TIME Video Games

Judge Dismisses Manuel Noriega’s Call of Duty Lawsuit

(L) Panamanian strongman Manuel Antonio Noriega takes part in a news conference at the Atlapa center in Panama City on Oct. 11,1998.(R) The character Noriega claims was created in his likeness.
Panamanian strongman Manuel Antonio Noriega (left) sues Activision over a portrayal of him in Activision's Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 game (right) Alberto Lowe—Reuters; Activision/AP

The former dictator of Panama sought damages for a character based on him

A California judge Tuesday threw out a lawsuit filed by former dictator Manual Noriega against a video game he claimed depicted him in a bad light.

Manuel Noriega, who ruled Panama for most of the 1980s, sought charges in July against video game publisher Activision, for creating a character based on him without permission in Call of Duty: Black Ops II, Wall Street Journal reported. Noriega said the 2012 shooter game unlawfully depicted him “as a kidnapper, murderer and enemy of the state,” according to court documents.

Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge William H. Fahey tossed the lawsuit on grounds that Noriega’s likeness was sufficiently “transformative”–meaning that its use was adopted for the sake of commentary or expression. Fahey also argued that the video game did not benefit from Noriega’s inclusion, as the former soldier and convicted drug trafficker had argued.

“The Court concludes that the marketability and economic value of the challenged work in this case comes not from Noriega, but from the creativity, skill and reputation of defendants,” Fahey wrote in court documents.

The dismissal was supported by former NYC major and Activision co-counsel Rudy Giuliani, who called Noriega’s claims “audacious,” as it touches on the issue of the many other video games and works of art that draw from and freely interpret historical or political figures.

“This ruling is an important victory and we thank the court for protecting free speech,” said Rudy Giuliani. “This was an absurd lawsuit from the very beginning and we’re gratified that in the end, a notorious criminal didn’t win. This is not just a win for the makers of Call of Duty, but is a victory for works of art across the entertainment and publishing industries throughout the world.”

TIME Basketball

The NBA Has More International Players Than Ever

Tony Parker
San Antonio Spurs guard Tony Parker is one of a record number of international players as the NBA season opens Tony Gutierrez—AP

As the season opens, 37 countries will be represented on team rosters

For those worked up over foreigners taking American jobs, the National Basketball League can provide some fodder. The league announced Tuesday that 101 players from 37 countries, a new record, will be on NBA rosters at the season’s start. The NBA champion San Antonio Spurs have the most foreign players, nine, leading the league in that category for the third year. Their U.N. roster includes Frenchmen Tony Parker and Boris Diaw, two Australians, a Brazilian, a Canadian, an Italian and the big man from the small island, Tim Duncan, who is from the U.S. Virgin Islands.

The league’s foreign legion is led by 12 Canadians, who apparently failed at their nation’s preferred winter sport. France provided 10 players, Australia eight and Brazil sent seven. There are also 13 players from the former Yugoslavia, as those hoop crazy nations such as Bosnia and Herzegovina and Slovenia continue to embrace the game.

There are just 450 jobs on the NBA’s 30 teams, which means that foreign players now hold 22% of them, up from 10% in the 2000-2001 season. Globalization is a two-way street, though. At least 80 Americans are playing soccer for foreign clubs.

TIME Turkey

18 Miners Trapped in Coal Mine Accident in Turkey

(ANKARA, Turkey) — Surging water trapped at least 18 workers Tuesday in a coal mine in Turkey, officials and reports said — an event likely to raise even more concerns about the nation’s poor workplace safety standards.

Initial reports said flooding inside the Has Sekerler mine near the town of Ermenek in Karaman province caused a cave-in, but subsequent reports workers were trapped by the water. Turkey’s emergency management agency, AFAD, said a broken pipe in the mine caused the flooding but did not elaborate.

Gov. Murat Koca said about 20 other workers escaped or were rescued from the mine, some 500 kilometers (300 miles) south of Ankara, close to Turkey’s Mediterranean coast

Sahin Uyar, an official at the privately owned coal mine, told private NTV television that the miners were stuck more than 300 meters (330 yards) underground.

“At the moment, 18 of our colleagues are trapped. We are working to pump water out from three sections of the mine,” he told NTV, adding that rescue crews had made no contact with the miners.

Uyar said the trapped workers’ chances of survival were slim unless they had managed to reach a safety gallery.

Turkey’s ministers for energy and transportation immediately left Ankara, the capital, to oversee the rescue operation. AFAD said it had sent 225 people to join rescuers from neighboring mines and regions.

In May, a fire inside a coal mine in the western town of Soma killed 301 miners in Turkey’s worst mining disaster. The fire exposed poor safety standards and superficial government inspections in many of the country’s mines.

TIME brazil

Brazilian Leaders Call for Unity after Vicious Presidential Race

The incumbent, Dilma Rousseff, secured a second term at the weekend after a gripping, and at times ugly, campaign

After what was the most aggressive Presidential election in recent Brazilian history, both the winner and loser have called for unity, striking a tone of reconciliation following the close of a nail-biting campaign that resulted in a second term for the incumbent, Dilma Rousseff. The Workers’ Party leader only just kept her job, securing 51.64% of the vote in a weekend run-off vote against Aécio Neves, the candidate of the center-right Brazilian Social Democracy Party who took 48.36%.

In her victory speech on Oct. 26, Rousseff, whose party has been in power since 2003, said the election had mobilized “at times contradictory ideas and emotions, but moved by a common feeling—a search for a better future.” Neves said he had “fought a good fight” and that the main priority for Rousseff should be “to unite Brazil.”

The two made common cause after a riveting and at times vicious campaign. Only weeks ago, Rousseff was expected to face a final-round challenge from Marina Silva, the environmentalist who made a late entry into the race after the sudden death of the Socialist Party candidate Eduardo Campos. But her support ebbed away as the Workers’ Party targeted her campaign. Rousseff said Silva would abolish the government’s flagship income support scheme, while a Workers’ Party campaign advert suggested the environmentalist, who promised to grant autonomy to the country’s central bank, would deliver Brazil to greedy financiers. She came third in the first round vote.

In the second round, with Silva out of the picture, Rousseff and Neves repeatedly insulted each other with accusations over corruption and nepotism. Neves enjoyed a last-minute surge of support as he capitalized on a corruption scandal involving the state-controlled oil company Petrobras. But it wasn’t quite enough to unseat Rousseff.

No sooner had the dust on Sunday’s victory settled than attention focused on the problems Rousseff now faces, and the political capital she had shed on her way to this narrowest of victories. “She came out weaker,” says David Fleischer, professor of political science at the University of Brasília. “I am not sure how she is going to put the country back together.”

Brazil split over the vote, with poorer states in the north and northeast, plus the southeastern states of Rio de Janeiro and Minas Gerais, voting for Rousseff, while the rest of the richer states in the south and southeast chose Neves. “A very acute north-south divide,” adds Fleischer. “It is also a divide of rich and poor.”

Now Rousseff’s most pressing problem is the Brazilian economy, mired in a technical recession after two quarters of retraction, with inflation simmering above the government’s 6.5% target. A new Finance Minister will be appointed to replace the incumbent, Guido Mantega, who, like Rousseff herself, is seen as too interventionist and has been unpopular with the markets.

“I think she will nominate someone more market friendly,” says Tony Volpon, an analyst at Nomura Securities in New York. Volpon thinks Rousseff is also likely to ease off on her campaign’s anti-banker rhetoric. “There is no reason for her to keep beating on the class warfare rhetoric, against the elite, against the bankers,” he adds. “The market’s going to give her the benefit of the doubt to see if she is going to have a more market-friendly attitude.”

The danger, Volpon says, is that the Workers’ Party will see this election victory as an endorsement for its economic policies, which have kept unemployment relatively low but failed to stimulate growth. The government has blamed the international financial situation. Neves blamed the government.

Comments by Guido Mantega reported by local media on Monday confirmed this fear. “This shows that the population approves the economic policy we are doing,” Mantega said of the result.

Volpon says in the longer term market frustration will rise. “She will try and move policy in the right direction but the market will see it is not enough,” he explains. “Markets only look at profit. That clash of vision will lead to a nasty divorce.”

Rousseff’s other big problem is managing Brazil’s Congress, where she will need to unite nine unruly parties in her winning coalition. Her key ally is the Brazilian Democratic Movement Party (PMDB, in its Portuguese acronym), of which Vice President Michel Temer is a member. While Rousseff’s Workers’ Party has a slight majority in the House of Deputies, in the upper chamber, the Senate, the PMDB is bigger. “The governability is dependent on the PMDB,” says Rafael Cortez, a political analyst at the São Paulo economic, financial and political consultancy Tendencias.

In Brazil’s labyrinthine maze of seemingly contradictory political alliances, parties that are allied at the national level often face off against each other in the states. In Rio Grande do Norte state, Rouseff’s predecessor and political mentor Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva– or Lula, as he is widely known—supported Robinson Faria in his successful campaign to become governor. Faria is from another of Rousseff’s coalition members, the Social Democrat Party, and he defeated the PMDB’s candidate for state governor.

Rousseff will need to repair the damage caused by these state-level rivalries. “Her so-called partners are very discontented,” says Fleischer. “They are going to put some very heavy demands on her.” These will include more key ministerial posts, when Rousseff announces her new cabinet, expected before December.

But diplomacy is not Rousseff’s strong point, despite her conciliatory victory speech. “She does not like to do negotiation—which was the strong part of Lula’s game,” adds Fleischer. The charismatic former president was the first person Rousseff thanked in her speech and there has been speculation that he could return to fight an election in 2018. Current rules prevent Rousseff from seeking a third consecutive term.

Fleischer, however, discounted a Lula comeback. “He’s not very keen on risking his legacy, his charisma, or his prestige,” he says. Cortez, on the other hand, argues it is too early to call. “It will depend on the second mandate,” he says. “The government won, but lost political capital.”

TIME

U.S. Is Slowly Closing Gender Gap, But Still Lags Behind Europe

A new report by the World Economic Forum finds Nordic countries are leading the way in global gender equality

The U.S. still lags behind many other Western countries on gender equality but it’s rising in the ranks, a new report finds.

The World Economic Forum’s 9th Global Gender Gap report finds that the U.S. is now at 20th place, up three spots from the previous report. Increases in women’s economic participation and opportunity, including participation in the labor force, earned income and political empowerment helped boost the U.S.’s standing on the annual list. The country is ranked fourth in economic opportunity and participation out of the 142 countries surveyed.

Europe holds 12 of the 20 top positions in the rankings, which are rated by economic participation, educational attainment, health and survival and political empowerment. France leaped from 45th place to 16th, largely due to the number of female politicians appointed to government positions there. A record 49% of French ministers are female.

All five Nordic countries lead the way in closing the gender gap, as they have in previous years. The report finds Denmark, Iceland, Finland, Norway and Sweden have closed the overall gender gap in their country to 80% or more, meaning women now have at least four-fifths the level of opportunity enjoyed by men.

The World Economic Forum surveyed data on 142 participating countries using information gathered by groups including the Central Intelligence Agency, the International Labour Organisation, UNESCO, and the World Health Organization.

In all some 25 countries have fully closed the educational attainment gap between men and women and 35 have done the same in health and survival. Eight countries, including the Bahamas, Belize, Brazil, France, Guyana, Latvia, Nambia, and the Philippines have closed the gap completely in both health and education. No countries have closed gaps in economic participation or political empowerment, but many have come close. Some 14 have closed more than 80% of the economic participation and opportunity gap, including the United States.

There are some important things to note when considering the data, however. The report does not take into account the level of resources available in the surveyed countries—for example, the report reads, “the Index penalizes or rewards countries based on the size of the gap between male and female enrollment rates, but not for the overall levels of education in the country.” The report also does not take into account whether or not women outperform men—the focus, the authors say, is on gender equality rather than women’s empowerment.

 

TIME Bizarre

Top European Court Tells Nude Activist to Put Some Clothes On

Naked Rambler Stephen Gough Makes His Way South Following Release From Saughton Prison
Stephen Gough the naked rambler makes his way south through Scotland following his release from Saughton Prison yesterday after serving his latest sentence on Oct. 6, 2012 in Peebles, Scotland. Jeff J Mitchell—Getty Images

European Court of Human Rights tells "Naked Rambler" that refusing to wear clothes does not represent freedom of expression

Britain’s “naked rambler” does not have a fundamental human right to ramble through the English and Scottish countryside in the buff, the European Court of Human Rights ruled on Tuesday.

Stephen Gough, a.k.a. the “Naked Rambler,” argued that he was wrongfully convicted (30 times) and jailed (for 7 years) for his nude treks through the British countryside, which he said should have been protected under his right to privacy and free expression, NBC News reports.

The Strasbourg-based justices, however, ruled that “he had plenty of other ways of expressing his opinions” and determined that his particular form of expression constituted “deliberately repetitive antisocial conduct.”

Gough first started making headlines in 2003 for his insistent determination to remain nude on the streets, in court, or even in prison, where, according to the BBC, he was sequestered from the rest of the prison population because of his refusal to wear clothing.

[NBC News]

TIME France

French Culture Minister Says She Has Not Read a Book in Two Years

French Minister of Culture Fleur Pellerin attends the 16th Festival of TV Fiction of La Rochelle on Sept. 12, 2014 in La Rochelle, France.
French Minister of Culture Fleur Pellerin attends the 16th Festival of TV Fiction of La Rochelle on Sept. 12, 2014 in La Rochelle, France. Didier Baverel—WireImage

Fleur Pellerin has lunch with French Nobel Prize winner but says she cannot name his books

France’s Minister of Culture, Fleur Pellerin, has caused a stir in France by acknowledging that she has not read a book in two years.

The revelation emerged in an interview she gave to the Canal+ channel on Sunday night. She described having lunch with the French winner of the Nobel prize for literature, Patrick Modiano, but then noted she could not name any of his novels.

“I admit without any problem that I have had no time to read over the past two years,” she said, according to the BBC. “I read a lot of notes, and legislative documents. I read a lot of news. But I read [for pleasure] very little.”

The admission sparked ridicule and even anger in France where the Minister of Culture is expected to be well-versed in all aspects of French culture. The commentator Claude Askolovitch wrote that the Minister’s admission confirmed that France was approaching a state of barbarism. Writing in Le Huffington Post , Askolovitch said Pellerin should resign so that she would have more time to read books such as the works of Modiano.

[BBC]

[Guardian]

[Canal+]

TIME Retail

Macy’s to Open First Store Outside U.S.

Macy's Cuts Profit Outlook For The Year After Soft Q2 Sales
A sign hangs above Macy's in the Magnificent Mile shopping district on August 14, 2013 in Chicago, Illinois. Scott Olson—Getty Images

Abu Dhabi will play home to the department store's first overseas venture

For the first time in 156 years, Macy’s department store will take its iconic red star overseas, launching its first foreign branch in an upscale shopping center in Abu Dhabi.

The shopping center will also host the world’s second overseas Bloomingdales, according to the property developers backing the project, Gulf Related and Al Tayer Group. Associated Press reports that the shopping center will be located on Al Maryah Island, a booming construction zone which has been slated to be the city’s central business district.

The center’s grand opening is scheduled for spring 2018, and the first sale (presumably) shortly thereafter.

[AP]

TIME Mexico

How the Disappearance of 43 Students Has Tested Mexico’s President

The recent scandal has put President Enrique Peña Nieto under pressure

Mexico recently seemed to be on the fast track to becoming a safer country under the guidance of newly elected President Enrique Peña Nieto.

But the recent disappearance of 43 students in the southwestern city of Iguala – and the apparent involvement of the local mayor in their vanishing – has overshadowed Peña Nieto’s attempt to crack down on pervasive gang violence and restore order in Mexico.

“This event gave Peña Nieto a bloody nose,” said George W. Grayson, a professor at the College of William & Mary who studies drug trafficking groups. “It has demonstrated that his attempted security policy simply hasn’t functioned adequately and there are two Mexicos: the modern Mexico that the President embraces, but also the Mexico Bronco – a wild, savage Mexico.”

Mexicans are now wondering if their government is withholding information on the missing students for political reasons — and whether any politician can hope to control the “Mexico Bronco.”

TIME North Korea

Kim Jong Un’s Mystery Disappearance May Be Solved

North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un attends a military drill between KPA Large Combined Unit 526 and KPA Combined Unit 478
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un attends a military drill at an undisclosed location in this undated photo released by North Korea's Korean Central News Agency in Pyongyangon Oct. 24, 2014 KCNA/Reuters

The North Korean leader was reported to have surgery

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un apparently underwent ankle surgery in either September or October, according to a report Tuesday, which may finally explain his recent six-week disappearance.

Kim wasn’t seen in public between Sept. 3 and Oct. 14, the Associated Press reports, an unusually long absence that led many outside the reclusive country to speculate whether he was sick or had even been thrown from power. When Kim finally returned to public view, he appeared to have lost weight and was using a cane.

South Korea’s intelligence agency reportedly learned of the leader’s surgery — a foreign doctor was said to have removed a cyst from Kim’s right ankle and warned it could return due to his weight, busy schedule and smoking habit — and told lawmakers in a closed-door meeting.

[AP]

Read next: A Former Doctor to North Korea’s Founder Thinks He Passed on Health Problems to Kim Jong Un

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