TIME

TIME Person of the Year Reader’s Poll — Updating Results

See who is in the lead and cast your vote

Read about our methodology here.

Vote Now: Who Should Be TIME’s Person of the Year?

Face-Off: Who Should Be TIME’s Person of the Year?

Read next: Who Should Be TIME’s Person of the Year in 2014?

TIME

Face-Off: Who Should Be TIME’s Person of the Year?

TIME’s editors will choose the Person of the Year, but that doesn’t mean readers shouldn’t have their say. Cast your vote for the person you think most influenced the news this year for better or worse. Here you’ll find some of the year’s most provocative newsmakers paired head-to-head with similar movers and shakers. You can also vote in our yes/no poll. Read more about the voting methodology here.

Voting closes at 11:59 p.m. on Dec. 6, and the combined winner of our reader polls will be announced on Dec. 8. TIME’s Person of the Year will be announced Dec. 10.

Read next: Vote Now: Who Should Be TIME’s Person of the Year?

TIME

Vote Now: Who Should Be TIME’s Person of the Year?

TIME’s editors will choose the Person of the Year, but that doesn’t mean readers shouldn’t have their say. Cast your vote for the person you think most influenced the news this year for better or worse. Here you’ll find some of the year’s most provocative newsmakers. You can also vote in our face-off poll. Read more about the voting methodology here.

Voting closes at 11:59 p.m. on Dec. 6, and the combined winner of our reader polls will be announced on Dec. 8. TIME’s Person of the Year will be announced Dec. 10.

Read next: Face-Off: Who Should Be TIME’s Person of the Year?

TIME Hong Kong

Hong Kong’s Pro-Democracy Protesters Clash With Police

At least six protesters were arrested Wednesday

Tension between Hong Kong’s pro-democracy protesters and police boiled over Wednesday, resulting in one of the most violent confrontations in weeks. Demonstrators had aimed to break into a government building but were repelled by officers in protective gear, in a dustup that occurred hours after some of the barricaded roads were ordered to be cleared. The dismantling comes after student leaders were refused entry to Beijing in a bid to meet with senior Chinese leaders about their demands.

Read more: Hong Kong Stands Up

TIME European Union

Is It a Bird? Is It a Plane? No, It’s Captain Euro

But is he in time to save the European Union and the world?

You might think there were enough cartoon characters in politics already. Apparently not. Enter Captain Euro, flexing his pectorals and multilingual skills as he battles to save the European Union.

The self-styled leader of Europe, the Captain sees himself as the first point of contact for any U.S. President seeking to speak to Europe.

But the Captain isn’t a superhero. He’s just drawn that way (though he and his team of ardent Europhiles in matching blue and gold outfits might also be mistaken for the flight crew on a European no-frills airline.)

The son of Brand EU, an initiative that tries to do exactly what the name suggests, itself the brainchild of a think tank called Gold Mercury, the Captain first strode to the rescue of Europe in 1995 but fell into obscurity until desperate times and rising euroskepsis—boosted, of course, by the flailings of the Captain’s namesake currency—necessitated his recall. So since Nov. 18 he’s been back in action, deploying his sole special power: the power of persuasion.”Together we are one of the world’s strongest powers. Separately, we amount to far less in this newly globalized world, where size is everything,” says Nicolas de Santis, President of Gold Mercury and thus the Captain’s real daddy. “Armed with this knowledge, Captain Euro will continue on his heroic mission to promote the values of a united EU which we all share: peace, solidarity and sustainability.”

To the Captain and his creator, the baddies are evil-minded euroskeptics dressed in UKIP purple who threaten that vision. Their leader is called Dr D Vider (see what they did there?).

And this is where our hero gets a little confused and confusing. His backstory is puzzling. Called Adam Andros, he’s not a David standing up to goliath globalized corporations. We are told he inherited his own giant corporation, Sustania. An avatar of vested interests, he seeks to rally to his cause some of the real-life leaders than some Europeans might see as part of the problem rather than the cure.

In real-life Jean-Claude Juncker, who has just embarked on a five-year term as President of the European Commission, already faces a motion of censure in the European Parliament after allegations that during his previous incarnations as Prime Minister and Finance Minister of Luxembourg, he helped global corporations to minimize their European tax payments. In a Captain Euro strip, Juncker is a unifying figure working to persuade Prime Minister David Cameron to keep Britain in the E.U..

The coalition of anti-Europe, anti-immigration parties seeking to censure Juncker includes a fair sprinkling of cartoonish characters, but they are successfully positioning themselves as the good guys to a broadening swathe of European voters. If Captain Euro really wants to counteract the misinformation such parties spread, he’ll need to recognize the parts of their message that resonate. The time is ripe for a hero who is pro-Europe but not identified with the European elite. Before Captain Euro can redraw the continent’s fracturing politics, he may have to redraw himself.

All cartoons courtesy of Nicolas de Santis/ Gold Mercury International.

TIME faith

Pope Francis Is Selling His Fiat Car in a Raffle for the Poor

Pope Francis Attends His Weekly Audience In St Peter's Square
Pope Francis waves to the faithful as he leaves St. Peter's Square at the end of his weekly audience on November 19, 2014 in Vatican City, Vatican. During his speech Pontiff appealed for peace in the Middle East. (Photo by Franco Origlia/Getty Images) Franco Origlia—Getty Images

The Vatican said it is raffling off objects that the Pontiff has received as gifts

Pope Francis’ four-wheel-drive Panda Fiat is just one of a collection of items the Vatican is raffling off to raise money for charity.

Posters around the Vatican announced the raffle will also include his Homero Ortega brand hat, bicycles, and an espresso coffee machine, Reuters reports, among 13 objects and 30 unspecified “consolation prizes.”

Tickets on sale at the Vatican will cost $12.50, and the winner will be announced on Jan. 8. The Vatican announced last week that Pope Francis, who has made fighting poverty a priority, was building bathrooms for the homeless in the shadow of St. Peter’s Basilica.

[Reuters]

TIME food and drink

Brits to Get Cheaper Beer! (If They Can Still Find a Pub to Sell It)

A pint of beer stands on a bar in a pub in Liverpool northern England, Nov. 19 , 2014.
A pint of beer stands on a bar in a pub in Liverpool northern England, Nov. 19 , 2014. Phil Noble—Reuters

New law would break the chains that tie pub landlords to big parent companies

It’s always been the most reliable vote-winner in British politics, even ahead of bashing foreigners and flinging money at the National Health Service.

But a late-night vote in Westminster last night may have actually paved the way for cheaper beer in pubs, as members of parliament voted to end the so-called ‘beer tie’ system, which forces landlords to buy beer from their parent companies at above-market prices, and stops them from offering competing brews.

That’s the headline-grabbing part, of course. The reality of the situation is, sadly, much less clear. The Beer Tie is only one half of an arrangement under which the parent groups (which have mainly grown out of Britain’s big breweries) offer low property rents, cheap insurance and other centralized services in return.

Under an amendment to the existing law, landlords will now have the right to ask for a rent-only deal, under which they would have the freedom to buy beer from whoever they choose at the best price they can find.

The pub companies were up in arms over the vote Wednesday, saying it would threaten the existence of thousands of pubs up and down the country

Punch Taverns Plc, whose shares fell 12.3% in early trading, warned the amended bill “would have significant adverse consequences for Britain’s community pubs” if it becomes law.

“The government’s own research indicated that breaking the tie would…result in between 700 and 1,400 more pubs closing with 3,700 to 7,000 job losses,” Punch said. It added that it would also lead to reduced investment in pubs, less consumer choice and “higher fixed rents, reduced levels of support and greater risk of failure” for tenants.

Enterprise Inns, Punch’s biggest rival, called the amendment “disproportionate” and said it would have “serious unintended consequences.” Its shares lost 15% on the news.

By contrast there was rejoicing at the U.K.’s Federation of Small Businesses, which has led a nationwide campaign against the Beer Tie.

FSB chairman John Allan said the vote marked “a historic day for tied publicans who look forward to a more open and competitive marketplace.”

Greg Mulholland, a Liberal Democrat MP who championed the amendment, called the vote “a victory for people power, for commonsense and for fairness and a victory a huge hard pressed publicans and their customers.”

Thousands of pubs closed in the recession that followed the financial crisis, many of them in rural communities where they were the hub of social activity. The Campaign for Real Ale, which supported the motion, says closures were still running at around 30 a week in the first half of this year.

The amendment still needs to go through the House of Lords to become law. The government, which had opposed the amendment and which only lost the vote because dozens of its own MPs revolted, may use the Lords to block the amendment and force another reading in the House of Commons.

This article originally appeared on Fortune.com

TIME Honduras

Bodies of Miss Honduras 2014 Maria Jose Alvarado, Sister Found

Maria Jose Alvarado, Miss Honduras World 2014.
Maria Jose Alvarado, Miss Honduras 2014. AFP/Getty Images

Maria Jose Alvarado and her sister disappeared six days ago

(TEGUCIGALPA, Honduras) — A top police official says what appear to be the bodies of Miss Honduras 2014 and her sister have been found buried near the spa where they disappeared six days ago.

National Police director, Gen. Ramon Sabillon says authorities are awaiting confirmation from forensic officials that the bodies are Maria Jose Alvarado, 19, and her sister, Sofia, 23. He said early Wednesday that Plutarco Ruiz, boyfriend of Sofia, and an accomplice, Aris Maldonado, have been arrested.

The two disappeared after attending a birthday party for Ruiz last Thursday.

Alvarado had been scheduled to leave for London on Sunday to compete in the Miss World 2014 pageant.

TIME Infectious Disease

Egypt Sees Second Bird Flu Death in Two Days

A poultry merchant feeds a pigeon from her mouth in a popular market in Cairo, Egypt, Nov. 19 2014.
A poultry merchant feeds a pigeon from her mouth in a popular market in Cairo, Egypt, Nov. 19 2014. Khaled Elfiqi—EPA

30-year-old woman had contact with infected birds

Egypt’s health ministry said Tuesday that a woman died from H5N1 bird flu after coming into contact with infected birds, one day after another case proved fatal.

The 30-year-0ld woman was reported in a state newspaper to have died in a hospital in the southern city of Assiut, according to Reuters, just a day after a 19-year-old woman had died in the same city.

Seven cases of the virus, including three deaths, have been identified in Egypt this year. H5N1 doesn’t appear to transmit efficiently between human beings, the World Health Organization says, and Egypt’s cases have largely revolved around rural areas where villages slaughter or keep poultry.

[Reuters]

TIME ebola

Cuba Says Doctor Catches Ebola in Sierra Leone

Cuban doctors and health workers unload boxes of medicines and medical material from a plane upon their arrival at Freetown's airport to help the fight against Ebola in Sierra Leone, on Oct. 2, 2014.
Cuban doctors and health workers unload boxes of medicines and medical material from a plane upon their arrival at Freetown's airport to help the fight against Ebola in Sierra Leone, on Oct. 2, 2014. Florian Plaucheur—AFP/Getty Images

(HAVANA) — A member of the 165-member medical team Cuba sent to fight Ebola in Sierra Leone has been diagnosed with the disease, according to state media.

Dr. Felix Baez Sarria is being treated by British doctors in Africa but he will be transferred to a special unit in Geneva at the recommendation of the World Health Organization, Cuban state media said, citing the island’s Ministry of Public Health.

Cuba won global praise for sending at least 256 medical workers to Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea to help treat Ebola patients. State officials have emphasized the medics’ high state of readiness for the mission, saying the doctors, nurses and support staff received weeks of instruction in protective measures and equipment.

Once in Africa, the Cubans got two to three weeks of additional training before heading into the field. They were to be quarantined in Africa for weeks at the end of their six-month mission before returning to Cuba.

State media said that Baez, an internal medicine specialist, came down with a fever of more than 100 degrees on Sunday and was diagnosed with Ebola the following day.

Cuban officials did not say how he caught the disease or immediately release any other information about the case, the first reported among the health workers the island sent to Africa.

Early symptoms of Ebola include fever, headache, body aches, cough, stomach pain, vomiting and diarrhea, and patients aren’t contagious until those begin. The virus requires close contact with body fluids to spread so health care workers and family members caring for loved ones are most at risk.

Ebola has killed more than 5,000 people in the west African countries of Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea.

Cuba is one of the largest global contributors of medical workers to the fight against Ebola, a commitment that has drawn rare praise from the U.S. and focused worldwide attention on the island’s unique program of medical diplomacy, which deploys armies of doctors to win friends abroad and earn billions a year in desperately needed foreign exchange.

Cuba has more than 50,000 medical workers in more than 60 countries, many in nations like Brazil that pay hundreds of millions a year for their services. Others are on humanitarian missions that generate good will abroad.

Despite a recent set of pay raises, most Cuban doctors’ salaries don’t top $75 a month, less than many workers in tourism or other sectors that bring in money from abroad. The foreign missions almost uniformly offer the chance to earn extra pay, in many cases enough to buy a bigger home or new car.

Critics of Cuba’s communist government have accused it in the past of exploiting the doctors by giving them only a small portion of the money paid for their services and keeping the rest.

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