TIME

This Is How Far Barack Obama Has Traveled Around the World

President Obama’s meeting in Saudi Arabia Tuesday with its new king marks his 84th visit to a foreign country as president, including repeat visits. By TIME’s estimation, he has now accumulated over 447,000 frequent flyer miles in international travel since January 2009, including flights returning to the United States.

Follow each of those trips below with the arrow buttons and watch those totals accumulate. You can skip to the end by using the left arrow from the first slide.

Methodology

Total miles are calculated as the round-trip distance between Washington, D.C. and a given location. Since the figures don’t account for routes and intermediate stops for refueling, the actual figure is likely to be higher. For trips that include multiple stops, the calculation only factors in the flight from Washington for the first and last leg.

TIME Cuba

Fidel Castro Sends Word That He’s Alive — and Cautiously Optimistic About Talks With the U.S.

El Capitolio, the National Capitol Building in Havana, Dec. 2014.
El Capitolio, the National Capitol Building in Havana, Dec. 2014. Yuri Kozyrev—NOOR for TIME

The former Cuban leader and lifelong revolutionary makes it clear that he won't stand in the way of diplomacy with Washington

The letter from Fidel Castro that surfaced on the front page of the state newspaper Granma on Tuesday served two purposes. The first was proof of life. When you’re the founder of a state and your physical condition is subject to almost constant rumor, you don’t arrange to be photographed holding up a copy of a current newspaper to prove that you remain alive. You remark on events that have recently transpired, and make that front page your own.

Which was of course the other thing the senior Castro, 88, accomplished: leaving his mark — however belatedly, guardedly and obtusely — on events that have largely been out of his hands since he handed over power to his brother Raúl in 2006, owing to failing health. Tuesday’s remarks were Fidel’s first since the momentous simultaneous declaration on Dec. 19 by Raúl and President Barack Obama that Cuba and the U.S. would begin to re-establish diplomatic relations, and work together toward removing the more than 50-year-old American economic embargo.

In the meantime a senior State Department delegation had already come to Havana on Jan. 21 and left amid smiles and mutual avowals of continuing the rapprochement. In his public letter Fidel was less effusive, but made it clear that he wouldn’t stand in the way of new diplomatic ties. “I don’t trust the policy of the United States, nor have I exchanged a word with them, but this does not mean I reject a pacific solution to the conflicts,” Castro wrote, in remarks addressed in his name to a student federation at the University of Havana. “We shall always defend the cooperation and friendship between all people, among them our political adversaries,” the letter went on. “With this spirit, I have fought and will continue fighting until my last breath.”

The tones of skepticism, even amid the outpouring of enthusiasm with which ordinary Cubans received word of the rapprochement, shouldn’t be surprising. After reaching out in vain to the Eisenhower Administration after Fidel and his fellow rebels ousted the U.S.-backed Cuban government in 1959, no leader faced more persistent efforts by the U.S. to remove him and undo his revolution. There were direct military attacks, planned assassinations and a long string of assaults by U.S.-backed surrogates spanning more than a decade. Castro’s resilience and increasingly proud defiance of Washington gave him unique standing on the world stage — and made him ever more reviled by the Cuban exiles in the U.S. who loathed his socialist system and often brutal repression of dissidents and rivals.

Today there’s no disputing who is in charge in Cuba. Nearly a decade after taking power, Raúl has brought in his own people, and gradually but steadily pushed for pragmatic changes that have eased the economic hardships that defined Cuban life in the years after the Soviet Union abruptly withdrew its wholesale support at the end of the Cold War. Fidel said as much in his statement, noting that as President, the 83-year-old Raúl “has taken the pertinent steps in accordance with his prerogatives and the powers given to him by the National Assembly the Communist Party of Cuba.” But opening to market forces also threatens the system of social equality that was a hallmark of the Castro regime — a risk that likely accounts for much of the wariness evident in Fidel’s missive.

Fidel, who hasn’t spoken in public in years, is clearly not well. He remains at home on his ranch on the western outskirts of the capital, his health widely believed to be fragile at best. After a flurry of rumors a fortnight ago that he had suffered a fatal stroke, he sent a letter to the soccer legend Diego Maradona, an old friend, saying he was very much alive. (The confusion was due in part to the very real death earlier this month of Fidel Castro Odinga, the son of Kenya’s opposition leader.) But as the embodiment of the Revolution, the Bearded One retains the power of paterfamilias status, and perhaps a good deal more, among ordinary Cubans.

“I’ve got a lot of faith in my government,” said Caridad Alfonso, 43, at a beer garden along the shore after finishing her day as a general practitioner in Havana. “We are Fidelistas. We love Fidel even though he’s not the President any more and we follow Raúl.”

But she welcomed the opening to the U.S., especially as framed by both Raúl and Obama and their diplomats, who make frequent mentions of mutual respect and sovereignty, as well as “profound disagreements.”

“Now we’re equal,” Alfonso said. “It’s a good beginning.” And Fidel Castro may be around to see the end as well.

TIME India

Obama Pledges $4 Billion of Investment in India

U.S. President Barack Obama delivers a toast as he attends an Official State Dinner at the Rashtrapati Bhavan presidential palace in New Delhi
U.S. President Barack Obama delivers a toast as he attends an Official State Dinner with India's President Pranab Mukherjee and Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the Rashtrapati Bhavan presidential palace in New Delhi January 25, 2015. Jim Bourg—REUTERS

Half that amount will be set aside for India's renewable energy efforts

U.S. President Barack Obama pledged $4 billion in investment and loans to India on Monday, soon after attending the South Asian nation’s 66th annual Republic Day celebrations as the guest of honor earlier in the afternoon.

Obama told a gathering of business leaders from India and the U.S. that both countries have “got to do better” in furthering an economic relationship “defined by so much untapped potential,” Reuters reports.

The U.S. Trade and Development Agency will commit $2 billion towards India’s renewable energy efforts, Obama said, while $1 billion each will be pledged to finance “Made-in-America” exports and Indian rural businesses respectively.

[Reuters]

TIME India

Obama Stresses Religious Tolerance, Women’s Safety in Final Speech in India

U.S. President Obama delivers a speech at Siri Fort Auditorium in New Delhi
U.S. President Barack Obama delivers a speech at Siri Fort Auditorium in New Delhi on Jan. 27, 2015 Jim Bourg—Reuters

Obama is the first U.S. President to visit India twice while in office

“We may have different histories and speak different languages,” said U.S. President Barack Obama at New Delhi’s Siri Fort Auditorium on Tuesday morning, “but when we look at each other, we see a reflection of ourselves.”

Addressing a crowd of about 2,000 people in his last public event before flying to Saudi Arabia later that afternoon, Obama spoke at length about the historic and contemporary similarities between the U.S. and India. He linked Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King Jr., Indian thinker Swami Vivekananda and Obama’s hometown of Chicago, and, of course, in keeping with the close personal equation the two leaders made evident during his three-day visit, himself and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

“We live in countries where a grandson of a cook can become President and son of a tea seller can become Prime Minister,” he said, referring to their respective backgrounds.

Obama also used his address to touch on the importance of defending religious diversity. Although the majority of India’s 1.27 billion-strong population is Hindu, about a fifth of its people belong to other religions like Islam, Christianity and Sikhism, with diversity a growing subject of concern among opponents of the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party that Modi chairs.

“In India and America, our diversity is our strength,” he said. “India will succeed so long as it is not splintered along the lines of religious faith.”

Meanwhile, speaking about the U.S.-India relationship on Tuesday, President Obama called it “one of the defining partnerships of the century,” and advocated a greater role for India in the Asia-Pacific, seemingly a tacit acknowledgement of China’s growing regional influence.

He also touched upon empowering women, an issue that Modi made one of the major themes of Obama’s visit and Monday’s Republic Day celebrations. “Indian women have shown that they can succeed in every field,” he said before advocating equal opportunity and safety for women. “Every woman should be able to go about her day and be safe and be treated with the respect and dignity that she deserves.”

Obama also mentioned several key issues and agreements from his visit — including a civilian nuclear deal between the two countries and climate change — before concluding with a reiteration of the new, elevated U.S.-India relations the two leaders have forged.

“I’m the first American President to come to your country twice,” he said, “but I predict I will not be the last.”

TIME India

See President Obama Attend India’s Republic Day Parade

President Barack Obama joined Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi at his country's Republic Day Parade in New Delhi. Obama is the first U.S. President to be a guest of honor at the annual festivity.

TIME India

India Pulls Out All the Stops for Obama at Republic Day Parade

Indian soldiers march in formation down the ceremonial boulevard Rajpath during the Indian Republic Day parade in New Delhi on Jan. 26, 2015.
Soldiers march in formation down the ceremonial boulevard Rajpath during the Republic Day parade in New Delhi on Jan. 26, 2015. Prakash Singh—AFP/Getty Images

One of the South Asian nation's biggest occasions was made even more momentous by the choice of chief guest

Gloomy skies and a steady downpour were not enough to dampen New Delhi’s spirits on Monday, as thousands turned up to watch U.S. President Barack Obama, First Lady Michelle and a sizable American delegation witness a display of India’s military might, economic achievements and diversity at the country’s 66th Republic Day parade.

Obama became the first U.S. President ever to attend the annual event, an invite for which is considered one of the greatest honors India bestows on foreign dignitaries. The President rolled up to the viewing platform in his armored limousine, known as The Beast, eschewing the tradition of riding in the Indian president’s vehicle over security concerns. He then took his place between Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, with whom he announced a “breakthrough” on a civil nuclear deal Sunday evening, and Indian President Pranab Mukherjee (whose choice of headgear caused a bit of a flutter on social media).

While the U.S. has become India’s biggest military supplier in recent times, the South Asian nation’s armed forces have traditionally been equipped with Soviet hardware, a fact Obama was reminded of as Russian-made T-90 and T-72 tanks rolled down the main stretch, along with a mobile launcher for the BrahMos missile jointly developed by India and Russia.

The parade-ending flyovers by the Indian Air Force did have American P-8 Poseidon naval planes, and although these too were flanked by Russian MIG-29 and SU-30 fighter jets, officials on both sides expressed hope and confidence in the 10-year bilateral defense agreement that Obama and Modi renewed on Sunday.

“None of these things should be considered small in terms of just what it means for working together as two defense industrial bases and what we can share with each other,” Phillip Reiner, Obama’s top South Asia advisor, told the New York Times.

“It’s a huge step forward,” Indian lawmaker Baijayant Panda agreed, even though other analysts remained skeptical but hopeful.

Between the displays of military might came a series of marches — including multiple all-female contingents and even a camel troop — followed by floats and dance performances representing various Indian states, as well as government initiatives like Modi’s “Make in India” and “Swacch Bharat” (Clean India) campaigns.

Finally, there were the motorcycles of the Border Security Force. Known as “Janbaz,” or Dare Devils, they showcased feats of amazing balance, focus and agility — all while tapping on laptops and dressed as peacocks and lotuses.

Judging by Obama’s reaction, one of his most animated during the course of the parade, they got the White House seal of approval.

TIME India

5 Things You Need to Know About Obama’s Visit to India

U.S. President Barack Obama hosts a meeting with India's PM Narendra Modi at the White House in Washington
U.S. President Barack Obama smiles as he hosts a meeting with India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington September 30, 2014. Larry Downing—Reuters

U.S. President Barack Obama is expected to touch down in New Delhi on Sunday morning, kicking off a highly anticipated three-day visit that will see him attend India’s Republic Day parade on Jan. 26.

Here are the five things you need to know as the President arrives in the Indian capital.

1. This is a highly symbolic visit with many firsts
Obama will be the first U.S. President to attend the Jan. 26 parade, a Soviet-style jamboree to mark the day in 1950 India’s constitution came into force. Past invitees to the annual celebration include Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, Russian President Vladimir Putin and French President Nicholas Sarkozy. But that’s not all: when he lands in New Delhi, Obama will also become the first sitting U.S. leader to visit India twice, following an earlier trip in 2010.

2. This is not the first (nor even second) meeting between Obama and the new Indian leader
Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who came to power following Indian national elections in 2014, traveled to the U.S. in September, visiting New York City and calling in at the White House in Washington D.C. “It is rare for leaders, especially American presidents, to have successive summits so quickly,” Tanvi Madan, director of The India Project at the Brookings Institution, told TIME. Modi and Obama also met at the G20 Summit in Australia and the East Asia Summit in Burma last year.

3. Relations between the two countries haven’t always been smooth
Another reason this visit is significant is that it symbolizes a rapid improvement in U.S.-India ties, which were nearly undone at the end of 2013 over a row involving Devyani Khobragade, India’s deputy consul general in New York. Accused of visa fraud and underpaying her house-keeper, she was arrested and strip-searched by U.S. law enforcement, sparking angry protests and diplomatic retaliations from India.

4. The symbolism may be backed up by some substance
Modi and Obama will discuss a whole host of issues when they sit down for talks. Among those topping the agenda will be bilateral trade, climate change, increased defense cooperation and investment in India’s civilian nuclear sector, where a deal is being sought to break a long-standing impasse over a local law that is blamed for keeping foreign nuclear companies from getting involved in the Indian market. (It’s not yet clear if the two sides will come to an agreement in time for the President’s arrival.) Obama and Modi are also expected to discuss the regional geopolitical situation.

5. And finally, there’s a bilateral radio show
Obama will join Modi on a special edition of the Indian leader’s regular radio program that will air on state broadcaster All India Radio on Jan. 27. The Indian Prime Minister broke the news of the show himself using his Twitter feed:

And the state broadcaster prepared a special poster:

TIME Yemen

U.S. Downsizes Yemen Embassy Staff as Crisis Builds

Houthi fighters ride a truck near the presidential palace in Sanaa, Jan. 22. 2015.
Houthi fighters ride a truck near the presidential palace in Sanaa, Jan. 22. 2015. Khaled Abdullah—Reuters

U.S. officials say that the embassy won’t be closing

The U.S. has decided to reduce its embassy staff in Yemen following the collapse of the nation’s government at the hands of rebel Houthi fighters.

“The safety and security of U.S. personnel is our top priority in Yemen,” White House spokesperson Jen Psaki said in a statement. “We are evaluating the security situation on the ground on an ongoing basis. We call on all parties to abide by their public commitments to ensure the security of the diplomatic community, including our personnel.”

The move comes four months after U.S. President Barack Obama lauded Yemen as a model for “successful” counterterrorism partnerships.

The reduction of embassy staff, mainly in response to the security situation, comes at a time when Washington is trying to secure partnerships in the war against the Islamic State of Iraq and Greater Syria while trying to limit Iran’s influence in the region, according to Reuters.

The situation is alarming neighboring Saudi Arabia, which sees Tehran’s military and financial support for the Shi‘ite Houthis as a sign of their growing regional clout.

Former Yemeni President Abdel Rabbo Mansour Hadi, who resigned Thursday along with a slew of government officials, was seen as a key ally in the war against jihadist groups like al-Qaeda. However, the Houthis, who now control the capital, are said to loathe al-Qaeda as much as they do the U.S., reports Reuters.

Hadi’s resignation will “absolutely” limit drone strikes and counterterrorism operations in the immediate future, a former U.S. official told the news agency.

TIME Saudi Arabia

Global Leaders Pay Respects After the Death of Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah

President Obama meets King Abdullah in Saudi Arabia
U.S. President Barack Obama meets with King Abdullah at Rawdat al-Khraim (Desert Camp) near Riyadh in Saudi Arabia, March 28, 2014. Kevin Lamarque—Reuters

"An important voice who left a lasting impact on his country"

U.S. President Barack Obama paid tribute to Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah on Friday, hailing the late monarch’s contributions to peace in the Middle East and the relationship between the two allies.

“As our countries work together to confront many challenges, I always valued King Abdullah’s perspective and appreciated our genuine and warm friendship,” Obama said in a statement. “The closeness and strength of the partnership between our two countries is part of King Abdullah’s legacy.”

Former President George H.W. Bush also released a statement calling Abdullah “a wise and reliable ally, helping our nations build a strategic relationship and enduring friendship,” according to CBS News.

Messages came in from leaders around the world, with British Prime Minister David Cameron and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi both expressing regret at Abdullah’s demise. Cameron, who visited Saudi Arabia in 2012, said he was “deeply saddened” and expressed hope that the “long and deep ties between our two Kingdoms will continue,” while Modi took to Twitter to commemorate “an important voice who left a lasting impact on his country.”

Abdullah’s spearheading of the Arab Peace Initiative, which was cited by both Obama and U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry as one of his key achievements, was also included in U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon’s condolence message as “a tangible legacy that can still point the way towards peace in the Middle East.”

TIME State of the Union 2015

These Are the Funniest Memes From the State of the Union

Few were safe from becoming a joke on social media

While pundits and political operatives dissected President Barack Obama’s 2015 State of the Union address, the quick-witted citizens of Twitter flourished in the abundance of meme-able moments Tuesday night.

Here are some of the highlights.

  • Biden’s Reaction

    Not sure if the Vice President knew he was making the face of a rapper’s hype-man as the President spoke.

  • Speaker Boehner is Not Impressed

    Like the Vice President’s, House Speaker John Boehner’s facial expressions are always an easy target for critique during the State of the Union

  • Secretary Moniz Gets Meme’d

    Neither Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz nor his amazing hair got enough air time during the State of the Union

  • First Lady Fashion

    First Lady Michelle Obama channelled the look of another “First Lady” last night, Alicia Florrick of CBS’s The Good Wife.

  • The President’s “Drops-Mic” Moment

    The moment that stole the show gets the Vine treatment, complete with dad-dancing

  • Rand Paul Joins In

    Kentucky Republican Sen. Rand Paul joined in on the fun, using a Willy Wonka meme to question the President’s plan for free community college

  • The State of the Union Is…

    Though Obama said Tuesday the state of our union is “strong,” someone suggested a word that could better connect with the youth

  • The Suit Returns

    White House Senior Advisor Dan Pfeiffer did a little pre-speech trolling, suggesting the President would be wearing his infamous tan-suit during the evening’s address

  • Joni Ernst’s Shoes

    During the official Republican response, Iowa Sen. Joni Ernst recalled covering her shoes with bread bags to protect them when she was growing up, which spawned arguably one of the funniest memes of the night

  • A Presidential Wink

    POTUS flashes a wink and a smile

    Read next: The State of the Union Brought Out the Troll in Everyone

    Listen to the most important stories of the day.

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