From the sinking of a South Korean passenger ferry to the first anniversary of the Boston Marathon bombing, to Passover in Jerusalem and Holy Week around the world, TIME presents the best photos of the week.
Pop star Katy Perry and India's Aam Aadmi Party leader Arvind Kejriwal move into second and third, pushing the Canadian singer to fourth.
Updated April 18, 2014, 10:46 a.m.
Transgender actress Laverne Cox ignited her fan base when she retweeted the TIME 100 Reader Poll, launching her ahead of pop star Justin Bieber, who had previously occupied the top spot. The controversial Canadian songster held second place Friday morning, but had soon dropped to fourth–and has earned more votes against him than for, making him the most polarizing figure on the reader poll.
Though the final TIME 100 list of the most influential people of the year worldwide is ultimately chosen by the editors, TIME seeks the input of readers in an online poll.
Pop star Katy Perry and India’s Aam Aadmi Party leader Arvind Kejriwal currently outrank Bieber, though Perry has a considerable share of votes against her. Of those in the poll’s top five, Oscar-winner and fashion darling Lupita Nyong’o garnered the least percentage of votes against her–even less than Beyonce. Egyptian presidential candidate Abdul Fattah al-Sisi, who almost took Bieber’s top spot earlier this week, has slipped to seventh. But as the fan bases ignite on social media, the results continue to change rapidly.
Polls closed at 11:59 p.m on April 22. We’ll announce our official TIME 100 list on April 24.
This post was updated to reflect Bieber dropping to fourth place.
NSA leaker Edward Snowden explains in an op-ed why he asked Russian President Vladimir Putin about mass surveillance during a live televised Q&A yesterday, writing he did it to get a response "on the record, not to whitewash him”
Edward Snowden says he asked Vladimir Putin on live TV if Moscow conducts NSA-style surveillance on Russian citizens in order to get Putin’s answer on the record—not, as his critics charged, to be a prop for Kremlin propaganda.
“I was surprised that people who witnessed me risk my life to expose the surveillance practices of my own country could not believe that I might also criticize the surveillance policies of Russia, a country to which I have sworn no allegiance, without ulterior motive,” Snowden, the former NSA contractor who leaked details of its mass domestic surveillance programs, wrote in an op-ed published in the Guardian on Friday.
Snowden was criticized after he asked Putin during an annual Q&A session on Thursday if Russia spies on its own citizens in a way similar to what the U.S. National Security Agency does. In that exchange, Putin denied Moscow conducts mass domestic surveillance, saying, “We do not allow ourselves to do this, and we will never allow this. We do not have the money or the means to do that.” Snowden was lambasted in some corners for apparently setting Putin up for a denial with a pre-packaged softball question.
But Snowden, who is living under temporary asylum in Russia says he asked the question knowing Putin would lie in his response in order to replicate the famous exchange between U.S. Sen. Ron Wyden and Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, in which Clapper falsely claimed the U.S. does not conduct mass surveillance on Americans.
“I asked Russia’s president, Vladimir Putin, a question that cannot credibly be answered in the negative by any leader who runs a modern, intrusive surveillance program,” Snowden wrote.
David Axelrod will serve as the party's "senior strategic advisor" to help get opposition leader Ed Miliband elected Prime Minister in 2015, but it won't be easy: Prime Minister David Cameron already hired Obama's former campaign manager for his own bid
The political strategist behind President Barack Obama’s White House victories is taking his talents across the pond to help Britain’s Labour Party.
David Axelrod will spend the next several months serving as the party’s “senior strategic advisor,” in an effort to get British opposition leader Ed Miliband elected as prime minister in May 2015. In a statement Friday, Axelrod said he had been impressed by Miliband’s ideas and says he has solid vision for the country’s future.
“Barack Obama articulated a vision which had, at its core, the experience of everyday people,” Axelrod said. “And everyday people responded, they organised and they overcame the odds. I see the same thing happening in Britain.”
Axelrod’s work in Britain won’t be a cakewalk. Prime Minister David Cameron hired Australian political guru Lynton Crosby and President Barack Obama’s former campaign manager Jim Messina to help advise during his 2015 campaign.
The billionaire says the Obama Administration is aligning itself "against competition, choice and the consumer" by supporting TV broadcasters aiming to kill Aereo
Billionaire mogul Barry Diller blasted the Obama Administration and the nation’s largest TV broadcasters on Thursday for trying to shut down Aereo, the upstart online video service backed by the media investor. Next week, Aereo will square off against the broadcasters in a landmark Supreme Court case with billions of dollars at stake that could transform the TV business.
Aereo uses thousands of dime-sized antennas to pick up free, over-the-air TV signals, which it transmits to customers over the Internet for a monthly fee starting at $8. The startup has angered the major broadcasters, including NBC, FOX, ABC and CBS, which claim the service is illegal because it’s ripping off their copyrighted TV signals. Aereo hit back on Thursday by launching a website designed to advance its argument that the service is legal.
In March, the Obama administration filed a friend of the court brief supporting the broadcasters and claiming that Aereo is “liable for infringement.” Several well-known public interest and technology advocacy groups have backed Aereo, including the Electronic Frontier Foundation, Public Knowledge, the Consumer Electronics Association, and Engine Advocacy. Dozens of prominent law professors and legal scholars are also supporting Aereo.
Last year, federal courts in New York and Boston agreed with Aereo’s argument that it is transmitting legally protected “private performances” to individual users over their own leased antennas, based on principles established by the important 2008 Cablevision decision, which allowed remote-storage DVR technology. But in February, a federal judge in Utah sided with the broadcasters, intensifying the legal uncertainty surrounding Aereo.
“The networks would like the court to expand copyright law far beyond what Congress intended,” says EFF Staff Attorney Mitch Stoltz. “The networks’ interpretation of the law would strip away the commercial freedom that led to the home stereo, the VCR, all manner of personal audio and video technology and to Internet services of many kinds.”
Diller’s broadside, which was published in a Wall Street Journal opinion piece, accused the TV networks of turning their back on a century-old agreement in which they were granted use of the nation’s public airwaves in exchange for delivering free, advertising-supported TV programming. In recent years, the TV networks have been able to extract billions of dollars in retransmission fees from cable and satellite companies for the right to broadcast their programming.
“Broadcasters make more money when consumers are steered away from over-the-air program delivery and toward cable and satellite systems that pay the broadcasters retransmission fees,” wrote Diller, who is on Aereo’s board of directors. “There’s nothing wrong with that. But it seems rich for them to forget the agreement they made to provide television to the consumer in return for the spectrum that enables their business.”
Diller also castigated the Obama administration for aligning itself “against competition, choice and the consumer” by supporting the broadcasters. “In siding with the broadcasters, the administration has signaled that the preservation of legacy business models takes precedence over lawful technological innovation,” Diller wrote.
The Obama administration’s support for the broadcasters “ignores the government’s own previous legal positions and threatens to outlaw the entire cloud-computing industry,” Diller wrote, echoing a point made by Aereo CEO Chet Kanojia in a recent interview with TIME. That’s because Aereo’s cloud-based DVR service relies on the same legal principles as the entire cloud-computing industry, which enables consumers to store data on remote servers accessible by the Internet.
The broadcasters claim that Aereo’s service amounts to blatant theft, and have warned that if Aereo prevails, they could remove their primetime shows from free TV and move them to pay channels like Showtime. The National Football League and Major League Baseball have threatened to take high-profile broadcasts like the Super Bowl and World Series to cable. Such a move by the broadcasters would “disenfranchise” millions of viewers who rely on antennas to receive TV programming, “just because they want to make more money,” Kanojia says.
Meanwhile, Aereo suffered a setback this week when the Supreme Court announced that Justice Samuel Alito, who had earlier recused himself from the case, will now be able to participate. Oral arguments are set for next Tuesday. (The high court doesn’t comment on why justices do or do not recuse themselves, but it’s often because of stock ownership in one of the parties.)
Alito’s participation gives the broadcasters a boost because it removes the possibility of 4-4 tie, which would have meant that a lower court ruling in favor of Aereo would stand. “With Alito no longer recused, broadcasters now have an additional avenue for scoring that fifth vote,” according to Scott R. Flick, a D.C.-based partner at the law firm Pillsbury. “In other words, it’s easier to attract 5 votes out of 9 than it is to get 5 votes out of 8.”
The captain of the ferry that capsized off the coast of South Korea has been charged by prosecutors and taken into custody by police
Updated at 3:12 p.m. ET
The captain, Lee Joon Seok, has been charged with five crimes related to his abandonment of the vessel, negligence, causing bodily injury, not seeking rescue from other ships, and violation of “seamen’s law,” CNN reports. If convicted he faces up to life in prison.
Prosecutors and local police have also requested an arrest warrant for three crewmembers in a local court, AFP reports. “The joint investigation team of police and prosecutors asked for warrants to arrest three crew, including the captain,” a coast guard official told AFP.
The captain and most of the crew reportedly escaped the ferry that capsized Wednesday off the coast of South Korea, an accident that authorities think may have been the result of a shift in cargo after a sharp turn. Though the captain and crew escaped, hundreds remained trapped on board the sinking vessel, including students from the Danwon High School, outside of Seoul. On Friday, the death toll from the ferry disaster rose to 28 and hundreds are believed to still be in the ship. About 270 are still missing, CNN reports.
Hopes are waning among those waiting to hear of more rescues, and on Friday the vice-principal of the Danwon School, one of the 179 people rescued from the ferry, was found hanging from a tree in an apparent suicide.
Captain Lee Joon Seok apologized on Thursday saying, “I feel really sorry for the passengers, victims and families. … I feel ashamed.”
Separatists occupying government buildings in Ukraine's restive eastern region refuse to leave until the interim government in Kiev resigns. The U.S., E.U., Ukraine and Russia brokered a deal Thursday to clear the buildings and disarm the paramilitary groups
Pro-Russian militants refused on Friday to vacate government buildings they’ve been occupying in Donetsk, eastern Ukraine, defying a deal struck on Thursday to ease tensions along the border with Russia.
Diplomats from the U.S. and E.U. brokered a cautious deal with Ukraine and Russia to have all buildings illegally seized by the militants cleared out and all paramilitary groups disarmed. But the armed men allied with Moscow has demanded that the interim government in Kiev give up power first, the Associated Press reports.
“This is a reasonable agreement but everyone should vacate the buildings, and that includes [acting Prime Minister Aseniy] Yatsenyuk and [acting President Oleksandr] Turchynov,” said Denis Pushilin, a spokesman for the self-professed Donetsk People’s Republic. “[Russian Foreign Minister Sergey] Lavrov did not sign anything for us, he signed on behalf of the Russian Federation,” he added. Pushilin wants residents to be able to decide whether they want sovereignty, CNN reports.
The agreement, which was struck in Geneva, promises amnesty for militants and protesters who cooperate fully, though tensions remain high in eastern Ukraine. Secretary of State John Kerry and President Barack Obama were both reluctant to declare the effort a victory. “I think there is the possibility, the prospect, that diplomacy may de-escalate the situation,” Obama said Thursday. “We’re not going to know whether there is follow-through on these statements for several days.”
The BJP's Narendra Modi and Arvind Kejriwal of the newly-formed Aam Aadmi Party go head to head in an ancient city seen as a bulwark of Hinduism and BJP stronghold
Congested and crisscrossed by narrow and often dark lanes, Varanasi’s air is a mix of wood smoke and incense. The green-brown Ganges, the busy colorful bazaars, the morning bathers and the nightly oil lamps make this picturesque place a draw for tourists from all over. There’s a timeless quality in this northern Indian city, said to be one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world.
But this month, the peace has been rudely shattered. Ever since the Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi decided to contest from Varanasi, and Arvind Kejriwal, chief of the newly-formed antigraft Aam Aadmi Party decided to take him head on, things in Varanasi have been as earthly as they can possibly be.
For the city’s 1.5 million voters, severely polarized on the basis of caste and religion, it’s going to be a tough call.
Varanasi is a bastion of Hinduism and with around 3,500,000 Brahmin votes has traditionally been a stronghold of the BJP. For the last 20 years, with the exception of 2004, they have won this seat. For Modi, who has elbowed aside member of Parliament and party old timer Murli Manohar Joshi to enter the fray, winning Varanasi should be a breeze — at least until Kejriwal decided to begin a David vs Goliath face-off.
While Modi can count on Varanasi’s staunch Hindu Brahmin population, Kejriwal, if he can position his campaign well, can appeal to a entire cross section of voters — the city’s 400,000 Muslims, for instance.
“Here is a person who is at the forefront of an anti corruption movement, former chief minister of Delhi, a person who has been highlighting issues relating to crony capitalism and arguing there’s little to differentiate between the [incumbent] Congress and BJP when it comes to policies,” points out Delhi-based independent political analyst, Paranjoy Guha Thakurta. “The fact he is personally contesting Modi, irrespective of the outcome, is very significant in itself.”
Kejriwal says he is not much after the seat as the platform that campaigning provides him. “I am not here to become a Member of Parliament. If that was my intent, I would have chosen a safe seat like most other politicians are doing,” he told a rally in Varanasi recently.
Meanwhile, the incumbent Congress party’s candidate, local politician Aay Rai, has been campaigning in the shadow of his counterparts. If Kejriwal eats into Modi’s vote bank, and if the regional Samajwadi party goes through with a proposal to withdraw its candidate and transfer support to Rai, then Congress just might pull it off. Either way, in Varanasi Kejriwal has the power to dent the spectacular win Modi envisioned for himself.
A morning avalanche near a base camp on the world's highest peak has left at least 12 Nepalese guides dead and several others missing. It's being called the deadliest day in the mountain's history
Updated 11:14 a.m. ET
An early-morning avalanche on the slopes of Mount Everest has killed at least 12 Nepalese Sherpas and left several more missing on Friday, in what’s being called the deadliest day in the mountain’s history.
A wall of snow overcame the local guides at 6:30 a.m. on Friday morning near the mountain’s Camp 2 as they were preparing ropes on the route to the summit ahead of the spring climbing season, the Associated Press reports.
“Rescuers have already retrieved four bodies and they are now trying to pull out two more bodies that are buried under snow,” Ang Tshering Sherpa, president of the Nepal Mountaineering Association, told AFP.
Sherpas are famous for their ability to weather high altitudes and are widely regarded as some of the best mountaineers in the world. A Sherpa, Tenzing Norgay, and New Zealander Sir Edmund Hillary were the first people to summit the world’s highest peak.
Today, many Sherpas work under incredible pressure, pushing their bodies to their physical limits in order to maintain lucrative guide positions in the service of usually affluent foreign mountaineers, who climb in the Himalayas as a form of adventure tourism.
To date, more than 4,000 climbers have reached Everest’s summit. An estimated 200 have died in the attempt.
Relatives of those aboard the sunken Sewol ferry are asking whether the crew could have saved more lives by reacting sooner as reports emerge that the vice principal of the high school that accounted for many of the passengers hanged himself after being rescued
Updated 7:37 a.m. ET
The vice principal of the high school whose students made up the bulk of those aboard the stricken Sewol ferry reportedly committed suicide Friday after being rescued.
The death of Kang Min-Kyu, 52, is the 29th so far connected to the disaster, local news agency Yonhap reports, and with 270 people still missing, fingers are being pointed at the captain and crew, even as rescue attempts continue amid the murky and turbulent waters.
Officials are looking at whether a crewman’s decision to abruptly turn the 6,852-ton ship, bound for the southern resort island of Jeju, contributed to its sinking off the coast of South Korea on Wednesday. There were 475 passengers aboard, many of them high school students on a class trip. At present, officials say there are just 179 survivors, with the final death toll expected to climb considerably higher.
Divers have been continually buffeted by fierce currents, strong tides and bad weather, and have struggled to enter the now completely submerged hulk, with most recovered bodies being found floating in open water.
“We cannot even see the ship’s white color. Our people are just touching the hull with their hands,” Kim Chun-il, a diver from Undine Marine Industries, told relatives gathered nearby in the port city of Jindo.
Comparing eyewitness testimony from survivors with a transcript of a ship-to-shore exchange indicates that the captain delayed evacuation for about 30 minutes after a transportation official gave an order to prepare to abandon the 20-year-old vessel.
According to the Associated Press, at 9 a.m. — just five minutes after receiving a distress call — an official at the Jeju Vessel Traffic Services Center instructed that lifejackets be readied in preparation for evacuation. But a crew member on board replied, “It’s hard for people to move.”
Near the site of the tragedy, anxious and frustrated family members huddle to observe the faltering rescue attempts. “I want to jump into the water with them,” said Park Geum-san, the 59-year-old great-aunt of missing student Park Ye-ji. “My loved one is under the water … anger is not enough.”
The Japanese-made ship was three hours from its destination when it began to list heavily and fill with water, despite following a frequently traveled 300-mile route in calm conditions. Repeated attempts were made to right the vessel but failed even though it was apparently well within the 5% maximum list for such maneuvers to succeed.
Increasingly, relatives are venting anger at the authorities involved, and especially the ship’s captain, 68-year-old Lee Joon-seok, who was among 20 of the 29 crew members to survive, according to the coast guard.
“How could he tell those young kids to stay there and jump from the sinking ship himself?” said Ham Young-ho, grandfather of Lee Da-woon, 17, one of the young confirmed dead, reports Reuters.
On Thursday, the Wall Street Journal reported that some text messages, purportedly from survivors trapped within the vessel and saying “I am still alive” and “There are six of us in the room next to the dining hall,” were among many hoax messages that circulated in the aftermath of the disaster.
South Korea’s National Police Agency revealed there were no records of phone calls, SMS or other messages received from anyone listed as missing after noon on Wednesday — one hour after the boat overturned — further dashing hopes that anyone still inside the sunken hull is still alive.