From escalating violence in eastern Ukraine and a thousands strong march in honor of Martin Luther King Jr. in Selma, Ala. to priests photographing Pope Francis in the Philippines and a surprising, glowing seascape in Hong Kong, TIME presents the best pictures of the week.
While mourning will last for three days during which kingdom's flags will fly at half staff, businesses and shops will remain open
RIYADH, Saudi Arabia — There will be no golden carriages.
The funeral of Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah, whose death was announced early on Friday, is set to be a simple affair in line with the austere form of Islam practiced by one of the world’s wealthiest ruling families.
The body of the former custodian of Islam’s two holiest cities, Mecca and Medina, will be bathed according to Islamic ritual. The late ruler, whose net worth has been estimated to stand at around $20 billion, will then be wrapped in two pieces of plain white cloth — the standard shroud for all Muslims.
According to tradition, nothing out of the ordinary will be done to King Abdullah’s body, and after it is prepared it will be taken to the Imam Turki Bin Abdullah Grand Mosque in the capital Riyadh for the funeral prayers at around 3:15 p.m. (7:15 a.m. ET).
Zanny Minton Beddoes is the first woman to helm the news magazine in its 172-year history
The Economist magazine has promoted its business affairs editor Zanny Minton Beddoes to the publication’s top spot, marking the first time a woman has been in the role.
Beddoes joined the Economist in 1994 after working as an economist at the International Monetary Fund, and was based in Washington, D.C., for much of her time with the magazine. She moved to London last year. The promotion will see her taking over for John Micklethwait, who was the editor of the magazine for nine years and who is leaving at the end of January to become editor-in-chief of Bloomberg News.
The Financial Times reports that 13 candidates applied for the position, including two outsiders. Rupert Pennant-Rea, chairman of the Economist Group, told the Guardian, “[Beddoes] will be a true advocate for the Economist and its values.”
The "Harry Potter" star was in Switzerland to unveil a new UN project aimed at improving gender equality
Harry Potter star and UN Women Global Goodwill Ambassador Emma Watson was on hand at the World Economic Forum in Davos on Friday, where UN Women — the United Nations entity dedicated to gender equality and women’s empowerment — unveiled the HeForShe IMPACT 10X10X10 pilot initiative.
The new initiative was announced at a press conference attended by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, several world leaders and Watson. They outlined the HeForShe IMPACT 10X10X10 program, which will be a one-year pilot project geared toward advancing women by working with governments, companies and universities in order to promote change within their respective communities.
“The groundswell of response we have received in support for HeForShe tells us we are tapping into what the world wants: to be a part of change,” Watson said at the press conference. “Now we have to channel that energy into purposeful action. The pilot initiative provides that framework. Next we need all country leadership, as well as that of hundreds of universities and corporations to follow HeForShe’s IMPACT 10x10x10 so as to bring an end to the persisting inequalities faced by women and girls globally.”
Watson first became involved with UN Women last summer and in the fall of 2014 announced the HeForShe campaign in a moving speech that received world-wide attention.
The ride-sharing app has courted controversy around the globe
A spokesman for Uber said the ride-sharing service has applied for a radio taxi license, the lack of which was cited by the city’s authorities as one of the causes for the ban, Reuters reports.
The company will also implement other measures to improve passenger safety, including more stringent driver verification, a dedicated incident response team and an in-app emergency button.
But the World Health Organization says vigilance is imperative to prevent reinfection in seemingly eradicated areas
The fight against Ebola has reached a “turning point,” according to the World Health Organization (WHO), as the three West African countries hit hardest by the deadly virus — Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone — see a precipitous drop in the number of new cases.
Liberia, which reported almost 9,000 cases since the deadly outbreak began in 2013, only detected eight new cases last week, reports the BBC. On some days, no new cases materialize at all, a heartening sign in a country where doctors once saw 509 new cases weekly at their peak.
“I would have identified the turning point as the beginning of the decline, first in Liberia and then later in Sierra Leone and Guinea,” Dr. Christopher Dye, the director of Ebola strategy for the WHO director general, told the BBC. “The incidence is pretty clearly going down in all three countries now.”
In Sierra Leona, where the health crisis once saw 748 cases flooding into hospitals each week, numbers are also stabilizing. The story is similar in Guinea, where the Ebola crisis reached a crescendo at 292 cases per week late last year.
Worldwide, Ebola has killed nearly 8,700 people and infected over 20,000 in one of the largest public health emergencies in recent memory.
Still, health officials at the WHO are exercising caution and warning that Ebola can reappear if risks are not properly mitigated. “Contact tracing,” or detecting everyone who ever came into contact with an Ebola-afflicted patient, is crucial to thwart future infection. Even one case cropping up can re-infect seemingly eradicated areas.
Three major cities will begin offering the newspaper starting Friday
Thousands of copies of Charlie Hebdo will go on sale in the United States beginning Friday, more than two weeks after the deadly terrorist attack on the satirical newspaper’s Paris office.
LMPI, a distributor of foreign magazines and newspapers in the U.S. and Canada, told TIME that 20,000 copies will be offered.
“New copies will be available in New York City, San Francisco and Los Angeles,” Martin McEwen, the company’s executive vice president of press distribution, said in a statement. “Chicago should receive copies early next week,” he added, and copies will also become available in other markets.
The new batch follows an initial and very light shipment of 300 copies that made it to New York, San Francisco and several specialized libraries.
Demand for the newspaper, which previously had a circulation of 60,000, has been unprecedented in the wake of the Jan. 7 attack, when two gunmen stormed the weekly’s Paris office and killed 12 people. Eight journalists were among the victims, including editor-in-chief Stéphane Charbonnier.
The issue released on Jan. 14, constructed by surviving staffers at a workspace offered by left-wing daily Libération, is fronted by a provocative cover drawn by Charlie Hebdo cartoonist Rénald Luzier, known as Luz. It features a depiction of the Prophet Muhammad holding a sign that reads “Je Suis Charlie,” a nod to the “I am Charlie” rallying cry in the aftermath of the attack, under the phrase Tout set Pardonné, or “All is forgiven.”
Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula claimed responsibility for the attack as the issue first hit newsstands, saying it was “vengeance for the Messenger of God,” in apparent retaliation for Charlie Hebdo‘s past mocking of the Prophet and Islam. Protests over the new cover have popped up in parts of the Middle East, Africa and Asia.
U.S. officials say that the embassy won’t be closing
The U.S. has decided to reduce its embassy staff in Yemen following the collapse of the nation’s government at the hands of rebel Houthi fighters.
“The safety and security of U.S. personnel is our top priority in Yemen,” White House spokesperson Jen Psaki said in a statement. “We are evaluating the security situation on the ground on an ongoing basis. We call on all parties to abide by their public commitments to ensure the security of the diplomatic community, including our personnel.”
The move comes four months after U.S. President Barack Obama lauded Yemen as a model for “successful” counterterrorism partnerships.
The reduction of embassy staff, mainly in response to the security situation, comes at a time when Washington is trying to secure partnerships in the war against the Islamic State of Iraq and Greater Syria while trying to limit Iran’s influence in the region, according to Reuters.
The situation is alarming neighboring Saudi Arabia, which sees Tehran’s military and financial support for the Shi‘ite Houthis as a sign of their growing regional clout.
Former Yemeni President Abdel Rabbo Mansour Hadi, who resigned Thursday along with a slew of government officials, was seen as a key ally in the war against jihadist groups like al-Qaeda. However, the Houthis, who now control the capital, are said to loathe al-Qaeda as much as they do the U.S., reports Reuters.
Hadi’s resignation will “absolutely” limit drone strikes and counterterrorism operations in the immediate future, a former U.S. official told the news agency.
The country’s first female Prime Minister is also facing criminal charges after being banned from Thai politics for five years
Thailand’s military-stacked legislature voted en masse on Friday to impeach former Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra, who was deposed through a court ruling days before the kingdom’s armed forces launched a full-scale putsch on May 22.
The junta-backed National Legislative Assembly voted by a margin of 190 to 18, with 11 absentions, to impeach Thailand’s first female Premier over a controversial rice-pledging scheme her administration passed after her landslide victory at the polls in 2011.
However, the ill-fated plan, which paid farmers above market prices for their crop regardless of quality, backfired and blew a $15 billion hole in the Thai economy.
On Thursday, Yingluck derided her impending impeachment and accompanying five-year banishment from the kingdom’s political landscape as a violation of her “basic rights,” during an address to the country’s Parliament.
The 47-year-old has kept a low profile since General Prayuth Chan-ocha seized power and launched an unprecedented campaign to bridle dissent and quell a half-year of polarizing, and often deadly, street demonstrations.
Following Friday’s vote, analysts say the political persecution of Yingluck and her supporters will likely calcify the ever widening divide in the country between the rural and working-class masses, who largely back the populist Shinawatra political machine, and the royalist establishment based in Bangkok.
“They are trying to ban these people from politics for as long as they can so that there’s basically no opposition to whatever the military junta and its allies are going to do politically for the foreseeable future,” Saksith Saiyasombut, a Thai political analyst and popular blogger, tells TIME.
Yingluck also faces a maximum of 10 years in prison after the country’s attorney general pledged Friday to indict her for negligence and abuse of power over the same botched rice scheme.
The impeachment and imminent criminal prosecution of Yingluck now runs the risk of enraging the Shinawatra clan’s partisan supporters, better known as the Red Shirts, who have remained largely dormant in the wake of the coup and its accompanying crackdown.
“This will only exacerbate the political schism we have right now,” says Saksith.
Thailand has been bogged down in unceasing episodes of political discord since Yingluck’s brother, Thaksin Shinawatra, was first removed from power during a bloodless coup almost a decade ago. Political parties deemed loyal to Thaksin have been deposed through two putsches and three controversial court decisions since 2001, despite being undefeated at the polls.
“Today Yingluck joins her brother as another ‘undying political martyr,'” says Verapat Pariyawong, a Thai legal expert and visiting scholar at the University of London, by email. “While the Shinawatra camp may face some difficulties in the coming years, it has now become even more difficult for millions of Thai people to move beyond them.”
Meeting planned long before the recent attacks in Paris
The U.N. General Assembly gathered Thursday for its first ever meeting dedicated to global action against anti-Semitism.
The informal meeting, attended by approximately half the bloc’s 193 member states, was organized by mainly Western nations in order to address an “alarming outbreak of anti-Semitism worldwide.”
Planning began last October in response to the murder of three people outside the Jewish Museum in Brussels, Belgium, and the killing of a rabbi and three children in Toulouse, France, the Associated Press reports.
The U.N.’s 57 Islamic nations unanimously condemned all words and acts that encourage “hatred, anti-Semitism [and] Islamophobia.” The statement, given by the Saudi ambassador, Abdallah Al-Moualimi, was “extremely significant,” said U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Samantha Power.
Al-Moualimi stressed the importance of dialogue in efforts to combat Islamophobia and anti-Semitism and denounced “any discrimination based on belief and religious practices.”
Israel’s Ambassador to the U.N. Ron Prosor said that the Holocaust had elicited pledges that anti-Semitism had no place in the modern world. Yet, he lamented, “Here we are again.”