Prime Minister Shinzo Abe announced a major revision to Japan’s pacifist post-war defense policy amid wide public protests Tuesday – but don’t expect to see Japanese troops sweeping across foreign battlefields anytime soon.
Under the new policy, Japan’s powerful but low-profile military would be allowed to defend friends and allies under attack for the first time, even overseas. It’s part of a new interpretation of Japan’s war-renouncing Constitution that Abe has pushed since taking office 18 months ago.
But ending the ban on so-called “collective self-defense” comes amid widespread public opposition. Thousands of protesters ringed Abe’s office during his televised announcement. A middle-aged man in a business suit set himself afire in protest in downtown Tokyo on Sunday – a shocking event in normally docile Japan.
But in many ways, the new policy merely formalizes the linguist sleight-of-hand that has allowed an officially pacifist nation to maintain a military of 250,000 well-trained and well-equipped troops in the first place.
“This is not a game-changer,” says Brad Glosserman, executive director of the Pacific Forum CSIS, in Honolulu. “The Japanese have always been able to find a way to do whatever was needed to defend their interests and meet their obligations under the US-Japan Security Treaty. What this does is allow them to do things more openly.”
At issue is Article 9 of the Constitution, written in the early days of the U.S. Occupation of 1945-52. The article formally renounces Japan’s right to wage war or maintain a military:
Aspiring sincerely to an international peace based on justice and order, the Japanese people forever renounce war as a sovereign right of the nation and the threat or use of forces as a means of settling international disputes.
In order to accomplish the aim of the preceding paragraph, land, sea and air forces, as well as other war potential, will never be maintained. The right of belligerency of the state will not be recognized.
Various interpretations over the years have allowed Japan to develop robust air, land and sea forces and maintain the right to defend itself against attack, should that ever be necessary (so far, it hasn’t). Until now, however, the Japan Self Defense Forces have operated on the premise that they could not come to the aid of friendly countries – like the U.S., for example – unless the Japanese were directly attacked, as well.
Abe says that has to change. North Korea’s development of nuclear warheads and long-range missiles, and China’s growing defense spending and military assertiveness, means that no country in the region can defend itself on its own, according to Abe. If Japan wants to count on its friends, its friends must be able to count on Japan, too.
“The most important thing is that this makes it possible for us to work more closely with countries in the region to maintain the balance of power and deterrence vis-a-vis China. Unless Japan can exercise the right of collective self defense, we can’t even participate in joint training exercises, even in peacetime,” says Narushige Michishita, director of the Security and International Studies Program at the National Graduate Institute for Policy Studies, in Tokyo.
Abe has been pushing an aggressive defense agenda even as he’s struggled to right Japan’s ailing economy. He has organized a new National Security Council, rammed through a tough new state secrets law and ordered a small but important increase in defense spending.
But ending the ban on collective self-defense has been a hard sell, even to Abe’s own ruling block. Resistance from within his coalition forced a milder version of the policy than recommended by a handpicked advisory committee earlier this year. Abe has attempted to placate concerns by vowing Japan would never abandon its pacifist ideals. Under no circumstances, he said Tuesday, would Japanese troops be sent to fight in wars like those in Iraq or Afghanistan, even if the new policy permits.
“We shall never repeat the horror of war. With this reflection in mind, Japan has gone on for 70 years after the war. It will never happen that Japan again becomes a country which goes to war,” Abe said.
The public may need more convincing. In a Kyodo News poll over the weekend, 55.4 percent of respondents expressed opposition to Abe’s plan, up from up from 48.1 percent just a month ago. Thousands of well dressed, mostly middle-class citizens protested overnight Monday and Tuesday in front of Abe’s official residence at the perceived shift from Japan’s pacifist post-WWII constitution. “The current constitution is the result of the sacrifice of more than three million Japanese and more than 20 million Asian victims of war,” Yoshihiko Murata, a 74-year-old protester, told The Guardian. “We should value it more.”
On Sunday, a man spoke calmly for 30 minutes against the new policy from a pedestrian bridge near the busy Shinjuku train station, then doused himself with gasoline and set himself on fire. The man survived, though his current condition is not known. Although the incident was largely ignored by Japan’s mainstream news media, the incident lit up the country’s busy social media and scores of videos were posted on YouTube and other sites, garnering more than a million views.
The United States welcomes the new policy, as have leaders in Australia and the Philippines. The reaction in China and South Korea, which suffered mightily during Japan’s era of wartime and colonial expansion, has been less sanguine, of course. Michishita says the new policy is unlikely to make much practical difference. Japan has not had to invoke its right of individual self-defense since the end of World War II. If deterrence works, the same should hold for collective self-defense.
“People might expect us to do more now that we have the right to exercise collective self defense, but we might end up doing not much more, and that might actually undermine the confidence of people in the region in Japan,” he says. “They could end up saying, ‘Well, after all this fuss, Japan is not going to do anything significantly different.’”
A day after recalling another 7.6 million cars in North America—that makes nearly 30 million this year—General Motors announced its best June sales month since 2007. The result demonstrates the company’s remarkable ability to retain consumer confidence in its vehicles—so far, at least—while at the same time highlighting its past failures. GM’s light truck and auto sales rose 1% in June, which had two fewer selling days than last year, so it’s more like a 9% increase on an adjusted basis.
Auto sales remain strong, and GM is going to get its share. It will sell some 9 million vehicles worldwide this year, so in a sense GM is pushing new cars out as fast as it’s taking defective cars in. The latest recalls include cars as old as 1997 Malibus (there won’t be many still registered) and as new as 2014 Cadillacs and Chevrolets. These most recent recalls are linked to seven crashes, including three fatalities and eight injuries, associated with a faulty ignition switch, although GM says there is no conclusive evidence the defect caused the crashes. The company is taking a $1.2 billion charge in the second quarter to pay for repairs on top of a previously announced charge of $700 million.
The vast number of these lookback recalls are the result of GM’s overhaul of its safety organization following the revelation that defective ignition switches on Chevy Cobalts and other models caused at least 13 deaths. (GM has begun paying the victims’ families compensation.) An investigation revealed that GM’s safety engineering infrastructure was calamitously culpable in failing to address the ignition switch defect even as the evidence became known. “We undertook what I believe is the most comprehensive safety review in the history of our company because nothing is more important than the safety of our customers,” said CEO Mary Barra in a statement announcing the recall. “Our customers deserve more than we delivered in these vehicles. That has hardened my resolve to set a new industry standard for vehicle safety, quality and excellence.”
The organizational failure led Barra, who’d just become CEO, to undertake a bold but risky strategy: in addition to reacting to incidents uncovered by warranty data or accident reports, the company has gone looking for trouble in the cars it has already produced. And it’s found quite a bit. Yet according to MIT manufacturing expert Steven J. Spear, author of The High-Velocity Edge, this approach could turn into a competitive advantage for GM.
“If this is a pivot point, from designing things with the assumption that you can design it right and flipping that— let’s assume that we’re designing things with some mistakes– you can contain the problems you created and have a strong influence on the future.”
But Barra’s resolve and apparent openness will also test GM’s customers’ resolve to stay with the company. Some customers, like my sister, for instance, are blasé about it, since she’s generally happy with her 5-year-old Traverse. Others may take a look around, and that’s a bad thing in the car business, where most people buy a car once every five or six years. GM sees an opportunity in the recalls for dealers fixing them to demonstrate good service. Still, some car owners will have to wait until at least October for new ignition switches for all the cars cited in the initial Cobalt recall. If they’re in the market for a new car, that might offer them reason to consider other brands.
Without a doubt, GM as well as other auto companies, are making safer cars. GM points to the fact that in the last two years its vehicles have gained recognition in JD Power’s rankings of initial quality. But nobody can make perfect cars — and given the fact that the auto companies have better analytic capabilities that can spot potentially faulty or failing designs or parts, you may have to expect more recalls as the pace of discovery increases. “It really boils down to learning speed,’’ says Spear. “Can you be the fastest learner; if you can, you win the auto industry.” Certainly, GM is taking a crash course right now.
Aging baby boomers are smoking and drinking less, but overweight and obesity are on the rise, according to a new report from the U.S. Census Bureau. That’s especially concerning when you consider the many other diseases and disabilities—including arthritis, type-2 diabetes, heart disease and hindered mobility—that can come with excess body weight.
The percentage of overweight and obese Americans 65 and older has grown: 72% of older men and 67% of older women are now overweight or obese. Baby boomers started reaching age 65 in 2011, and the report, which was funded by the National Institutes of Health, also shows many of these older Americans are not financially prepared to pay for long-term care in nursing homes. That’s concerning, since America’s aging population, which is now around 40 million, is estimated to double by 2050.
What’s the best way to handle overweight and obesity in people 65-plus?
“There are not many studies of weight loss among the elderly. It’s a rich and fertile area,” says Dr. Adam Bernstein, research director at the Cleveland Clinic’s Wellness Institute. “The prescription would not be the same for a middle-aged person or youth.” Bernstein, who was not involved in the report, says it is possible for older men and women to lose weight, though doctors are likely to immediately focus on the consequences of excess body fat, like high blood pressure and erratic blood sugar. “If the clinician makes the determination a person is overweight and no other comorbid conditions, then what seems appropriate is a diet and exercise plan,” he says.
Past research published in the journal JAMA Internal Medicine has shown the baby boomer generation has its share of pervasive health problems, including high rates of cholesterol and hypertension. The authors concluded that there’s a need for policies that encourage prevention efforts and healthy-behavior promotion among boomers.
This new report adds urgency to the call for better health among boomers. Indeed, the costs of not taking action could be severe.
The new Census Bureau report shows that the average cost of a private room in a nursing home in 2010 was $83,585 a year—and less than one fifth of older men and women have the finances to live in a home for more than three years. Medicaid covers long-term care for qualified, low-income seniors, but as the number of people in that group grows, the costs will hurt.
“Most of the long-term care provided to older people today comes from unpaid family members and friends,” Richard Suzman, director of National Institute on Aging’s division of behavioral and social research, said in a statement. “Baby boomers had far fewer children than their parents. Combined with higher divorce rates and disrupted family structures, this will result in fewer family members to provide long-term care in the future.”
The findings highlight the need to make healthy changes early. And if we want to cut long-term healthcare costs in the future, Americans need to get healthier.
A Texas barber known for “hair portraits” of celebrities, from Marilyn Monroe to Bryan Cranston, is offering dedicated World Cup fans a brand new look for the tournament.
In the gallery via Reuters below, Rob Ferrel etches Argentine football star Lionel Messi onto the back of a guy’s head, working off of a black and white picture on a mobile phone. In the last frame, he’s creating a more colorful portrait of Mexico’s forward Javier Hernández Balcazar.
The barber has been doing hair portraits for eight years, and uses black and white photos in order to get each shading just right. “I do add a little eye liner or lip liner for color,” he says. “Black eyeliner makes the image pop.”
Ferrel told TIME that most customers at his San Antonio-based Rob the Original Barbershop have been asking for portraits of players on the Mexico and USA teams. USA fans getting ready to watch Tuesday’s match against Belgium may want to check out his portrait of the team’s goalie Tim Howard.
Business gets hectic during most major sports tournaments. Last month, Ferrell said he created a portrait of NBA shooting guard Manu Ginobili, after the San Antonio Spurs clinched their fifth championship.
The trickiest part of the task: navigating the roundness of people’s heads. “It’s like trying to draw on a baseball,” he says. “Like a puzzle, I start working on one section, and then I start adding pieces to it.”A likeness of Argentine soccer player Lionel Messi is cut onto the head of a customer ahead of the World Cup match between Argentina and Switzerland. Ashley Landis / Reuters A likeness of Argentine soccer player Lionel Messi is cut onto the head of a customer ahead of the World Cup match between Argentina and Switzerland. Ashley Landis / Reuters A likeness of Argentine soccer player Lionel Messi is cut onto the head of a customer ahead of the World Cup match between Argentina and Switzerland. Ashley Landis / Reuters The likeness of Mexican soccer player Javier Hernández Balcazar known as “Chicharito” on the head of a customer. Ashley Landis / Reuters
Verrückt, fittingly, is German for crazy or insane. Wondering what it would be like to take a ride on this monster? The point-of-view video above — recorded by strapping a camera to a sandbag — should give you a taste. Hopefully this video will tide you over until you can try it for yourself, for the opening of the ride has been delayed “several times” due to technical glitches, according to CNN.
NEW YORK — PBS is marking the 40th anniversary of President Richard Nixon’s resignation by running a documentary on the Watergate scandal as seen through the prism of Dick Cavett’s late-night talk show at the time.
People with memories of Watergate remember developments unfolding on the evening news or the gripping Senate hearings shown on daytime TV, but fewer recall that Cavett’s ABC program featured appearances by an array of pivotal figures. Even the former host.
“I didn’t remember how much there was,” Cavett told The Associated Press on Monday. “I watched some of it the other day and they were new to me.”
From 1972 to 1974, Cavett interviewed many major Watergate figures, including Nixon aides John Ehrlichman, Alexander Haig, G. Gordon Liddy and Jeb Magruder, as well as several members of the Senate committee investigating the case. Cavett’s show even taped a special edition from the room where the Senate hearings were held.
The documentary “Dick Cavett’s Watergate” features fresh interviews with reporters Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein, former Nixon aide John Dean and Cavett. PBS announced Tuesday it would air Aug. 8 at 9 p.m. EDT — 40 years to the hour after Nixon announced to the nation that he was quitting.
“I had no choice” but to spend time on it, Cavett, 77, recalled. “It was just the most fascinating thing in the world.”
Cavett’s coverage didn’t earn him friends in high places. He’s mentioned in Nixon’s infamous White House tapes some 26 times, including once when the president mused aloud in colorful language about ways the government could get back at him. Cavett later learned that virtually every member of his program’s staff had their tax returns audited.
“It’s a strange feeling to see the most powerful man in the world, not yet a criminal one, denouncing you,” he said. “It’s kind of a creepy feeling.”
He had no explanation for why so many members of the administration came on his show, since he was clearly no friend. A clip of an Ehrlichman appearance shows the Nixon aide looking at Cavett with barely disguised contempt. In one passage, the just-confirmed Vice President Gerald Ford tells Cavett that based on the evidence he’d been shown, he saw no criminal wrongdoing on the part of the White House.
Cavett asked Ford in 1979, after he’d left the presidency, if he felt he’d been duped. “I got a raw deal,” Ford replied.
Yet the program also shows how the passage of time changes opinions. Former Washington Post reporter Bernstein was furious when Ford pardoned Nixon, yet decades later he sees the wisdom in that decision, said John Scheinfeld, the documentary’s producer.
Scheinfeld, who produced a well-regarded theatrical documentary on the U.S. government’s pursuit of John Lennon, was brought in by Robert Bader, who has combed through Cavett’s tapes for various projects. Scheinfeld said the Cavett tapes provided an interesting way to get inside an oft-told tale.
“We’re not just regurgitating things that everyone knows,” he said. “There’s a freshness to it.”
Cavett’s low ratings at the time didn’t make him popular with ABC executives. His concentration on Watergate probably didn’t help — competitor Johnny Carson had Charo as a guest the night Cavett did his show from the Senate hearing room — but Cavett said he was shielded from most of what the network was saying about him.
It’s a far different late-night world today. A Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert may have talked about Watergate, but it’s difficult to imagine any non-news program investing in the time Cavett used for conversations in those days.
He doesn’t necessarily view that as a point of pride.
“If anything, the fact that we’re a country that elected a man to the presidency why, by right, should have been in striped pajamas if Gerald Ford hadn’t pardoned him, is kind of shameful for everybody,” Cavett said.
NASA’s aborted its launch of the Orbiting Carbon Observatory-2 (OCO-2) satellite on Tuesday due to equipment failure, delaying the takeoff until Wednesday, pending a review of the incident.
The carbon dioxide monitoring project was scrubbed at T-46 seconds when engineers noticed that the water suppression system, used to dampen the launch pad’s acoustic energy during the rocket’s launch, had failed, according to NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory. If troubleshooting permits a second attempt, the United Launch Alliance Delta II rocket carrying OCO-2 will re-launch on Wednesday at 2:56 a.m. PDT at the Space Launch Complex-2 of Vandenberg Air Force Station, Calif.
The original OCO mission had crashed in 2009, when the rocket carrying the first satellite failed after takeoff to eject the payload fairing, a heavy cover that prevented the launch vehicle from achieving a high enough velocity to enter orbit.
In addition to monitoring the rocket’s mechanical functions, the OCO-2′s launch process must be finely calibrated to allow the satellite to achieve a perfect orbiting position in sync with five other Earth observing satellites. Thus, OCO-2 has only a 30 second window to launch. If missed — as was the case — NASA permits re-launches on succeeding nights.
OCO-2 will be NASA’s first mission to study the global carbon cycle.
It sounds like a beer lover’s fantasy: all around the country, everyone could have beer dispensers on their kitchen counters next to their coffee machines, spouting cold bitter brews into eager glasses throughout the day.
But this is for real. SYNEK—a St. Louis startup that just launched its Kickstarter campaign last month—is creating a draft system that serves beer fresh from the tap even if you’re miles from the nearest bar.
The startup is signing on local breweries who put their beer in SYNEK bags, which have a long shelf life and can be transported relatively easily. The bags are then put into a dispenser that looks a little like a toaster-oven-sized coffee machine and plugs into the wall. Consumers can then serve beer wherever there is a dispenser.
Steve Young, SYNEK’s 28-year-old founder, says that his company will make it cheaper to ship beer to consumers without worrying about the headaches of bottling, and increase profit margins for craft breweries.
The machine pressurizes using carbon dioxide, and allows users to adjust SYNEK’s temperature. Beers by brewers including Harpoon Brewery, Schmaltz Beer Company and dozens of others are available through SYNEK already.
Young seeking $250,000 through Kickstarter by the end of July. Backers who pledge $299 get the dispenser along with 5 to 10 bags.
This post is in partnership with Inc., which offers useful advice, resources and insights to entrepreneurs and business owners. The article below was originally published at Inc.com.
Executive Coach Mark Thompson shares lessons from America’s most successful executives on how to gracefully survive a professional drubbing.
When it became clear this spring that Alan Mulally, Ford’s CEO, wasn’t going to be selected for the top spot at Microsoft, the software company’s stock took a hit. You might think Mulally’s ego would take one, too. As it happens, he took it in stride. (Ford showed their love by awarding him another $14 million in stock for the company’s prior year’s performance. And now that he’s announced his retirement this summer, there’s an epic line of companies hungry to recruit him.)
Mulally wasn’t always in so much demand or as sanguine in the face of rejection. When Mulally was Boeing’s president, it was widely expected that he would be made CEO after a decade of successes at the company. He lead the development of the 777 and shepherded the aircraft maker through a vibrant recovery from the financial wounds inflicted by 9/11 (the terrorists used a Boeing 757 and 767s in the attack).
Mulally admits that when Boeing passed him over for the job, he was briefly devastated. But he quickly recovered because, he says, “a bad attitude simply erases everyone else’s memory of the incredible progress achieved.” He did not want to tarnish all “the great progress we had made” by becoming that bitter guy. He chose, instead, to remain a proud and gifted leader – albeit one who had suffered a professional setback. He was promptly recruited by Ford to re-ignite another iconic American manufacturer.
Legendary leaders like Mulally have three coping mechanisms that help them get through times when criticism, failure or disappointment threaten to rob the mojo that made them successful in the first place.
- Just let it go! Anyone who’s spent time with Mulally has inevitably heard that signature catchphrase. When I asked how he felt about being slighted by bosses during various turns in his career, he took a long, deep breath and exhaled as deliberately as a yoga instructor. “The competition is out there,” he advised, looking peacefully out the window from his Dearborn, Michigan, office. “Not in here.” Don’t let anyone else’s opinion define who you are going to be.
- Turn your wounds into wisdom. When Charles ‘Chuck’ Schwab flunked English and was nearly thrown out of college, he said he was “humiliated because I had always thought I was a reasonably smart guy and I didn’t realize how pathetic I was at the skill of reading and writing.” Schwab recruited friends and family to help him deliver the goods in school. His reading and writing troubles, he would later discover, were, and still are, the result of dyslexia. “It might seem odd,” said Schwab, “but what felt like a deficit was a real benefit.” His reading disability taught him how to recruit a talented, trustworthy team and forced him to become a skilled delegator. Ultimately, those skills enabled him to scale a business much sooner than most of his classmates at Stanford Business School. “Brilliant entrepreneurs think they can do everything, and they don’t spend enough time finding the right people to grow the business,” he shrugged. Failure teaches life’s most important lessons if you’re smart and brave enough to listen.
- Face the brutal truth. Criticism usually hurts most when it’s true. Learn to suck it up and face the music. I’ve been on many Silicon Valley boards, including Rioport, the San Jose startup credited for having popularized the mp3 player long before Apple’s iPod. The battle for digital content was in full swing (Remember Napster?!) and we felt full of ourselves because we were actually making real money selling thousands of the newfangled media devices. I was bragging about all this during a speech in Silicon Valley when Steve Jobs wandered up to the front of the room. He smirked at me and said our hot little gadget was a “geeky piece of crap” and that he’d “crush it in about year.” All I wanted to do in that moment was to hit the arrogant SOB in the face with my handheld microphone. I’d just mortgaged my house and was about to invest the proceeds in Rioport. Then there was this horrible feeling in the pit of my stomach. He was right, and he knew it – and if I was honest, I knew it, too. The brutal truth was that Rioport was a quality product and an awesome step forward in the digital revolution, but frankly those features weren’t enough to overcome the fact that it was way too hard for the masses to use. I spent the following year having a series of dinners with Steve, soaking up his vision for digital media. The good news is that I invested those mortgage proceeds in Apple stock rather than that long-forgotten, but visionary startup. As Alan Mulally often counsels “Winners learn quickly how to get out of their own way.”
WASHINGTON — Iraq is increasingly turning to other governments like Iran, Russia and Syria to help beat back a rampant insurgency because it cannot wait for additional American military aid, Baghdad’s top envoy to the U.S. said Tuesday.
Such alliances underscore that the Obama administration risks seeing some of its main global opponents join forces. That could also solidify a Shiite-led crescent across much of the Mideast at a time when the Sunni-led insurgency in Iraq is trying to create an Islamic State through the region.
Ambassador Lukman Faily stopped short of describing enduring military relationships with any of the other nations that are offering to help counter the threat posed by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant. And he said Baghdad would prefer to partner with the U.S. above all other countries.
But Faily said delays in U.S. aid have forced Iraq to seek help elsewhere. He also called on the U.S. to launch targeted airstrikes as a “crucial” step against the insurgency. So far, the Obama administration has resisted airstrikes in Iraq but has not ruled them out.
“Time is not on our side,” Faily told an audience at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace in Washington. “Further delay only benefits the terrorists.”
The Pentagon announced Monday it is sending another 300 troops to Iraq to increase security at the U.S. Embassy and elsewhere in the Baghdad area to protect U.S. citizens and property. That raises the total U.S. troop presence in Iraq to about 750.
Obama has ruled out sending combat troops back into Iraq. He said the extra troops will stay in Iraq until security improves so that the reinforcements are no longer needed.
“The presence of these additional forces will help enable the embassy to continue its critical diplomatic mission and work with Iraq on challenges they are facing as they confront Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant,” the Pentagon’s press secretary, Navy Rear Adm. John Kirby, said in a written statement.
The State Department, meanwhile, announced that it was temporarily moving an unspecified “small number” of embassy staff in Baghdad to U.S. consulates in the northern city of Irbil and the southern city of Basra. This is in addition to some embassy staff moved out of Baghdad earlier this month,
Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said the Baghdad embassy “will be fully equipped to carry out” its mission.
Chaos in Baghdad continued to grow Tuesday as minority Sunni and Kurdish lawmakers walked out of the first session of the newly seated parliament, dashing hopes for the quick formation of a new government that could hold the country together in the face of a militant blitz.
Meanwhile, the United Nations said more than 2,400 people were killed in Iraq in June, making it the deadliest month in the country in years and laying bare the danger posed by the militants who have overrun large parts of Iraq and neighboring Syria.
Faily, noting international bans on Iranian military sales, said Iraq is mostly seeking Tehran’s advice on how to combat ISIL — a foe that Iran has faced in Syria’s civil war. ISIL is one of a number of Sunni-led groups that have been fighting for three years to force President Bashar Assad from power. Assad is an Alawite, a religious sect that is an offshoot of Shiite Islam.
Faily said Baghdad would be willing to work with the Syrian government to control the border between the two nations, and keep it from falling into ISIL’s hands.
And he said Russia’s fighter jets and pilots have been willing to fill Iraq’s air support needs.
He said the deadly battle with ISIL has forces leaders in Baghdad to take whatever aid is available most quickly.
“That choice is primarily from the need, rather than the desire,” Faily said.
AP National Security Writer Robert Burns contributed to this report.
Here’s a shocker: we’re all using mobile apps more than ever before. A new study from Nielsen shows that app usage among iPhone and Android users in the U.S. rose 65 percent from Q4 2012 to Q4 2013. Smartphone users spent a total of 30 hours and 15 minutes per month using apps in the last quarter of 2013, up from 23 hours and two minutes the year prior.Nielsen
Despite the increased time spent using apps, users aren’t downloading too many more programs. The number of apps used per month inched up only slightly, from 26.5 in Q4 2012 to 26.8 in Q4 2013, indicating that people are getting more mileage out of the apps already crowding their home screens — or people are swapping older apps for new ones that perform similar tasks.
People spend about third of their time in apps using search engines, web portals or social networks, per Nielsen. Entertainment apps are nearly as popular, with communications apps being the third most-used.
The growing popularity of apps indicates these dedicated programs have begun gaining the upper hand over the mobile web. Huge Internet companies like Facebook initially resisted focusing on apps, instead hoping to create dynamic websites designed with HTML5 that could adapt to a wide variety of operating systems and web browsers. But CEO Mark Zuckerberg later admitted this was a huge strategic mistake. The company has since spun off different Facebook functions into independent apps such as Messenger and Paper on top of the primary Facebook app.
JERUSALEM — The Israeli military says Gaza militants have fired five more rockets at southern Israel.
Tuesday’s rocket fire comes shortly after Israel buried three teenagers who were abducted in the West Bank nearly three weeks ago.
The army says no one was hurt by the rocket fire. But it adds to already heightened tensions between Israel and the Hamas militant group.
Israel has accused Hamas of being behind the deadly abductions, and it has been carrying out nightly airstrikes in Hamas-controlled Gaza in response to repeated rocket fire.
In all, the army says 10 rockets have been fired at Israel on Tuesday.
The United States has a new World Cup ally against Belgium: Waffle House.
We don't believe in Belgium waffles—
Waffle House (@WaffleHouse) June 30, 2014
The patriotic message was retweeted over 17,000 times as of this writing. And the Georgia-based restaurant chain did not stop there, continuing to tweet clarifications that they have never served Belgian waffles. It’s also cheering along the American soccer team ahead of its do-or-die match.
Waffle House was not alone in denying any Belgian connection. Beer company Budweiser, which is owned by a company based in Belgium, tweeted a video featuring an American bald eagle and a cheerleader in red, white and blue.
America faces off against Belgium in Brazil at 4 p.m. ET Tuesday.
After more than a decade of mostly hiding from the public eye, Monica Lewinksy has decided it’s time to “time to burn the beret and bury the blue dress” and start telling her side of a story that dominated headlines for months in the late 1990s.
In her first television interview since 2003, Lewinsky opened up about what it was like living in the wake of the Starr Report, which investigated a series of scandals involving the Clinton White House — including allegations that President Bill Clinton had oral sex with Lewinsky while she was a White House intern.
“I was a virgin to humiliation of that level, until that day,” she said in an upcoming National Geographic documentary called The 90s: The Last Great Decade. “To have my narrative ripped from me, and turned into the Starr report, and things that were turned over or things they delved out of my computer that I thought were deleted. I mean it was just violation after violation.”
A Today Show segment featuring a sneak peek of her interview showed Lewinsky discussing the sexism she faced as well.
“To be called stupid, and a slut, and a bimbo, and ditzy, and to be taken out of context, it was excruciating,” she said.
The interview follows the publication of an impassioned essay Lewinsky wrote for Vanity Fair in May that discussed what it was like to survive in a culture of humiliation.
The 90s: The Last Great Decade premieres Sunday, July 6 at 9 p.m. ET on the National Geographic Channel.
Work really is just an extension of high school: No matter how self-conscious you think you are, you are probably wrong about what kind of impression you make on your co-workers. According to a new study out of Columbia Business School, people are really bad at figuring out how they come off in the workplace, and tend to think they’re being more aggressive or more meek than their co-workers think they are.
The study found that most people have about a 50/50 shot of correctly interpreting how their co-workers see them. 57% of people who are seen as under-assertive think of themselves as appropriately assertive or even pushy. Meanwhile, 56% of people seen as too assertive think they’re normal or even too meek.
The researchers also found something called the “line crossing illusion,” which is when people think they’re crossing a line even when their co-workers think they’re behaving appropriately. Otherwise known as “crippling self-doubt.”
The researchers said they didn’t find significant differences between men and women when it comes to perceived assertiveness, which is interesting considering the well-documented evidence that women face different perceptions in the work place when it comes to assertiveness.
This is not a good year to be Robin Thicke. If you believe the headlines, his love life is currently in a state of unmitigated disaster, and his public image might be even worse as he releases his seventh studio album, Paula – named after his very publicly ex-wife Paula Patton. Lead single “Get Her Back” is currently less known for its throwback R&B than for its BET Music Awards debut, in which Thicke pled for his wife’s good graces, and for the music video – featuring purported text messages between Thicke and Patton, among other salacious things – that’s drawn accusations of stalking. Most recently: while Twitter Q&As are, as Nick Cave once griped, standard practice for any artist worth his PR campaign, and always draw their share of jokers, Thicke’s #AskThicke effort was thoroughly mocked from start to finish.
None of this was inevitable. It’s hard now to imagine a time when “Blurred Lines” wasn’t snark-bait, but when it came out, critics saw it mostly as a goofy takeoff of Justin Timberlake’s “Suit and Tie.” The track went on to ride the Timbaland-Pharrell resurgence to the peak of cultural ubiquity, not to mention the charts. There were basically two ways Thicke and his label could capitalize on his unexpected No. 1 hit: One, double down on Thicke’s contemporary disco-inflected soul, which had just come back into vogue — Blurred Lines had plenty of traditional R&B to go that route — or two, chase the crossover by updating Thicke’s louche-loverman image to show he’s also a man of modern times, and modern sounds (specifically EDM). Thicke chose the latter.
It didn’t work out too well. Unlike almost all of Thicke’s material to date, both follow-up singles from Blurred Lines – whooshy-synth Kendrick Lamar/2 Chainz collaboration “Give It 2 U” and solo “Feel Good” – were produced by will.i.am, and sounded like it. The former stalled at No. 25 on the Hot 100, and the latter pretty much didn’t chart at all, even on the R&B chart that’s been Thicke’s stomping ground for years, even more so lately. Moreover, the blunt come-ons of both tracks didn’t do much to dislodge Thicke’s image problem. Thanks to his sudden ubiquity and mass accusations that “Blurred Lines” was misogynistic (most of which might have been better directed at the Terry Richardson-esque nudie video than the widely misinterpreted lyrics), Thicke started coming off less as a bedside crooner than a terminally old-school sleaze, like Leisure Suit Larry. Then came the separation, then came the begging. As a result almost no one can talk about Paula without talking mostly about Paula.
But Paula, the album, is almost willfully safe. There’s no EDM, no guest rappers. Gone are the high-profile, high-BPM collaborators; instead, like much of Thicke’s oldest work, the credits are filled with august session musicians like guitarist Bobby Keyes and members of Thicke’s own band like drummer Lawrence “LB” Breaux. The album’s conversant with decades of R&B history: samples of the classics, call-and-response with female background singers (“Black Tar Cloud”), elaborate lovemaking metaphors (“Love Will Grow Back”) that evoke a PG-13 version of The-Dream. There’s very little to suggest it was recorded at any point past 1980, and it’s a delightfully pleasant listen if you forget pretty much everything about Thicke’s year.
But even the personal stuff – and there’s plenty, if you want to look for it – isn’t anything new, both in Thicke’s career (he’s long traded on the kind of happily/sexily married image that bolstered Beyonce’s latest work) as well as in a long tradition of excellent R&B. Billboard writes:
Marvin Gaye’s 1978 “Hear, My Dear” — a bitter ode to his ex-wife, Anna Gordy — was selfish yet vulnerable, inspiring a lifetime of imitators. On the thrilling “Terius Nash: 1977,” a scorned The-Dream depicted ex-wife Christina Milian as a gold digger and threatened to crash her next wedding. Usher practically flung divorce papers at his ex, Tameka Raymond, on 2010′s “Raymond v. Raymond.”
The last two albums have something else in common, too – they’ve been released when Nash and Usher were at career crossroads, specifically about how much they should tailor their sound toward a crossover. Usher pursued pop full-throttle, a decision he’s spent the past few years maneuvering around; Nash, meanwhile, floundered, his “Umbrella”-sized hits fewer and fewer and his music and image mired in increasingly ugly scandal.
With respect to Thicke, as Maura Johnston notes in Wondering Sound, 2014 isn’t exactly flooded by traditional soul. The R&B albums chart is a mishmash of new poppy efforts from Pharrell and Jennifer Lopez, old poppy efforts from Justin Timberlake, Jhene Aiko and Beyoncé, and foregone-conclusion institutions like John Legend, Mariah Carey and posthumous Michael Jackson. It’s hard to imagine Thicke in this company on sound alone. But fortunately for him, it’s a time-honored practice to goose music that isn’t exactly in sync with the prevailing sound with tabloid excitement – the music is sold with the gossip. This is how Lana Del Rey got buzz for an album of untimely alt-country and torch songs, and how Kelly released two albums of perversely (and not at all pervertedly) throwback soul, getting residual hype off all the gawkers who half-jokingly salivated for Black Panties.
Will any of this work for Thicke? “Get Her Back,” unsurprisingly, has yet to become a hit, and though there’s still time – “Blurred Lines” was a sleeper – it seems unlikely. None of the other tracks on Paula are obvious crossover candidates, either. Then again, he might not really need it. Superstardom was an odd fit at an odd time for Thicke, and Paula accomplishes two things. It reassures his core, album-purchasing fans alienated by Blurred Lines’ new sound – as Johnston writes, “the “her” [of ‘Get Her Back’] could very well be his former audience.” It also provides enough headlines of the no-publicity-is-bad-publicity variety to keep him in the pop eye. Even so, it’s a sign you’ve had an awful year when Paula is pretty much your best bet.
Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg wrote a 35-page dissent to Monday’s ruling on the Hobby Lobby case, arguing that “the exemption sought by Hobby Lobby and Conestoga would…deny legions of women who do not hold their employers’ beliefs access to contraceptive coverage.” But if you don’t have the time to read all that analysis, singer Jonathan Mann has distilled the main points into a song that’s just over two minutes long.
Beware, Mann took some creative liberties: Ginsberg didn’t really call her colleagues “slut-shaming geezers.” But most of the lines are drawn directly from her dissent (which can be read in full here). (And if you want to learn more about the reaction to the ruling, you can find TIME’s full coverage here.)