TIME Books

Release of Next ‘Game of Thrones’ Novel Will Not Happen in 2015

This image released by HBO shows Kit Harington in a scene from "Game of Thrones."
This image released by HBO shows Kit Harington in a scene from "Game of Thrones." Helen Sloan—AP

Fans will have to make do with a compilation of prequels rather than the next instalment in the saga

George R.R. Martin’s The Winds of Winter, the long-awaited sixth novel in his ‘A Song of Ice and Fire‘ saga that inspired the HBO series Game of Thrones, will not be published in 2015, his publisher told The Guardian on Friday.

Jane Johnson said HarperCollins would instead be publishing a new illustrated compilation of three official prequel novellas to the series, The Hedge Knight, The Sworn Sword and The Mystery Knight.

“The short novels have been previously published in separate anthologies but never put together before, and this will be a particularly beautiful edition,” Johnson told The Guardian. But she added that she had no information on a possible publication date for The Winds of Winter, which fans have been eagerly awaiting since Martin published the bestselling A Dance with Dragons in 2011.

In December Martin posted on his website to suppress speculation over the book’s release. He wrote: “I’ve said before, and I will say again, I don’t play games with news about the books. I know how many people are waiting, how long they have been waiting, how anxious they are. I am still working on Winds. When it’s done, I will announce it here…I don’t know how I can make it any clearer.”

[Guardian]

Read next: Amanda Peet Thought Husband’s Show Game of Thrones Was a ‘Terrible Idea’

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TIME celebrities

Benedict Cumberbatch Apologizes After Race Controversy

Actor Benedict Cumberbatch attends the 72nd Annual Golden Globe Awards at The Beverly Hilton Hotel on Jan. 11, 2015 in Beverly Hills, Calif.
Actor Benedict Cumberbatch attends the 72nd Annual Golden Globe Awards at The Beverly Hilton Hotel on Jan. 11, 2015 in Beverly Hills, Calif. George Pimentel—WireImage/Getty Images

The Oscar nominee says he was a 'fool' to use the phrase

Benedict Cumberbatch apologized Monday after talking about ‘colored actors’ on a U.S. talk show, saying he’s “devastated to have caused offense.”

The Sherlock star came under fire for using the term, ironically during a discussion on the lack of diversity in British acting. He said he had witnessed British actors finding more opportunities in the U.S. than they do in the U.K..

“I think as far as colored actors go, it gets really different in the U.K., and a lot of my friends have had more opportunities here [in the U.S.] than in the U.K., and that’s something that needs to change,” he said last week on PBS talk show Tavis Smiley.

An anti-racism charity, Show Racism The Red Card, told The Independent that while they applauded Cumberbatch for shining a spotlight on a a very important issue, he “also inadvertently highlighted the issue of appropriate terminology and the evolution of language.” The charity said the term ‘colored’ is now “outdated and has the potential to cause offense.”

The writer Bonnie Greer said: “If he was 80, no one would have noticed. Under 60 — who says “coloured” anymore? It indicates a mindset; a certain circle.”

In a statement to People, Cumberbatch said: “I feel the complete fool I am and while I am sorry to have offended people and to learn from my mistakes in such a public manner, please be assured I have. I apologize again to anyone I offended for this thoughtless use of inappropriate language about an issue which affects friends of mine and which I care about deeply.”

Read next: Benedict Cumberbatch Inspires a Fashion Line Called ‘Cumberbitch’

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TIME Greece

Meet the New Prime Minister of Greece Who Has Shaken Brussels and Berlin

Leader of Syriza party Alexis Tsipras, during his victory speech in Athens, Jan. 25, 2015.
Leader of Syriza party Alexis Tsipras, during his victory speech in Athens, Jan. 25, 2015. Nikos Pilos—laif/Redux

Alexis Tsipras told voters he will re-negotiate Greece's crippling debt repayments

Following the victory of the radical left-wing Syriza party in Greece’s general election, 40-year-old Alexis Tsipras was sworn in Monday as Greece’s youngest prime minister in 150 years. Having rejected E.U. austerity policies and bailouts as “null and void”, European leaders are watching to see if Tsipras’ diplomacy is as fiery as his pre-election oratory.

Tsipras was born in Athens to a middle-class family in 1974, four days after the fall of the Greek military dictatorship which had ruled the country for seven years. His father ran a small construction company and voted for the social democratic Pasok party, which his son has just kicked out of office. Though he grew up in a highly politicized period, Tsipras was more interested in sport than politics. He lived near the Panathinaikos soccer stadium and he still attends every home game.

But at high school in the 1980s, Tsipras joined the Young Communists Society. When the government proposed education privatization in 1990, 16-year-old Tsipras led an occupation of his high school to oppose the reforms. Interviewed on national television at the time, Tsipras said: “We would like it to be our right to decide if, at some point, we want to skip class.”

Tsipras remained active in student politics while training as a civil engineer in Athens but it was his run for election as mayor of Athens in 2006 that raised his national profile. Though Tsipras was fighting his first major election and representing a new party — the Syriza coalition had been formed two years earlier from an alliance of left-wing groups such as the Greens and the Maoists — he managed third place.

Tsipras was elected as the leader of the Syriza party two years later, making him Greece’s youngest political leader at the age of 34. He flourished in the wake of Greece’s economic crisis. “Greece has been a European and international experiment, and the Greek people have been the guinea pigs,” Tsipras told TIME in a 2012 interview, just before the elections in which Syriza become the second-biggest party in parliament. The party won 3.3% of the vote in the 2004 elections and nearly 27% in 2012.

Two and a half years later, more than 50% of under-25s in Greece are unemployed and many of them have been encouraged by Tsipras’ campaign slogan of “Hope is coming!”

Tsipras has already made his mark in his first day as prime minister. He is Greece’s first unmarried prime minister and the first to take a secular oath of office. He has a family — he has been with his longtime partner Peristera (Betty) Batziana since high school — and they have two sons, the youngest of whom is named after Argentinian Marxist revolutionary, Ernesto “Che” Guevara.

But Tsipras appears to have softened his politics since his youth and he and his party have worked hard to broaden his appeal and prepare him for power. He has met with high-profile figures like the European Central Bank chief Mario Draghi and talked with church leaders (including meeting with Pope Francis) to calm fears about his own lack of religious faith.

At the presidential palace on Monday, Tsipras and his Syriza colleagues stood out in their uniform of suits and open-necked shirts. After his inauguration, the new prime minister left the palace to visit the National Resistance Museum to honour Greeks killed by Germany and her allies in the Second World War. Tsipras has persuaded the Greek electorate to back him. Now he has just over two weeks before he has to put Greece’s case to his European counterparts on Feb. 12 in the Latvian capital, Riga.

TIME Japan

Japan Says It Can’t Reach ISIS to Resolve Hostage Standoff

Japanese journalist Kenji Goto delivering a lecture during a symposium in Tokyo on Oct. 27, 2010.
Japanese journalist Kenji Goto delivering a lecture during a symposium in Tokyo on Oct. 27, 2010. Japan Commitee For The UNICEF/AFP/Getty Images

"We are exploring every possibility available to save their lives," a top official says

Japanese officials said Thursday that they have so far failed to make contact with militants from the Islamic State of Iraq and Greater Syria (ISIS) who have threatened to kill two Japanese hostages.

In a video released Tuesday, a masked ISIS fighter said Kenji Goto and Haruna Yukawa would be killed unless the militant group received $200 million within 72 hours. Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said Japan has yet to hear directly from the group and hasn’t been able to confirm the safety of the two men, the New York Times reports.

“We are exploring every possibility available to save their lives,” he said.

The ransom demanded by ISIS is the same amount Japan had pledged in non-military aid for countries fighting the group. In the video, the ISIS militant accused Japan of donating the money “to kill our women and children, to destroy the homes of Muslims.”

[NYT]

TIME Iran

Ayatollah Urges Western Youth to Examine Islam

Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei speaks at a public gathering at his residence in Tehran, Jan. 7, 2015.
Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei speaks at a public gathering at his residence in Tehran, Jan. 7, 2015. AP

Khamenei encouraged Western youth to find out about Islam for themselves and not allow their image of it to be clouded by prejudice

Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Khamenei has appealed to youth in North America and Europe to seek out their own understanding of Islam and ignore prejudice in the media.

In the letter published on his Twitter account Wednesday night, Khamenei said he was addressing Western youth because “the future of your nations and countries will be in your hands.”

Writing about Islam and its image as presented to the Western world, Khamenei said: “Many attempts have been made over the past two decades…to place this great religion in the seat of a horrifying enemy.”

“The histories of the United States and Europe are ashamed of slavery, embarrassed by the colonial period and chagrined at the oppression of people of color and non-Christians….You know well that humiliation and spreading hatred and illusionary fear of the “other” have been the common base of all these oppressive profiteers. Now, I would like you to ask yourself why the old policy of spreading “phobia” and hatred has targeted Islam and Muslims with an unprecedented intensity.”

In the 900-word letter, Khamenei set out certain requests for those reading the letter. “Study and research the incentives behind this widespread tarnishing of the image of Islam”, he said, encouring them to try to gain a first hand knowledge of Islam, rather than accepting his own or any other reading of the religion. “Receive knowledge of Islam from its primary and original sources”, he said, recommending they look at the Qur’an rather than the media alone.

He concluded the letter with an appeal to young people in the West not to allow offensive depictions against Islam to create a gulf between them and reality, saying: “Hopefully, due to your sense of responsibility toward the truth, future generations would write the history of this current interaction between Islam and the West with a clearer conscience and lesser resentment.”

TIME Ukraine

9 Civilians Dead in Bus Attack After Ukrainian Troops Withdraw from Donetsk Airport

People look through the front windshield of a damaged trolleybus in Donetsk, Jan. 22, 2015.
People look through the front windshield of a damaged trolleybus in Donetsk, Jan. 22, 2015. Reuters

After months of bitter fighting, Kiev forces have withdrawn from a key airport terminal

At least nine civilians were killed and several more injured on Thursday morning after a trolleybus was apparently hit by mortar fire in a rebel-held part of Donetsk, the BBC reports.

The deaths came after Ukraine’s Defense Ministry announced late Wednesday that its army had withdrawn from the main terminal of the fiercely-contested Donetsk airport. The loss of Donetsk airport is no longer in use but holds strong symbolic value in the conflict and will be seen as a major blow to pro-Kiev forces. At least six soldiers have been killed and 16 wounded in recent fighting.

Ukrainian military spokesman Vladislav Seleznyov argued instead that the surrender was a tactical withdrawal: “We continue to control the southern part of the airport…we left the new terminal because it looks like a sieve and there’s simply nowhere to hide there.”

It is unclear whether the bus attack was connected with the fighting at the airport, with both sides offering different accounts of the event. Separatists blamed the attack on a guerrilla unit while Sergie Lavrov, the Russian foreign minister, said the attack was the result of Ukrainian shelling from beyond city limits and called it a “monstrous crime.”

Ukraine, Russia, France and Germany had issued a joint call for ceasefire on Wednesday to end the conflict, in which more than 4,800 people have died since last April.

[BBC]

TIME Egypt

Egypt Orders Release of Mubarak’s Sons Pending Trial

The sons of ousted Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak, Gamal and Alaa behind the defendants' cage during their retrial at the Police Academy in Cairo in 2013.
The sons of ousted Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak, Gamal and Alaa behind the defendants' cage during their retrial at the Police Academy in Cairo in 2013. Khaled Desouki—AFP/Getty Images

Their father remains in prison

An Egyptian court has ordered the release of the sons of former president Hosni Mubarak, who served for thirty years before being ousted in 2011.

Mubarak, now 86, has been in detention since April 2011 and was jailed for three years last May after being convicted of fraud and embezzlement. Earlier this month, a court in Egypt overturned his convictions and those of his sons, Alaa and Gamal, ordering a retrial.

The family lawyer, Farid el-Deeb, told Reuters on Thursday that Alaa, 53, and Gamal, 51, would be released pending this retrial, since they were not being tried in any other cases.

[Reuters]

TIME Japan

Japanese War Reporter Was Abducted by ISIS After Trying to Save His Friend

Before the reporter set off on his rescue mission, he said: "Whatever happens, this is my responsibility"

When an online video surfaced Tuesday showing the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) threatening to kill two Japanese hostages, relatively little was known about the relationship between the two prisoners. But Reuters revealed Wednesday that war correspondent Kenji Goto had in fact returned to Syria in late October to rescue his friend Haruna Yukawa, who was captured by ISIS a few months earlier.

Yukawa reportedly went to Syria as part of an attempt to get his life back on track after dealing with bankruptcy, the loss of his wife to cancer, and an attempted suicide. Goto, 47, a respected Japanese freelance journalist, went to Syria to cover the civil war.

After the pair first met in April, Yukawa asked Goto, who had years of experience of war zones, to take him to Iraq. Yukawa returned to Syria in July, while Goto went back to Japan. But when Yukawa was captured in August outside Aleppo, Goto was troubled by his disappearance and decided to go back in October to try and help.

Friends say Goto traveled from Tokyo to Istanbul and that he sent a message on Oct. 25 to say he had safely crossed the border. In a short clip recorded before he set out for the ISIS-held city of Raqqa, he told the camera: “Whatever happens, this is my responsibility.” That was the last he was heard of until this week’s ISIS video.

[Reuters]

TIME Davos

Pharrell Williams and Al Gore Announce ‘Live Earth’ Concert in June

Former US Vice President Al Gore speaks next to US rapper Pharrell Williams during a panel session on the first day of the 45th Annual Meeting of the World Economic Forum, in Davos, Jan. 21, 2015.
Former U.S. Vice President Al Gore speaks next to rapper Pharrell Williams during a panel session on the first day of the 45th Annual Meeting of the World Economic Forum, in Davos, Jan. 21, 2015. Laurent Gillieron—EPA

Taking place over seven continents, it will be the largest event of its kind ever staged

Over 100 artists will take part in a second round of “Live Earth” concerts across seven continents on June 18., former U.S. vice-president Al Gore and singer Pharrell Williams announced Wednesday.

Speaking at the World Economic Forum in Davos, the two said the June event aims to raise awareness and demand action on environmental issues in the run up to a United Nations climate change conference in Paris in December.

“Instead of just having people perform, we literally are going to have humanity harmonize all at once,” said Williams, the event’s creative director, who has previously donated proceeds from his music to the Alliance for Climate Protection.

Gore said the event would be the largest ever of its kind, predicting an audience of 2 billion via TV, radio and online coverage. “The purpose is to have a billion voices with one message, to demand climate action now,” added Gore, who won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2007 for his work on climate change since leaving office in 2001.

The concert will play from Antarctica, as well as in “major stadiums” in China, Australia, Brazil, South Africa and the U.S.. The event will end at France’s national stadium in Paris, where a major climate pact is set to be signed at the December conference.

[Guardian]

TIME U.K.

British Jihadist Who Faked Death To Return Home Is Convicted of Terrorism

Khawaja joined fighters in Syria in January 2014

A British man who faked his death in Syria to allow him to return home has admitted to four terrorism offences, BBC reports.

Imran Khawaja, 27, from London, fought in Syria for six months in 2014. After posting a message online on social media in June suggesting he had been killed in the conflict, Khawaja attempted to return to the U.K. undetected.

Khawaja admitted to preparing for acts of terrorism, attending a camp, receiving training and possessing firearms. The hearing took place last year but is only being reported now because of legal restrictions.

Police say Khawaja’s group in Syria committed acts of serious violence, as well as being involved in propaganda recruiting drives — with Khawaja captured on camera posing with a severed head.

His cousin, 44-year-old Tahir Bhatti, said he helped his cousin return, driving him back home from Bulgaria. The two were arrested at the English port of Dover. Bhatti has pleaded guilty to assisting an offender, while another man, 33-year-old Asim Ali, pleaded guilty to making £300 ($455) available to Khawaja for the purposes of terrorism. All three men will be sentenced next month.

Head of London’s Counter Terrorism Command, Richard Walton, said: “Imran Khawaja was not a vulnerable teenager that has traveled out to Syria and been corcerced to travel to Syria. This is a man who has chosen the path of terrorism…this is a dangerous man, a trained terrorist.”

[BBC]

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