TIME Germany

10,000 People Protest Against Islam in the German City of Dresden

Participants hold a banner during a demonstration called by anti-immigration group Patriotic Europeans Against the Islamization of the West (Pegida) in Dresden, Germany, on Dec. 15, 2014 Hannibal Hanschke—Reuters

Protesters demand immigration-policy overhaul, ruling politicians label them "Nazis in pinstripes"

A march against the “Islamization of the West” in the German city of Dresden attracted about 10,000 people on Monday.

Participants gathered under banners reading “Protect our homeland” and “No Shari‘a law in Europe,” but also the famous slogan “We are the people,” used during the demonstrations that led up to the fall of the Berlin Wall, reports the BBC.

“There’s freedom of assembly in Germany, but there’s no place for incitement and lies about people who come to us from other countries,” said Chancellor Angela Merkel in Berlin.

“Everyone [who attends] needs to be careful that they are not taken advantage of by the people who organize such events.”

It is the ninth week in a row that a movement called Patriotic Europeans Against the Islamization of the West (Pegida) is organizing protests in the German state of Saxony, but Monday’s march is the biggest by far.

Frauke Petry, Dresden leader of the Pegida-sympathetic party Alternativ für Deutschland, said the march was “protesting against inadequate legislation on asylum rights.”

Germany accepts more asylum seekers than any other country, and immigration rates have surged because of the wars in Syria and Iraq. However, a mere 2% of Saxony’s population is foreign, and only a fraction of them Muslim, the New York Times points out.

Considering the country’s troubled past with extreme right-wing politics, the protests have shocked many Germans. Justice Minister Heiko Maas has called them “a disgrace” and the Social Democrats, part of the ruling coalition, have branded them “Nazis in pinstripes.”

TIME West Bank

Israeli Forces Kill Palestinian in West Bank

The man has been identified as 20-year-old Mahmoud Abdalla

(JERUSALEM) — Israeli soldiers shot and killed a Palestinian man during an arrest operation Tuesday in the West Bank, the military said.

It said Palestinians in the refugee camp of Qalandiya, north of Jerusalem, began throwing stones and explosive charges at soldiers during the operation and that they responded with live fire, killing one man, and wounding another.

Palestinian medical officials identified the dead man as 20-year-old Mahmoud Abdalla.

Tensions between Israelis and Palestinians have been high in recent months, mostly over a disputed holy site in Jerusalem.

But violence in the West Bank has been at a low level. Israeli security officials ascribe the relative calm to attempts by Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas to keep the lid on violence as he pushes for a U.N. resolution on Israeli occupation.

Some Palestinian officials have suggested that Abbas will push for the vote on a draft resolution as early as this week that would set a November 2016 deadline for ending the Israeli occupation of the West Bank.

The Palestinian resolution — which is almost sure to be vetoed by the United States — has prompted a diplomatic push by France that still hasn’t been formally introduced.

The French draft speaks of the 1967 Mideast borders as the basis for dividing the land, which President Barack Obama has publicly backed, but it doesn’t include key Israeli and U.S. conditions, such as Palestinianrecognition of Israel as a Jewish state.

TIME Crime

66 Journalists Killed in 2014: Report

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Burmese journalists wear T-shirts that say "Stop Killing Press" during a silent protest for five journalists who were jailed for 10 years on July 10, near the Myanmar Peace Center where Burmese President Thein Sein was scheduled to meet with local artists in Rangoon on July 12, 2014. Soe Than Win—AFP/Getty Images

Media activists say attacks on journalists are becoming increasingly barbaric

At least 66 journalists were killed across the globe this year while another 178 media workers were imprisoned, according to industry monitoring outlet Reporters Without Borders (RSF).

While the number of journalists’ deaths fell slightly when compared to 2013 figures, the high-profile beheadings of Western and Arab reporters by militant Jihadists in the Middle East marked a gruesome escalation in the types of violence employed against the Fourth Estate.

“Rarely have reporters been murdered with such a barbaric sense of propaganda, shocking the entire world,” said the watchdog organization in their annual report published on Tuesday.

RSF also noted that the number of kidnapping cases skyrocketed dramatically in 2014 with 119 journalists reportedly being abducted, a 37% increase year-on-year.

TIME Ukraine

As Ukraine Truce Holds, Russia Vows Economic Pain

Petro Poroshenko
Ukraine's President Petro Poroshenko walks along the World War I Honour Roll during his visit to the Australian War Memorial in Canberra, Australia, Dec. 12, 2014. Lukas Coch—AP

The Kremlin wants to maintain leverage over its neighbor as a means of keeping it from ever joining NATO

(KIEV, UKRAINE) — Fighting in eastern Ukraine between government troops and Russian-backed separatist forces has ground almost to halt. That should be good news for Ukraine, but Russia looks intent to pile on the economic misery.

In a detailed op-ed piece Monday, Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev painted a grim forecast of Russian economic blockades ahead as Ukraine embarks on closer integration with Europe.

“The Ukrainian government has made its choice. And even if our neighbors have a poor understanding of the ultimate price they will have to pay, that is their right,” Medvedev said.

Those ominous words came as a renewed truce in east Ukraine called for by President Petro Poroshenko isholding — barring sporadic violations — since it began last week.

More than 4,700 people have been killed since the conflict broke out in mid-April, U.N. rights investigators estimate — and more than a quarter of those deaths came after a cease-fire in September that was routinely ignored.

Ukrainian authorities are hopeful, saying more peace talks are on the horizon.

The intensity of attacks on government-held areas has reduced notably and is now limited to mortar and small arms fire, military spokesman Andriy Lysenko said Monday. Separatists who have often accused government forces of breaking the truce agreed that violence has reduced dramatically.

Changes on the ground appear to reflect shifts on the diplomatic front.

While supporting the separatists, Moscow has said it accepts the rebellious east should remain part of Ukraine. Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov told the state news agency RIA-Novosti last week that pro-Russian separatists were prepared to re-enter a “common economic, humanitarian and political space” withUkraine.

That position reflects the Kremlin’s desire to maintain leverage over its neighbor as a means of keeping it from ever joining NATO.

Although the separatist leadership in Ukraine’s eastern Donetsk and Luhansk regions publicly deny that they taking orders from Moscow, rebel officials privately concede the Kremlin plays a direct role in their decision-making. Lavrov’s comments suggest an easing of staunch secessionist positions.

A few weeks ago, rebel leaders were vowing to expand the territory under their control. But last week, separatists in Luhansk made a show of withdrawing heavy weaponry from the front line.

The next expected development is a prisoner exchange, which a senior rebel leader in Donetsk, Alexander Khodakovsky, suggested Monday could begin on Dec. 25.

Poroshenko has expressed satisfaction with the reduced carnage.

“I positively assess the cease-fire regime. This has enabled the strengthening of Ukrainian positions and resupply of servicemen on the line of defense,” he said.

But peace on the military front may serve only as prelude to economic hostility.

In his 5,600-word opinion piece Monday in the Moscow-based newspaper Nezavisimaya Gazeta, Medvedev outlined a new “pragmatic” chapter in relations with Ukraine.

“In plain Russian, dealing with Ukraine ‘pragmatically’ means giving it no quarter. Russia’s economicapproach to Ukraine will get tougher,” Dmitry Trenin, who heads the Carnegie Moscow Center, wrote in a Twitter post.

Medvedev wrote that Ukraine has been unhealthily reliant on Moscow for too long; adding that as of last spring, Russian orders from Ukrainian companies were valued at $15 billion, or 8.3 percent of Ukraine’sGross Domestic Product.

“Nobody in Ukraine has explained to us, or themselves, how these orders will be replaced,” he wrote.

Ukraine remains heavily dependent on Russian natural gas and industries in eastern Ukraine are still tightly intertwined with those in western Russia. Ukraine has had to go cap in hand to Russia recently for electricity supplies, as its power plants lack enough coal.

Medvedev also said a closer eye will be paid to Ukrainian citizens traveling to Russia for work — an ominous suggestion that this economic lifeline could be drastically tightened.

Ukrainian officials have put a brave face on those veiled threats.

“Everything that was possible to cut off has already been cut off by Russia,” said Valeriy Chaliy, deputy head of the Ukrainian presidential administration.

He said Ukraine has been pressing hard to diversify the markets for its exports.

“Not all roads lead to Russia,” Chaliy said. “Ukraine has other neighbors with which collaboration is possible without fear of getting stabbed in the back at any moment.”

U.S. Vice President Joe Biden spoke by phone with Poroshenko on Monday to discuss “Ukraine’s financial and energy situation and developments in eastern Ukraine,” according to a readout released by Biden’s office.

Biden said the United States remains committed to working with international partners “to ensure thatUkraine will have the macroeconomic support it needs” to implement its reform program.

TIME Australia

A Stunned Australia Asks How the Sydney Siege Could Have Happened

How was a man accused of being an accessory to the murder of his ex-wife, and facing 40 charges of sexual assault, able to obtain a gun and be at liberty?

Australian officials offered words of comfort and sympathy to a shocked nation after a 16-hour siege at a café in central Sydney ended with the death of two hostages on Tuesday.

Three people died, including the armed perpetrator, when police commandos stormed the Lindt café in Martin Place in the early hours of Tuesday morning. Six people, including hostages and police officers, were injured during the raid; however, all are in stable condition according to authorities.

“Those poor people who went into get a cup of coffee or buy some chocolates for a friend for Christmas got caught up in this terrible situation,” Sydney Lord Mayor Clover Moore told CNN’s Anderson Cooper on Tuesday. “It’s a truly shocking thing to happen in our city because our city is a very harmonious, socially diverse, welcoming and inclusive city.”

Prime Minister Tony Abbott extended condolence to the victims’ families during a national address on Tuesday morning and also commended the public for being “resilient” and “ready to respond” during the crisis.

Earlier in the day, Abbott ordered flags across the country to be flown at half-mast.

Australian officials are meanwhile faced with daunting questions about how the gunman, Man Haron Monis, was able to obtain a firearm and remain at liberty after having several run-ins with the law. The self-declared sheik had reportedly been charged with committing an estimated 40 sexual assaults while being a so-called “spiritual healer.” Monis was also on bail and facing charges of being an accessory to the murder of his ex-wife.

“There will need to be tough questions about whether our systems for identifying potential perpetrators of terrorist crimes like this are good enough,” Rory Medcalf, security-program director at Australian think tank the Lowy Institute, tells TIME. “Questions will be asked why this particular individual was able to commit this act while on bail for serious crimes.”

The Australian Broadcasting Corp. (ABC) reports that a recently passed bail law in New South Wales, which could have prevented an individual with a record on par with the gunman from remaining on the streets, is set to go in effect early next year.

The fact that it was not in force to prevent this tragedy is “frustrating for me as attorney general, frustrating for the premier, frustrating for the entire government, frustrating for the entire NSW community,” said Brad Hazzard, the New South Wales attorney general, according to ABC.

Analysts warned that the acts of a crazed lone gunman should not be used as political fodder to tighten the current government’s stringent policy toward asylum seekers trying to enter the country. (Monis was granted political asylum by Australia in 1996 after fleeing Iran.)

“Australia was founded by foreigners,” said Clarke Jones, a terrorism expert at the Australian National University’s College of Asia and the Pacific. “I hope we continue to take other nationalities into Australia. It makes it a much more interesting and healthy, wealthy place.”

TIME World

Exclusive: 29 Instagrams That Defined the World in 2014

See some of the most powerful images shared on Instagram this year

As Instagram hit a milestone this month, with its number of monthly active users ballooning to 300 million, TIME, in association with the photo-sharing app, takes a look back at the key moments of 2014.

The selection of images, shared by some of Instagram’s most popular and respected photographers, offers an intimate view of some of the defining events of the year: From the toll of war in Gaza to the unrest in Ferguson, Mo., and from the border between Mexico and the U.S. all the way to Mongolia, Afghanistan and Sierra Leone.

“Real moments are captured and posted on Instagram every single day, from Nana Kofi Acquah’s image of a Tanzanian doctor timing a baby’s labored breathing using his mobile phone, to Brendan Hoffman’s haunting first reactions upon arriving at the crash site of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 in eastern Ukraine,” says Pamela Chen, Instagram’s Editorial Director. “These are just a sampling of the powerful images shared by people around the world in 2014.”

Read next: The Top 10 Photos of 2014

TIME ebola

Here Is the Lie of the Year from PolitiFact

Vaccine Research At Bavarian Nordic A/S Pharmaceuticals
An employee uses a microscope during research in a laboratory used to detect contamination in employees' clothing at the Bavarian Nordic A/S biotechnology company, where the research into infectious diseases, including the ebola vaccine, takes place in Kvistgaard, Denmark, on Friday, Oct. 31, 2014. Bloomberg—Bloomberg via Getty Images

Guess what spawned a "dangerous and incorrect narrative" in 2014?

PolitiFact has named the panicked response to Ebola as the 2014 Lie of the Year.

The website, which fact-checks the statements of public figures, noted 16 erroneous claims made for Ebola last year, which together produced “a dangerous and incorrect narrative.”

Those included Fox News analyst George Will’s false assertion that Ebola could spread through a sneeze or cough, Senator Rand Paul’s description of the disease as “incredibly contagious,” “very transmissible” and “easy to catch” and Congressman Phil Gingrey’s warning that migrants could carry Ebola across the U.S.’s southern border.

“When combined,” PolitiFact writes, “the claims edged the nation toward panic. Governors fought Washington over the federal response. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention stumbled to explain details about transmission of the virus and its own prevention measures. American universities turned away people from Africa, whether they were near the outbreak or not.”

[PolitiFact]

TIME Australia

Sydney Sheik Haron Was Charged in Ex-Wife’s Torching Murder

November 10, 2009: Sydney, NSW. Iranian born Muslim cleric, Sheik Haron, who is named in court papers as Man Haron Monis, chained to a railing outside the Downing Centre Court in Sydney in an anti-war protest. He had appeared in court to face charges of sending offensive letters to families of Australian soldiers who died in Afghanistan. Keywords: court case / criminal charges / islam / muslim faith / offensive material / demonstration / australian flags / signs (Photo by Cameron Richardson / Newspix)Contact Email: www.newspix.com.auContact Web URL: newspix@newsltd.com.auContact Email: www.newspix.com.au
Iranian-born Sheik Haron, who is named in court papers as Man Haron Monis, chained to a railing outside the Downing Centre Court in Sydney in an antiwar protest on Nov. 10, 2009 Newspix/News Ltd

"They should have put him away and thrown away the key"

More than a year before the Sydney hostage siege, Man Haron Monis was arrested for accessory to the murder of his ex-wife — who was repeatedly stabbed and set on fire — and then released on bail.

“They should have put him away and thrown away the key,” said Ayyut Khalik, godfather to the slain woman, Noleen Hayson Pal.

Khalik said Pal, 31, was like one of his own children. He traveled from California to Australia for her 16th birthday, for her wedding to Monis in 2005 and for her funeral …

Read the rest of the story from our partners at NBC News

TIME Japan

Japanese PM Orders ‘Thorough Measures’ After First Bird Flu Outbreak in 8 Months

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MIXA—Getty Images/MIXA

Poultry culled and affected farms quarantined

Japan ordered the culling of about 4,000 chickens Tuesday following an outbreak of avian influenza at one of the country’s poultry farms.

The owner of the farm in the country’s southwest reported that 20 of his birds died suddenly over the weekend, following which a DNA test revealed the presence of the H5 strain of the bird flu virus, AFP reported.

The affected farm, located in Miyazaki prefecture on the island of Kyushu, has been locked down along with several others surrounding it. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe ordered “thorough measures for epidemic prevention” in what is the country’s first confirmed bird-flu outbreak since April.

[AFP]

TIME South Sudan

U.N. Says Tens of Thousands Dead in South Sudan Conflict

SSUDAN-POLITICS-PEACE-DEAL
South Sudanese soldiers secure a road near Juba's airport on August 26, 2014. Samir Bol—AFP/Getty Images

The fighting has been marked by vicious atrocities, largely ethnic in nature

(NAIROBI, Kenya) — Tens of thousands of people have died in South Sudan during one year of warfare and the country’s leaders are putting their “personal ambitions” ahead of the young nation’s future, the U.N. secretary-general said Monday.

A year ago Monday fighting broke out in South Sudan’s capital, Juba, and spiraled across the country. The U.N. says more than 1.9 million people have been displaced by the warfare, battles that often pit fighters loyal to President Salva Kiir, an ethnic Dinka, against those who support former Vice President Riek Machar, an ethnic Nuer.

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon called on South Sudan’s leaders to agree to an inclusive power-sharing arrangement that would address the root causes of the conflict and ensure accountability for any crimes committed on the battlefield.

There is no official death toll for the conflict, but Ban said “tens of thousands” of South Sudanese have died. The fighting has been marked by vicious atrocities, largely ethnic in nature.

The two sides have signed several peace deals brokered by neighboring governments, but none has succeeded in stopping the fighting in the oil-rich country.

The U.N. Security Council blamed South Sudan’s “man-made political, security and humanitarian catastrophe” and the threat of famine on its feuding leaders. In a presidential statement issued Monday, it again threatened targeted sanctions against those impeding the peace process.

South Sudan’s civilians face a “dreadful” situation and have been victims of targeted killings and looting, said the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights, Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein.

“The people of South Sudan are living in a tinderbox, with emotions high, an abundant flow of weapons and with both sides recruiting fighters, often forcefully and including children,” Al Hussein said.

Government troops and armed youths have been battling in Upper Nile state in recent days, a sign that widespread violence could return now that the six-month rainy season has ended.

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