that limiting the number of alcohol outlets (such as liquor stores) in an area through stricter licensing, for example, can limit problematic drinking and its dangers. But it also found that going too far can have negative results — by, for example, causing more car crashes as people take longer drives to outlets and possibly drink before returning home.
Revoking alcohol offenders’ right to drink: South Dakota’s 24/7 Sobriety programeffectively revokes people’s right to drink if a court deems it necessary after an alcohol-related offense. The program, specifically, monitors offenders through twice-a-day breathalyzer tests or a bracelet that can track blood alcohol level, and jails them for one or two days for each failed test. Studies from the RAND Corporation have linked the program to drops in mortality, DUI arrests, and domestic violence arrests.
Put state governments in charge of selling alcohol: A 2014 report from RAND concluded that when state governments monopolize alcohol sales through state-run shops, they can keep prices higher, reduce access to youth, and reduce overall levels of use.
These are just a few of the ideas that experts have put out there. There are many more ways to curtail alcohol consumption and misuse without outright banning it.

Different individuals will likely disagree on whether these proposals go too far in restricting personal liberty, even if they do save some lives. But the research suggests such policies are at least worth considering.

Yet lawmakers have paid very little attention to alcohol policy. As Philip Cook, a public policy expert at Duke University who wrote Paying the Tab: The Costs and Benefits of Alcohol Control, previously told me, the last time Congress raised the federal alcohol tax was 1991 — and that’s let the real impact of the tax erode due to increasing inflation.

“The great opportunity we have is to restore taxes to the real value that they had a few decades ago,” Cook said. “That’s justified by the current social costs of drinking, and would have all kinds of beneficial effects, while being justified just from the point of view that drinkers should pay for the damage that they do.”

Part of the problem is that policymakers just don’t feel much pressure to act on these kinds of public health problems — at least in the same way they feel compelled to act on an issue like, say, terrorism. So alcohol misuse and related problems get worse and worse, and thousands of people die needlessly every year.

A South Korean journalist explains why her country isn’t panicking

People watch President Trump on TV at a railway station in Seoul on Wednesday.

Americans are afraid of war with North Korea, even though the United States probably wouldn’t be the first target if North Korea were to attack.

South Korea is a different story.

Seoul’s 25.6 million residents are in direct firing range of thousands of pieces of North Korean artillery already lined up along the border. And around 70 percent of North Korea’s ground forces are within 90 miles of the border, ready to move south at a moment’s notice. One war game convened by the Atlantic magazine back in 2005 predicted that a North Korean attack would kill 100,000 people in Seoul in the first few days alone.

But unlike in the US, few in South Korea seem panicked over the possibility of an impending war with North Korea. Instead, they are unfazed. The South Korean government even saidon Thursday that it has “no sense of urgency” about North Korea.

So what gives? Are South Koreans just braver than Americans? Or have they simply gotten so used to living under the threat of annihilation that they’ve become numb to it?

To find out, I called Haeryun Kang, the managing editor of Korea Exposé, an English-language magazine and website based in Seoul. Kang told me that it all comes down to South Korea’s complicated, and contradictory, relationship with the North.

“In South Korea, it’s deeply personal, and it’s deeply complex. You don’t encounter North Korea just as a foreign country. It’s supposed to be your brother, your family, that one day you’re supposed to reunite with,” she said. “This kind of familial attachment coexists simultaneously with this aversion to North Korea because it’s a military threat.”

What follows is a transcript of our conversation, lightly edited for clarity and length.

A War of Fiery Words, for Now, Between North Korea and the U.S.

North Korean soldiers march in a military parade in Pyongyang on April 15 Ed Jones—AFP/Getty

North Korea’s relationship with the U.S. has always been rooted in bitter acrimony, with its periodic threats of annihilating America sounding almost quaint, coming, as they do, from an impoverished nation of 25 million. But never before has Pyongyang’s bluster been matched by a U.S. President’s. On Aug. 8, Donald Trump said the U.S. would unleash “fire and fury like the world has never seen” against the regime of Kim Jong Un after Pyongyang vowed to retaliate “thousands of times” against Washington for new U.N. sanctions.

Hours after Trump made his comments at his golf club in Bedminster, N.J., North Korea said it was “examining” a strike on American forces on the Pacific island of Guam. Then a tweet was sent out by U.S. Pacific Air Forces showing a picture of two B-1 bombers flanked by two F-15 fighter jets with the message: “ready to #fighttonight.” Former acting CIA director Mike Morell called the situation the most serious one since the 1962 Cuban missile crisis, the closest the globe came to nuclear war.

Yet the restraints that have prevented open conflict so far remain in place. If North Korea attacks the U.S. or its allies, the overwhelming response will mean the end of Kim’s regime. If the U.S. strikes North Korea, Pyongyang possesses enough conventional firepower to devastate nearby Seoul and possibly also Tokyo, at a cost of at least many thousands of lives. North Korea’s escalating missile and nuclear tests appear to have given it the capability to strike America with a nuclear-armed missile. Citing U.S. intelligence, the Washington Post has reported that Pyongyang may already have miniaturized a warhead that can fit inside long-range ballistic missiles, like the two it tested last month. Starting a nuclear war in order to force a rogue state to denuclearize doesn’t satisfy even the most rudimentary cost-benefit analysis.

The saber rattling came as the world piled more economic pressure on Kim. On Aug. 5, the U.N. Security Council unanimously passed Resolution 2371, which targets a third of North Korea’s $3 billion worth of foreign earnings–mainly iron, lead, coal and seafood exports–plus revenues through its banks and foreign ventures. U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Nikki Haley called it “the most stringent set of sanctions on any country in a generation.”

Resolution 2371 passed because China and Russia did not veto it. The key is Beijing. Were China, which is responsible for 90% of North Korea’s trade, to enforce its considerable part of the sanctions, Pyongyang would suffer a balance-of-payments deficit that could lead to spiraling costs and instability and possibly bring Kim to the negotiating table. Already North Korea is suffering grain shortages after a parched spring. At a regional conference in Manila, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said he warned his North Korean counterpart Ri Yong Ho, “Do not violate the U.N.’s decision or provoke the international society’s goodwill by conducting missile launching or nuclear tests.”

China’s cooperation does not come free. In exchange for a freeze on Pyongyang’s nuclear program, Beijing would like U.S. THAAD antimissile batteries withdrawn from South Korea and joint military drills nixed between Seoul and Washington (North Korea deems them a dress rehearsal for invasion). Moreover, Beijing will not allow the Kim regime to collapse when the result would be a flood of refugees, and possibly U.S. troops on its doorstep, on a unified, U.S.-allied Korean peninsula.

The hope is that Kim returns to the six-party talks–comprising North and South Korea, Japan, Russia, China and the U.S.–on denuclearization, which ran from 2003 to 2009 before his father Kim Jong Il walked away. During informal Track II meetings with U.S. representatives, however, North Korean officials repeatedly raised the fates of Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein and Libyan tyrant Muammar Gaddafi, both of whom were toppled by U.S.-backed uprisings after abandoning their pursuit of nuclear weapons.

“We do not seek a regime change [in Pyongyang],” U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said on Aug. 1. “We do not seek the collapse of the regime.” Kim is unlikely to buy this. But unless he returns to talks, the world has little choice but to accept North Korea as the world’s newest nuclear power–or face the calamity of “fire and fury.”

The Creators of Rain Room Bring an Eerie New Installation to London

LONDON, ENGLAND – AUGUST 09: Dancers Rebecca Bassett-Graham and Calvin Richardson perform in a new installation entitled ‘+/- Human’ at the Roundhouse on August 21, 2017 in London, England.  Carl Court – Getty Images
The Creators of Rain Room Bring an Eerie New Installation to London

The artistic company behind the world-renowned Rain Room has designed a new installation that brings visitors face-to-face with a swarm of spherical flying machines that interact and respond to the movement around them.

+/- Human, which will run from Aug. 10-28 in London’s Roundhouse, invites visitors to interact with a collection of flying white spheres made of plastic that whizz around the venue. First, visitors stand in the middle of the circular space and wait for white orbs to fly from the balcony towards them. The six spheres are each slightly larger than a beach ball and seem equally as weightless as they buzz through the air, powered by small propellers. At times they seem friendly, perhaps coming close enough to touch, and at others they seem hostile, hurtling off when they are approached.

On Friday and Saturday evenings the installation will host dancers from The Royal Ballet to interact with the orbs. Wayne McGregor, the celebrated choreographer and director who has curated the series, told TIME that he hopes to take it on tour, if he can find the appropriate space.

correspondent (in the brown jacket) interacts with the spheres at the London Roundhouse on
The installation is by Random International, the art studio that created Rain Room, in which motion detectors allowed participants in London, New York, Singapore and more to stay dry inside a simulated rainstorm. By contrast, +/- Human is an eerily sci fi-style experience, like finding yourself in a vacuum where the only other inhabitants are autonomous machines. They are mechanical yet anthropomorphic, perhaps like a cross between Pixar’s Wall-Eand BB-8 of Star Wars. They might also remind some visitors of the white blob that swallows humans in the 1960s TV series The Prisoner.

The uncannily life-like orbs are guided by motion sensors and algorithms that allow them to react with the visitors and each other. McGregor told TIME that the orbs function like biological algorithms in nature. “They can come towards you, hijack you, almost like a flock or a swarm,” he said.

The list of names connected to the project is impressive. McGregor has been resident choreographer of The Royal Ballet since 2006, and has choreographed everything from the New City Ballet to Radiohead’s video for Lotus Flower. The original music was scored by Warp Records’ Mark Pritchard, and the dancers are from The Royal Ballet.

Marcus Davey, the artistic director at the Roundhouse, said the project was designed to make audiences think about how they react to technology. “We’re living alongside algorithms whether we like it or not,” he said, adding that the “blurring boundaries” of the piece make the guests question “what it is to be human and what it isn’t to be human”.

Death Toll Rises Amid Kenya Rioting Over Disputed Vote

NAIROBI, KENYA – AUGUST 12: Opposition supporters take cover from Kenyan police forces as the two sides clashed in the Kibera slum on August 12, 2017 in Nairobi, Kenya. Demonstrations turned violent in some areas throughout Kenya after Uhuru Kenyatta was named to his second term in Kenya’s 2017 presidential election. (Photo by Andrew Renneisen/Getty Images) Andrew Renneisen—Getty Images
Death Toll Rises Amid Kenya Rioting Over Disputed Vote

(NAIROBI, Kenya) — Kenya’s post-election violence worsened Saturday as police used tear gas on a convoy of opposition officials in the capital and a mortuary official said nine bodies with gunshot wounds were brought to a Nairobi morgue from a slum that’s an opposition stronghold.

As rioting continued the day after President Uhuru Kenyatta won a second term in a vote the opposition claims had been rigged, an anguished father said his 9-year-old daughter was killed by a stray bullet while playing with friends.

Kenyan police shot and killed two people during riots by opposition supporters on the outskirts of Kisumu, a city where opposition leader Raila Odinga has strong support, according to Leonard Katana, a regional police commander. Another five people were injured by gunfire in Kisumu, Katana said.

The government should stop “the random killing of our people,” Odings’s brother Oburu Odinga said. The government accused “criminals” of taking advantage of the tense election period to loot and destroy property.

In Nairobi slums loyal to Odinga, police opened fire to disperse protesters who blocked roads and set up burning barricades. Associated Press photographers saw police charging demonstrators and firing live rounds and tear gas in the Mathare area.

Wycliff Mokaya told The Associated Press his 9-year-old daughter was killed by a stray bullet while on their third-floor balcony in Mathare.

“I was watching her play with her friends when she suddenly fell down,” Mokaya said. “She was my only hope.”

A mortuary official said nine bodies with gunshot wounds were brought to the Nairobi morgue from Mathare. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because he is not authorized to speak to the media.

Protesters, some with rocks or sticks, ran for cover as they came under fire in another Nairobi slum, Kibera. One person was shot and killed in Kibera overnight, said Sam Ochieng, a former chairman for Odinga’s party there.

An Associated Press photographer said police used tear gas on a large convoy of vehicles carrying opposition officials that tried to enter Kibera. Police also fired guns into the air.

Most of the country of 45 million people remained calm the day after the election commission announced that Kenyatta, whose father was Kenya’s first president after independence from British colonial rule, had won a second, five-year term.

In a victory speech, Kenyatta said he was extending a “hand of friendship” to the opposition, which alleged that the election commission’s database had been hacked and results were manipulated against Odinga.

Kenyatta won with a decisive 54 percent of the vote to nearly 45 percent for Odinga, but the bitter dispute over the integrity of the election process tempered what many Kenyans had hoped would be a celebration of democracy in a regional power known for its economic promise and long-term stability.

The unrest also exposed divisions in a society where poverty and corruption at top levels of government have angered large numbers of Kenyans, including those who have been protesting in the slums and see Odinga as a voice for their grievances.

Adding to the rift is ethnic loyalty. Kenyatta is widely seen as the representative of the Kikuyu people, the country’s largest ethnic group, while Odinga is associated with the Luo group, which has never produced a head of state.

But reconciliation efforts, the introduction of a progressive constitution in 2010 and an intense security operation during the recent election period have helped to ward off the kind of ethnic violence after the 2007 election in which more than 1,000 people were killed. Odinga ran unsuccessfully in that election; he also lost the 2013 vote to Kenyatta and took allegations of vote-tampering to Kenya’s highest court, which rejected his case.

Recalling its failed legal challenge in 2013, the opposition has said it will not go to court again. Its top leaders have, so far, refrained from publicly calling for mass protests.

Catholic leaders on Saturday appealed for calm and asked security forces to exercise caution during protests.

“No life should be lost because of an election,” said John Oballa Owaa, vice chairman of the Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops.

In separate statements, Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International also called on police to exercise restraint.

Submarine Owner Detained Over Journalist’s Disappearance After Ship Sinks

Peter Madsen, builder and captain of the private submarine “UC3 Nautilus” is pictured in Dragoer Harbor south of Copenhagen on Friday, August 11, 2017, following a major rescue operation after the submarine sank in the sea outside Copenhagen Harbor. A swedish woman supposed to be on board the submarine is still missing. / AFP PHOTO / Scanpix Denmark / Bax Lindhardt / Denmark OUT (Photo credit should read BAX LINDHARDT/AFP/Getty Images) BAX LINDHARDT—AFP/Getty Images

(COPENHAGEN, Denmark) — A Danish court ordered the owner of an amateur-built submarine Saturday to be held in pre-trial detention for 24 days while police investigate the disappearance of a Swedish journalist who had been on the ship before it sank.
Peter Madsen was arrested Friday on preliminary manslaughter charges, hours after his 40-ton, nearly 18-meter-long (60-foot-long) submarine sank off Denmark’s eastern coast.

He has denied responsibility for the fate of 30-year-old Kim Wall, saying the journalist disembarked before his vessel, named the UC3 Nautilus, went down.

Judge Kari Soerensen announced the ruling after a two-hour custody hearing held behind closed doors.

Madsen’s defense lawyer, Bettina Hald Engmark, said her client maintains his innocence. He is “willing to cooperate” and hasn’t decided whether to appeal the detention ruling, Hald Engmark said.

Before the hearing was closed, the courtroom was packed with Danish and Swedish reporters and the 46-year-old Madsen’s relatives. Madsen smiled and chatted with his lawyer.

“I would very much like to express myself,” he said after the preliminary charges were read.

Prosecutor Louise Pedersen said Madsen faces the preliminary manslaughter charge “for having killed in an unknown way and in an unknown place Kim Isabell Frerika Wall of Sweden sometime after Thursday 5 p.m.”

Wall’s boyfriend alerted authorities early Friday that the sub had not returned to Copenhagen as expected, prompting a major search involving two helicopters, three ships and several private boats. The Navy said the sub was seen sailing, but then sank shortly afterward.

Kristian Isbak, who had responded to the Navy’s call to help locate the ship on Friday, told The Associated Press he first spotted Madsen standing wearing his trademark military fatigues in the submarine’s tower while it was still afloat.

“He then climbed down inside the submarine and there was then some kind of air flow coming up and the submarine started to sink,” Isbak said. “(He) came up again and stayed in the tower until water came into it” before swimming to a nearby boat as the submarine sank, he added.

Madsen told authorities he had dropped Wall off on an island in Copenhagen’s harbor a few hours into their Thursday night trip.

“It is with great dismay that we received the news that Kim went missing during an assignment in Denmark,” her family said in statement emailed to The Associated Press.

The Sweden-born freelance journalist studied at the Sorbonne university in Paris, the London School of Economics and at Columbia University in New York, where she graduated with a master’s degree in journalism in 2013.

She lived in New York and Peking, her family said, and had written for The New York Times, The Guardian, the South China Morning Post and Vice Magazine, among other publications.

A salvage vessel, the Vina, on Saturday raised the submarine, which was seven meters (23 feet) under water off Copenhagen’s south island of Dragoer. The submarine was brought up some 7 kilometers (4.3 miles) off the coast and is expected to be transported to land at some point.

In theory, the Nautilus can dive up to 470 meters (1,550 feet) but has rarely gone deeper than 40 meters (132 feet), according to Madsen’s business web site.

If tried and found guilty, Madsen would face between five years and life in prison.