TIME France

French Comedian Held on Suspicion of Sympathy for Gunman Who Killed 5

File photo of French comedian Dieudonne attends a news conference at the "Theatre de la Main d'or" in Paris
Gonzalo Fuentes—Reuters Dieudonne M'Bala M'Bala during a press conference in Paris in 2014.

Dieudonné M'bala M'bala was arrested for "defending terrorism"

French police on Wednesday arrested the country’s most incendiary comedian, Dieudonné M’bala M’bala, for having posted a message on Facebook last week which appeared to show sympathy for the man who killed four Jews in a kosher supermarket in Paris last week.

“Tonight, as far as I’m concerned, I feel like Charlie Coulibaly,” wrote Dieudonné in a reference to the gunman Amedy Coulibaly who also fatally shot a policewoman last Thursday.

MORE Dieudonné M’bala M’bala has become a star by targeting France’s Jews

The arrest of the comedian was “totally exaggerated and disportionate” according to his lawyer Jacques Verdier. He told TIME on Wednesday that his client remained in custody nine hours after his arrest. Verdier said he thought the government had “lost its composure.”

The arrest is already being seen as a sign of double standards in France, coming three days after President François Hollande attended a march through the streets of Paris to proclaim freedom of speech. The paroxysm of violence in Paris began on January 7, when Said and Cherif Kouachi massacred eight journalists at the satirical paper Charlie Hebdo and four others. The Yemen-based Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula claimed on Wednesday it had planned and ordered the attack on the publication.

On Wednesday, Dieudonné was being investigated for “defending terrorism.” His arrest came a day after Prime Minister Manuel Valls — who last year ordered theaters to cancel Dieudonné’s show — made an impassioned speech to parliament about “these preachers of hatred,” without mentioning the comedian by name. The comedian’s in-your-face act, with its jokes about the Holocaust, has made Dieudonné a household name in France, and tickets to his shows sell out weeks in advance. In a long interview with TIME last year, Dieudonné said, “there is some paranoia among Jews. If I have deeply hurt anyone, I apologize.”

Dieudonné, who comes from a Cameroonian immigrant family, has built his fame around the ability to push buttons and cause offence. That, says, Verdier, is similar to Charlie Hebdo, whose humor regularly insults people. “Dieudonné is also controversial, he is also against religion,” he says. The comedian has irked the government for years, and instilled deep anxieties in French Jews, who see his brand of humor as giving voice to rising anti-Semitism in the country.

While the Charlie Hebdo attack brought huge global sympathy, it has also provoked a strong debate in France about the limits of free speech, something that does not have blanket legal protection as it does in the U.S.. Judges can deem remarks, for example, to further terrorism or racial violence, and denying the Holocaust is banned under law. French officials have ordered 54 investigations into hate speech since the Charlie Hebdo attack.

Read next: Charlie Hebdo Attack Highlights the Challenge of the U.S.-Yemen Relationship


Here Are The Most Surprising Gifts the British Royal Family Received Last Year

Duke And Duchess Of Cambridge And Prince Harry Visit Tower Of London's Ceramic Poppy Field
Samir Hussein—WireImage From Left: Prince Harry, Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge and Prince William, Duke of Cambridge visit The Tower Of London's Ceramic Poppy installation 'Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red' by artist Paul Cummins, commemorating the 100th anniversary of the outbreak of First World War on Aug. 5, 2014 in London.

Buckingham Palace has revealed all the official gifts given to to royal family in 2014

Over the course of a year, Britain’s royal family are presented with hundreds of gifts as they go about their official duties. On Wednesday Buckingham Palace and Clarence House released lists of the official gifts the royal family received in 2014. Among the expected assortment of commemorative coins, bottles of wine or whisky, plaques, framed paintings, jewels and cultural tokens, are a few surprises.

The most surprising gifts included:

  • a miniature throne from the Game of Thrones series (given to Queen Elizabeth)
  • a PhD thesis (given to Prince Charles and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall)
  • an automatic rifle, decommissioned (given to — who else? — Prince Harry)
  • 12 boxes of mangos (given to Prince Andrew)
  • an Arctic Monkey’s CD (given to Prince Andrew)
  • Hillary Clinton’s Hard Choices (given to Prince Andrew)

The names of most gift givers is not noted so there is no way of knowing if Hillary Clinton gave her own book to Prince Andrew.

Though Prince William and wife Kate received numerous gifts, as well as many gifts for Prince George, nothing unusual stands out in their the official gift listing. Then again, the royal couple gave the vaguest descriptions of their gifts — jotting down “book” or “selection of condiments” — so perhaps there were some surprises in the mix as well.

Last year’s collection of gifts aren’t among the most unusual the royal family, namely Queen Elizabeth, has ever received. The most bizarre gifts the Queen has been given over the years include live animals; several horses, a canary from Germany, jaguars and sloths from Brazil, two black beavers from Canada, two young giant turtles from the Seychelles and an elephant called Jumbo from the Cameroon. (The more exotic animals are cared for by the London Zoo.)

TIME Sri Lanka

Pope Francis Seeks ‘Reconciliation’ in Sri Lanka

Pope Francis holds his weekly audience in St. Peter's Square on Oct. 15, 2014 in Vatican City.
Franco Origlia—Getty Images Pope Francis holds his weekly audience in St. Peter's Square on Oct. 15, 2014 in Vatican City.

The first papal visit to the country since the end of a bloody civil war

Pope Francis traveled to a former conflict zone in northwest Sri Lanka on Wednesday, calling for “reconciliation, justice and peace” during a prayer at a Catholic shrine damaged during the bloody civil war that convulsed the island nation for nearly three decades.

For years, the shrine of Our Lady of Madhu—located deep in the Tamil-dominated north that saw some of the fiercest fighting during the conflict between the country’s predominately Sinhalese government and Tamil separatists—was off limits for most believers. In April 2008, about a year before the end of the war, priests briefly removed the Madhu Matha—a 2-ft. icon of the Virgin Mary that forms the centerpiece of the shrine—for safekeeping as government forces pushed up north.

“There are families here today which suffered greatly in the long conflict which tore open the heart of Sri Lanka,” Pope Francis said, as a giant crowd reported to be half-a-million strong gathered to witness his arrival at the shrine. “Many people, from north and south alike, were killed in the terrible violence and bloodshed of those years.”

MORE 5 things to know about Pope Francis’ Sri Lanka visit

Among those listening him to were about 1,000 men and women disabled during the civil war, which claimed an estimated 70,000 lives. “This is a special occasion for them, they want to hear the Holy Father speak of the suffering here, so that the world’s eyes will open [to the] people still suffering here,” said Ramsiyah Pachchanlam, who works with a local organization that helps men and women wounded and disabled in the conflict.

The Pope’s arrival in Sri Lanka on Tuesday, days after the unexpected ouster of wartime leader Mahinda Rajapaksa in Presidential elections earlier this month, marked the first papal visit to the country since the end of the war. Rajapaksa’s successor, Maithripala Sirisena, has pledged to hold an independent domestic inquiry into wartime rights abuses, a contentious topic for many among the country’s majority Sinhalese and minority Tamil communities. Both government forces and Tamil separatists stand accused of serious human rights violations during the war.

“No Sri Lankan can forget the tragic events associated with this very place, or the sad day when the venerable statue of Mary, dating to the arrival of the earliest Christians in Sri Lanka, was taken away from her shrine,” the Pope said at the shrine.

“May all people find here inspiration and strength to build a future of reconciliation, justice and peace for all the children of this beloved land,” he added.

Additional reporting by Amantha Perera / Madhu, Sri Lanka

TIME Italy

Italian President Steps Down, Citing Age and ‘Fatigue’

Resignation of Italian President Giorgio Napolitano
Evren Atalay—Anadolu Agency/Getty Images Italy's President Giorgio Napolitano greets people as he leaves the Quirinal Presidential Palace in Rome, Italy on January 14, 2015.

The resignation of a seasoned ally poses a test for Italy's youngest ever prime minister, Matteo Renzi

Italy’s 89-year-old president, citing age and “signs of fatigue,” tendered his resignation on Wednesday, leaving the current Prime Minister short of one key ally in an ambitious plan to push legislative reforms through the country’s fractious parliament.

President Giorgio Napolitano cut short his second term in office after acknowledging his fading energy in an end-of-the-year address to the nation, the Wall Street Journal reports. His resignation comes as Italy’s youngest ever Prime Minister, Matteo Renzi, prepared a raft of bold economic reforms aimed at lifting the nation’s economy out of a series of painful contractions.

Napolitano had gained a reputation as a seasoned politician who could corral Italy’s divided parliamentarians into voting blocs. His resignation itself is expected to open up a contentious parliamentary vote over a successor.

TIME India

Indian Police Dredge 100 Bodies From River Ganges

Sanjay Kanojia—AFP/Getty Images Indian Hindu devotees take a holy dip for the Makar Sankranti festival at the confluence of the rivers Ganges, Yamuna and Saraswati, in Allahabad on January 14, 2015.

Receding waters have likely exposed evidence of ritual burials in the revered river

At least 100 bodies have been retrieved from an offshoot of the river Ganges in northern India, police said on Wednesday, months after government officials vowed to clean up the revered but heavily polluted waterway.

Officials in the northeastern state of Uttar Pradesh said receding waters exposed a large number of bodies along the banks of the river, which has traditionally been used as a burial site for cremated bodies, the Wall Street Journal reports. Some families, unable to afford cremation, have been known to release bodies whole into the water.

The investigation comes several months after Prime Minister Narendra Modi pledged to clean the river system of pollutants and replenish water levels held back by newly constructed dams.

Read more at the Wall Street Journal.

TIME France

New Charlie Hebdo Mocks, Commemorates and Sells Out

People wait outside a newsagents in Paris on Jan. 14, 2015 as the latest edition of French satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo goes on sale.
Martin Bureau—AFP/Getty Images People wait outside a newsagents in Paris on Jan. 14, 2015 as the latest edition of French satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo goes on sale.

Crowds queue in the darkness as newspaper prints 5 million copies

They are still deeply shaken and raw with grief. Their friends and colleagues are dead, and their offices are a blood-spattered crime scene with shattered windows. But on Wednesday, the journalists who survived last week’s Charlie Hebdo massacre pulled off what most print publications can only dream of: A runway hit issue that was sold out in hours and is expected to sell millions.

Exactly a week after gunmen stormed the offices of the satirical weekly, killing eight journalists and four others, people lined up for hours outside newsstands across France in the pre-dawn darkness, waiting to buy what is sure to be a collector’s item.

“I woke up at three o’clock this morning,” one young man told a French television channel outside a newsstand, a copy finally in his hands. “I’m happy, but at the same time I am really sad.” After distributors reported mid-morning that all French outlets had sold out, the editors opted to print an additional two million copies, bringing the total print run to five million. Until last week’s terror attacks, Charlie Hebdo distributed around 60,000 copies a week.

On eBay, copies of the newspaper were on sale for as much as $560.

The issue hit newsstands just as the Yemen-based al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula released a YouTube video claiming responsibility for the Charlie Hebdo attack and saying it was “as vengeance for the Messenger of God,” apparently refering to cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad, which Charlie Hebdo has published in the past.

But if surviving journalists are cowed by the threats, their new issue on Wednesday did not show it. On the cover is the Prophet Muhammad with a tear rolling down his left cheek, holding a “Je Suis Charlie” sign under the words: “All is Forgiven.” The editors explained that the cover line was an expression of forgiveness from the paper’s staff toward their attackers. Editor-in-chief Gérard Biard made their intent clear on a French radio program saying: It is we who forgive, not Muhammad,” referring to the speculation by some that the cover was a message about the paper being forgiven for publishing an image of the Prophet, an act that many Islamic leaders deem sacrilegious. In an interview with The Guardian, Charlie columnist Zineb El Rhazoui elaborated on the mood inside the publication: We feel that we have to forgive what happened. I think those who have been killed, if they would have been able to have a coffee today with the terrorists and just talk to ask them why have they done this …”

But it became clear early Wednesday morning that the issue was not being received well by Islamic groups. The Islamic website Tabnak wrote that “Charlie Hebdo has once again insulted the Prophet,” according to the French news agency AFP, and Egypt’s Islamic organization Dar al-Ifa called the new cartoon “unjustifiably provocative,” and warned that it would spark “a new wave of anger.”

In a highly emotional press conference on Tuesday, the cartoonist Renald Luzier, known as Luz, 43, told reporters he had struggled through his trauma to create a cover drawing worthy of his dead colleagues; by chance, he had missed last Wednesday’s attack, having slept in late on his birthday. At times breaking down in tears, he said, “I wrote ‘all is forgiven’ and then I cried. We had our cover. We finally had our damn cover.”

Still, this week’s Charlie Hebdo, produced from a makeshift office within the Liberation newspaper, has little of the raw lampooning for which the satirical publication is famous. Instead, the 16-page issue seems like a tragic homage to slain friends, many of whose irreverant drawings are inside. There is also much commentary about the charged events of recent days, and even a touch of humor. The paper’s editor-in-chief Gerard Biard writes in an editorial about their own response to the huge outpouring of sympathy across the world. “What made us laugh the most is that the bells of Notre-Dame [Paris’s cathedral] rang in our honor,” he writes, a reference to the paper’s strong attacks on religion, including Catholicism. More seriously, he pleads for the French to fight against discrimination against Muslims. “The social situation of people of Muslim origin in France is profoundly unjust,” he writes.

Some of the cartoons in this week’s issue now seem tragically on point, given last week’s attacks. One reprinted cartoon, by the artist Jean Cabut, who was killed in last week’s attack, takes a dig at the French government’s inability to monitor terrorists within the country — a criticism that is being loudly voiced in regard to the three men who terrorized Paris last week. The drawing shows a government unemployment office with armed men looking for work, their Kalashnikovs over their shoulders, while the woman at the desk asks if they would like jobs as security guards at a supermarket.

The back page is a collection of cartoons from those who’ve survived, showing impressive humor under grim circumstances. One cartoon is titled “new friends,” and shows an imam and the Pope flanked by a priest from the Orthodox church and a Jewish man in a skullcap. And then there is a Grim Reaper himself, laughing over an issue of Charlie Hebdo and saying, “I’m subscribing.”

The two-page center spread is a cartoon account of Sunday’s march, when more than a million people were on Paris’s streets. And one cartoon covers Boko Haram’s massacre this month in northern Nigeria, which killed up to 2,000 people, with one gunman saying to another, “2,000 subscribers Charlie won’t have.”

Despite having barely recovered from their traumatic ordeal last week, there was serious reporting too, including by Charlie Hebdo‘s investigative reporter Laurent Leger, who examined how French officials had failed to stop attacks by three known jihadists, in part, he reports, because different branches of French intelligence worked separately.

With their colleagues not yet buried, Charlie Hebdo‘s survivors are now left to face possible new wrath for this week’s cover — before again wondering how to survive as a tiny satirical weekly, with its staff gutted. “There will be a future,” Biard told reporters on Tuesday. “We do not know what it will be.”

Read next: Yemen’s al-Qaeda Claim Responsibility for Charlie Hebdo Attack

Listen to the most important stories of the day.


Prince William, Kate and Prince Harry Now Have Their Own Twitter Account

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, and Prince Harry are embracing social media

The royals have arrived — on Twitter that is.

The Twitter account @KensingtonRoyal was launched on Wednesday, describing itself in its Twitter bio as an account for “Updates, pictures and videos from Kensington Palace, about The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, Prince Harry and their Royal Foundation.”

The account isn’t the first royal one out there. The account @BritishMonarchy has been around since 2009 and it sends out news and updates from Buckingham Palace on much of the royal family. The account @ClarenceHouse appeared in 2010 and sends out news on Charles, Prince of Wales and Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall. Those accounts are verified — unlike the new one for Wills, Kate and Harry — and wasted no time in welcoming the young royal account to Twitter.

Unfortunately for rabid fans of the royals, the account won’t likely be run by either of the princes or Kate so don’t expect anything too revealing. Of course, there may be the rare occassion when one of the royals actually types out a tweet themselves.


Majority of British Jews Polled Feel They Have No Long-Term Future in Europe

Jewish men talk in Golders Green, London, Jan. 10, 2015.
Paul Hackett—Reuters Jewish men talk in Golders Green, London, Jan. 10, 2015.

A poll has found that more than half of British Jews feel anti-Semitism is on the rise

A survey of Jewish people in the U.K. has found that a quarter have considered leaving the country within the last two years and more than half feel they have no long-term future in Europe.

The poll, which was carried out by YouGov for the Campaign Against Antisemitism (CAA), asked 2,230 British Jewish people their thoughts on the country’s attitudes toward Jewish people. More than half of the Jewish Brits polled said they felt that “anti-Semitism now echoes the 1930s” and “that they have witnessed more anti-Semitism in the past two years than they have witnessed ever before.”

The poll also asked 3,411 British adults whether or not they agreed with certain antisemitic stereotypes — such as “Jews chase money more than other British people” — and found that such beliefs are widely prevalent with 45 percent of Britons polled agreeing with at least one anti-Semitic sentiment.(A quarter of those polled agreed with the statement about money.)

Gideon Falter, the chairman of the CAA, said in a foreword to the report, “Britain is at a tipping point: unless anti-Semitism is met with zero tolerance, it will continue to grow and British Jews may increasingly question their place in their own country.”


A Dad Sent His Son to Daycare With Drugs Instead of Lunch

Lee Webb, 23, of Burrow Road, Folkestone, kent, U.K.
Kent Police Lee Webb, 23, of Burrow Road, Folkestone, Kent, U.K.

Now he's been jailed for four years

A British dad who mistakenly sent his three-year-old son to daycare with a tupperware container of drugs and knives worth $18,000 instead of a packed lunch has received a four-year prison sentence.

Lee Webb, 23, of Folkestone in Kent, meant to drop the toddler off at daycare with food, but instead handed him over with a bag containing a lunchbox full of mephedrone and cocaine along with weighing scales, assorted drugs paraphernalia and two knives.

Upon realizing his blunder, Webb returned to retrieve the bag and container, but staff refused to return it and instead telephoned the police. When officers arrived, they noticed he had scrawled the telephone number of a lawyer on his hand.

Webb pleaded guilty on Jan. 6 to two counts of possession of controlled substances with intent to supply.

Speaking after sentencing, Detective Constable Kay Brown said, “Stupidity does not even come close to describing the actions of this man. The consequences of his irresponsible, not to mention illegal actions, could have been severe. As a father his role is to protect and nurture, however he put his own child at serious risk of harm.”

TIME Economics

The World Bank Reduces Global Growth Forecasts for 2015 and 2016

Getty Images

The bank’s chief economist says the U.S. is unable to drive global recovery alone

The World Bank adjusted previous forecasts for economic growth globally in a bi-annual report published this week, saying tougher times likely lie ahead.

The institution now believes the international economy will expand by just 3 percent this year and 3.3 percent in 2016, after predicting in June that growth would hover around 3.4 percent and 3.5 percent, respectively.

While the U.S. economy appears to performing strongly, the bank’s chief economist Kaushik Basu warned that this alone would not be enough to float markets around the globe.

“The global economy is running on a single engine,” Basu told reporters. “This does not make for a rosy outlook.”

See the report highlights here.

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