TIME Sex

How Birth Control Has Changed Over the Centuries

A history of contraception, in all its many forms

Birth control may still be a hot button issue today in some countries, but men and women have been using contraceptives for thousands of years, albeit with varied results.

In ancient China, a popular remedy involved drinking a cocktail of lead and mercury. In ancient Egypt, a paste made out of honey, sodium carbonate, and crocodile dung was a popular form of contraception.

However, not all historic forms of contraception were based on superstition. A prototype of the cervical cap has been in use since the 18th century, and cave drawings in France appear to show a version of a condom.

For much of the 19th and early 20th centuries women in the U.S. had a hard time getting their hands on effective contraception. Due to anti-obscenity laws, doctors were not allowed to spread information about birth control.

To compensate for the lack of official methods, household products like Lysol and Coca-Cola were often used, as they were believed to kill sperm.

In 1960 modern birth control was born, when the FDA approved the first oral contraceptive pill for women. Within 5 years, millions of American women had prescriptions for the pill. Today, 99% of women of child-bearing age say they have used some form of birth control.

However, universal access to birth control still does not exist worldwide. Some 220 million women from developing countries say they want to use birth control but don’t have access.

TIME Media

Meet the First Ever Female Editor of the Economist

German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle speaks during a forum session at the World Economic Forum, with Moderator Zanny Minton Beddoes and Luis de Guindos Jurado, Spanish Minister for Economy, on Jan. 25, 2013 in Davos.
Zanny Minton Beddoes moderates a conversation between German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle and Luis de Guindos Jurado, Spanish Minister for Economy, on Jan. 25, 2013 in Davos. Raphael Huenerfauth—Photothek/Getty Images

Zanny Minton Beddoes is the first woman to helm the news magazine in its 172-year history

The Economist magazine has promoted its business affairs editor Zanny Minton Beddoes to the publication’s top spot, marking the first time a woman has been in the role.

Beddoes joined the Economist in 1994 after working as an economist at the International Monetary Fund, and was based in Washington, D.C., for much of her time with the magazine. She moved to London last year. The promotion will see her taking over for John Micklethwait, who was the editor of the magazine for nine years and who is leaving at the end of January to become editor-in-chief of Bloomberg News.

The Financial Times reports that 13 candidates applied for the position, including two outsiders. Rupert Pennant-Rea, chairman of the Economist Group, told the Guardian, “[Beddoes] will be a true advocate for the Economist and its values.”

[FT]

TIME movies

Watch New Fifty Shades of Grey Footage in Ellie Goulding’s Music Video

The singer's track "Love Me Like You Do" appears on the upcoming film's soundtrack

Correction appended, Jan. 23

If you’re counting down the days until Fifty Shades of Grey hits theaters on Feb. 13, they you’ll want to see this.

Ellie Goulding has released the video for her song “Love Me Like You Do” and included in the video’s moody shots of the British singer is new footage from the upcoming film.

The song features on the soundtrack for the film, along with tracks from Sia, Beyonce and Weeknd.

Correction: The original version of this story misspelled Ellie Goulding’s last name.

TIME Davos

Emma Watson Launches New Anti-Sexism Initiative at Davos

Swedish prime minister Stefan Löfven and actress Emma Watson attends World Economic Forum Annual Meeting 2015 in Davos.
Swedish prime minister Stefan Löfven and actress Emma Watson attends World Economic Forum Annual Meeting 2015 in Davos. Aftonbladet/IBL/Zuma

The "Harry Potter" star was in Switzerland to unveil a new UN project aimed at improving gender equality

Harry Potter star and UN Women Global Goodwill Ambassador Emma Watson was on hand at the World Economic Forum in Davos on Friday, where UN Women — the United Nations entity dedicated to gender equality and women’s empowerment — unveiled the HeForShe IMPACT 10X10X10 pilot initiative.

The new initiative was announced at a press conference attended by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, several world leaders and Watson. They outlined the HeForShe IMPACT 10X10X10 program, which will be a one-year pilot project geared toward advancing women by working with governments, companies and universities in order to promote change within their respective communities.

“The groundswell of response we have received in support for HeForShe tells us we are tapping into what the world wants: to be a part of change,” Watson said at the press conference. “Now we have to channel that energy into purposeful action. The pilot initiative provides that framework. Next we need all country leadership, as well as that of hundreds of universities and corporations to follow HeForShe’s IMPACT 10x10x10 so as to bring an end to the persisting inequalities faced by women and girls globally.”

Watson first became involved with UN Women last summer and in the fall of 2014 announced the HeForShe campaign in a moving speech that received world-wide attention.

TIME Toys

These Are the Toys Kids Will Be Screaming for in 2015

Frozen toy castle Lego

This year's new films will provide most of the fodder for Santa Claus in December

As anyone who has ever handed over a credit card at Hamleys or FAO Schwarz already knows, toys aren’t just fun and games — they’re big business. Which is why the 260 exhibitors at the London Toy Fair, which runs from Jan. 20 to Jan. 22, are keen to promote the Next Big Thing in the toy world. The Toy Fair is now in its 62nd year, and each year it showcases thousands of new toys, which will also be available in the U.S. and around the world, to retailers looking to stock their shelves. And for a hint of what’s to come, take a look at the box office.

Just a few steps into the exhibition, visitors quickly see that the toy industry expects Minions will be everywhere in 2015. Everywhere one turned, Minion-related toys and products appeared. The small, yellow creatures from the Despicable Me franchise are getting their own film this summer and toy companies are clearly banking on the characters being fresh on kids’ minds — and wishlists.

Rory Partis, a senior account manager for NPD Group, which does market analysis for the toy industry, says that “the toy market can be very unpredictable,” and pre-judging which products will be best-sellers can be tricky. Yet looking at past trends can some clue as to what kids are after — and which toys will fall in line with those desires.

MORE The All-TIME 100 Greatest Toys

In 2014, toy sales in the U.K. saw a 4.4 percent increase from the previous year, with around £3 billion ($4.5 billion USD) spent on some 416 million toy products. Based on sales figures from last year, the Minions-push makes sense: according to research from NPD, 28 percent of 2014’s sales were toys that were licensed from a franchise.

And Minions-themed products weren’t the only toys with a film tie-in on show. The fair also displays the winners of the annual Best New Toy Awards, in which a panel of independent toy retailers appraises the crop of new toys, predicting which products are most likely to be best-sellers. The winners, which fair coordinator Majen Immink, describes as the “hot launches” for 2015, included movie-themed toys such as Lego’s Minecraft: The Dungeon set, Hasbro’s Jurassic World Growlers collection and Hornby Hobbies’ Corgi James Bond Aston Martin DB5 model.

A representative from toy giant Lego also told TIME that the company is also expecting big things from its Ninjago sets, which are tied to the cartoon series Ninjago: Masters of Spinjitzu. The fourth season of the cartoon will launch this year and a film, from the co-writers of The Lego Movie, is in the works for 2016.

Nerf N-Strike Modulus ECS-10 Blaster Hasbro

Hasbro’s new products for 2015 include licensed toys from the Marvel’s Avengers and the Transformers franchises. The company will be releasing Optimus Prime Mega Step, a toy car that transforms into the beloved character. Then there are the Iron Man Arc FX Gloves, a pair of wearable gloves with motion-activated technology. Non-film related toys that Hasbro thinks will be hits this year include the Nerf N-Strike Modulus ECS-10 Blaster, which kids can customize with additional kits, and the Furreal Friend’s JJ My Jumping Pug, a Big Eyes-esque toy dog that can jump on its hind legs. The latter also bagged a spot on the fair’s Best New Toys list.

Iron Man Arc FX Gloves Hasbro

Noticeably absent from the fair were toys tied to an upcoming film which targets girls specifically. The big films represented in the displays were, again, Minions, but also Big Hero 6 and Age of Ultron, while representatives were quick to note their upcoming Star Wars: The Force Awakens and Jurassic World-themed products. Of course, girls can and do enjoy action and adventure films — and their affiliated toys — but products tied to franchises with inspiring leading ladies didn’t appear to be plentiful.

So it wasn’t all that surprising to see a smorgasboard of Frozen-themed toys on display at the fair. Everything from Frozen jewelry, hair accessories, hula hoops, backpacks, plush toys, stationary and figurines were showcased, despite the fact that the film was released in 2013. NPD’s Partis tells TIME that “Frozen has slightly bucked the trend of a [traditional] movie license,” which sees strong sales when the movie is released and another bump when the DVD is released. Yet Frozen drove a significant portion of sales last year, as the number one license for 2014. In the U.S. alone, NPD estimates that Frozen led to $531 million in toy sales.

Toy industry insiders are clearly expecting the trend to continue. Lego’s new Disney Princess Elsa’s Sparkling Ice Castle was chosen as one of the fair’s Best New Toys and Lego spokeswoman Corinna Henson predicts it will be popular “without a shadow of doubt.” Yet even when the Frozen mania does eventually subside, there will be plenty of more kids movies and franchises to license out.

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TIME celebrities

Watch Harvey Weinstein Explain Why Judi Dench Has His Name Tattooed on Her Bottom

The Academy Award-winning actress wanted to thank the producer for supporting her career

It seems that Dame Judi Dench has solved the question of what to get the man who has everything.

When Hollywood heavyweight Harvey Weinstein appeared on the British late-night program, The Graham Norton Show, he told the story of how he had helped launch Dench’s Hollywood film career by convincing her to take the role of Queen Victoria in 1997’s Mrs Brown, for which she earned a Best Actress Oscar nomination. As a thank you, the award-winning actress had “JD loves HW” tattooed on a very private spot.

Even more surprising is the circumstances in which Dench revealed her tattoo to Weinstein. According to the producer, Dench showed off the ink during a dinner at the Four Seasons Restaurant, in front of a group that included Carly Simon, Nora Ephron and Mike Nichols.

TIME Ireland

Irish Minister for Health Announces He’s Gay

Irish Health minister Leo Varadkar, 36, who has publicly come out as gay, pictured here on Dec. 27, 2013.
Irish Health minister Leo Varadkar, 36, who has publicly come out as gay, pictured here on Dec. 27, 2013. Brian Lawless—Press Association/AP

The country is set to hold a referedum on marriage equality in May

Just months before Ireland is due to hold a referendum on marriage equality, the country’s minister for health has come out during a radio interview. Leo Varadkar told RTÉ Radio 1, an Irish radio station, that he was gay and would be campaigning in support of same-sex marriage in the lead up to the referendum in May.

“It’s not a secret — but not something that everyone would necessarily know, but it isn’t something I’ve spoken publicly about before,” he said during the Jan. 18 interview. “I just kind of want to be honest with people. I don’t want anyone to think that I have a hidden agenda.”

He added: “I’d like the referendum to pass because I’d like to be an equal citizen in my own country, the country in which I happen to be a member of Government, and at the moment I’m not.”

Ireland decriminalized homosexuality 22 years ago and same-sex couples have been able to enter a civil partnership since 2011, but not marry.

[RTÉ]

TIME France

Watch James Taylor Sing ‘You’ve Got a Friend’ Beside John Kerry in Paris

The singer paid tribute to the victims of France's recent attacks

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry met with France’s Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius and President Francois Hollande to offer condolences on the terrorist attacks that killed 17 people in Paris last week — and he brought a friend.

James Taylor joined Kerry onstage at city hall, where the singer performed a rendition of Carole King’s “You’ve Got a Friend” in tribute to victims of the attacks.

Before arriving in Paris, Kerry said of the trip, “My visit to France is basically to share a big hug for Paris and express the affection of the American people for France and for our friends there who have been through a terrible time.”

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TIME movies

Hollywood Reacts To Oscar Snubs at Critics’ Choice Awards

SELMA
Left to right, foreground: Colman Domingo plays Ralph Abernathy, David Oyelowo plays Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., André Holland plays Andrew Young, and Stephan James plays John Lewis in Selma. Atsushi Nishijima—Paramount Pictures

Actors, directors and writers talked Oscars on the red-carpet

Two major Hollywood events took place on Thursday: first, the 2015 Academy Award nominees were announced and, later, many of the same actors, directors and producers honored — and snubbed — gathered together on the red carpet of the Critics’ Choice Awards, though the Oscars were clearly at the front of everyone’s thoughts.

Selma’s Carmen Ejogo, who played Coretta Scott King, said in an interview with USA Today, that she wished co-star David Oyelowo and director Ava DuVernay had been nominated. “I would have love to have seen them nominated,” she said. “They should have been, in my opinion.”

When Jessica Chastain, an awards’ favorite who wasn’t nominated for any of her four films this year, spoke to The Hollywood Reporter on the red carpet about the frustrating lack of diversity in Hollywood, she also seemed disappointed about the Selma snubs. “I long to see diversity in things in American cinema,” she said. “Some of my favorite films are foreign films because I know I’m going to get diversity when I see films from all over the world. It’s something that we lack here. Of course this morning it made it poignant. It’s Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday today.”

Meanwhile Gone Girl writer Gillian Flynn, who adapted her best-selling novel for David Fincher’s film and was widely expected to earn a nomination, said simply, “I thought I’d get one.” But the writer spent more time praising the star of her film, Rosamund Pike, who was nominated for a Best Actress Oscar. “[Her nomination] was so well deserved. I was not remotely surprised. I just knew in my bones that she would have to get it. The amount of work that she did behind the scenes to make that role feel effortless and real and as crazy as it got. She’s just incredible.”

Phil Lord, the director of The Lego Movie, which wasn’t nominated for a Best Animated Feature Oscar, tried to keep it all in perspective. He initially responded to the snub on Twitter, before telling THR, “We made [the movie] in order to inspire families and kids and people and we’ve been really justly rewarded I think for that. We feel really lucky and the awards stuff is it’s own thing, and of course we’re disappointed, but it’s not the reason we made the movie.”

TIME europe

Europe On High Alert Following Shootings and Arrests

A shootout in Belgium, a bomb threat in Paris and raids across the region have left European authorities on edge

Officials across Europe were on high alert for terror threats Friday after a chaotic night in Belgium on Thursday that saw a deadly shootout in Verviers, counterterrorism raids across the country, and the arrest of 13 suspected militants.

The shootout in Verviers took place during a raid of a former bakery, when suspects opened fire on police. Two gunmen were killed and another was wounded and arrested during the confrontation. All three of the suspects have recently returned from Syria and were thought to be planning an attack on the police. Four Kalashnikov rifles, bomb-making equipment and police clothing were found after the raid, reports the Guardian citing local media sources.

“This operation stopped a major terrorist attack from taking place. You could say a second potential Paris has been averted,” federal prosecutor, Eric Van Der Sypt, told the Guardian, while authorities in Belgium raised the national terror alert level from 2 to 3, the second-highest level. Van Der Sypt told the Associated Press, “I cannot confirm that we arrested everyone in this group.”

Meanwhile, Jewish schools in Brussels and Antwerp were closed on Friday after authorities revealed they were a “potential target” for Islamist militants, reports the Guardian. An Orthodox Jewish school in the Netherlands was also closed as a precautionary measure, though there was no direct threat made against it.

In Paris, the scene of last week’s terrorist attacks that left 17 dead, authorities shut down and evacuated the Gare de l’Est train station early on Friday, after a bomb threat was made. A French police official told the Associated Press that the station was closed “as a precaution.” (No bomb was found.)

Paris is at its highest terrorism alert level. The prosecutor’s office reported that 12 people had been arrested during raids throughout the region, which targeted associates of the gunman, Amedy Coulibaly, who killed four people in a kosher supermarket and a policewoman last week, and claimed ties to the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS). Coulibaly was killed at the market after a standoff with police, but his suspected accomplice and common-law wife, Hayat Boumeddiene, is still being sought by authorities.

Turkish authorities have said Boumeddiene crossed from Turkey into Syria on Jan. 8. Spanish authorities have reported that Coulibaly drove Boumeddiene from France to Madrid on New Year’s Eve and was with her until she took a Jan. 2 flight to Istanbul. Spain is still investigating what the couple did and who they contacted while in the country, and whether they had links with a terrorist cell in Spain.

Belgian police are also looking at possible links between a suspected arms dealer arrested in the southern town of Charleroi on Wednesday and Coulibaly; the man claimed that he wanted to buy a car from the Coulibaly’s wife, Van der Sypt told the AP. “At this moment this is the only link between what happened in Paris,” he said.

In Berlin, police arrested two men on Friday on suspicion of recruiting fighters for ISIS. They were taken into custody after a series of raids across the capital, which saw the search of 11 residences by 250 police officers. However authorities have said the raids were part of a months-long, ongoing investigation and not related to the recent attacks in Paris.

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