TIME Ukraine

John Kerry Slams Rebels as Fighting in Ukraine Spirals Further Out of Control

US-EU-KERRY-MOGHERINI
Brendan Smialowski—AFP/Getty Images U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry speaks to the press after a working lunch with E.U. High Representative Federica Mogherini at the U.S. Department of State in Washington on Jan. 21, 2015

Clashes between the Ukrainian military and pro-Moscow rebels have rapidly escalated this week

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry has condemned pro-Russian rebels battling the Ukrainian military for participating in a “landgrab” after occupying new territory in clear violation of a September peace accord.

After a brief lull in hostilities, fighting between forces loyal to Kiev and pro-Kremlin rebels spiked drastically this week along several fronts. Insurgents appear to be seizing larger swaths of land thanks to heavy weaponry and the alleged presence of Russian regular forces.

“This is a very blatant landgrab, and it is in direct contravention to the Minsk agreements which they signed up to,” Kerry told reporters in Washington on Wednesday.

The Minsk Protocol, which was signed by representatives from rebel militias along with Ukrainian and Russian officials, called for the orderly withdrawal of foreign fighters and heavy weaponry from the battlefields in southeastern Ukraine. However, the plan continues to be consistently ignored, resulting in the deaths of hundreds of combatants amid renewed fighting.

Earlier on Wednesday, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg reiterated claims that Russia continues to supply men and military hardware to insurgent militias battling the Ukrainian military.

“For several months, we have seen the presence of Russian forces in eastern Ukraine. We are also seeing a substantial increase in the number of Russian heavy equipment in eastern Ukraine,” said Stoltenberg during a meeting with Norwegian Prime Minister Erna Solberg this week. “This does not contribute to a peaceful solution of the conflict.

Following a meeting at the U.N. Security Council, U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Samantha Power lambasted the Kremlin via Twitter for their alleged role in backing the separatists and denounced Russian President Vladimir Putin for overseeing an “occupation plan” rather than backing the peace accords.

During a speech at the World Economic Forum in Davos on Wednesday, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko accused Moscow of sending an estimated 9,000 troops across the border into his nation’s conflict-riven Donbas region.

“The country is facing the aggression not only regarding Crimea, but also regarding the significant part of Donetsk and Luhansk regions. About 9,000 Russian [troops] are in the territory of Ukraine,” Poroshenko told the assembled heads of state and economists.

However, Russia continues to deny that it is providing direct support to separatist fighters and balked at Washington’s efforts to contain the country through myriad sanctions.

“Only the people of Ukraine without any foreign interference must determine their future,” Russia Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said during a press conference in Moscow on Wednesday. “For its part, Russia will continue to assist the creation of favorable conditions to settle Ukraine’s formidable problems in this spirit.”

TIME United Kingdom

British Tabloid the Sun Puts Topless Models Back on Page Three

Picture shows an arrangement of copies o
LEON NEAL—AFP/Getty Images Picture shows an arrangement of copies of The Sun newspaper front pages on February 13, 2012.

Days after many celebrated the end of the decades-old tradition

British tabloid the Sun has angered campaigners by reinstating photos of topless female models on its page three.

In its Thursday issue, the best-selling paper published a photo of a bare breasted woman and the header “Clarifications and Corrections” with the announcement, “We’ve had a mammory lapse,” the Guardian reports.

The 44-year-old tradition has long been deemed sexist and outdated by campaigners, many of whom were dismayed by the move.

Labour MP Stella Creasy offered her rather humorous opinion.

But the head of PR at the Sun blasted news outlets for jumping the gun.

[The Guardian]

TIME Germany

The Leader of Germany’s Anti-Islam Group Quits After His Hitler Photo Goes Viral

Hitler-picture of PEGIDA-head causes trouble
Marcus Brandt—EPA Front pages of German daily newspapers including Hamburger Morgenpost and Bild show pictures of the PEGIDA chief Lutz Bachmann sporting a Hitler moustache on Jan. 21 2015

Police are investigating whether to charge PEGIDA chief Lutz Bachmann

The head of Germany’s anti-immigration movement PEGIDA stepped down Wednesday after a photo showing him dressed as Adolf Hitler emerged online.

Lutz Bachmann was pictured on his Facebook page sporting a toothbrush mustache and with his dark hair combed straight into a side parting to resemble the Nazi leader, the New York Times reports.

Bachmann, 41, is also quoted as referring to immigrants as “scumbags,” “stupid cows” and “trash” on social media.

Dresden police are investigating whether there are sufficient grounds to prosecute Bachmann. (Germany has strict laws governing Nazi symbolism and paraphernalia.)

On Wednesday, supporters of PEGIDA, which stands for Patriotic Europeans Against the Islamization of the West, gathered in Leipzig for an anti-immigration rally.

[NYT]

TIME Chile

Chilean Poet Pablo Neruda Could Have Been Poisoned

Chile Pablo Neruda
Laurent Rebours—AP Pablo Neruda in 1971.

A fresh probe is to be conducted into his death in 1973

Chile announced Wednesday that the death of Nobel Laureate Pablo Neruda will be reinvestigated to ascertain if the poet was poisoned in 1973 during the first days of the South American nation’s military dictatorship.

Neruda, a staunch communist whose love poems some consider to be among the most romantic ever written, was presumed to have died of prostate cancer following a U.S.-backed coup that led to the merciless rule of dictator Augusto Pinochet. However, many suspect that he was murdered, reports Reuters.

“There is initial evidence that he was poisoned and in that sense the signs point to the intervention of specific agents … that could constitute a crime against humanity,” said Francisco Ugas, the head of Chile’s humans rights department.

Neruda was a loyal follower of ousted President Salvadore Allende, leading to suspicions he was murdered to silence a potential powerful dissenting voice against the new military dictatorship.

Neruda’s chauffeur claims Pinochet’s operatives injected the poet’s stomach with poison while he was bed-ridden by illness.

[Reuters]

TIME Crime

U.S. Lawyers Seek to Interview Prince Andrew About Sex-Crime Claims

Prince Andrew, Duke of York, visits Georg August University in Goettingen, Germany on June 3, 2014.
Swen Pförtner—AP Prince Andrew, Duke of York, visits Georg August University in Göttingen, Germany, on June 3, 2014

Lawyers move forward with legal discovery in a sex scandal that spans the Atlantic Ocean

American lawyers for a woman who claims to have been trafficked for sex with Prince Andrew, the Duke of York, have asked Queen Elizabeth’s second son to answer the charges in an interview under oath.

Lawyers Paul Cassell and Bradley Edwards, who represent a woman who alleges she was kept as an underage “sex slave” by convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein, sent the formal request on Jan. 14 through their own attorney. In it, they ask to discuss what happened “at the time … and shortly thereafter” a widely circulated photo from 2001 was taken. The photograph shows Prince Andrew with his arm wrapped around the bare midriff of Virginia Roberts, the self-described “sex slave,” who is identified in court documents as Jane Doe No. 3.

Epstein, a financier who has recently split his time between New York and Palm Beach, Fla., settled the criminal case against him in 2008 by cutting a deal with federal prosecutors. He pleaded guilty to two Florida state crimes, registered as a sex offender, served a short jail term and agreed to assist financially his alleged victims in filing civil lawsuits against him. The case has been kept alive since then through those civil cases, and through a federal lawsuit by Cassell and Edwards that alleges the prosecutors violated the victims’ rights in their handling of the case.

The newest documents, filed Wednesday in federal court in the Southern District of Florida, reveal further details about the allegations in the tangled legal case. In one new filing, Roberts says that she has not disclosed all the information that she has about sexual encounters she claims to have had with other powerful men, including politicians, because she is “very fearful of these men.” But she adds, “If a judge wants me to present my information in more detail, including more specific descriptions of the sexual activities with the men Epstein sent me to, I could do so.”

At a separate point in the document, Roberts clarifies past statements about her alleged encounters with former President Bill Clinton at a Caribbean retreat owned by Epstein. “Bill Clinton was present on the island at the time I was also present on the island, but I have never had sexual relations with Clinton, nor have I ever claimed to have had such relations,” she says in the document. “I have never seen him have sexual relations with anyone.”

Edwards, one of the attorneys for Roberts, says in another filing that he previously sought to depose Clinton about his knowledge of illegal activity by Epstein and his accomplices. “The flight logs showed Clinton traveling on Epstein’s plane on numerous occasions between 2002 and 2005,” Edwards writes.

In her own sworn statement, Roberts repeats the claim that she was forced into sexual encounters with both Prince Andrew and Harvard Law School professor Alan Dershowitz, a friend and attorney for Epstein. Buckingham Palace has denied that Prince Andrew had “any form of sexual contact or relationship” with the woman, saying in a previously released statement that her claims are “categorically untrue.” Dershowitz also denied the claims, and has filed legal actions against Cassell and Edwards for allowing the accusations to show up in legal filings, prompting Cassell and Edwards to countersue Dershowitz for defamation. A representative for Epstein has dismissed Roberts’ claims as old and discredited.

“I had sex with him three times, including one orgy,” Roberts says in the affidavit, describing her alleged encounters with Prince Andrew. “I knew he was a member of the British Royal Family, but I just called him ‘Andy.’”

In her affidavit, Roberts says, “I have seen Buckingham Palace’s recent ’emphatic’ denial that Prince Andrew had sexual contact with me. That denial is false and hurtful to me. I did have sexual contact with him as I have described here — under oath.”

She asked that the Prince “simply voluntarily tell the truth about everything” and agree to be interviewed by her lawyers under oath.

TIME Davos

Thought Leaders at Davos See Opportunities in 2015

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang attends a session of the World Economic Forum (WEF) annual meeting on Jan. 21, 2015 in Davos, Switzerland.
Farice Coffrini—AFP/Getty Images Chinese Premier Li Keqiang attends a session of the World Economic Forum (WEF) annual meeting on Jan. 21, 2015 in Davos, Switzerland.

Amid global crises thought leaders find reasons to be hopeful

A number of pressing crises loom over this year’s World Economic Forum annual meeting currently taking place in Davos—including the tumbling price of oil, an upcoming election in Greece that could deliver a blow to a still fragile European Union and the recent terrorist attacks in Paris—but the event also provides the world’s thought leaders with an opportunity to discuss reasons to be hopeful in the coming year.

That was the focus of a lunch discussion hosted by TIME on Wednesday, during which participants identified global bright spots in the fields of science and technology. The event, moderated by TIME Editor Nancy Gibbs, featured portrait photographer Platon; Reid Hoffman, founder of LinkedIn; Jennifer Doudna, professor of chemistry and of molecular and cell biology at the University of California, Berkeley; and France Cordova, Director of the National Science Foundation.

Gibbs opened the event by noting that journalists at TIME cover the challenges and crises the world faces, “but if we don’t also look at progress, at the quiet or noisy explosions of creativity, of innovation, of invention, then we’re going to miss the story.”

Cordova, an astrophysicist who was previously President of Purdue University in Indiana, spoke about the importance of the National Science Foundation’s role in funding what she called “basic” research. “All innovation is based on discovery,” she told the gathering, adding that she expected “breakthroughs to be made in our understanding of the 95% of the universe that we don’t know about.”

Hoffman’s hope for the coming year centered on the digital currency, Bitcoin, which he said could open up the advantages of banking to regions of the world that do not yet benefit from the banking system. He envisaged Bitcoin’s potential impact on the developed world also; for example, the currency might make easier all financial transactions related to driving, including paying tolls and paying for parking. “Bitcoin will either be a total failure or it’ll be a success and I think we want it to be a success,” he said.

Doudna, a celebrated biologist and biotech entrepreneur who, along with her colleagues, made major progress in something called CRISPR/Cas9—a technique for editing genes that his widely recognized as a game-changer in medicine, said that she hoped to see artists and scientists work together more, in part to help scientists explain their work better.

Platon, a British photographer who has shot numerous cover images for TIME and other magazines, told of how he met with former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden in a Moscow hotel room—where Platon shot Snowden’s portrait—and how Snowden resisted labels when Platon asked him if he was a patriot or a traitor. “Don’t get bogged down with labels. Don’t get bogged down with picking teams,” Platon said Snowden told him.

The photographer then offered his wish for the year ahead: “Perhaps what I hope will happen in this year is that people will come together, that people will be less frightened of each other. We need to celebrate the shared experience of enhancing different ideas and perhaps we might learn from someone who thinks differently.”

TIME Davos

Ukrainian President Pleads for Western Aid at Davos

The president of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko speaks with a piece of a damaged passenger bus hit by a shell that killed twelve passengers and injured 13 others at a Ukrainian military checkpoint near the town of Volnovakha, during a panel session on the first day of the 45th Annual Meeting of the World Economic Forum, WEF, in Davos, Jan. 21, 2015.
Laurent Gillieron—EPA The president of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko speaks with a piece of a damaged passenger bus hit by a shell that killed twelve passengers and injured 13 others at a Ukrainian military checkpoint near the town of Volnovakha, during a panel session on the first day of the 45th Annual Meeting of the World Economic Forum, WEF, in Davos, Jan. 21, 2015.

Poroshenko channels Charlie Hebdo in an emotional speech in Switzerland

In the middle of his speech on Wednesday at the World Economic Forum, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko left the podium, walked to the edge of the stage and took a large hunk of metal from a man in the audience. It was a shrapnel-scarred panel from a public bus, Poroshenko explained, that was hit by a rocket on Jan. 13 near the Ukrainian town of Volnovakha, killing 13 of its passengers and wounding more than a dozen others.

“For me this is a symbol, a symbol of the terrorist attack against my country, the same way it is a symbol like Charlie Hebdo,” he said, referring to the French satirical weekly whose staff were massacred inside their newsroom on Jan. 9 by Islamist terrorists. Then Poroshenko pointed to a pin on his lapel that was inscribed with the words, ‘Je suis Volnovakha.’

The link he drew between these two tragedies was not an obvious one. The journalists of Charlie Hebdo were killed in a deliberate act of religious extremism, motivated by the newspaper’s publication of cartoons lampooning the Prophet of Islam. The passengers on the bus at Volnovakha were accidental casualties in a war that has already claimed almost 5,000 lives, most of them civilians. But Poroshenko needed to make that connection, not just to strike a chord with his audience of economists, investors and officials from around the world, but to push back against what Poroshenko later called “Ukrainian fatigue.”

By that he meant the growing wariness in the West with the Ukrainian crisis, and for Poroshenko’s government, it is nearly as dangerous as Russia’s military incursions. Nine months have passed since the war in Ukraine’s eastern provinces of Donetsk and Luhansk began, and there is still no clear prospect for a resolution. Despite the terms of a peace deal signed on Sept. 5, Russia has refused to close its border with Ukraine to the flow of weapons and reinforcements for the rebel militias. Indeed, just this week, Ukraine again raised the alarm over hundreds of Russian troops coming across the border to aid the rebels in a fresh assault.

But those developments have made far fewer headlines than they would have even a few weeks ago, before the world’s attention turned to the more shocking and immediate news from Paris and the threat from terrorism emanating from the Middle East. Already, it seems, Ukrainian fatigue is setting in and forcing Poroshenko to curb some of his hopes for Western support.

During his speech at the Davos forum, the President said that Ukraine is no longer asking for weapons supplies and other “lethal aid” from the West to help fight the conflict, even though that was one of Poroshenko’s key requests when he visited Washington in September to meet with President Barack Obama and other top U.S. officials.

His expectations for financial aid, however, seemed undimished in Davos. “We need a financial pillow [that] can support us during the reforms,” he said in his speech. On top of the $17 billion bailout that Ukraine secured in April from the International Monetary Fund, Poroshenko’s government needs about $15 billion more to plug a gap in its finances that could lead to bankruptcy if it continues to grow. A mission from the IMF has been in Kiev since Jan. 8, to review the possibility of providing that support, and in Davos on Wednesday, IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde said she would back a bigger funding program for Ukraine, though she did not provide any specific figures.

For Poroshenko, securing that aid will not just mean carrying out the steep budget cuts and other financial reforms that have come as a condition of IMF loans. He will also need to keep sympathy for Ukraine from fading in the minds of his Western counterparts and the taxpayers they represent. His rhetoric in Davos seemed geared to that purpose.

“We are fighting for European security. We are fighting for European values,” he said in his speech. “Somebody said that this is very expensive to fight for peace… They measured expenses by price and said that it is very expensive. We and all the civilized world are fighting for values,” he concluded. But now, as the war in Ukraine drags on, it will be up to Western lenders to judge how much support those values will be worth.

TIME Know Right Now

Know Right Now: AK-47 Rifles to Be Manufactured in the U.S.

These Russian rifles are about to get a little more American

The official United States distributor of Kalashnikov AK-47 rifles has announced it will be producing them domestically after sanctions on Russia prevented them from being imported.

Watch today’s Know Right Now to find out more about these (soon-to-be) American-born rifles.

TIME Toys

These Are the Toys Kids Will Be Screaming for in 2015

Lego Frozen toy castle

This year's new films will provide most of the fodder for Santa Claus in December

As anyone who has ever handed over a credit card at Hamleys or FAO Schwarz already knows, toys aren’t just fun and games — they’re big business. Which is why the 260 exhibitors at the London Toy Fair, which runs from Jan. 20 to Jan. 22, are keen to promote the Next Big Thing in the toy world. The Toy Fair is now in its 62nd year, and each year it showcases thousands of new toys, which will also be available in the U.S. and around the world, to retailers looking to stock their shelves. And for a hint of what’s to come, take a look at the box office.

Just a few steps into the exhibition, visitors quickly see that the toy industry expects Minions will be everywhere in 2015. Everywhere one turned, Minion-related toys and products appeared. The small, yellow creatures from the Despicable Me franchise are getting their own film this summer and toy companies are clearly banking on the characters being fresh on kids’ minds — and wishlists.

Rory Partis, a senior account manager for NPD Group, which does market analysis for the toy industry, says that “the toy market can be very unpredictable,” and pre-judging which products will be best-sellers can be tricky. Yet looking at past trends can some clue as to what kids are after — and which toys will fall in line with those desires.

MORE The All-TIME 100 Greatest Toys

In 2014, toy sales in the U.K. saw a 4.4 percent increase from the previous year, with around £3 billion ($4.5 billion USD) spent on some 416 million toy products. Based on sales figures from last year, the Minions-push makes sense: according to research from NPD, 28 percent of 2014’s sales were toys that were licensed from a franchise.

And Minions-themed products weren’t the only toys with a film tie-in on show. The fair also displays the winners of the annual Best New Toy Awards, in which a panel of independent toy retailers appraises the crop of new toys, predicting which products are most likely to be best-sellers. The winners, which fair coordinator Majen Immink, describes as the “hot launches” for 2015, included movie-themed toys such as Lego’s Minecraft: The Dungeon set, Hasbro’s Jurassic World Growlers collection and Hornby Hobbies’ Corgi James Bond Aston Martin DB5 model.

A representative from toy giant Lego also told TIME that the company is also expecting big things from its Ninjago sets, which are tied to the cartoon series Ninjago: Masters of Spinjitzu. The fourth season of the cartoon will launch this year and a film, from the co-writers of The Lego Movie, is in the works for 2016.

HasbroNerf N-Strike Modulus ECS-10 Blaster

Hasbro’s new products for 2015 include licensed toys from the Marvel’s Avengers and the Transformers franchises. The company will be releasing Optimus Prime Mega Step, a toy car that transforms into the beloved character. Then there are the Iron Man Arc FX Gloves, a pair of wearable gloves with motion-activated technology. Non-film related toys that Hasbro thinks will be hits this year include the Nerf N-Strike Modulus ECS-10 Blaster, which kids can customize with additional kits, and the Furreal Friend’s JJ My Jumping Pug, a Big Eyes-esque toy dog that can jump on its hind legs. The latter also bagged a spot on the fair’s Best New Toys list.

HasbroIron Man Arc FX Gloves

Noticeably absent from the fair were toys tied to an upcoming film which targets girls specifically. The big films represented in the displays were, again, Minions, but also Big Hero 6 and Age of Ultron, while representatives were quick to note their upcoming Star Wars: The Force Awakens and Jurassic World-themed products. Of course, girls can and do enjoy action and adventure films — and their affiliated toys — but products tied to franchises with inspiring leading ladies didn’t appear to be plentiful.

So it wasn’t all that surprising to see a smorgasboard of Frozen-themed toys on display at the fair. Everything from Frozen jewelry, hair accessories, hula hoops, backpacks, plush toys, stationary and figurines were showcased, despite the fact that the film was released in 2013. NPD’s Partis tells TIME that “Frozen has slightly bucked the trend of a [traditional] movie license,” which sees strong sales when the movie is released and another bump when the DVD is released. Yet Frozen drove a significant portion of sales last year, as the number one license for 2014. In the U.S. alone, NPD estimates that Frozen led to $531 million in toy sales.

Toy industry insiders are clearly expecting the trend to continue. Lego’s new Disney Princess Elsa’s Sparkling Ice Castle was chosen as one of the fair’s Best New Toys and Lego spokeswoman Corinna Henson predicts it will be popular “without a shadow of doubt.” Yet even when the Frozen mania does eventually subside, there will be plenty of more kids movies and franchises to license out.

Read next: See How One Artist Dramatically Changes Bratz Dolls to Look Like Real Girls

Listen to the most important stories of the day.

TIME Japan

Japanese War Reporter Was Abducted by ISIS After Trying to Save His Friend

Before the reporter set off on his rescue mission, he said: "Whatever happens, this is my responsibility"

When an online video surfaced Tuesday showing the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) threatening to kill two Japanese hostages, relatively little was known about the relationship between the two prisoners. But Reuters revealed Wednesday that war correspondent Kenji Goto had in fact returned to Syria in late October to rescue his friend Haruna Yukawa, who was captured by ISIS a few months earlier.

Yukawa reportedly went to Syria as part of an attempt to get his life back on track after dealing with bankruptcy, the loss of his wife to cancer, and an attempted suicide. Goto, 47, a respected Japanese freelance journalist, went to Syria to cover the civil war.

After the pair first met in April, Yukawa asked Goto, who had years of experience of war zones, to take him to Iraq. Yukawa returned to Syria in July, while Goto went back to Japan. But when Yukawa was captured in August outside Aleppo, Goto was troubled by his disappearance and decided to go back in October to try and help.

Friends say Goto traveled from Tokyo to Istanbul and that he sent a message on Oct. 25 to say he had safely crossed the border. In a short clip recorded before he set out for the ISIS-held city of Raqqa, he told the camera: “Whatever happens, this is my responsibility.” That was the last he was heard of until this week’s ISIS video.

[Reuters]

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