Profiles

How Europe’s First Female Poker Champ Made History and Learned to Compete With the Guys

European Poker Tour Launch
Victoria Coren Mitchell attends the launch of The PokerStars LIVE Lounge at The Hippodrome Casino London on March 4, 2013 in London, England Ben Pruchnie--2013 Getty Images

Victoria Coren Mitchell has made history at the European Poker Tour for the second time. She talks to TIME about the game, poker as a career and being the last woman at the table

British journalist and professional poker player Victoria Coren Mitchell made poker history for the second time in her career on Sunday, when she won the European Poker Tour and became the first person ever to win the tournament twice. The first time she broke records was with her win in 2006 when she became the first woman to take the title.

Though she might not be a household name in the U.S. — yet! — Coren Mitchell is a prolific writer, penning columns in the Observer and books such as 2011′s For Richer, For Poorer: Confessions of a Player. She’s also a part of British media royalty: her father, Alan Coren, was a legendary journalist, she’s married to comedian and U.K. television star David Mitchell and her brother, Giles Coren, is a writer for the London Times. With her latest poker victory, she’s also one of the all-time top 10 female earners in the game.

Coren Mitchell spoke to TIME about her win, learning the game and why you shouldn’t play poker with your spouse.

TIME: Victoria, hello. Congrats on your second win of the European Poker Tour!

Victoria Coren Mitchell: Oh, thank you very much.

When you won back in 2006, you became the first woman to take the title. Now you’re the first person – man or woman – to win it twice. How does it feel?

It feels incredible. I can’t really believe it. Obviously, when [I won] the first time and I was the first woman to do so, that was great too. It was a different sort of barrier to break. [This time] there were 97 EPT champions – only three of them women—all fighting to be the first one to win twice. I don’t think anyone thought it would be me who would get there – including me.

At one point during the tournament, you were in eighth place. When did you know you were going to win it?

When I knocked out the player who came third, Jordan, the American guy, I had a wave of thinking, my God, I’m going to win. We’d been playing for six days – it’s a long tournament – and at no point did I think I was going to win it. I had the lowest chips when there were 16 of us and I had the lowest chips when there were eight of us. To find myself with just one opponent when I had most of the chips, the writer in me thought, what kind of story would this be if I didn’t win it now?

I’m generally a pessimist and I try to be self-deprecating because that’s the British way, but when there were two of us, [I knew] that I was playing really well. Also, what they call Heads Up poker — where there are just two people at the table — I’m quite good at. When the play started I felt in control and I did think, I can outplay this guy. So when I won I was actually quite calm. I thought, yes, that’s what was supposed to happen. It was only the next morning when I woke up that I thought, what on Earth happened there?

In addition to being a champion poker player, you’re a busy journalist with columns in the Observer and British GQ and regular appearances on the BBC. What do you consider your primary job?

I really don’t know anymore. I don’t if I’m a writer who plays poker or a poker player who writes. I don’t know whether TV fits in at all.

I do feel incredibly lucky to be making a living at things I love doing. I never wanted poker to be a job. That’s partly because I love it and it’s fun and I didn’t want it to stop being fun and partly because, I suppose, something in me doesn’t feel right about calling poker a job. It’s not grown-up enough. But it’s a hobby that takes up an enormous amount of my time.

So when you fill out, say, customs forms when traveling you can just put “luckiest person alive” under occupation.

[Laughs] The problem with that is I’m really frightened of flying, so if I put “luckiest person alive” on a form before getting on a plane something terrible would happen.

You are a pessimist.

[Laughs] I really am!

Speaking of professions, you come from a very prominent family in British media – how did playing poker even come about?

Back in the old days, my brother [Giles Coren, writer for the London Times], who is three years older than me, would play poker with his friends in the kitchen and I just wanted to meet boys. I was at an all-girls school and I thought if I learned how to play this game, I’d get to spend time with boys and figure out what they’re like. Then I found that I was absolutely gripped by the game.

It happens or it doesn’t with poker. My husband [David Mitchell, the British comedian and star of Peep Show and The Mitchell and Webb Look] tried playing poker and he just found it really stressful. He didn’t enjoy it. People do or they don’t and I really did. I sat down to play cards with my brother when I was about probably 14 and I never really got up from the table.

So if your husband finds poker so stressful, I guess that means he never plays with you?

I don’t think that would be good for a marriage to play poker against each other. I mean, some people would say marriage is one long poker game against each other but I would say in the Mitchell sense, it wouldn’t be a good idea.

One final question: what’s your number one poker tip for beginners?

My number one tip is never play for an amount of money you can’t comfortably afford. That’s not just a moral thing — obviously people shouldn’t do anything they can’t afford and that doesn’t matter if it’s buying a car or a pair of shoes or getting into a poker game. But also, from a practical point of view, in poker you can’t win if you’re frightened. So you’ve got to play for an amount of money you can lose without it damaging you, because otherwise you’ll play scared and it’ll come to no good.

Syria

Syrian Government Accused of New Deadly Gas Attacks on Opposition

A woman breathes through an oxygen mask inside a field hospital in Kfar Zeita village in the central province of Hama
A woman affected by what activists say was a gas attack breathes through an oxygen mask inside a field hospital in Kfar Zeita village in syria on April 12, 2014. Reuters

Opposition groups accuse the Bashar Assad regime of directing several deadly gas attacks at civilians this month. This comes despite a deal struck late last year to remove all chemical weapons from Syria

Several alleged gas attacks on Syrian opposition groups this month have raised fears that forces loyal to embattled President Bashar Assad are continuing to use chemical weapons.

On Tuesday, opposition groups uploaded videos of people choking and convulsing after a substance rebels say is chlorine gas was fired on civilians. One boy died in a hospital near the Turkish border despite receiving treatment, The Daily Telegraph reports.

“We have indications of the use of a toxic industrial chemical — probably chlorine — in Syria this month in the opposition-dominated village of Kfar Zeita,” State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said Tuesday.

“We’re examining allegations that the government was responsible. We take all allegations of the use of chemicals in combat use very seriously.”

Government officials from France and the U.K., have also said that there are strong “indications” that the Syrian government is using gas against civilians. Rebels say that helicopters have dropped bombs with chlorine canisters in several attacks since April 11.

Psaki stressed that no loophole in the in the international deal to remove Syria’s chemical weapons would allow chlorine to be deployed on the battlefield, despite the substance not being specifically listed on the agreement. The deal was struck after a sarin gas attack on civilians in August 2013.

“[The deal] prohibits the use of any toxic chemical, including chlorine, with the intent to kill or incapacitate people, regardless of whether it’s specifically listed or not in the schedule of chemicals,” she said. “The use of any toxic chemical with the intent to cause death or harm is a clear violation of the convention.”

On Tuesday, the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) said the Assad regime had handed over more than 86% of its chemical weapons stockpiles, including 88.7% of all Priority 1 chemicals.

Ukraine

Tensions High in Ukraine After Kiev Calls Off Easter Truce

Masked pro-Russia protesters stand guard outside a regional government building in Donetsk
Masked pro-Russia protesters stand guard outside a regional government building in Donetsk, in eastern Ukraine April 22, 2014. Marko Djurica—Reuters

The escalating crisis in Ukraine continues as Kiev promises new efforts to oust pro-Russian separatists from government buildings around the eastern region and Moscow dismisses Vice President Joe Biden’s threat of additional sanctions

Ukraine’s spiraling crisis continued unabated on Wednesday as Kiev called an official end to the Easter Truce in eastern Ukraine and promised to launch new operations to dislodge pro-Russian forces occupying government buildings.

“Appropriate measures will be taken and you will see results,” First Deputy Prime Minister Vitaly Yarema told reporters on Wednesday, according to Reuters.

“We have obtained the support of the United States, that they will not leave us alone with an aggressor. We hope that in the event of Russian aggression, this help will be more substantive.”

The announcement comes a day after Vice President Joe Biden reiterated promises to levy additional sanctions against the Russian leadership if they did not do more to push pro-Moscow forces to abandon their fortified positions in eastern Ukraine in accordance with last week’s Geneva accord.

The Kremlin breezily dismissed the threats.

“Thanks to Western sanctions, Russia has been given incentive to reduce dependence from the outside and instead regional economies are being more self-sufficient,” said Dmitry Medvedev on Tuesday, according to state broadcaster Russia Today.

On Wednesday, reports surfaced that Ukrainian military aircraft had been hit by gunfire near the occupied town of Slavyansk, where residents on Tuesday held funeral services for three suspected pro-Russian militants who had been killed during a weekend skirmish.

‘Piles and Piles’ of Bodies in S. Sudan Slaughter

(NAIROBI, Kenya) — The townsfolk believed the mosque was safe. They crammed inside as rebel forces in South Sudan took control of the town from government troops. But it wasn’t safe. Robbers grabbed their cash and mobile phones. Then gunmen came and opened fire on everyone, young and old.

The U.N. says hundreds of civilians were killed in the massacre last week in Bentiu, the capital of South Sudan’s oil-producing Unity state, a tragic reflection of longstanding ethnic hostilities in the world’s newest country.

“Piles and piles” of bodies were left behind after the shootings, said Toby Lanzer, the top U.N. aid official in South Sudan. Many were in the mosque. Others were in the hospital. Still more littered the streets. The violence appears to have been incited in part by calls on the radio for revenge attacks, including rapes.

The attack, which targeted members of certain ethnic groups, was a disturbing echo of what happened two decades ago in another country in eastern Africa. Rwanda is marking the 20th anniversary this month of a genocide that killed an estimated 1 million people and also saw orders to kill broadcast over the radio.

Thousands of people have been killed in violence in South Sudan since December, when presidential guards splintered and fought along ethnic lines. The violence later spread across the country as soldiers loyal to President Salva Kiir, an ethnic Dinka, tried to put down a rebellion led by Riek Machar, the former vice president and an ethnic Nuer.

But Lanzer told The Associated Press in a phone interview Tuesday that the April 15-16 mass killings, carried out by Nuers, are “quite possibly a game-changer” in the conflict.

“It’s the first time we’re aware of that a local radio station was broadcasting hate messages encouraging people to engage in atrocities,” said Lanzer, who was in Bentiu on Sunday and Monday. “And that really accelerates South Sudan’s descent into an even more difficult situation from which it needs to extract itself.”

Lanzer said thousands of civilians from several ethnic groups are streaming to the U.N. peacekeeping base in Bentiu because many believe more violence is coming. The base now holds 22,000 people — up from 4,500 at the start of April — but can supply only one liter of water per person per day. Some 350 people must share one toilet.

“The risk of a public health crisis inside our base is enormous,” he said.

Raphael Gorgeu, the head of Doctors Without Borders in South Sudan, said people will die inside the U.N. base in the coming days because of the water and sanitation situation.

As rebel forces entered Bentiu last week, residents were led to believe that by entering the mosque they would be safe, Lanzer said, citing accounts from survivors. But once inside they were robbed of money and mobile phones and a short while later gunmen began killing, both inside the mosque and inside the city hospital.

The U.N. hasn’t spelled out clearly who exactly the victims were, but it is likely that ethnic Dinkas were among the dead. If you were not Nuer, then nothing could save you. And even Nuers who refused to take part in the attacks were killed, according to the U.N., as were former residents of the Darfur region of Sudan.

The gunmen killed wantonly, including children and the elderly, Lanzer said.

U.N. officials began helping to clear the bodies from the streets and city buildings after the bloodshed. Lanzer arrived in Bentiu on the third day of that operation but still counted 150 bodies. He said the U.N. is documenting the killings and will soon have “a pretty good grasp” on the precise number killed.

At U.N. headquarters in New York, spokesman Stephane Dujarric said Tuesday that many bodies remain by the side of the main road between Bentiu and Rubkona, another town in Unity state, and that the Rubkona market continues to be looted.

Gorgeu said his team members in Bentiu — including 12 international staff — have treated more than 200 people wounded in the violence, including many gunshot victims.

British Ambassador Ian Hughes said Tuesday that the killings are a clear violation of international law. He said those behind the atrocities and those inciting them will be held to account.

White House Press Secretary Jay Carney in a statement late Tuesday called the violence “an abomination” and said the perpetrators on both sides must be brought to justice.

“They are a betrayal of the trust the South Sudanese people have put in their leaders,” the statement reads. “This is exactly the violence and suffering the South Sudanese people fought for decades to escape. “

The violence is only one part of a dual crisis in South Sudan, a landlocked country that gained its independence from Sudan in 2011. Because of the fighting, more than 1 million people have fled their homes, and few residents are tending crops. Lanzer cited a severe risk of famine in the months ahead.

The U.N. has been warning of mounting evidence of ethnically targeted killings as both government troops and rebel forces lose and gain territories in back-and-forth clashes. A cease-fire signed earlier this year has done little to quell violence.

Though thousands of people are cramming into the U.N. base in Bentiu, they may not even be safe there. Dujarric said four rockets were fired at the base Thursday, including two that exploded within the compound and one just outside, wounding two people who had sought refuge,.

Also last week, an angry mob attacked a U.N. base in Bor, a town in Jonglei state, killing about 60 people. In that case, ethnic Nuers sheltering inside bore the brunt of the attack. Dujarric said the U.N. mission in South Sudan reports that the situation in Bor remains “tense.”

Asked how the United Nations could protect the 22,000 people at the base in Bentiu, given what happened in Bor, Dujarric said there are 500 U.N. peacekeepers in Bentiu. He reminded South Sudan’s government that it has a responsibility to protect civilians and that all armed groups have a responsibility to avoid civilian casualties.

___

Associated Press writer Edith M. Lederer at the United Nations contributed to this report.

South Korea

Tributes Pour In for South Korean Ferry Heroes

A man weeps after tribute at a group memorial altar for victims of sunken passengers ship at the Ansan Olympic Memorial Hall on April 23, 2014 in Ansan, South Korea. Chung Sung-Jun—Getty Images

Although much anger has been directed at the crew of the South Korean ferry for failing to do more to help passengers, tales are emerging of heroism among three younger members of the crew, who lost their lives trying to help others escape

Praise has poured in for three crew members who sacrificed their lives trying to help passengers to safety while the Sewol ferry sunk last Wednesday off the coast of South Korea.

Park Ji-young, a 22-year-old part-time ferry employee, reportedly helped passengers escape and tended to the injured. Survivors said that she refused to leave the ship while there were still passengers to be rescued.

“She was so responsible and so kind,” Park’s grandmother Choi Sun Dok told CNN at a funeral home in the city of Incheon, near the capital Seoul. Floral tributes have been sent from all over the country. One read “We will not forget your noble spirit.”

At another funeral home in Incheon, a Sewol survivor recounted the bravery of crew member Kim Ki-woong, 28, and his fiancée, Jeong Hyun-seon, 27, who also worked on the ferry. As the ship was sinking, they were yelling to passengers to get out. “Then, the couple went back to the cabins to save other passengers, and they never came back,” he said, according to Korea Times.

Over 31,000 people have signed an online petition calling for compensation for their families and for the three to be buried at the national cemetery.

Meanwhile, divers have taken advantage of slowing currents in their mission to recover bodies from inside the wreck. The death toll has now surpassed 150, with the more than 100 still missing passengers feared dead. Some 50 civilian divers have joined professional rescuers, while dozens of boats and aircraft are searching for any bodies that may have surfaced. The search is getting increasingly difficult, as divers now have to break through cabin doors to reach additional victims.

Investigators are still trying to understand the cause of the tragedy, but the Ministry of Oceans and Fisheries suspects that the vessel suffered a brief power outage only minutes before making a 45-degree turn, which it says could have caused the Sewol to list.

Several former crew members have told South Korean media that the 20-year-old ferry, which had an extra deck added after it was acquired in 2012, had stability issues.The crew also spoke of steering problems only two weeks before the incident. The owners of the Sewol have been barred from leaving the country and their residence and offices have been raided.

Eleven rescued crew members, including the captain, have been arrested. An engineer has told investigators that they escaped using passages only accessible by staff, while other crew members have said that passengers were not told to abandon ship before the crew members escaped.

India

Indian Expats Enter the Electoral Fray

Desperate for change, thousands of Indians have given up cushy lives in the U.S. and elsewhere and returned home to act as volunteers or even stand as candidates in India's elections

For months, braving India’s hot summer, Maya Vishwakarma crisscrossed the dusty roads of Hoshangabad, her hometown in Madhya Pradesh, central India. As a candidate of the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), she patiently went from door to door asking for people’s votes. But apart from her platform, there was something separating Vishwakarma from other candidates — and that’s her expatriate status. The U.S.-based Non-Resident Indian (NRIs, as they’re known) left her job in Silicon Valley — where she worked in developing leukemia vaccines and on bone-marrow gene therapy — and came home, motivated by the desire to make a difference.

“When I come home, I do not see any change,” Vishwakarma says. “No hospitals, no electricity, same roads, same schools. People are illiterate and there is widespread corruption.”

For Vishwakarma, the emergence of the fledgling AAP — an antigraft party running on a populist ticket — was the spur to leave behind the comforts of American life. She is far from alone. This year’s polls have galvanized NRIs like never before. Not content with discussing Indian politics around distant dining tables, thousands of NRIs are now on the ground in their homeland. Some have left their jobs, some are on sabbaticals or on leave without pay. But all are defying the heat and dust to campaign for what they believe.

“[We] are bound together with a desire to change the future of India and usher in clean politics and accountable governance,” says Shalini Gupta, a Chicago-based organization-development consultant, who left her job in the U.S. to become an AAP adviser. “[We] long to see India join the list of developed nations and for the development to benefit all segments of society and not just a select few.”

While India is yet to experiment with postal ballots or online voting, at 10 million people, the NRI community is a sizable vote bank. They’re also able to use their overseas experience to help modernize political parties and improve the way campaigning is conducted.

“As NRIs, it is very easy to sit and criticize constantly, talking about how bad the system is in India, how nothing changes,” says Smita Barooah, a Singapore-based therapist who is on a three-month sabbatical in Delhi campaigning for the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). “But one day I sat back and asked myself how I can change the system.”

Almost all the NRIs participating in this year’s polls would say the same. The U.S. chapter of the BJP reportedly has about 2 million volunteers and says more than 10,000 are now in India campaigning for the party. AAP says it has over 5,000 active volunteers in over 40 countries. In the U.S., there are supporter teams in at least 30 major cities and in over 40 major universities.

“This is a big election. India’s future is at stake,” says Pran Kurup, AAP’s U.S. spokesperson. “Our goal is to defeat candidates with criminal records, who are products of dynasty politics, who are proponents of communal politics, and those who are corrupt.”

While the emergence of AAP and its leader Arvind Kejriwal has inspired many NRIs, for others the BJP’s prime-ministerial candidate, Narendra Modi, is a huge draw. Business types, particularly, admire his track record in developing and governing the western state of Gujarat.

Deepak Kanth, a 35-year-old investment banker from London in charge of NRI engagement for the BJP, is inspired by Modi’s call for “minimum government, maximum governance.” He says Modi is an important catalyst for NRIs who are working hard to replicate on his behalf tactics from U.S. President Barack Obama’s first presidential campaign.

“It is very unusual that so many thousands are coming to campaign,” says Chandrakant Patel, president of the Overseas Friends of BJP and a U.S.-based businessman. “It points to concern among NRIs about India’s future and their faith in Modi as a strong leader who will be able to turn back India’s flailing fortunes and restart the growth story.”

However their political beliefs may differ, what unites NRIs is a sense of responsibility for the future of their country. “My boys are growing up, and I am keenly aware of the need for them to be proud of their country,” Barooah says. “I am an Indian no matter where I am, and I want my children to have that same sense of ownership about India.”

India

Modi Gets a Bollywood Boost

Bollywood actor Khan flies a kite as Hindu nationalist Modi watches during a kite flying festival in Ahmedabad
Bollywood actor Salman Khan (R) flies a kite as Hindu nationalist Narendra Modi (C), prime ministerial candidate for India's main opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and Gujarat's chief minister, watches during a kite flying festival in the western Indian city of Ahmedabad January 14, 2014. © Amit Dave / Reuters—REUTERS

And not just Bollywood but a Muslim one too. Two of India's best-known Muslim celebrities have come out in support of a prime-ministerial candidate that many of their co-religionists view with hostility and suspicion

In Indian politics, star power matters as much as manifestos — if not more. Political parties have long relied on celebrities, especially Hindi film stars, to swell their vote banks, and despite talk of the electorate’s greater political maturity, 2014 doesn’t seem to be an exception.

Last week, Bharatiya Janata Party prime-ministerial candidate Narendra Modi got a helping hand from Bollywood. Legendary scriptwriter Salim Khan and his son, the actor Salman Khan, both Muslims, launched a version of Modi’s official website in Urdu.

The decision is noteworthy because Urdu is the mother tongue of many of India’s Muslims, whose attitude to Modi ranges from outright hostility to, at best, ambivalence. The reason is the religious violence that broke out in the western state of Gujarat in 2002, while Modi was chief minister (a post he still holds today). Though Modi has been cleared by courts of any complicity in the bloodshed that left over 1,000 people dead — mostly Muslims — criticisms that he did not do enough to stop the riots continue to haunt him.

The senior Khan has asked his fellow Muslims to move on. “When my mother died, I felt I wouldn’t be able to live, but I am alive today,” he said to reporters in Mumbai, India’s film capital, last week. “No one can justify the riots. I am sure Mr. Modi has learnt the lesson and that no one will die [under] his regime.”

However, the backlash from the Muslim community has been quick, with many of the younger Khan’s Muslim fans feeling betrayed by an actor whose career took off during the 1990s, when Muslim viewers, feeling marginalized by the Hindu majority, identified with him and made him an icon of their community.

According to pop-culture critic and media academic Shohini Ghosh, Salman Khan’s reputation already took a beating in January, when he performed at a government-organized festival in Saifai, the ancestral village of Uttar Pradesh’s chief minister, Akhilesh Yadav. Yadav has been accused of abetting the violence that broke out between Hindus and Muslims in the Muzaffarnagar district last September. Thousands of Muslims who fled their villages are still in relief camps and some Muslim clerics have called for boycotts of Salman Khan’s films.

At the same time, the political sway that celebrities like the Khans hold over voters remains. “I will vote for anyone Salman bhai [brother] supports,” says Waseem Ahmed, 22, a voter from northwest Mumbai. “I am not educated enough to understand manifestos.” And that is exactly what India’s politicians are counting on when they hitch their platforms to a Bollywood star.

Military

As the Wars End, Changes Come in Training Troops to Notify Families of Military Deaths

Army photo

Battlefield deaths decline, but military still has to bring grim news

The wars are nearly over. So it is time for the U.S. military to reboot for one of its most somber tasks: Telling next-of-kin their loved one has died in the service of his or her country.

Over the past 13 years, casualty-notification officers have had to take that long walk up to a family’s front door, and make that dreaded knock that changes everything, 6,803 times.

But with battlefield deaths down to a trickle, the Marines are seeking a new video to help train its Casualty Assistance Calls Officers (each service has its own title for the job) for a future where more will die in peacetime accidents than combat. “The current scenario is 100% war-related,” the corps says in a notice posted Tuesday. “A more current version is required to meet today’s situations.”

The Marines say they want their new training video to include cases involving:

  • Marine’s death due to a training incident
  • Dual active-duty spouse with complicated marital issues
  • Divorced Parents
  • Dealing with children
  • Updated grief/trauma awareness
  • Self-care for CACOs

That last one is critical. This is a tough mission, where raw human emotions run the gamut.

“I’ve picked family members off the floor,” Army chaplain Captain Gregory Broderick said in an Army News Service story last month. “I’ve sat and held them as they’ve rocked and cried… I did one recently where they kicked us out of the house. They were so mad, not at us but at their son,” he confided. “I’ve been spit on as well.”

“You’ve caught them at their worst day,” added Army Major Mark East, the top chaplain at the service’s Human Resources Command.

With the war in Iraq over for more than two years, and with the shrinking number of U.S. combat troops still in Afghanistan slated to leave by year’s end (a total of 33,000 remain), the number of those killed in battle, thankfully, is way down (17 so far this year). March marked the first month without war casualties in 11 years (unfortunately, April won’t be the second).

When casualties spiked in Iraq in 2006, some families criticized the way the military informed them of their relatives’ deaths. That led Congress to demand additional training for those making the notifications, and detailed Pentagon regulations on how it is to be done.

Army Major Brent Fogleman did casualty notifications around that time, after a stint in Afghanistan. The notification job was “by far, yes” his toughest assignment. “There were some guys that couldn’t do it… if they couldn’t do it we didn’t want them to do it,” he said. “That’s not something you cannot do well.”

Families used to learn of their loved one’s fate in terse “regret to inform you” telegrams. That changed in Vietnam, when the Army began dispatching casualty-notification officers and chaplains to deliver the sad news personally.

The service now gives its casualty-notification teams four hours to get to that front door after the Army’s personnel shop has received word of a death. These days, they’re in a race to that door with Facebook and Twitter. They usually, but not always, win.

TIME 100

TIME 100 Alumni Who Continue to Inspire Change

Over the past 10 years, TIME has chosen some of the world’s biggest movers and shakers for its annual list of the most influential people in the world. Many of them have continued to transform themselves and the lives of others long after their inclusion.

Take Hillary Clinton, for example. The one-time First Lady has appeared on the list seven times (including one time with husband Bill) as she evolved from senator to presidential candidate to Secretary of State to (unofficial) presidential candidate again. We’ve selected 10 other honorees that we think fit the bill.

europe

U.S. Plans Military Exercises Near Russia

Joe Biden
U.S. Vice President Joe Biden walks past the barricades on Mykhailivska Square in Kiev, Ukraine, on April 22, 2014 Sergei Chuzavkov—AP

The U.S. will deploy about 600 troops for training exercises in Poland, Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia to reassure NATO and regional allies adjacent to Russia

The U.S. will send hundreds of troops to East Europe for training exercises, the Pentagon said on Tuesday, as the Americans look to reassure nervous allies near Russia.

The U.S. will deploy roughly 600 troops already stationed in Europe to Poland, Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia, Rear Admiral John Kirby, the Pentagon press secretary, said on Tuesday. The troops will be replaced with new units within about a month, and the U.S. expects to maintain a presence for at least the remainder of the year, he said.

“The message is to the people of Poland and Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia that the United States takes seriously our obligations,” Kirby said.

The U.S. is aiming to reassure allies in the region amid tensions on Ukraine’s eastern border, where Russia has amassed thousands of troops since it annexed the southern Ukrainian region of Crimea.

Vice President Joe Biden met with the Ukrainian leadership in Kiev on Tuesday, where he threatened new sanctions against Russia if it does not pull back its troops. He also said Russia should “stop talking and start acting,” days after international parties agreed on a joint roadmap to diffuse the crisis in eastern Ukraine, where pro-Russian separatists have occupied towns and cities. The separatists have so far defied the agreement’s stipulation that they disarm, and on Tuesday acting Ukrainian President Oleksandr Turchinov called for police to resume “counterterrorism” operations in the region after the body of a recently abducted local politician with suspected torture marks was found.

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