TIME France

Chaos at French Port as Migrants Continue to Storm Trucks Headed for the U.K.

A strike has shut the port, causing long tailbacks of vehicles that migrants are trying to board, at times forcibly

In chaotic scenes over the past week, hundreds of migrants in the northern French port of Calais have been trying to jump onto trucks bound for the U.K.

The migrants, most of whom had fled war, persecution and poverty in the Middle East and Africa, took advantage of a strike by French MyFerryLink workers on Tuesday. The striking workers forced the port and the Channel Tunnel, which links France to the U.K., to close, causing long tailbacks of trucks on highways around Calais.

Footage shows migrants desperately trying to board the vehicles, sometimes jumping onto moving trucks, breaking locks or attempting to hold onto the underside of the carriages.

“Drivers were unable to open their windows or leave their vehicles for fear of either being threatened or would-be stowaways getting on board,” Don Armour, the Freight Transport Association’s international manager, told the Guardian.

There are believed to be about 3,000 migrants living in a squalid makeshift camp near Calais. They are determined to reach the U.K., where they say they’ll have the chance of a better life.

On Wednesday, British Prime Minister David Cameron called the scenes in Calais “totally unacceptable” and vowed to work more closely with French authorities. U.K. ministers are considering sending extra border-control officials, sniffer-dog teams and equipment to strengthen fences around the port and rail crossings.

But several of the city’s politicians have accused the British government of not doing enough to calm the situation. Philippe Mignonet, the deputy mayor of Calais, said the city had been “sacrificed” by the British and Europe, reports the Guardian.

The chaos in Calais comes as European Union leaders struggle to decide what to do with huge waves of migrants entering Europe via risky sea journeys across the Mediterranean.

At heated talks in Brussels on Thursday night, E.U. leaders agreed to relocate 40,000 migrants who have arrived in Italy and Greece, plus a further 20,000 currently in camps outside the E.U., to member states over the next two years, reports the BBC.

But there would not be mandatory quotas for taking in refugees, the leaders said.

 

TIME United Kingdom

Why Three British Sisters Took Their Children to Join Jihadists in Syria

Bradford sisters syria
Paul Ellis—AFP/Getty Images Akhtar Iqbal, husband of Sugra Dawood, left, and Mohammad Shoaib, husband of Khadija Dawood, react during a news conference to appeal for their return, in Bradford, northern England on June 16, 2015.

“Zohra told me this country was changing too much, and that she was going to take her daughters away because she didn’t see their future here anymore,” a neighbor of one sister tells TIME

The two-story sandstone house at the corner of Hope Avenue, a quiet cul-de-sac in the northern English city of Bradford has been empty for months. Last fall, Zohra Dawood, 32, left the house with her two daughters and moved into her father’s home a little over a mile away. Her husband stayed on for a few weeks before returning to his own father’s home, 4,000 miles away in Pakistan. Neighbors say Dawood changed the locks soon after, but never returned. What happened between members of the family in that house may provide clues for police and relatives who have spent more than a week trying to understand why Zohra Dawood and 11 other family members went missing and are believed to be in Syria.

Dawood, along with her two sisters, Khadija, 29, and Sugra, 34, and their nine children first left the U.K. at the end of May for a pilgrimage to the Saudi city of Medina. They reportedly boarded a flight to Istanbul, Turkey on June 9 instead of flying back to Bradford as planned on June 11. According to a smuggler working for the Islamic State of Iraq and Greater Syria (ISIS) quoted in BBC reports on Friday, the family of 12 has already crossed into Syria in two separate groups.

They are not the first Bradford locals to attempt to travel to Syria. The sisters’ younger brother, Ahmed Dawood, 21, has reportedly been fighting alongside extremists there for more than a year. And on Wednesday, a court heard the case of Bradford teenager Syed Choudhury, 19, who plotted to join ISIS and pled guilty to preparing acts of terrorism.

Situated 200 miles north of London amid Yorkshire’s rolling hills and wild moorland, Bradford is home to some of England’s most deprived neighborhoods, with high unemployment and lower levels of education than the national average. Its golden era as the center of the Victorian wool trade – which helped build the towering neo-Gothic buildings at the heart of the city – is long gone. In 1995, American travel writer Bill Bryson opined that Bradford’s sole purpose “is to make every place else in the world look better in comparison.”

Bradford Britain
Phil Noble—ReutersA woman walks along a terraced road in Bradford, Britain, June 18, 2015.

Back when Bradford’s textile industry was booming, the city drew waves of immigrants from South Asia. Now, more than a fifth of Bradford’s 526, 400 people are Pakistani by origin, the Dawood family among them. The streets of the Little Horton area of Bradford where they live are dotted with sari stores, mosques and bakeries selling naan bread and South Asian sweets. It’s not hard to see why the city has earned the nickname “Bradistan.”

The siblings’ parents – Mohammad Dawood and his wife Sara Begum – have at least eight children, all born and raised in Bradford. In a statement, the members of the family still in Bradford said they were devastated by the news and that they did not “support the actions of the sisters leaving their husbands and families in the U.K. and of taking their children into a war zone where life is not safe to join any group.”

Although there are numerous cases of foreign fighters taking children with them to ISIS-controlled territory, the sisters and their children constitute the largest family group known to have left the U.K. to join the extremist group in Syria. The three women seemingly defied the wishes of their parents and husbands in following their brother to Syria. Khadija, Zohra and Sugra apparently felt stronger ties to one another and their brother in Syria than to the family members they left behind in Bradford.

“An essential aspect of extremism is that it has to have social support,” says Arie Kruglanski, a professor of psychology and co-founder of the Center of Terrorism at the University of Maryland. “It’s very important that these women left as a group, as a network of sisters supporting their brother. Groups tend to polarize around values, and as a result, they tend to be much more extreme than individuals,” he says. Because families are very close-knit, it’s especially difficult for European security agencies – who are already facing a diverse array of threats – to penetrate these networks.

John Horgan, incoming professor of Global Studies and Psychology at Georgia State University, adds that there is relatively little security officials can do to prevent entire families from traveling together. The idea that the nine Dawood children could soon become “cubs of the caliphate”, as ISIS dubs its junior recruits in internal and external propaganda, is an unsettling prospect, but Horgan believes there will be more such cases in the future. “ISIS is preparing for the future and what they’re trying to do is groom the next generation of fighters,” he says.

One aspect of the radicalization process that experts know relatively little about is timing. “There has to be some kind of push factor,” says Horgan, who has been studying terrorism for twenty years. “A family dynamic, a trigger factor in a personal relationship, something ­­ to make someone leave the sidelines and actually consider going out there.”

Whether there was a series of triggers or if the disappearance of their younger brother was enough to motivate the women to leave their Bradford homes is not yet clear. During an emotional appeal to their wives at a press conference on Tuesday, Akhtar Iqbal appealed to his wife, Sugra, and five children aged between three and 15. “I miss you, I love you, I can’t live without you,” he wept. Khadija Dawood’s husband of 11 years, Mohammad Shoaib, also broke down as he begged his wife to bring their 5-year-old son and 7-year-old daughter home. “We had a perfect relationship, we had a lovely family. I don’t know what happened,” he sobbed.

Zohra Dawood’s husband, Zubair Ahmed, was absent; he was in Pakistan. If he had been present Ahmed would have been unlikely to speak of having a perfect relationship with his wife. His marriage to Zohra Dawood had broken down several months earlier. Reached by telephone on Wednesday, he told the BBC he had moved back to Pakistan after his wife “shunned” him and that he did not know of her plans to leave for Syria.

In conversations with TIME, Zohra Dawood’s neighbors paint a portrait of a private woman who likely turned to her siblings for support once her brother left the country and her marriage broke down.

Zoota Khan, 74, who lived next door to the couple since they moved onto the street in 2009, says the trouble all began once Ahmed Dawood left for Syria. “He was her most important brother and she was very upset,” says Khan, whose own family comes from a village in the same northern district of Pakistan as Zubair Ahmed. He tells TIME that Ahmed came over directly from Pakistan for his arranged marriage to Dawood, his first cousin.

Few Hope Avenue residents say they knew Zohra Dawood well but neighbors describe her husband warmly, saying he was a kind and caring father. “The wife kept indoors. It was the dad who was around, who’d give you the time of day,” says Sharon Wood, 43, who has lived on the street for 10 years.

Alex Firth, 37, says she only ever saw the couple together if they were getting in the car to go somewhere. “For a while, I thought Zubair was a single dad. He used to play outside with the girls, help them with their schoolwork, even do their hair. He really did everything. I never really saw any sign of affection from their mother.”

Another neighbor, a 31-year-old Pakistani woman who asked to remain anonymous for fear of backlash from the community, says Dawood had confided in her last summer that she was unhappy in her marriage and that she and her husband no longer shared a bedroom. She says Dawood also mentioned that she was planning to move to Saudi Arabia. “Zohra told me this country was changing too much, and that she was going to take her daughters away because she didn’t see their future here anymore.”

It remains unclear what finally prompted Dawood to leave her husband last fall. Ahmed told his neighbor Khan it was a misunderstanding and he was praying she would come home. In November, a few weeks after his wife left, Ahmed returned to his hometown of Tajak, about 60 miles west of Islamabad, to take care of his elderly father, who suffered a stroke. “He calls from time to time to ask if I have seen the children, how they are doing,” says Khan.

The Pakistani neighbor who asked to remain anonymous, says her children regularly attended Quran classes in Dawood’s home and were upset to hear the news of Dawood’s disappearance. “Zohra had real Islamic knowledge. She knew much more than us,” she says. By all accounts, the couple were religious. But whereas Dawood usually wore a headscarf with Western clothes, once she moved back into her father’s home she was only ever spotted wearing a full veil and gloves.

Surprising as it may seem, Horgan says research on radicalization has shown that sibling bonds trump ideological bonds time and time again. Psychologists tell TIME that strained personal relationships can often strengthen sibling bonds. The fact that the Dawood sisters always lived within walking distance of one another – and both Zohra and Khadija even shared the same family house for the past seven months ­– make it more likely that they saw themselves less as part of nuclear family units with their husbands and children, but rather as part of an extended family network. Understanding these bonds may well be essential to making sense of what drew the sisters together as they made their decision to leave for Syria,

As this sprawling saga plays out, more and more questions will emerge. Many will likely never be answered. And for the husbands devastated by the disappearance of their wives and children, it’s all too clear that the ties that bind a family can quickly become the ties that destroy them.

TIME United Kingdom

Michelle Obama Greeted By Screams and Cheers in London School Visit to Promote Girls’ Education

The choir sang "Something Inside So Strong " before the First Lady announced a U.S.-U.K. partnership to promote girl's education in Congo

Michelle Obama’s arrival at a girls’ school in London on Tuesday morning was marked by screaming.

The First Lady visited the Mulberry School for Girls in the U.K. capital’s East End, as part of her “Let Girls Learn” initiative that aims to get girls around the world into education. Upon arrival at the school’s courtyard Obama was greeted by hundreds of students, aged 11 to 18, along with with ear-splitting cheers and screams and furious flag-waving. As Obama waved to the girls lining the packed balcony overlooking the courtyard, the school choir sang “Something Inside So Strong,” before a student recited the poem “Still I Rise” by Maya Angelou as another student danced. All of the performances were greeted with clapping and fist pumps from the First Lady.

Once the students had finished, Obama hugged the performers before heading inside the school for a roundtable discussion and a formal address. In her speech to the students, Obama spoke with emotion in her voice, telling them, “Girls like you inspire and impress me every single day.” She told the enthralled audience that she saw herself in them, recounting how she had grown up in a working class neighborhood in the south side of Chicago and had often struggled to balance family obligations and schoolwork, though she “worked hard” wanting to get into a top university. Mulberry School is rated “outstanding” by the U.K.’s Office for Standards in Education, Children’s Services and Skills and though most of its students come from low-income households, 80% go on to university after graduating.

Obama also told the girls, the majority of whom are Muslim, that even though they might “hear what folks are saying about your religion and wonder if people will ever see past your headscarves,” they should not be dissuaded by the barriers they faced. “The world needs more girls like you,” she said, and “with an education from this amazing school you all have every chance you need to rise above the noise and fulfill every one of your dreams.”

The First Lady’s visit to the school coincided with the announcement that the U.S. and the U.K. were launching a new partnership that would see nearly $180 million being put towards girls’ education in the developing world, particularly those affected by conflict, such as the Democratic Republic of Congo. As part of the new program, the U.K.’s Department for International Development (DFID) and USAID have pledged to help more girls in the Congo access education programs, with a particular focus on accelerated programs for adolescent girls who have missed out on school. The program will see some 755,000 girls benefit over the next five years, according to officials.

In addition to announcing the new partnership, Obama also stressed the importance of getting girls in the U.S. and U.K. involved in improving access to education for girls around the world. Speaking at a roundtable discussion with other officials, volunteers and academics in the library of Mulberry School — where biographies and memoirs of extraordinary women like Emily Bronte, Maya Angelou and Emmeline Pankhurst were on display — the First Lady said she tells her teenage daughters, Sasha and Malia, that “instead of tweeting what you had for lunch, why don’t you tweet what you learned at school and share it with girls around the world.”

This was a message she also emphasized to the Mulberry students. After praising the education the girls had received at the school, Obama told the students she wanted them to pay it forward. “Your job is to reach back and help someone up.”

TIME United Kingdom

The Queen’s 2 Birthdays: A Look Back at 89 Years of Elizabeth II

A monarch so nice they let her celebrate twice

Have you ever had a birthday ruined by inclement weather? If so, it’s a dead give-away that you’re not the Queen of England. Her Majesty Elizabeth II was born on April 21, 1926, a time of year renown for its abundant rain. And if you are the Queen of the world’s most famous monarchy, that simply will not do.

As a result, Elizabeth II celebrates both her actual birthday and her “official” birthday on the most pleasant Saturday in June. The latter is marked by the Trooping the Colour parade, for which other members of the royal family gather fete the Queen. This year’s Trooping takes place on June 13, in case you’re short on birthday parties to attend this summer.

TIME United Kingdom

Orthodox Jewish Sect Tells Women to Stop Driving

Hasidic Jews London
Rob Stothard—Getty Images Ultra-orthodox Jewish men walk along the street in the Stamford Hill area of London on Jan. 17, 2015.

Rabbis say driving brings out "aggressive tendencies" which are not appropriate for women

Leaders of the Belz Hasidic sect in north London have declared that women should not be allowed to drive and that from August, children would be barred from their schools if their mothers drove them there.

Rabbis sent the letter, which was signed by leaders from Belz educational institutions, out to parents last week according to a report in The Jewish Chronicle.

The letter said the ban is based on recommendations from Rabbi Yissachar Dov Rokeach, the Belzer spiritual leader in Israel. It said that women who drive go against “the traditional rules of modesty in our camp” and that driving brings out immodest, “aggressive tendencies” in women.

Some within the Orthodox Jewish community disagree. Dina Brawer, U.K. Ambassador of the Jewish Orthodox Feminist Alliance, said the instructions within the letter had no scriptural foundation. “The instinct behind such a draconian ban is one of power and control, of men over women,” she told the JC. “In this sense it is no different from the driving ban on women in Saudi Arabia.”

A statement issued on behalf of local women in the Belz sect disagreed, saying that they felt privileged to be part of a community that respected their dignity. “We believe that driving a vehicle is a high pressured activity where our values may be compromised by exposure to selfishness, road-rage, bad language and other inappropriate behaviour,” they said.

[The Jewish Chronicle]

TIME United Kingdom

The Queen’s Speech Throughout the Years

Every year and after every election, the Queen outlines the government’s new legislative agenda in Her Majesty's Most Gracious Speech also known as the Queen's Speech. The speech is part of the opening of a new session of parliament and the Queen addresses both houses of parliament in the House of Lords. Queen Elizabeth II first made the speech in 1952 and this year's marks her 62nd address in the House of Lords. In 1974, the Queen made two speeches as there were two elections and she has missed it on two occasion due to pregnancy in 1959 and 1963.

TIME United Kingdom

The U.K. Now Has More Gay Lawmakers Than Any Other Country

Parliament is getting closer to representing the population, but the battle for equality isn't over yet

Following last week’s election, the U.K. now has more lesbian, gay or bisexual Members of Parliament (MPs) than anywhere in the world. The Westminster House of Commons now boasts 32 MPs who openly identify as LGB (there are no transgender MPs) out of 650, making up 4.9% of the Parliament.

The data comes from the University of North Carolina’s LGBT Representation and Rights Research Initiative, but collecting statistics on LGBT representation is always tricky because some lawmakers may not have revealed their sexuality. In fact, there could be more gay MPs in another country where people do not feel as free to state their sexual preference in public. Nevertheless, the fact that more are willing to do so in Britain than elsewhere signals more progressive attitudes, putting it ahead of countries like Sweden where there are only 12 out lawmakers (3.4% of the parliament).

Elsewhere in Europe there are only two currently-serving transgender lawmakers, Belgium’s Petra De Sutter and Poland’s Anna Grodzka. There have only been two other openly transgender lawmakers in the world: New Zealand’s Georgina Beyer who won a seat in 1999 and retired from politics in 2007, and Vladimir Luxuria who was elected in Italy in 2006 but lost her seat two years later.

The number of gay British MPs is not far off the U.K. proportion as a whole, which is roughly between 5% and 7% of the country according to the government’s estimate. Thirteen of Britain’s out MPs belong to the center-left Labour Party and 12 to the center-right Conservatives.

It was the Conservative Prime Minister David Cameron who introduced same-sex marriage in March 2014, despite significant opposition within his party. He has said this was one of his proudest achievements during his first term as Prime Minister.

However, it’s not all good news. In terms of representation, the cohort of gay, lesbian and bisexual MPs are all white (all but two of the 155 LGBT candidates who ran for election were white too) and only six are women. Although the recent election saw the biggest increase in the number of female MPs in Westminster, women still make up less than 30% of the House.

And with Cameron appointing a Minister for Equalities who voted against same-sex marriage, it remains to be seen whether more gay MPs will actually mean more progress for LGBT rights.

TIME Britain

These Are the 5 Facts That Explain the Surprising U.K. Elections

Britain's Prime Minister David Cameron (R) stands with former former Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg (C) and former Labour Party leader Ed Miliband, as they line up to pay tribute at the Cenotaph during a Victory in Europe (VE) day ceremony in central London on May 8, 2015.
Dan Kitwood—Reuters Britain's Prime Minister David Cameron (R) stands with former former Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg (C) and former Labour Party leader Ed Miliband, as they line up to pay tribute at the Cenotaph during a Victory in Europe (VE) day ceremony in central London on May 8, 2015.

A possible Brexit, the growing chance of an independent Scotland and other results from the campaign

The British people have spoken—and they want the Conservative David Cameron to continue as Prime Minister. But we don’t know if they want to remain part of the EU, or even part of their own United Kingdom. These 5 numbers explain yesterday’s election results, and where the UK goes from here.

1. The Losers

The Labour Party captured only 232 seats—surprising, since projections had them neck-and-neck with the Conservatives, their main rivals, going into the polls. Ed Miliband, leader of the Labour Party, has already resigned after the loss. But the biggest loser of the night was the Liberal Democrats, who absolutely imploded and lost 49 seats in Parliament compared to their last outing. There was hope that the centrist party could capture enough seats to help the Tories form a coalition government. Now it’s a serious question whether the Lib Dems are even a viable political movement going forward given Britain’s increasingly polarized politics.

(BBC, The Guardian, The Spectator)

2. The Winners

The Conservatives were the big victors last night, securing 331 seats and an outright majority in the House of Commons. (All results are still preliminary.) The other significant winner was the Scottish National Party (SNP) and its leader, Nicola Sturgeon. SNP is a regional party which actively campaigns for Scottish independence, so its big night—winning 56 seats out of the 59 contested in Scotland—may come as no surprise. Still, it is shocking that SNP’s massive showing comes on the heels of a Scottish independence referendum in September which saw Scots vote decisively to remain part of the United Kingdom. SNP’s strong performance and insistence on greater Scottish independence opens the door for another Scottish referendum down the road.

Another winner was the UK Independence Party, or UKIP. A Eurosceptic right-wing group, it looks to have managed to secure only one seat in the House of Commons. But while it lost the electoral battle, it won the political one—by dragging Cameron and the Tories further to the right, advancing its agenda to pull Britain out of the EU. Furthermore, its solid performance throughout the country—it took 12.7% of the popular vote, third most after the Conservatives and Labour—makes UKIP a political force to be reckoned with and will increase calls for serious electoral reform. After all, the SNP is now the third largest party in government, yet it won less than 5% of the popular vote.

(BBC, The Telegraph, The Telegraph)

3. The Specter of an EU Referendum

Cameron had pledged to hold a referendum on EU membership by 2017 if the Tories remained in power. Cameron floated the “Brexit,” or British exit, scenario in a bid to win over voters trending towards UKIP. But in the process, he opened some old wounds. The UK has had an uneasy relationship with the EU since it rejected the Euro currency in 1991 to keep the Pound Sterling. Unlike European heavyweights France and Germany, which both fully embraced the European project, the UK has spent decades hedging. While the country is forced to pay billions into Brussels’ coffers each year, Britain has undoubtedly benefitted from its relationship with the EU, in particular its banking sector. In 2014 alone, financial and insurance services brought in $193.7 billion in gross value added (GVA) to the UK economy, 8% of the UK’s total GVA.

(The Guardian, Wall Street Journal, Parliament of the United Kingdom)

4. London Calling Anymore?

With fear of Brexit looming over these elections, financial institutions began hinting at their disquiet. 72% of companies polled in Great Britain by the firm Grant Thornton believe a UK exit would hurt business. HSBC has warned that it would consider relocating its headquarters from London should the UK leave the EU. As it stands, the British people are roughly split on whether to exit the EU—in a recent poll 39% want to leave against 40% who want to stay. Some estimates have a British exit from the EU costing London $330 billion, or 14% of its GDP.

(Politico, The Guardian, Financial Times, The Guardian)

5. Unhung parliaments

Europeans are increasingly voting for anti-establishment parties. Hung parliaments (i.e. a situation where no political party has an absolute majority) are becoming the rule rather than the exception across Europe. Britain was expected to join them—Election Forecast UK had put the probability of a hung British parliament at 97%. Despite the Tories’ impressive victory, the impact of the SNP and UKIP on the election show that this trend continues to spread. Is this increasing political divergence a sign that democracy in Europe is breaking down or working better than ever? The success or failure of the next British government to resolve the country’s fractious relations with the EU and its governing institutions will help answer that question.

(London School of Economics, Business Insider)

TIME Great Britain

Obama Campaign Consultants Worked on Rival Sides in U.K. Elections

Labour Party leader Ed Miliband, Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg and Prime Minister David Cameron stand during a tribute at the Cenotaph to begin three days of national commemorations to mark the 70th anniversary of VE Day on May 8, 2015 in London.
Christopher Furlong—Getty Images Labour Party leader Ed Miliband, Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg and Prime Minister David Cameron stand during a tribute at the Cenotaph to begin three days of national commemorations to mark the 70th anniversary of VE Day on May 8, 2015 in London.

British Prime Minister David Cameron kept hold of power and was moving to form a new government. In the wings, American political guru Jim Messina was adding another to his long list of wins.

Messina, a top aide to Barack Obama’s 2008 presidential campaign and the chief of his 2012 re-election bid, joined Cameron’s Conservative Party as a paid consultant in 2013 and worked to export the latest innovations in American-style campaigning to the U.K. The former White House deputy chief of staff drew fire from U.S. liberals for joining up with Cameron, but it looked as though the Tories’ decisive victory on Thursday would allow Conservatives to form a government without the backroom dealings that created a coalition government after 2010’s U.K. elections.

A pair of Obama veterans, meanwhile, was recovering from rival Labour’s loss. Former Obama senior adviser David Axelrod and advertising maven Larry Grisolano had worked for Ed Miliband’s Labour Party, which suffered deep losses. Miliband resigned from his post as party leader and the Americans were heading back across the pond in defeat.

“Congratulations to my friend @Messina2012 on his role in the resounding Conservative victory in Britain,” Axelrod tweeted.

Messina, meanwhile, took a victory lap of sorts, telling MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” that voters in the U.K. endorsed the Tories’ promises. But asked about Axelrod, with whom he clashed during two presidential campaigns and an overlapping stint in the West Wing, Messina attempted to be gracious. “He’s my brother,” Messina said.

International consulting is often a favorite — and lucrative — way for American political operatives to spend the time between elections at home. For instance, Bill Clinton’s pollster, Stan Greenberg, has a robust international practice that takes him to far off places such as Estonia, South Africa and Honduras — as well as to the U.K. for Miliband.

In the process, though, it often exports America’s long, often divisive campaigning abroad. Take Israel’s most recent election that shaped up as a proxy campaign of sorts for the United States’ ally. Republican Sen. Rand Paul’s digital adviser Vincent Harris helped Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud Party, while former Obama get-out-the-vote chief Jeremy Bird advised the Labor Party’s failed attempt to topple Netanyahu.

TIME Auto Racing

Idris Elba Proves He Can Drive Like James Bond

The actor broke a 1927 record in the U.K. for the "flying mile"

Actor Idris Elba broke a nearly 90-year speed record in the U.K. last weekend when he averaged more than 180 miles per hour during a one-mile stretch.

The Luther star was in the driver’s seat of a standard Bentley Continental GT Speed on Sunday in Wales, according to CNN Money. His top speed was 186.4 miles per hour during the “flying mile”—in which a driver can get up to speed before the car is clocked at two points, one mile apart—but his average was 180.4 miles per hour. Elba’s run came while shooting the Discovery Channel series Idris Elba: No Limits, which will air in July.

Elba beat out the last record, set in 1927 by Sir Malcolm Campbell, who hit 174.2 miles in hour.

Now imagine the car chase scenes if he ever actually plays James Bond.

[CNN Money]

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