TIME Britain

Watch Benedict Cumberbatch Read a Poem at Richard III’s Reburial

The actor is also a distant relative of King Richard III, who died 530 years ago

Was ever a crowd in this humor wooed?

Actor Benedict Cumberbatch read a poem Thursday to the somber group that gathered for the reburial of King Richard III.

The poem was written by British Poet Laureate Carol Ann Duffy to commemorate the event in honor of the last British King to die in battle, whose remains were rediscovered beneath a parking lot in 2012. King Richard III was given a ceremonious burial more than 500 years after he fell fighting Henry Tudor at the Battle of Bosworth.

Cumberbatch, who is a distant cousin of Richard III, is set to play the monarch in BBC’s The Hollow Crown: The Wars of the Roses set for next year.

Read next: 7 Things We Learned About Benedict Cumberbatch Today

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TIME Iraq

Shi‘ite Militias Reportedly Back Out of Iraq Campaign After U.S. Air Strikes

Iraqi security forces prepare to attack Islamic State extremist positions in Tikrit, north of Baghdad, Iraq, March 26, 2015.
Khalid Mohammed—AP Iraqi security forces prepare to attack ISIS's positions in Tikrit, north of Baghdad, Iraq, on March 26, 2015

The withdrawing militias represent roughly a third of the 30,000-strong government-led forces

Three key Shi‘ite militias pulled out of the Iraqi assault on the Islamist-held city of Tikrit in protest of U.S. air strikes supporting the campaign, according to a new report.

The New York Times reports that the militia groups, representing a third of the 30,000 government-led forces, are withdrawing from the front lines. The leader of the largest militia group in the battle, the Badr Organization, told the Times that he was also considering pulling out.

U.S. warplanes had sat out the weeks-long assault to retake the city held by the Islamic State of Iraq and Greater Syria (ISIS) amid concerns that the U.S. would find itself fighting alongside the Iranian-backed militias. But the Pentagon reversed course on Wednesday, after receiving assurances that the Shi‘ite militias would step back from the operation according to one top U.S. general.

The U.S. participation in the Tikrit campaign added a new layer to its convoluted relationship with rival Iran, and it came as the U.S. expressed support for the Saudi Arabian–led campaign to intervene in Yemen against Iranian-backed rebels.

[NYT]

Read next: Why the U.S. Is Fighting Besides Iran in Iraq and Against It in Yemen

 

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TIME France

Paris Takes Cars Off the Road to Fight Smog

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Marcaux—Getty Images Paris Dusk

The restrictions—and free public transportation—helped cut traffic by 40 percent

About 750 police officers were deployed in and around Paris on Monday to enforce emergency traffic laws aimed at reducing the city’s encompassing fog.

Only “clean” vehicles, hybrids and electrics, as well as cars with odd number plates were allowed to circulate the streets on Monday, and violators faced a 22-euro ($24) fine, according to Le Monde. Exceptions were also made for emergency and some commercial vehicles. Meanwhile, public transportation was free.

According to Paris mayor Anne Hidalgo said traffic was down by 40 percent on Monday morning.

Paris has struggled to bring down high pollution rates, and last week it briefly topped cities like Beijing and Delhi as the most polluted in the world.

The government said the restrictions, which have been imposed twice before, will be lifted on Tuesday thanks to a projected improvement in conditions.

TIME faith

Watch Pope Francis Get a Pizza in a Moving Popemobile

When you’re the Pope, your wishes really do come true

Pope Francis said earlier this month that the one thing that bugged him about being Pontiff was not being able to go out unnoticed to get pizza.

At least one Neapolitan sympathized with the Pope.

In a fearless act caught on video, pizzeria owner Enzo Cacialli ran toward the Pope’s motorcade in Naples—the legendary home of pizza—and handed the Pontiff a personal pie. Pope Francis reached down and accepted the offering, which had “Il Papa” spelled out in dough on top.

“It’s really hard for me to understand what I managed to do,” Cacialli told CNN. “Giving a pizza you made with your own hands to the Pope is very emotional. It’s really hard for me to express the value of this gesture for a man we really love and value, for a beautiful person full of humanity.”

Read next: How the World Knew What to Expect From Pope Francis

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TIME Britain

King Richard III to Be Laid to Rest

Floral tributes are pictured as members of the public queue to view the coffin containing the remains of England's King Richard III in Leicester Cathedral in Leicestershire, England on March 23, 2015.
Ben Stansall—AFP/Getty Images Floral tributes are pictured as members of the public queue to view the coffin containing the remains of England's King Richard III in Leicester Cathedral in Leicestershire, England on March 23, 2015.

530 years later

The last British King to die in battle will be buried Thursday, more than 500 years after he fell fighting Henry Tudor at the Battle of Bosworth.

The remains of King Richard III, which were found beneath a parking lot in 2012, were ceremoniously taken to the Leicester Cathedral on Sunday before thousands of onlookers, BBC reports. On Monday, Cardinal Vincent Nichols, the Archbishop of Westminster, will give a mass for Richard, and the public will be able to view the coffin over the next few days

The King, who died at the end of the tumultuous War of the Roses, will be reburied at the Cathedral on Thursday.

[BBC]

TIME LGBT

Puerto Rico Drops Opposition to Gay Marriage

"Today is a great day for my island," wrote Puerto Rican superstar Ricky Martin.

The Puerto Rican government announced on Friday that it would drop its opposition to same-sex marriage.

Justice Secretary Cesar Miranda said at a news conference that the Puerto Rican justice department would no longer oppose a suit challenging the constitutionality of the socially conservative island’s ban.

“Our constitutional system does not allow discriminatory distinctions such as that contained in the Civil Code concerning the rights of same-sex couples,” Gov. Alejandro Garcia Padilla said in a statement posted to his office’s website. “Everyone knows my religious beliefs, but it is not for political leaders to impose our beliefs. We must push for progress in civil and human rights for all citizens equally. As Governor of Puerto Rico, that’s my duty.”

Puerto Rico native Ricky Martin, who has advocated for gay rights since he announced he was gay in 2010, said on Twitter that he was grateful for the move.

In a lengthier statement, the singer called Padilla a “leader who is not afraid of the present challenges.”

“Today is a great day for my island,” he wrote. “How proud I am to live a country of equality. I love you Puerto Rico.”

TIME Yemen

ISIS Claims Role in Yemen Attack, But Doubts Persist

One expert calls the claim "not credible"

A group claiming allegiance to the Islamic State of Iraq and Greater Syria took responsibility for the suicide attacks that killed at least 137 people in Yemen’s capital city on Friday — but at least one expert has said the ISIS claim is “not credible.”

The claim was made online by a group that says it is the Yemeni branch of ISIS, the group that seized swathes of territory in Iraq and Syria, the Associated Press reports. If true, it would mark by far ISIS’s largest attack in Yemen, where sectarian tensions have already spilled over into violence without intervention from ISIS.

But Bruce Riedel, director of the Intelligence Project at the Brookings Institute said it was likelier to be al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), the terror network’s powerful affiliate in Yemen that opposes the Shi’ite rebels, known as the Houthis, who seized the capital last year. “ISIS’s claim is not credible,” he said. “The attacks in Sanaa are more likely AQAP, which has both capability and intent. But ISIS may find a following in Yemen given the chaos and sectarian violence.”

ISIS’s spread in Syria and Iraq has been curbed by U.S.-led coalition airstrikes, but the group has expanded into countries like Libya—where violence has fueled a power vacuum—by drawing support from local militants. Whether it has a foothold in Yemen remains unclear.

“In Yemen, it has never been particularly clear that ISIS had any presence whatsoever, nor what the relationship between al-Qaeda and ISIS is in Yemen,” said said Belkis Wille, a Yemen and Kuwait researcher with Human Rights Watch.

During Friday’s noon prayer, when the mosques are most crowded, a suicide bomber detonated explosives at the al-Badr mosque while another attacked amid the ensuing panic, the AP reports. At least one other suicide bomber exploded at the al-Hashoosh mosque across the city. By Friday evening, the death toll from the attacks on the predominantly Shi’ite mosques had risen to 137, according to the rebel-owned Al-Masirah TV channel

There’s no scarcity of potential perpetrators in Yemen, a deeply splintered country where a standoff between the country’s president and the Houthis has exacerbated tensions. In February, the Houthis, who swept into the capital months earlier, dissolved the parliament and put President Abdel Rabbo Mansour Hadi under house arrest. Hadi, who the UN still recognizes as the legitimate president, escaped Sana’a and fled to the southern city of Aden, where he has declared a rival government.

On Thursday, a day before the suicide bombings, Aden was rocked by gun battles between forces loyal to Hadi and those loyal to longtime President Ali Abdullah Saleh, who stepped down in 2012 in the wake of Arab Spring protests but is believed to be cooperating with the Iranian-backed Houthis. An unidentified warplane also attacked the presidential compound in Aden amid the clashes, though Hadi was unhurt.

Wille predicted “an uptick” in targeted terrorist attacks aimed at Houthi-affiliated institutions as Sunni extremist groups attempt to thwart the Shi’ite rebels.

“Unfortunately, this violence, which comes in the context of escalating tension between Sunni Islamists, armed groups, and the Houthis, represents a serious blow to the continuation of negotiations for a peaceful transition,” Wille said,

“As long as the Houthis remain a prominent political power, I fear that there will be more attacks coming from either al-Qaeda or other Sunni islamist groups, including potentially ISIS, which is a new development,” she said.

TIME Law

Texas Moves Closer to Allowing Guns on College Campuses

UT Chancellor William McRaven, a retired Navy admiral, opposes the measure

The Texas Senate approved a bill on Thursday that would allow people to carry concealed handguns on college campuses.

Supporters say the measure, which has the backing of gun rights groups, will help licensed students over 21 better protect themselves. The Senate voted on the measure along party lines, and the Republican-controlled House is taking it up next week.

But the move to legalize licensed weapons on campuses has prompted opposition from law enforcement and university leaders, including University of Texas System Chancellor William McRaven, a retired Navy admiral who oversaw the operation that killed Osama bin Laden.

“I continue to remain apprehensive about the effects of this legislation on UT System institutions and our students, staff, patients and visitors,” McRaven said in a statement to TIME. “I continue to hear from students, parents, staff and faculty about their uneasiness related to this legislation. In light of this, it is my responsibility to continue to express our concerns as the Senate bill goes to the House and the House bill goes through the process.”

While most states either ban concealed arms on campus or leave the decision to colleges and universities individually, seven states have provisions that allow for concealed weapons on public post-secondary campuses, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Several Republican-held legislatures, including in Florida and Montana, are also considering easing their restrictions on weapons on campuses.

While the Texas legislature has failed to pass similar bills three times since 2009, this bill has strong backing in the House and Governor Greg Abbott has expressed his support.

Still, student groups and higher education leaders are voicing their opposition.

“There is great concern that the presence of handguns, even if limited to licensed individuals age 21 or older, will lead to an increase in both accidental shootings and self-inflicted wounds,” McRaven wrote in an open letter to state leaders in January.

— Charlotte Alter contributed reporting.

TIME

Netanyahu Now Says He Wants a 2-State Solution

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu delivers a speech to supporters at party headquarters in Tel Aviv on March 18, 2015.
Nir Elias—Reuters Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu delivers a speech to supporters at party headquarters in Tel Aviv on March 18, 2015.

The Israeli Prime Minister backtracked on election-timed statements he made earlier this week

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Thursday that he supports a two-state solution for Israel and Palestinian despite coming out against a Palestinian state on the eve of Tuesday’s election.

Netanyahu had reversed course on his support for a two-state solution when he said in an interview on Monday that he would not allow a Palestinian state if he remained in office. That stance appeared aimed at bolstering support from Israel’s right ahead of what was expected to be a close election on Tuesday, though his statement drew widespread condemnation abroad, including from the White House.

But fresh off of a surprise strong showing in Tuesday’s vote, Netanyahu said in an interview Thursday with MSNBC that he doesn’t want “a one-state solution.”

“I want a sustainable, peaceful two-state solution. But for that circumstances have to change,” said Netanyahu, who is poised to get a fourth term in office.

Netanyahu’s Likud party won 30 of the 120 seats in the Knesset, Israel’s parliament, handily defeating his strongest opposition, the Zionist Union, which won 24 seats. According to the Israeli system, President Reuven Rivlin is now expected to select Netanyahu to try to form a new coalition government.

Watch the full interview below:

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