From violent protests over the Ferguson shooting verdict and Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel’s sudden resignation to the dismantling of India’s first aircraft carrier and Lionel Messi’s new goals record, TIME presents the best pictures of the week.
Not a "baaaaaad" way to get your point across
French farmers, protesting wolf attacks against their sheep, decided to place the issue at the government’s doorstep on Thursday — by bringing their flocks to graze at the Eiffel tower.
The farmers claim French environmental policies do not provide their livestock with enough protection from predators, the Associated Press reports.
The government, on the other hand, says the protection and compensation measures already in place are good enough considering that it is also trying to protect the wolf population.
The sheep, meanwhile, were not as vocal about their predicament, idly munching on grass in front of the iconic Parisian monument while their owners do all the talking.
Conditions in places were equivalent to a category 2 cyclone+ READ ARTICLE
Thousands of residents of Queensland, Australia, have been left without power after the worst storm in decades battered the state capital Brisbane on Thursday.
Golf-ball sized hailstones and winds of up to 90 mph tore roofs from buildings and brought down 642 power lines, reports the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC).
“We had to run to get out of there, the speed of the hailstones were like bullets,” resident John Arthur told the ABC. “The place looked like a warzone.”
A huge cleanup operation is now underway with state-owned electricity supplier Energex working to restore power to 90,000 homes and emergency service crews clearing up debris left in the storm’s wake.
“[Saturday] will be a big day … lots of volunteers from SES and Rural Fire Service will be out … I estimate by end of tomorrow a large part of the recovery side will be done,” said Neil Gallant, acting deputy commissioner of Queensland Fire and Emergency Services.
Twelve people were injured during Thursday’s supercell storm but thankfully there were no fatalities.
“I’m astounded but so grateful that that is all that we’ve got given the amount of shrapnel flying around last night,” said Campbell Newman, the Premier of Queensland.
The state’s transport minister estimated the damage would cost more than $85 million to repair.
The militant group appears to be stepping up its campaign of violence in the Afghan capital as foreign forces prepare to withdrawal
British Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond has condemned the Taliban’s “appalling” suicide attack on a vehicle belonging to the country’s embassy on Thursday that killed six people, including two individuals working for the U.K. mission.
“I am deeply saddened to confirm that a British national civilian security team member and an Afghan national working for the embassy were killed in the incident,” said Hammond in a statement. “We will not allow such inhumanity to deter us from continuing our partnership with the Government of Afghanistan.”
The assault on the British convoy was followed by another attack by two Taliban suicide bombers at a foreign guesthouse in a high-end neighborhood in central Kabul, where myriad embassies and international organizations reside. One foreign national was reportedly injured in the blast and an ensuing gun battle.
The Taliban claimed responsibility for both bombings and described the ambush of the British embassy vehicle as a strike against “foreign invading forces,” reports Reuters.
Thursday’s blasts come as the Taliban appears to be orchestrating an increasing number of acts of sabotage and violence against foreign installations across the Afghan capital, just as a lion’s share of the international troops stationed in the country prepare to pullout after 13 years of war. In the last 10 days alone, Kabul has been rocked by at least eight separate blasts, according to Agence France-Presse.
Earlier in the week, NATO confirmed that two foreign soldiers fighting with the U.S.-led International Security Assistance Force were killed on Monday after a roadside bomb detonated near a military convoy traveling in Kabul.
Amid the uptick in violence are signs U.S. President Barack Obama is reevaluating his earlier promise to end combat operations in Afghanistan by the end of the year. The New York Times reported late last week that the White House’s calculus in the country appears to have shifted, after a new plan was authorized that will allow American troops to continue fighting Taliban insurgents there well into 2015.
The eye-popping payout includes $493 million in cash plus a home in Connecticut
A hedge-fund couple has reached what is believed to be the largest divorce settlement on legal record in the U.K.
A London court has ordered British billionaire Chris Hohn to pay his estranged American-born wife Jamie Cooper-Hohn about $530 million, Reuters reports. The settlement was recorded in a draft judgment and could be altered before final publication on Dec. 12.
The ex-couple founded Children’s Investment Fund Foundation (CIFF), a juggernaut of a private charity that has a investment fund worth roughly $4 billion. The pair, who were married for 17 years and have four children, hold a family fortune in the realm of $1.3 billion.
Cooper-Hohn, 49, had sought half the assets, but Hohn had said his talents in moneymaking counted as a special contribution to the marriage and entitled his wife to a quarter of the sum.
Hohn, 48, is the son of a Jamaican car mechanic, and neither he nor his ex-wife were well-off when they met at Harvard University, the Financial Times says. A judge said in court that the couple continued to live a “Swatch lifestyle” even after making billions.
The hefty settlement pales in comparison to the $4.5 billion payout that a Swiss court this spring ordered Russian tycoon Dmitri Rybolovlev to give his estranged wife, Elena.
The antiques date back as far as 2,000 B.C.
Some 250 ancient Egyptian artifacts that were found in the luggage of passengers arriving in Paris four years ago were returned Thursday.
French customs handed the trove over to the Egyptian embassy, Associated Press reports.
The items, including rings, amulets, clay posts, funeral statues and other objects, come from different periods during the Egyptian empire, with some dating back as far as 2,000 B.C.
Other antiques hail from the Roman and Byzantine eras and as late as the 7th century.
The smuggled items were seized in 2010 at Charles de Gaulle Airport in the French capital. Their return came at the close of a visit to Paris by Egyptian President Abdul Fattah al-Sisi.
Modi, Merkel, Putin and more
This time last year, Narendra Modi was the chief minister of the western Indian state of Gujarat and the opposition Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) Prime Ministerial candidate. He was also among the world leaders and politicians featured in TIME’s Person of the Year readers’ poll for 2013, finishing at fourth place with 14% of the vote. This year, Modi, who got the top job after the BJP stormed to victory in India’s national elections in May, is leading the readers’ poll with over 10.7% of the votes cast as of Thursday afternoon.
With nine days to go until voting closes, here’s a look at the world leaders who fared best in the 2013 poll—and where they stand this year.
Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, Egyptian President
2013 rank: 1. Current rank in 2014 poll: 38th
Abdel Fattah al-Sisi was still sporting a generals’ epaulettes on his shoulders when TIME readers crowned him the winner of the 2013 Person of the Year poll. By January, the general—who ousted Egypt’s first democratically elected leader, Mohamed Morsi, last summer—had become a field marshal. And soon the uniform was replaced with a dark suit as al-Sisi ran for the presidency, eventually winning the May elections by a wide margin.
As we noted when he spoke to TIME in September, his rule has been widely criticized for crackdowns on Morsi’s supporters in the Muslim Brotherhood and on free speech and journalists. Talking about Morsi’s ouster in 2013, al-Sisi defended the military’s action, saying “it was the Egyptian people who demanded that change of identity.”
Should Abdel Fattah al-Sisi Be TIME’s Person of the Year? Vote Below for #TIMEPOY
Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Turkish President
2013 rank: 2. Current rank in 2014 poll: 40th
When he finished second in the 2013 poll, Erdogan was Turkey’s Prime Minister, a job he would have had to give up next year because of term limits set by his ruling Justice and Development, or AK, party. And so, after over a decade as P.M., he contested what were the country’s first direct presidential elections, promising to add some executive heft to the largely ceremonial office. Voters responded in droves. Despite facing anti-government protests during his final term as Prime Minister, he comfortably swept to victory in August, cementing his position as the most powerful Turkish leader in decades. He has also found himself a new home: a sprawling palace four times the size of Louis XIV’s extravagant digs in Versailles and, according to reports, no less sumptuous, with green granite inlays and washrooms decked in silk wallpaper. Originally intended for the Prime Minister, it reportedly cost more than $600 million to erect.
Should Recep Tayyip Erdogan Be TIME’s Person of the Year? Vote Below for #TIMEPOY
Narendra Modi, Indian Prime Minister
2013 rank: 4. Current rank in 2014 poll: 1st
Modi was one of the strongest performers in the TIME readers’ poll last year. At the time, the controversial Indian politician was already widely tipped to lead his party to victory and unseat the ruling Congress Party-led coalition government in elections in May, 2014. Few, however, predicted the scale of his eventual triumph, with the BJP securing the first parliamentary majority for a single party in 30 years. Promising to revive India’s slowing economy, Modi tapped into disenchantment with the Congress, the grand old party of Indian independence which, by the end of its latest term in office, was mired in a series of high-profile corruption scandals and struggling to boost growth.
Should Narendra Modi Be TIME’s Person of the Year? Vote Below for #TIMEPOY
2013 rank: 10. Current rank in 2014 poll: 25th
With the Syrian conflict now in its fourth year, Assad continues to hold on to power in Damascus, even as vast swathes of the country fall into the hands of extremist militants. On Wednesday, Russia reaffirmed it’s support for the Assad regime, with the Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov saying: “We share the view that the main factor driving the situation in the Middle East is the terrorist threat. Russia will continue supporting Syria … in countering this threat.”
Should Bashar al-Assad Be TIME’s Person of the Year? Vote Below for #TIMEPOY
Other leaders from the 2013 poll who also feature in this year’s survey include the Russian President Vladimir Putin, who came 11th last year and currently stands at 5th place, and the German Chancellor, Angela Merkel, who came 15th last year and current stands at 16th place.
Since 1927, TIME has named a person who for better or worse has most influenced the news and our lives in the past year.
The Person of the Year is selected by TIME’s editors, but readers are asked to weigh in by commenting on any TIME Facebook post that includes #TIMEPOY, tweeting your vote using #TIMEPOY, or by heading over to TIME.com’s Person of the Year voting hub, where Pinnion’s technology is recording, visualizing and analyzing results as they are received. Votes from Twitter, Facebook and TIME.com’s voting hub are pooled together to create the totals displayed on the site. You can see the results of the poll and vote on your choice for person of the year here.
The actress appeared in a scene that referenced Muhammad's daughter
A Pakistani anti-terrorism court has sentenced film and television star Veena Malik to 26 years in jail after she appeared in a scene that the Guardian describes as “loosely based on the marriage of the Prophet Muhammad’s daughter.”
The sentence stemmed from a blasphemy charge, which was also levied at Malik’s husband, businessman Asad Bashir Khan and Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman, owner of the Jang-Geo media group which aired the TV show, for their parts in the scene which aired in May. Khan and Shakil-ur-Rahman were also sentenced to 26 years. None of the accused were present in court.
The offending scene was a reenactment of Malik and Khan’s own wedding, acted as musicians played a devotional song about the wedding of a daughter of the Prophet Muhammad. After the episode aired, the senior vice president of a chapter of the Muslim religious organisation Ahle Sunnat Wal Jamaat made an official complaint, saying the show had defiled the family of the Prophet Muhammad, by using the religious music.
The sentence was handed down by judge Raja Shahbaz, who said, “The malicious acts of the proclaimed offenders ignited the sentiments of all the Muslims of the country and hurt the feelings, which cannot be taken lightly and there is need to strictly curb such tendency.”
Oil futures fall nearly 8% to their lowest in five years as Saudi Arabia tries to squeeze U.S. shale industry+ READ ARTICLE
Oil prices fell to their lowest level in over five years Thursday as the cartel that produces one third of the world’s output failed to agree on measures to tackle the current glut.
In what had been billed as their most important meeting in decades, ministers from the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries agreed to keep their self-imposed output ceiling at 30 million barrels a day, but promised each other they would cheat less on their agreed quotas.
Such promises have rarely held in the past, and the markets reacted by driving the price of the benchmark crude futures contract down nearly 8% to below $69. Oil hasn’t been that cheap since August 2009. Prices have now fallen by over 30% since the summer, and by 13% in November alone.
That’s going to make a Happy Thanksgiving for drivers, who are already seeing pump prices of under $3/gallon in the U.S., as well as for airlines, logistics companies, plastics and chemicals companies, all of whom have huge outlays on fuel and oil-based feedstocks. It’s also good news for retailers, who will hope to benefit from the fact that consumers have more disposable income.
But it’s less good news for the shale oil industry, which may find at least some of its investments losing money as the oil price heads firmly lower.
Thursday’s decision effectively sets the level of OPEC output for the whole of the first half of next year, news agencies quoted Abdalla El-Badri, OPEC’s Secretary-General, as saying. If that’s true, then any reduction in world output will likely be driven by marginal fields in the U.S.
The decision is a victory for Saudi Arabia, which can better afford to play a long game with U.S. producers than its poorer colleagues in OPEC, such as Venezuela and Iran.
“It was a great decision,” Reuters quoted Saudi Oil Minister Ali al-Naimi as saying as he emerged smiling after around five hours of talks.
According to the Paris-based International Energy Agency, the cartel’s 12 members are currently produced 30.66 million barrels a day in October, so even if they were completely faithful about sticking to their quotas, they still wouldn’t cut output by enough to bring it into line with global demand for their oil, which the IEA puts at 29.3 million b/d next year.
Some of the OPEC ministers have made no secret of their desire to use a lower price to stop the rise in oil production from U.S. shale, which along with other “non-OPEC” sources of supply is running way ahead of demand from a world economy that has palpably slowed down this year.
The United Arab Emirates’ oil minister Suhail bin Mohammed al-Mazroui told the Financial Times Wednesday that the market would correct itself and that “there is nothing to cause us to panic.”
That wasn’t quite the view from countries that need a higher oil price to balance their budgets. The Russian ruble fell to a new all-time low on the news, with the dollar crashing through 48 rubles and the euro topping 60, both for the first time ever. The benchmark RTS stock index fell 2.1% close to a new five-year low.
Russia needs an oil price over $100/bbl to balance its budget. But the news agency Interfax quoted Maxim Oreshkin, a senior finance ministry official, as saying that even a forecast of $80 was “moderately optimistic” for the next years, in view of OPEC’s decision.
An official investigation into the gang-rape and murder of two girls in India in May rules that the victims actually committed suicide
Following worldwide outrage over the alleged gang-rape and murder of two girls, aged 14 and 15, in India earlier this year, the country’s Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has now ruled that the girls took their own lives and were not gang-raped and murdered.
When the two girls were found hanging from a tree in a field near their home in the Badaun district in the state of Uttar Pradesh last May, it was widely reported that they had been gang-raped and killed. According to the BBC, an exam initially confirmed several sexual assaults and death due to hanging and three men were arrested in connection with the girls’ deaths.
The men were released on bail in September and, according to the CBI’s investigation, subsequent forensic tests have since concluded the girls were not sexually assaulted. “Based on around 40 scientific reports the CBI has concluded that the two minor girls in the Badaun case had not been raped and murdered as had been alleged,” CBI spokeswoman Kanchan Prasad told the BBC on Thursday. “Investigation has concluded that it is a case of suicide.”
Women’s activists and the families of the girls have voiced their suspicions over the CBI’s findings.
“CBI has tried to fudge the case and save the accused from the very beginning,” Sohan Lal, father of one of the girls, told the BBC. “I am very angry with their decision. The team did not show any promptness while investigating the case.”