TIME World Cup

The 17 Most Beautiful Places to Visit in Brazil

As the host country of the 2014 FIFA World Cup, Brazil will be one of this summer’s most popular destinations. From June 12 to July 13—the tournament dates—Brazil expects to host about 600,000 foreign tourists, according to its Ministry of Tourism.

Within the 12 host cities are some of the world’s most stunning beaches and creative neighborhoods, including Arpoador Beach in Rio de Janeiro and the exquisitely decorated streets of Manaus. Elsewhere in Brazil are more gems from the South American country’s seemingly endless must-sees, to the remarkably designed Niterói Contemporary Art Museum to towering or the blue mountain of Pedra Azul.

TIME France

Missing 89-Year-Old Vet Turns Up at D-Day Event

Britain D-Day Intrepid Veteran
This undated handout image issued by Gracewell Healthcare shows Bernard Jordan an 89-year-old veteran, holding a picture of himself as the Mayor of Hove from 1995 to 1996. Gracewell Healthcare/AP

UK WWII vet left nursing home wearing his medals, has been confirmed safe

A World War II veteran reported missing by his southern England nursing home was spotted at D-Day commemorations in Normandy, France according to police.

Staff at The Pines nursing home called police after Bernard Jordan, 89, didn’t return to the home on Thursday evening, the AP reports. The police determined that Jordan was safe by speaking to him on the phone when a fellow veteran called to explain that the two were at a hotel in France.

Jordan is a Royal Navy veteran and a former mayor of Hove, the town where The Pines is located. The nursing home has denied accusations that it prevented Jordan from attending the events.

“In fact, staff at the home tried to get Mr. Jordan onto an accredited tour with the Royal British Legion but, due to the last-minute nature of the request, this was not possible,” said chief executive Peter Curtis in a statement.

[AP]

TIME foreign affairs

I Helped Free the Taliban From Guantánamo Bay

Taliban hand over Bergdahl to US Forces
The Taliban detainees, known as the "Taliban Five", who released from Guantanamo Bay in exchange for Bowe Bergdahl are Mohammad Fazl, Khairullah Khairkhwa, Abdul Haq Wasiq, Norullah Noori, and Mohammad Nabi Omari. Polaris

A lawyer who defended one of the men traded for Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl explains why he defends "the worst of the worst"

On March 6, 1770, a 34-year-old Boston lawyer, John Adams, agreed to a request that he represent a British captain and eight soldiers who had, the previous night, opened fire on a crowd of protesting civilians, killing five of them. The event became known to history as the Boston Massacre. Adams was told that no other lawyer would take the case. He suffered in the public eye and later said that it had cost him more than half of his law practice. But he was proud of his representation of the hated soldiers, calling it “one of the most gallant, generous, manly and disinterested actions of my whole life, and one of the best pieces of service I ever rendered my country.”

I am no John Adams — far from it. But I am an American lawyer who believes not only that even the most despised person — perhaps especially the most despised — has the right to a vigorous defense. Moreover, from of my experience as a civil rights and criminal defense lawyer, all too often the government’s charges against an accused will not stand up to serious scrutiny.

Together with two of my North Carolina colleagues, I have represented five Guantánamo detainees since 2007, including one of the Taliban prisoners recently transferred to Qatar in exchange for the release of Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl. I agreed to represent them on a pro bono basis because of my conviction that if lawyers do not step forward to challenge government overreaching, who will? What I have learned demonstrates that careful examination of the evidence will puncture the exaggerated and hysterical claims of politicians and pundits.

Such is the case with the men detained at the U.S. Naval Base at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba. Altogether, some 779 Muslim men from 43 different countries, whose ages have ranged from 13 to 90, were brought, hooded and shackled on clandestine flights, to Gitmo (as the base is informally called) to be kept in isolation from family, friends and — had the government had its way — from lawyers. Bush Administration leaders claimed that they had been “picked up on the battlefield fighting American forces,” were “the worst of the worst,” “bombmakers,” “terrorists,” “among the most dangerous, best-trained, vicious killers on the face of the earth,” “associated with Al-Qaeda.”

Yet that Administration, quietly and without court compulsion, released well over 500 of them, and the Obama Administration, which inherited 242 detainees, has released others, according to a report from Seton Hall. Some men have died during their prolonged custody — and some of those by their own hand. As it turns out from the publically available facts, the overwhelming majority were not who our government claimed they were. U.S. forces captured only 5% of them. Others were bought from tribesmen motivated by the large American bounties. Eighty-six percent were arrested by the Northern Alliance or Pakistani authorities, having been captured for reasons that are, to say the least, opaque. Some were seized from their homes, places of work, or simply off the street, mostly in Pakistan, not Afghanistan, often based upon anonymous allegations of a connection to Al-Qaeda or the Taliban. Most were never on a battlefield and had not been determined to have committed any hostile act at all against the U.S. or its allies. The government officials and politicians simply misstated the facts.

John Adams knew the importance of focusing on the facts, not on labels. He told the Boston jury this: “Facts are stubborn things, and whatever may be our wishes, our inclinations, or the dictums of our passions, they cannot alter the state of facts and evidence.” That jury examined the facts, and it acquitted the British captain and six of his eight soldiers, convicting the other two only of manslaughter.

In the cases of the Guantánamo detainees, we lawyers cannot discuss the specific facts publicly, because we were required to trade our free speech for access to the classified evidence necessary to represent our clients. But it is telling that after over a dozen years of detention, the government has managed to charge, try and convict only a handful — fewer than 10 — of the 779 men it brought to the base. Five were convicted of minor charges (some that were not even crimes at the time of their detention) and have been released. One of the convictions was overturned on appeal; other appeals remain pending. This is not a record of ringing prosecutorial success. Of the five men I represented, including the Taliban political official just sent to Qatar, none were ever charged with even the most minor crime; they were simply held for years without charges until it pleased the government to send them back. Where is the evidence that they are terrorists? About half of the 149 men still left at Guantánamo have long been determined not to be a threat and have been approved for transfer; the only impediments to their release are political.

In his closing speech to that Boston jury, John Adams quoted these lines from the Italian penologist, Cesare, Marchese di Beccaria:

If, by supporting the rights of mankind, and of invincible truth, I shall contribute to save from the agonies of death one unfortunate victim of tyranny, or of ignorance, equally fatal, his blessings and years of transport will be sufficient consolation to me for the contempt of all mankind.

Contesting the basis for our country’s indefinite detention of these men has been costly and challenging, but professionally fulfilling. Certain episodes in our history — the internment of Japanese-American citizens during World War II comes to mind — are now regarded in hindsight as tragic aberrations from American values. At such times it is the duty of lawyers to step forward and hold the nation accountable to its ideals.

TIME France

Watch: The Best Moments From the D-Day Anniversary Ceremony

The ceremonies included fireworks, air shows, and performance art

For the 70th anniversary of D-Day, world leaders, nearly 1,000 veterans and about 7,000 official guests arrived on the French shore to remember the historic occasion.

From a 93-year-old paratrooper who parachuted into Normandy 70 years ago wanting to try the jump one more time, to Russian President Vladimir Putin and German Chancellor Angela Merkel chatting before the event, here’s a look at the highlights from the remembrance ceremonies.

TIME Television

Nun Wins Italy’s Version of The Voice

Sister Cristina Scuccia stole the show, performing in her habit.

Italy’s version of singing competition The Voice has been won by a surprising candidate — when she isn’t singing on television, Sister Cristina Scuccia is a member of the Ursulan Sisters of The Holy Family in Milan.

The final of The Voice Of Italy was held last night and Sister Cristina’s version of “Livin’ On a Prayer” stole the show, winning her over 62% of the vote.

“My presence here is not up to me, it’s thanks to the man upstairs,” she said, presumably referring to God and not the show’s lighting and sound technicians.

After celebrating her win with a rendition of The Lord’s Prayer, Scuccia also credited her participation to Pope Francis. Francis has called for the clergy to become more involved outside of the church, although it’s not clear if this was what he had in mind.

TIME India

Why Modi Is No Erdogan

India's new PM has much in common with the Turkish leader, but the analogy only goes so far

As Narendra Modi stormed into the consciousness of the world beyond India, analysts everywhere scrambled to interpret him for their readers and viewers. The easiest interpretive reflex of all is the comparison; and so it was inevitable that Modi, India’s new Prime Minister, came to be likened to Margaret Thatcher, Ronald Reagan, Ariel Sharon, Shinzo Abe and Deng Xiaoping. Even Vladimir Putin was invoked as a comparator, notwithstanding the fact that there is nothing in Modi’s record or rhetoric to suggest that he will seek to annex the land of a neighboring country—or pose bare-chested atop a horse.

The analogy that stood out as most informative—and least rose-tinted—was the likening of Modi to Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Turkey’s Islamist-democrat Prime Minister. At first glance, the parallels between Modi and Erdogan seem striking: Both men head parties that have expressed disdain for their countries’ secular traditions, instead channeling the religious aspirations of a large section of the citizenry. Both men dominate their parties, there being in neither the Indian Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) nor the Turkish Justice and Development Party (AKP) a politician of stature who can mount a credible leadership challenge. Modi and Erdogan profess to be free-marketers, and yet they face accusations of crony capitalism. Both men are known to be reluctant delegators of authority, centralizing policymaking and execution. And both draw accusations of high-handedness from their critics, evoking in those who would oppose them a fear that they cannot be trusted with a pluralist democracy.

Yet it would be a mistake to be seduced by this comparison into concluding that Modi is India’s Erdogan. There are as many differences between the two as there are similarities. More important, the differences between the politics and institutions of India and Turkey are so great as to render the resemblance between the two men entirely superficial.

Erdogan came to power in 2003, bristling to undo the Kemalist state. From the beginning, he sought to roll back laws and practices that barred Turkey’s overwhelmingly Muslim population from being as Muslim in public as they wished to be. Mustafa Kemal Ataturk espoused a radical secularism that suppressed much of the culture of ordinary Turks, and Erdogan’s project was a counterrevolution against the founder of the Turkish republic.

Modi’s cultural revolution does not call for a remaking of the Indian state. India’s constitutional secularism, unlike Turkey’s, is intended to be benign, allowing the practices of all religions to coexist in the public sphere. India’s Hindu believers, unlike Turkey’s devout Muslims, have never had to fight the state to express themselves in public. Yes, Indian secular elites have cultivated a disdain for the Hindu heartland, but there has been no legal curb on Hinduism in India, no ramming of secularism down Hindu (or, for that matter, Muslim) throats.

Indian democracy is more accomplished, and self-assured, than Turkey’s. Erdogan is an autocratic Prime Minister in a rudderless democracy whose institutional checks are feeble. Modi may dominate the BJP, but Erdogan incarnates the AKP. India’s federal structure ensures that there are limits on even the most autocratic Prime Minister. You want to build a state-of-the-art highway between Delhi and Mumbai? You have to negotiate passage with the chief ministers of at least four states. Erdogan, by contrast, can do as he pleases.

There is also the difference in international stature between India and Turkey that will bring about its own curbs on Modi. Turkey is a middling regional power that has, under Erdogan, squandered every diplomatic chip that Ankara once possessed. Even as he has nurtured economic growth, Erdogan has presided over the global shrinking of Turkey.

Modi, on the other hand, seeks the aggrandizing of India, the building of new relations, not the dismantling of old ones. And whatever his likeness to Erdogan, there is one crucial difference: he is a man of almost disconcerting discipline. It is inconceivable that he would wade into a crowd, fists flailing, shrieking “spawn of Israel” at a protester, as Erdogan did recently.

There is nothing Modi measures so carefully as his own words.

Varadarajan is the Virginia Hobbs Carpenter fellow at Stanford University’s Hoover Institution

TIME France

Obama Meets With Putin as Russia Mends Ties With the West

It has taken Russia less than three months since its invasion of Ukraine to find its way back to the table with U.S. and European leaders

President Barack Obama had his first face-to-face chat Friday with his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin, since their relations broke down over the Ukraine crisis early this spring. Their brief conversation about stopping the ongoing bloodshed in eastern Ukraine was the clearest sign yet that ties are on the mend, and that Putin’s decision in March to annex a chunk of Ukrainian territory will not lead to his isolation from the club of Western leaders.

As the Russians like to say, Putin is once again rukopozhatny, or worthy of a handshake.

It’s a remarkable turnaround for a leader whose close friends and associates have been the targets of Western sanctions over the past three months. During preparations for Obama’s trip to Europe this week, the White House avoided questions over whether the U.S. President would speak with Putin or even shake his hand in France, where the two gathered on Friday along with a dozen European leaders to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the D-Day invasions.

But the host of the occasion, French President Francois Hollande, has gone out of his way to use the ceremony at the Chateau de Benouville in Normandy as a venue for peace talks. He first facilitated a conversation between Putin and the newly elected President of Ukraine, Petro Poroshenko, whose victory in last month’s presidential race Putin has yet to recognize as valid. The pair met, along with Hollande and German Chancellor Angela Merkel, over lunch. Hollande told French television the interview was substantive and they “passed on the message” that Russia should recognize Poroshenko’s presidency.

And once Poroshenko had accepted the chance to speak with Putin, albeit with a sour look on his face, Obama went along with the trend. “Putin and Obama expressed the urgent need to stop the violence and military actions” in eastern Ukraine, Kremlin spokesman Dmitri Peskov told reporters after their chat.

Obama and Putin spoke for about fifteen minutes after a luncheon, according to a White House readout of the conversation. Obama told Putin that the recent election of Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko marks a potential turning point in American-Russian relations, provided Putin recognizes Poroshenko as Ukraine’s legitimate leader. Obama also urged Putin to stop supporting separatists in eastern Ukraine.

Most of Russia’s state media led with the news of the conversation, signaling how eager the Kremlin’s image-makers have grown to cast Putin as a welcome guest among his Western counterparts.

“Lots of subtle messages being plied for the audience at home,” noted Timothy Ash, an analyst at London’s Standard Bank. “Over Crimea, Putin the warrior, now on the Normandy stage, Putin the Peacemaker,” Ash said in a note to investors, who have been pumping money back into the Russian stock market as the risk of further Western sanctions has diminished. “Market certainly loving this,” Ash wrote.

But it’s not clear how much Obama’s home audience will love his rapprochement with Putin. In a commencement speech to the West Point military academy last week, the U.S. President held up Russia’s isolation as a sign of American influence in the world. “Our ability to shape world opinion helped isolate Russia right away,” Obama said. “Because of American leadership, the world immediately condemned Russian actions.”

That condemnation has now eased off of demands for Russia to return the Crimean peninsula to Ukraine, calling instead for Putin to “de-escalate” the ongoing conflict by reining in pro-Russian militants fighting to break away more of Ukraine. The West is now watching for Putin to recognize the legitimacy of his Ukrainian counterpart, and Moscow has signaled its willingness to do that after Poroshenko’s inauguration on Saturday. It would then be a matter of time before Kiev and Moscow come to the negotiating table to resolve their differences, giving Putin a chance to make amends with the West just a few months after invading his neighbor. Considering the price he would have paid in diplomatic isolation, the conquest of a peninsula with two million inhabitants would then start to look like a very good gamble indeed.

TIME europe

Ministers: Facebook, Google Must Meet Europe’s Privacy Standards

Tech giants like Facebook and Google must meet Europe's stricter standards

In a move that could complicate how American companies like Facebook and Google do business abroad, European justice ministers said Friday that companies based outside the European Union must meet Europe’s stricter privacy rules, Reuters reports.

“Data-protection law will apply to non-European companies if they do business on our territory,” EU justice commissioner Viviane Reding told Bloomberg. The ministers have not yet finalized any new related legislation, but discussions “have clearly moved from dormant to dynamic” and should be done later this year, she added.

The ministers’ statement marks another step in an ongoing intensive reform of the continent’s data-protection laws. It also backs up recent rulings by the EU’s Court of Justice, which said last month that Europeans have the “right to be forgotten” from search engines like Google. Tens of thousands of Europeans have already exercised that right.

American and European attitudes over personal privacy have long differed, with more Europeans than Americans believing that privacy should be more closely protected. Europeans’ views on privacy only became stronger after it was revealed last year that the U.S. National Security Agency had been spying on European citizens, including top leaders like German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

Experts do not think that privacy standards like the “right to be forgotten” are likely to ever gain traction in the U.S., given the country’s general attitudes towards digital privacy, the First Amendment and the political influence of big tech companies like Google.

[Reuters]

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