The Best Pictures of the Week: Nov. 21 – Nov. 28

From violent protests over the Ferguson shooting verdict and Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel’s sudden resignation to the dismantling of India’s first aircraft carrier and Lionel Messi’s new goals record, TIME presents the best pictures of the week.

TIME India

Indian Girls Who Were Believed Murdered Took Their Own Lives

An official investigation into the gang-rape and murder of two girls in India in May rules that the victims actually committed suicide

Following worldwide outrage over the alleged gang-rape and murder of two girls, aged 14 and 15, in India earlier this year, the country’s Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has now ruled that the girls took their own lives and were not gang-raped and murdered.

When the two girls were found hanging from a tree in a field near their home in the Badaun district in the state of Uttar Pradesh last May, it was widely reported that they had been gang-raped and killed. According to the BBC, an exam initially confirmed several sexual assaults and death due to hanging and three men were arrested in connection with the girls’ deaths.

The men were released on bail in September and, according to the CBI’s investigation, subsequent forensic tests have since concluded the girls were not sexually assaulted. “Based on around 40 scientific reports the CBI has concluded that the two minor girls in the Badaun case had not been raped and murdered as had been alleged,” CBI spokeswoman Kanchan Prasad told the BBC on Thursday. “Investigation has concluded that it is a case of suicide.”

Women’s activists and the families of the girls have voiced their suspicions over the CBI’s findings.

“CBI has tried to fudge the case and save the accused from the very beginning,” Sohan Lal, father of one of the girls, told the BBC. “I am very angry with their decision. The team did not show any promptness while investigating the case.”

MORE: Photos of The Indian Village Shocked By Brutal Rape and Murder Case


TIME India

New Delhi, the World’s Most Polluted City, Is Even More Polluted Than We Realized

Smog envelops buildings on the outskirts of the Indian capital New Delhi on November 25, 2014. ROBERTO SCHMIDT—AFP/Getty Images

Researchers have been measuring background pollution when they should have been doing roadside readings

New Delhi has already been ranked the world’s worst polluted city by the World Health Organization, but a new study by U.S. and Indian scientists shows that the city’s air quality is far worse than previously thought.

American scientist Joshua Apte, working with partners from the University of California, Berkeley and Delhi’s Indian Institute of Technology, roamed the streets of the Indian capital in an autorickshaw laden with air pollution monitors. He found that average pollution levels were up to eight times higher on city roads, the Associated Press reports.

Apte compared the readings from his road trips to readings at urban background sites, which he says are already extremely high. The levels of PM 2.5, the particle known to be most harmful to human health, were found to be 50 percent higher on Delhi’s roads during rush hour than during ambient air quality readings. Black carbon, a major pollutant, was found to be three times higher.

“Official air quality monitors tend to be located away from roads, on top of buildings, and that’s not where most people spend most of their time,” Apte said. “In fact, most people spend a lot of time in traffic in India. Sometimes one, two, three hours a day.”

India is the third largest polluting country in the world, after the United States and China — who both signed a major bilateral climate deal in Beijing earlier this month.

Its rapidly growing vehicle numbers, expected to hit 400 million by 2030, are posing a major threat that the government is well aware of.

Several steps have been taken to reduce the number of Indian automobiles running on diesel, and the country’s National Green Tribunal also announced on Thursday that it would ban any vehicles older than 15 years from New Delhi’s roads.

But far more drastic measures will be required to make a meaningful dent in Delhi’s air pollution levels, which, according to the latest WHO Ambient Air Pollution Database, are at just under 300 micrograms per cubic meter. The world’s second most polluted city, Karachi, clocks in at a little over 250, while the major Chinese cities of Beijing and Shanghai, internationally notorious for their pollution, clock in a relatively fresh 120 and 80 respectively.

TIME person of the year

Narendra Modi Leads TIME’s Person of the Year Poll

Narendra Modi
Prime Minister Narendra Modi of India waves to the crowd as he arrives to give a speech during a reception by the Indian community in honor of his visit to the United States at Madison Square Garden, Sept. 28, 2014, in New York. Jason DeCrow—AP

India's leader is well ahead of the Ferguson, Mo., protesters and Russia's Vladimir Putin

Vote Now for TIME’s Person of the Year.

Narendra Modi, the newly elected Indian prime minister, has a significant lead in TIME’s 2014 Person of the Year polls, with 11.1% of the vote as of Wednesday evening. The leader of the world’s largest democracy has raised hopes among Indians that he’ll invigorate the country’s economy and tear down the bureaucratic red tape that has slowed development.

Should Narendra Modi Be TIME’s Person of the Year? Vote Below for #TIMEPOY

The Ferguson, Mo., protesters now stand at 8.8% as of late Wednesday, edging out Russian President Vladimir Putin (5.9%), who was TIME’s Person of the Year in 2007, and the youngest Nobel Peace Prize winner ever, Malala Yousafzai (5%).

The earlier bump for the protesters came amid violent unrest in the St. Louis suburb and subsequent demonstrations that rippled across the U.S. Thousands expressed solidarity with slain 18-year-old Michael Brown’s family following the grand jury announcement not to indict police officer Darren Wilson for causing his death. Crowds from New York to Los Angeles gathered and chanted the rallying cry, “Black lives matter.”

Since 1927, TIME has named a person who for better or worse has most influenced the news and our lives in the past year.

The Person of the Year is selected by TIME’s editors, but readers are asked to weigh in by commenting on any TIME Facebook post that includes #TIMEPOY, tweeting your vote using #TIMEPOY, or by heading over to TIME.com’s Person of the Year voting hub, where Pinnion’s technology is recording, visualizing and analyzing results as they are received. Votes from Twitter, Facebook and TIME.com’s voting hub are pooled together to create the totals displayed on the site. You can see the results of the poll and vote on your choice for person of the year here.

TIME person of the year

Ferguson Protesters Surge in TIME’s Person of the Year Poll

The leader of the largest democracy in the world is leading TIME's 2014 poll for Person of the Year

Vote Now for TIME’s Person of the Year.

With just 10 days left to go before TIME’s 2014 Person of the Year polls come to a close, TIME readers have given Ferguson protestors a huge boost in votes, following a grand jury’s decision Monday not to indict the white police officer who fatally shot unarmed black teenager Michael Brown.

Ferguson protestors stand at 7.7% in the Person of the Year poll as of early Wednesday, edging out Russian President Vladimir Putin and Hong Kong protestor Joshua Wong. The bump comes after violent unrest in the St. Louis suburb seen this week and subsequent demonstrations that rippled through the country, expressing solidarity with the slain 18-year-old’s family. From New York to Minneapolis and Los Angeles, large crowds gathered Monday and Tuesday chanting the rallying cry, “Black lives matter.”

Should the Ferguson Protestors Be TIME’s Person of the Year? Vote Below for #TIMEPOY

Narendra Modi, the newly elected Indian prime minister, still has a significant lead in the rankings, with 12.2% of the vote as of Wednesday morning. As the leader of the largest democracy in the world, Modi has raised high hopes among Indians that he can invigorate the country’s economy and cut bureaucratic red tape that has slowed development in India.

Trailing Modi and the Ferguson protestors are Russian President Vladimir Putin, with 6.4%, who was TIME’s Person of the Year in 2007, and the youngest Nobel Peace Prize-winner ever, Malala Yousafzai.

Since 1927, TIME has named a person who for better or worse has most influenced the news and our lives in the past year.

The Person of the Year is selected by TIME’s editors, but readers are asked to weigh in by commenting on any TIME Facebook post that includes #TIMEPOY, tweeting your vote using #TIMEPOY, or by heading over to TIME.com’s Person of the Year voting hub, where Pinnion’s technology is recording, visualizing and analyzing results as they are received. Votes from Twitter, Facebook and TIME.com’s voting hub are pooled together to create the totals displayed on the site. You can see the results of the poll and vote on your choice for person of the year here.



TIME India

Tending the Flock

Babar Afzal - Pashmina Story.
Babar Afzal in Stakmo village, situated on the outskirts of Leh. He helps Tsering Dolma with her daily chore of rounding up the goats, counting them and securing for the night. Photograph by Sumit Dayal for time

By saving the pashmina goat, Babar Afzal hopes to rescue an 
entire people

The goats scatter, seeking out foliage to nibble across the rocky terrain of Ladakh, an inhospitable part of India’s Jammu and Kashmir state hard on the Himalayan mountains. Two ethnic Changpa goatherds greet a trio of outside visitors with a friendly juleh—hello in Ladakhi. Their hands busily circling Buddhist prayer beads, they listen as 38-year-old Babar Afzal asks questions, takes notes and explains the Pashmina Goat Project he established in 2012.

Indian pashmina, better known as cashmere, is a highly prized wool. It’s six times thinner than human hair and can cost several thousand dollars on the international market when turned into a single scarf. But the nomadic Changpas, most of whom are poor and illiterate, don’t see much of that money. Middlemen buy the raw pashmina wool for anything from $40 to $80 a kilogram and sell it for up to five times more. “There’s so much struggle in our lives,” says goatherd Tsering Dolma, 39, waving her rough hands at the shabby tent where her 3-year-old son roams in threadbare clothes. “Why would we want our children to continue in this trade?”

Babar believes he has the answer. His Pashmina Goat Project brings together more than 8,000 ethnic Changpa goatherds, some 1.5 million of their livestock and about 300,000 weavers into a cooperative whose aim is empowerment. The co-op educates the Changpas about the worth of their flocks, helps them negotiate better deals for their wool, and informs them about the increasingly erratic weather patterns that hurt the well-being of their goats. “The pashmina ecosystem is a storehouse of ancient culture and religious practices,” says Babar. “It’s important that this community flourish.”

The plight of the Changpas partly reflects that of Kashmir. The region, divided into Jammu and Kashmir on India’s side and Azad Kashmir on Pakistan’s, has been hotly disputed by the two countries since 1947. Besides the face-off between two bristling armies—already three wars have been fought over the territory—Jammu and Kashmir is subject to attacks by Islamic and separatist insurgents. In 1996, Babar left his birthplace of Jammu, the state’s winter capital, for New Delhi, joining thousands of other young Kashmiris desperate to escape a web of militancy and unemployment. After graduating in business management, he worked as a consultant for multinationals like McKinsey & Co. in India and overseas. But he couldn’t get Kashmir out of his mind. “I wanted to be back home,” he says. “The pull was strong.”

Since he returned to Jammu with his wife and daughter in 2008, Babar has been running restaurants and businesses promoting local food and handicrafts. He also spotlights the impact of climate change through his abstract art: paintings, mugs, even iPhone covers. “Climate change is Kashmir’s biggest problem, even worse than terrorism,” he says.

Ladakh’s goats, which grow to nearly a meter high and typically live about seven years, produce 80% of India’s pashmina. In recent years, however, supplies have dwindled as the weather changed. Ladakh’s Changtang plateau, which extends into neighboring Tibet, has long been a frosty wasteland where temperatures plunge to –30°C. Though hardy, more than 22,000 pashmina goats starved to death in 2012 because of an unusually harsh winter—more than a meter of snow fell instead of the normal 2 or 3 cm. “The horrific sight of thousands of dead goats and bewildered Changpas haunted me for months,” says Babar.

From this nadir was born the Pashmina Goat Project. Babar holds workshops to educate the goatherds about the exclusivity of pashmina and the consumer market, and how to deal with international buyers directly. They are also taught to add value by spinning the wool into fabric themselves, and will soon sell their own pashmina products through a knitwear brand called Village Pashmina. “If we asked for more money, the traders laughed at us because we had nowhere else to go,” says Sonam Dorjee, a Changpa. “Now we do.”

Babar also campaigns against pashmina that is spun by machines—as opposed to handlooms—and mixed with excessive low-quality wool. He hosts events, fashion shows and fair-trade expos countrywide to promote handspun material. The next phase will be mobile software that sends weather alerts to goatherds, so they can avoid storms and map safer migration routes. “[Babar’s] is the first voice speaking up for the poor and marginalized in the Himalayas,” says Pankaj Chandan, a regional head of WWF-India.

While Jammu and Kashmir has been largely peaceful since 2004, sporadic clashes between India and Pakistan—most recently in October—as well as occasional attacks by militants mean outside investment is virtually nonexistent. India produces only about 1% of the world’s pashmina supply—worth just $160 million a year—compared with neighboring China’s 70%. Babar hopes that by lifting their lives and livelihoods, the Changpa goatherds can also boost the region’s fortunes. “The [Changpa] community is not capable of fighting this battle on its own,” he says. Like the goats he strives to protect, Babar is tenacious to the end.

TIME India

Indian PM Modi Announces New Business Visas for SAARC Nations

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi (L) walks on his arrival at Tribhuvan International Airport to attend the 18th South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) summit in Kathmandu on November 25, 2014. PRAKASH MATHEMA—AFP/Getty Images

Business visas for the eight member states will be granted for three to five years

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi took a step towards boosting regional trade across South Asia on Wednesday, announcing a provision for business visas of three to five years for all South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) member countries.

During his speech at the SAARC Summit in the Nepalese capital of Kathmandu, Modi lamented that trade between the eight member countries of the international grouping comprises less than 5% of the region’s global trade.

“How much have we done in SAARC to turn our natural wealth into shared prosperity, or our borders into bridgeheads to a shared future?” Modi asked those in attendance.

Other major issues referred to by Modi included a SAARC satellite to be launched in 2016 as well as greater coordination in fields like health care and higher education.

The SAARC was formed in 1985 by India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Bhutan and the Maldives, with Afghanistan granted membership in 2007. The regional grouping has been criticized for its lack of direction and failure to achieve concrete results, and Modi acknowledged this while urging his counterparts to move beyond mere lip service.

“When we speak of SAARC, we usually hear two reactions — cynicism and skepticism,” he said. “This, sadly, is in a region throbbing with the optimism of our youth.”

The two-day summit has also been abuzz with discussion about the contentious relationship between India and Pakistan, whose bilateral dialogue has stalled amid conflicts on their border. Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif is the only leader who Modi will not meet one-on-one during the two-day gathering, Indian newspaper The Hindu reported.

Both leaders spoke about the need for peace and security in their respective speeches, which happened to fall on the sixth anniversary of the 2008 Mumbai terror attacks that India accuses Pakistan of engineering.

“Let us work together to fulfill the pledge we have taken to combat terrorism and trans-national crimes,” said Modi; Sharif said Pakistan was “committed to a dispute-Free South Asia.”

But soon after the speeches concluded, Pakistan reportedly vetoed three agreements for increased road, rail and energy links put forth by India, making it apparent that regional integration remains an uphill task.

TIME Cricket

Australian International Cricketer in Critical Condition After Being Struck by Ball

Australia's Hughes avoids a high ball during the second cricket test match against New Zealand in Hobart
Australia's Phil Hughes avoids a high ball during the second cricket test match against New Zealand in Hobart, Australia, on Dec. 11, 2011 Daniel Munoz—Reuters

Protective gear appeared to offer little defense, highlighting dangers of the sport

Australian cricketer Phillip Hughes has been rushed to hospital in a critical condition after being struck on his head by a ball during a regional match in Sydney.

The incident has quickly rippled through the cricket world as a salutary reminder that the sport, despite its sedate reputation, can be explosive and dangerous.

The Age reports that the injury occurred Tuesday during a Sheffield Shield encounter between Hughes’ team South Australia and opponents New South Wales. The Sheffield Shield is Australia’s main domestic cricket competition.

The 25-year-old batsman reportedly looked at his feet for a few seconds before staggering and collapsing face-first onto the ground, after a quick, rising ball from bowler Sean Abbott. The aggressive pitch, known in cricketing parlance as a “bouncer,” struck him just below his left ear.

Hughes was seen breathing through an oxygen mask soon after the arrival of three ambulances and a helicopter bearing additional doctors and medical staff. He was then taken by road to a nearby hospital, whose spokesperson told reporters that the athlete was undergoing surgery.

Cricket balls, made out of cork wrapped in leather, are capable of traveling at up to 100 m.p.h., making them potentially lethal projectiles. They are harder and heavier than baseballs, and cricketers have been killed by them in the past.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with Phil Hughes and his family at this time,” the South Australia Cricket Association said in a statement.

Hughes has represented Australia in both One Day Internationals and at Test level — the highest form of the game. He was attempting to get picked for the Australian squad due to face India later this month after chalking up an impressive 170 runs in three Sheffield Shield matches this season.

TIME celebrities

Kim Kardashian’s India Trip Called Off Amid ‘Visa Issues’

Kim Kardashian Promotes Her New Fragrance "Fleur Fatale" In Melbourne
Kim Kardashian smiles as she promotes her new fragrance "Fleur Fatale" at Chadstone Shopping Centre on Nov. 19, 2014, in Melbourne, Australia Scott Barbour—Getty Images

Mrs. Kayne West was due to appear on an Indian reality TV show

Kim Kardashian’s upcoming India trip has been canceled because of apparent visa troubles.

The 34-year-old reality TV sensation was due to make a guest appearance on the popular reality show Big Boss, the Indian version of Big Brother, which is hosted by Bollywood actor Salman Khan.

“Just touched down in Australia!!! My perfume world tour begins for my new fragrance Fleur Fatale! Next stop India then Dubai! All in 1 week!” she tweeted on Monday.

Big Boss, currently in its eighth season, has had falling ratings this year. Kardashian’s visit had been much hyped by the Indian media. She was reported to be paid more than $800,000 for the stint, in which she would don a traditional sari.

Organizers confirmed to the BBC that “visa issues” were to blame for the cancellation. Reuters reports that the undisclosed issues would take a while to solve, which would conflict with Kardashian’s busy schedule.

Most recently, Kardashian, who is married to U.S. rap star Kanye West, was in the news in an attempt to “break the internet” with an artistic nude spread in Paper magazine.


Ebola Virus In Semen: Everything You Want to Know

LARRY MULVEHILL—Getty Images/Photo Researchers RM

An Indian man who survived Ebola was quarantined when his blood tested negative but his semen tested positive

An Indian man who survived Ebola in Liberia was quarantined at an airport in Delhi when his semen tested positive for the disease.

What’s confusing is that man had multiple blood samples tested for Ebola and they all came back negative. Based on Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the World Health Organization (WHO) recommendations, that means he’s free of Ebola. Still, the issue raises some questions that perhaps you’re too squeamish to ask. So we asked the CDC for you.

The answers to these questions were provided by CDC spokesperson Salina Smith.

1. So, Ebola can live in semen?
Yes, it can. The CDC says semen can test positive after clinical clearance—a negative blood test for Ebola—for up to three months. The agency recommends those who have survived Ebola abstain from sex, including oral sex, for at least three months. If abstinence cannot be followed, condoms should be worn.

2. Why does Ebola survive in semen longer than blood?
Semen and blood are different types of body fluids, and scientifically, the testes are known as immunologically “privileged” sites. Basically it’s easier for the virus to hide and avoid being attacked by the immune system in the reproductive system.

3. Why is someone deemed “cured” of the virus if it’s negative in their blood, but positive in their semen?
Theoretically it’s possible that Ebola could be transmitted via contact with Ebola-positive semen, but there is no evidence to date that this has ever happened. It may be that the virus is a more efficient transmitter in blood. What we know for a fact is that exposure to blood that’s positive for Ebola can infect other people.

4. Does the CDC explicitly recommend abstinence to every patient who survives Ebola?
The CDC’s guidance in the field is this: If the patient is a man, he should be informed that his semen can still be infectious for three months and that he must avoid or have protected sexual relations during this period. The patient and his partner are well counseled on this, and must have it clearly explained to them. A CDC medical team is supposed to provide them with enough condoms for that period. The CDC recommends this warning also be included on the patient’s discharge papers.

5. Does the CDC ever test patients’ semen?
The CDC does test the semen of patients who are medically evacuated to the United States. The agency also asks if patients in the United States would like to have their semen tested periodically so that the CDC can gain a better idea of how long the virus lasts.

6. Was it unusual that the Indian patient’s semen was tested?

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