TIME Ukraine

Ukrainian Ally of Ousted President Found Dead

Oleg Kalashnikov in Kiev, Ukraine in 2013.
Vladimir Donsov—AP Oleg Kalashnikov in Kiev in 2013.

Eight other allies of Viktor Yanukovich have had sudden deaths in the last year

A former member of the Ukrainian parliament who opposed the popular movement that ousted President Viktor Yanukovich was found dead with gunshot wounds in Kiev.

The Ukrainian Interior Ministry said in a statement that the body of Oleg Kalashnikov, 52, was discovered Wednesday evening.

Kalashnikov was involved in the “anti-Maidan” protests in support of Yanukovych, who fled in February 2014. According to the BBC, at least eight Yanukovych allies have died in the last three months; most of the deaths have been deemed suicides.

[Reuters]

TIME TIME 100

How to Make Influential Friends

TIME 100 2014 Reception
Michael Appleton—Redux The elite (plus a few TIME staffers) mingle at TIME 100 cocktails

Amy Schumer, meet the scientist who sequenced the Ebola genoma

Conspiracy theorists think the elite form trilateral commissions and illuminati societies that assemble underneath the Denver airport to rule the world. Not at all. We’re not secretive people. We’re braggy people. We go to parties. We meet at Davos, Sundance, TED and, best of all, the TIME 100 gala. We don’t so much talk about ruling the world as get drunk and exchange numbers so we can meet for expensive lunches and TIME the next recession.

While the TIME 100 gala is definitely one of the 100 Most Influential Parties, it’s way shorter than Bilderberg. Plus, the speeches, performances and dinner get in the way of email swapping. So I figured I’d preintroduce some of this year’s attendees over the phone, so that they could more quickly connect and so that I would have their phone numbers.

To prepare, I called Jonathan Levy, a guy who throws huge dinner parties in New York for famous people he wants to meet. “What if you give them a secret-Santa-type gift?” he suggested. “And a haiku that’s a hint as to who they are so they can search online and find them. That way they leave and say, ‘I hung out with so-and-so, and they gave me this stupid Ikea wrench.’” I thought this was a great idea that I totally wasn’t going to use. So instead he suggested I tell a personal story about each person to the other, much as the TIME 100 does in print.

 

For my first attempt, I put 33-year-old comedian Amy Schumer on the phone with Pardis Sabeti, the 39-year-old TIME co–Person of the Year who sequenced the Ebola genome and is the lead singer of a rock band. It turned out that Sabeti was a huge fan of Schumer’s and Schumer knew a lot about Ebola, since she had dated a doctor who was an expert on the disease. Sabeti said she lost six friends who worked with her in the hospital in Sierra Leone, and Schumer sighed in empathy. “The disease is kind of a sensitive spot for me too,” she said. “I had a weird breakup.”

The call ended well, with Sabeti inviting Schumer to Harvard, where she teaches, which Schumer was excited about. Then Sabeti invited her to Orlando because “my parents live by Disney,” which Schumer was not excited about. “You can stay at my place in New York,” Schumer offered, “but we’d have to sleep head to toe.” If that’s how it works in her apartment, I’m really surprised the Ebola doctor didn’t stay with her.

Next I picked people who I thought would love meeting each other: Serial podcast host Sarah Koenig and Bryan Stevenson, the founder of the Equal Justice Initiative. They bonded so quickly that within two minutes they were talking about unjust capital-punishment cases, which is like third base for liberals. When I asked Stevenson who he wanted to meet most, he said Audra McDonald, who I also wanted to meet most, possibly for the same reason, if Stevenson’s reason is to stand really close to her, mumble something incomprehensible about how pretty and talented she is and then walk away hating himself. Koenig promised to introduce all of us. But she said she was so satisfied with talking to Stevenson “that I don’t even need to go.” I told her that she couldn’t back out or I’d get in a lot of trouble. I have no idea if that’s true, but I don’t want to take any chances of not meeting Audra McDonald.

Because I have an actual friend on this year’s list—Jill Soloway, creator of the show Transparent—I wanted to brag about that in this column. So I put her on the phone with Jennifer Doudna, a Berkeley professor who figured out how to swap out parts of genes. Soloway asked if Doudna was worried that people would try to get rid of the transsexual gene, which would be bad, since “trans people are the coolest people I know.” Doudna explained that she joined a bunch of scientists saying that messing with human genes is bad, though she hadn’t thought about transgender people specifically. If she’s placed at Soloway’s table, she’s going to be thinking about them a lot more.

Soloway was glad to have met Doudna but wondered how she would recognize other important people. “Do people wear name tags like hello my name is arianna huffington, so I know who people are? So people know who I am, more importantly,” she said. That’s such an adorably first-time influential question. Huffington makes it her job to know who every influential person is. Soloway is going to have to up her game if she’s going to join the new world order.

TIME TIME 100

Here Are the 5 Things TIME 100 Says About the World

Malala Yousafzai after being announced as a recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize in Birmingham, England on October 10, 2014.
Christopher Furlong—Getty Images Malala Yousafzai after being announced as a recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize in Birmingham, England on Oct. 10, 2014.

The most influential people in the world, from around the world

The annual TIME 100 list of the world’s most influential people is out—and looking very international. Fifty-one selectees were born outside the U.S., ranging from national leaders like Tunisia’s Beji Caid Essebsi to financiers like Brazilian multi-billionaire Jorge Paulo Lemann to artists like the novelist Haruki Murakami—a favorite of mine, as I’ve been trying to get him on the list since around when the TIME 100 started in 2005.

It’s a large and diverse list, hailing from five continents. But there are a few lessons we can draw from who made the TIME 100–and who didn’t:

1. Asia has a crop of strong leaders: China and India may be two of the most dynamic countries in the world, but for years their leaders were anything but. From 2002 to 2012 China was run by the colorless and cautious President Hu Jintao, though most decisions were made not by the president alone but through consensus among the top tier of the Communist Party. In India, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh presided over a decade of increasingly listless rule, ending in 2014 when he left office at the age of 81.

But today, both China and India are run by forceful leaders eager to to put their stamp on history. In the TIME 100 issue President Barack Obama notes that Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has “laid out an ambitious vision to reduce extreme poverty, improve education, empower women and girls and unleash India’s true economic potential.” Unlike many of his predecessors, Modi has worked to lead from the front, and he’s already carved out an impressive international profile—not too many other international leaders can pack Madison Square Garden for a speech, as Modi did last September.

If anything, Chinese President Xi Jinping is even more powerful—and more determined to exert direct control of his country. In the TIME 100 former Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd—a Mandarin speaker and China expert—writes that Xi is now “likely to be China’s most powerful leader since Mao.” That’s not always a good thing. While Xi is carrying out reforms that are needed to make China’s economy more sustainable, he’s also ruthlessly cracked down on civil society and challenged the U.S. for global leadership. Joining Xi on the list is his tough-minded Internet czar Lu Wei, who’s strengthening the Great Firewall.

A third new Asian leader also made the list: new Indonesian President Joko Widodo. Former World Bank president Paul Wolfowitz writes in the TIME 100 that Widodo “has brought youthful energy and a popular touch to his large and diverse nation.” But after a promising start last fall, Widodo has faltered in his first year in the office—as Wolfowitz goes on to note, he’ll need to “overcome the entrenched interests in Indonesia that resist change.”

2. Latin America…not so much: Just one Latin American leader made the TIME 100 this year. From Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto—dodging corruption allegations and public anger over a bloody drug war—to Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff, who may be impeached just a few months after winning re-election, it can seem like every Latin American leader is struggling to stay above water. Even politicians who have had success in the past are flailing—Chile’s widely respected President Michelle Bachelet, who was on last year’s TIME 100 list, has seen her family tainted by corruption allegations.

The one leader bucking trend: Cuban President Raul Castro, who has presided over a historic rapprochement with the U.S. And the region has influencers outside politics. Two Brazilians made the list—the surfing champion Gabriel Medina and the multi-billionaire dealmaker Jorge Paulo Lemann (who’s no slouch of an athlete himself, winning Brazil’s national tennis championship five times in his youth). The courageous Guatemalan human rights activist Aura Elena Farfan was saluted for “fighting for justice for the tens of thousands who were disappeared or killed during the civil war. CNN’s Christiane Amanpour hailed Telemundo anchor Jorge Ramos, born in Mexico City, as a reporter “determined to get an answer or go down trying.”

3. Japan is a cultural superpower: Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe didn’t make the TIME 100 list this year—though having been decisively reelected in December, he had a pretty good claim. But two other representatives of Japan did. The home organizing maven Marie Kondo introduced audiences around the world to the happiness of a scrupulously clean living space. (Her most important piece of advice: if an object doesn’t bring you joy, chuck it out.)

And the novelist Haruki Murakami more than earned his spot—his most recent novel sold half a million advance copies in Japan before it was even printed, and became a bestseller around the world. For the TIME 100 we paired him with his countrywoman Yoko Ono, who knows a thing or two about succeeding globally, who celebrated Murakami’s “great imagination and human sympathy.”

4. Africa’s time is now—and Nigeria leads the way: Seven Africans made the list—and more came from Nigeria than any other country. That includes the new president-elect of Africa’s most populous nation, the man TIME’s Aryn Baker called a “born-again democrat” who will face the difficult challenge of defeating the Boko Haram insurgency. Doing so could mean killing another TIME 100 selectee: Boko Haram’s enigmatic leader, Abubakar Shekau, whom retired U.S. General Carter Ham warns “is the most violent killer their country has ever seen.”

But the African spots on the TIME 100 list go beyond strongmen. We selected Obiagali Ezekwesili, an anticorruption activist in Nigeria who has dedicated her life to ensuring that the hundreds of girls kidnapped by Boko Haram aren’t forgotten. The actor Idris Elba hailed Dr. Jerry Brown of Liberia for his heroic work to help stop the Ebola outbreak that killed thousands in West Africa. “It is because of this man’s actions—rather than his words,” Elba wrote, “that many lives were saved.”

5. Women are changing the world: Women make up nearly half the TIME 100 list, ranging from the pinnacle of power to activists on the ground. The German Chancellor Angela Merkel isn’t just the most powerful women in the world—she’s one of the most powerful people period. “Angela Merkel,” writes Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko, “managed to leverage German economic power into diplomatic power.” France’s Marine Le Pen isn’t loved by everyone, but she’s become a major force in French politics—and Europe could be next.

But for every political or business leader, there are women like Chai Jing, the courageous Chinese journalist whose environmental documentary Under the Dome was watched by more than 200 million people in China. Dr. Joanne Liu, the Canadian-born head of Doctors Without Borders, got the Ebola crisis right when so many of her peers got it wrong. And of course, there’s Malala Yousafzai, the young Pakistani activist who first made the TIME 100 in 2013 at age 15. All she’s done in the meantime is win a Nobel Peace Prize—so we decided to put her on the list again. And that gave us the chance to publish another young woman, the Syrian Mezon Allmellehan, who wrote that “yes, I can make a difference, and I have to continue to fight for what I believe in.” Fitting words for an extraordinary—and influential—collection of women and men from around the world.

TIME TIME 100

How We Pick the TIME 100

TIME 100 2015 Nancy Gibbs Radhika Jones
Jen Tse for TIME Nancy Gibbs, left, and Radhika Jones review pages for the Time 100

Every year we hope the list will introduce you to influential people you might not have met before

In our annual TIME 100 issue, we tell 100 stories of individual influence. But taken together, these stories are an anthem to interaction, the convergence that occurs when you harmonize a good idea.

The technology that connects us also connects our worlds, of art and science and business and politics. So when we were debating whom to approach to write for this issue, we looked for people who could speak to their subject’s influence in all its dimensions. Entrepreneur Elon Musk writes about Kanye West’s “long game” as the music superstar moves into the worlds of fashion, design and philanthropy. Apple CEO Tim Cook is running the most valuable company on earth—but Congressman and civil rights icon John Lewis writes about how Cook has also used his position to elevate issues from privacy to the environment to LGBT rights. Former New York Times executive editor Jill Abramson writes of actor Emma Watson’s work promoting gender equality as a U.N. Women goodwill ambassador.

For the third straight year, education activist Malala Yousafzai, 17, is the youngest person on the list. Two years ago Chelsea Clinton wrote about her; this year the tribute comes from Mezon Almellehan, a Syrian refugee in Jordan who was inspired by Malala to urge girls in her refugee camp to focus on going to school. “Education,” Mezon writes, “ is the only way to regain our spirit and control over our lives.” The oldest person on the list is Tunisian President Beji Caid Essebsi, who at 88 finds himself the steward of the Arab world’s youngest democracy.

Some jobs are best understood by those who have themselves faced the fire. We asked President Barack Obama to write about India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi. British Prime Minister David Cameron explores Haider al-Abadi’s mission to hold Iraq together. Petro Poroshenko, the President of Ukraine, writes on German Chancellor Angela Merkel as they wrestle with how to challenge the aggressions of Vladimir Putin. The King of Jordan writes on the new King of Saudi Arabia even as the map of the Middle East looks increasingly blurry.

At TIME we know that great minds don’t all think alike: politicians from very different ideological compass points are on the list because of their ability to steer our conversation in new directions. However much they may disagree, they recognize this quality in one another, which is why we asked Antonin Scalia to write on his fellow Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. “What only her colleagues know,” Scalia says, “is that her suggestions improve the opinions the rest of us write, and that she is a source of collegiality and good judgment in all our work.” Charles Koch and David Koch are best known for their industrial wealth and conservative activism, yet, as Senator Rand Paul writes, they are also champions of criminal-justice reform looking to fund more public defenders, overhaul sentencing and help parolees re-enter society. Anti-tax crusader Grover Norquist may extravagantly disagree with liberal economist Thomas Piketty’s crusade to reduce income inequality, but he notes in his piece that “every prominent Republican has taken up the challenge,” which speaks to a popular influence uncommon to academics who write 700-page tomes in French.

Every year we hope the TIME 100 will introduce you to influential people you might not have met before and encourage you to find out more about them. That’s why we’ve featured a selection of books authored by honorees on this year’s list, from ballerina Misty Copeland’s memoir Life in Motion to Magnus MacFarlane-Barrow’s account of how he came to found his charity Mary’s Meals.

This double issue was designed by Chelsea Kardokus, with Natalie Matutschovsky as photo editor. For the sixth year, the issue was overseen by deputy managing editor Radhika Jones. “I’ve come to think of it as the TIME 200, because of all our influential contributors,” she says. “It’s so rewarding to put together these pairings of mentors, collaborators, rivals and friends.”

TITANS
Kanye West
Lorne Michaels
Mellody Hobson
Tim Cook
Elizabeth Holmes
Charles Koch & David Koch
Susan Wojcicki
Chanda Kochhar
Tony Fernandes
Lee Daniels
Reid Hoffman
Kim Kardashian
Janet Yellen
Danny Meyer
Lei Jun
Bob Iger
Satya Nadella
Jorge Paulo Lemann

PIONEERS
Misty Copeland
Scott Kelly
Emmanuelle Charpentier & Jennifer Doudna
Brian Chesky
Emma Watson
Jimmy Lai
Vikram Patel
Pardis Sabeti
Reese Witherspoon
Bryan Stevenson
Chai Jing
Magnus MacFarlane-Barrow
Kira Orange Jones
Aura Elena Farfán
Martin Blaser
Anita Sarkeesian
Rudolph Tanzi
Tom Catena
Mustafa Hassan
Laverne Cox
Sarah Koenig

ARTISTS
Bradley Cooper
Richard Linklater
Chris Ofili
Julianna Margulies
Amy Schumer
Alexander Wang
Jill Soloway
Chris Pratt
Audra McDonald
Tim McGraw
Kevin Hart
Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
Julianne Moore
Christopher Nolan
Marie Kondo
John Oliver

LEADERS
Jorge Ramos
Narendra Modi
Angela Merkel
Bob Corker
Rula Ghani
Muhammadu Buhari
Alexis Tsipras
Vladimir Putin
Obiageli Ezekwesili
Elizabeth Warren
Haider Al-Abadi
Joko Widodo
King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud
Xi Jinping
Jeb Bush
Tom Frieden
Samantha Power
Raúl Castro
Kim Jong Un
Abubakar Shekau
Benjamin Netanyahu
Hillary Clinton
Martin Dempsey
Beji Caid Essebsi
Adam Silver
Lu Wei
Marine Le Pen
Barack Obama
Mitch McConnell
Mohammad Javad Zarif
Joanne Liu

ICONS
Ruth Bader Ginsburg
Taylor Swift
Diane von Furstenberg
Haruki Murakami
Gabriel Medina
Björk
Jerry Brown
Abby Wambach
Ina Garten
Thomas Piketty
Malala Yousafzai
Pope Francis

TIME russia

See Pictures of a Young Vladimir Putin

Putin is a Leader on the 2015 TIME 100 list

Russian President Vladimir Putin prides himself on his humble, rough and tumble upbringing.

Putin, who won this year’s TIME 100 reader’s poll and is included in the Leaders section of this year’s annual list, was born in Leningrad (now called St. Petersburg) on Oct. 7, 1952. His father was seriously injured in World War II and his mother survived the siege of the city. Putin was the only son of his parents to survive; one died soon after birth and another died in the siege.

Details of Putin’s early life can be hard to find, in part because of his obscure background and his later work with the KGB, and much of what is known of his earlier days comes from him and his friends at the time. One such friend told Masha Gessen, the author of The Man Without a Face: The Unlikely Rise of Vladimir Putin, that “If anyone ever insulted him in any way, Volodya would immediately jump on the guy, scratch him, bite him, rip his hair out by the clump—do anything at all never to allow anyone to humiliate him in any way.”

Before reaching his teens, Putin began training in a martial art that combines techniques from others like karate and judo. He later continued with the latter.

From an early age, Putin was intent on joining the KGB, perhaps influenced by the books and TV shows of the time that romanticized the nation’s spy agency. He attended a selective high school, according to his official biography, and later pursued a law degree after he was told that it would help his chances of entering the KGB.

By the mid-1970s, and married to his first wife, Lyudmila, Putin was recruited by the KGB and began a decade and a half career with the Soviet agency. In 1984, he received spy training and was sent to Dresden in East Germany—a disappointing, largely backwater assignment where he was charged with reporting back on activity in West Germany and trying to recruit foreign students.

As the Berlin Wall came down and the Soviet Union began to crumble, Putin and his family returned to his home city. His transition into politics began there, when he joined the successful mayoral campaign of Anatoly Sobchak as a key aide. He formally quit the KGB amid the failed 1991 coup that accelerated the collapse of the Soviet Union, and took up a post as Deputy Mayor in St. Petersburg.

Putin moved to Moscow after Sobchak lost a reelection bid in 1996, and two years later he was tapped to head the FSB, the KGB’s successor, setting him on a path that would take him to top.

TIME Iraq

ISIS Launches Offensive Against Iraqi City of Ramadi

Tribal fighters stand guard in central Ramadi, Iraq on April 15, 2015.
AP Tribal fighters stand guard in central Ramadi, Iraq on April 15, 2015.

Ramadi was once a major stronghold for al-Qaida insurgents during the U.S.-led occupation

BAGHDAD — The Islamic State extremist group launched an offensive Wednesday in Iraq’s western Anbar province, capturing three villages near the provincial capital of Ramadi in what was the most significant threat to the city by the Sunni militants to date.

The militants’ push comes after the Islamic State was dealt a major blow earlier this month, when Iraqi troops routed the group from Tikrit, Saddam Hussein’s hometown.

Wednesday’s fighting could also further threaten Ramadi, 115 kilometers (70 miles) west of Baghdad. Nearly a decade ago, Ramadi was one of the strongholds of the insurgency in the U.S.-led war in Iraq. It now is mostly held by Iraqi government forces, although militants control some parts of it, mainly on the outskirts.

In a dawn advance, IS extremists seized the villages of Sjariyah, Albu-Ghanim and Soufiya, which had also been under government control until now, and residents said they had to flee their homes. Fighting was also taking place on the eastern edges of Ramadi, about 2 kilometers (a mile) from a government building, they added.

In Soufiya, the militants bombed a police station and took over a power plant. The residents, who spoke on condition of anonymity because they feared for their safety, said airstrikes were trying to back up Iraqi troops. Iraqi security officials could not immediately be reached for comment.

Around noon Wednesday, the militants opened another front with government troops on three other villages to the northeast of Ramadi, the residents added.

An Iraqi intelligence official said the militants were preparing to launch another offensive from the western side of the city, describing the situation as “critical.”

The IS was also trying to take control of the main highway that goes through Ramadi to cut off supplies, the official said, speaking on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to talk to the media.

Defense Ministry spokesman Brig. Gen. Tahseen Ibrahim acknowledged that Islamic State militants “gained a foothold in some areas” in Anbar. But he said reinforcements were sent to the province and that airstrikes from the U.S.-led coalition were supporting Iraqi forces.

“The situation is under control, and the standoff will be resolved in the coming hours,” Ibrahim told The Associated Press. He added, however, that most of the villagers in the area had fled from their homes amid the fighting.

Hundreds of U.S. and coalition forces have been training Iraqi troops at Anbar’s Ain Al-Asad air base, about 110 kilometers (68 miles) west of Ramadi, which came under IS attack in mid-February. The attack, which involved a suicide bomber, was repelled.

The Anbar fighting coincides with Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi’s visit to Washington where he met Tuesday with President Barack Obama and appealed for greater support from the coalition carrying out airstrikes against the IS militants, who have also captured large areas in neighboring Syria. While Obama has pledged another $200 million in humanitarian aid, he made no mention of any further military support.

In an interview with a group of U.S. reporters, al-Abadi made no mention of the events in Ramadi. He spoke optimistically of gaining Sunni tribal fighter participation in the government’s offensive, saying about 5,000 tribal fighters in Anbar had signed up and received light weapons. “There is a problem because they are asking for more advanced weapons, which to be honest with you we don’t possess,” he said.

Those Sunnis are working “hand-in-hand” with Iraqi security forces, al-Abadi said. As an example of this cooperation, he said he recently visited Habbaniya in Anbar province and walked among 1,500 armed Sunni tribal fighters.

“I felt safe,” he said. “That’s how much the situation has changed in the country. That says a lot about the situation in Anbar,” he said.

Ramadi and Fallujah were major strongholds for al-Qaida insurgents during the eight-year U.S.-led invasion, and fighting in Anbar was especially costly for Americans there. A lasting image of the war was the bodies of U.S. contractors hanging from a bridge in Fallujah in March 2004. The six-week fight in November 2004 to retake Fallujah was an iconic moment for the Marines — with nearly 100 Americans killed in battle and hundreds more injured.

Many of the insurgents were forced to flee Iraq or go into hiding in the latter years of the invasion.

In late 2013, however, militants of the Islamic State group used the Syrian civil war to their advantage and began to push back into Iraq through Anbar province. They capitalized on resentment toward the Shiite-led government in Baghdad to secure their position among predominantly Sunni residents. In January 2014, Fallujah was the first major Iraqi city seized by the militant group, and it has been making slow, but steady progress in the province ever since.

The seizure of about a third of Iraq by the Islamic State has pushed the country into its worst crisis since the 2011 withdrawal of U.S. troops.

Al-Abadi said Iraqi forces will follow their victory in Tikrit with campaigns against Islamic State in the oil town of Beiji and western Anbar province. He said a counteroffensive against the northern town of Mosul would not come before the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, which begins in mid-June.

The U.S. Central Command said the international coalition carried out 23 airstrikes on militants in Iraq and Syria since Tuesday. Of those, 17 were in Iraq, including three near Ramadi on tactical units an armored personnel carrier, two near Fallujah, and nine near Beiji, it said.

In addition to the clashes in Anbar province, a series of militant attacks in and around Baghdad killed at least 43 people in the past two days.

TIME United Kingdom

5 Things To Know About The New Royal Baby

Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, and Prince William, Duke of Cambridge visit the Stephen Lawrence Centre in South London, March 27, 2015.
Zak Hussein—Corbis Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, and Prince William, Duke of Cambridge visit the Stephen Lawrence Centre in South London, March 27, 2015.

The Duchess of Cambridge, née Kate Middleton, is due to give birth later this month

LONDON — Royal fans are ready to welcome Prince William and Kate’s second child — a younger brother or sister to Prince George, whose birth two years ago whipped up a worldwide media frenzy.

As in 2013, the royals are keeping everyone guessing by disclosing virtually nothing about the baby — including the due date and gender.

If the bookies are to be believed, the baby will be a princess and she will be called Alice.

Here’s what we know — and don’t know — ahead of the second royal baby’s birth, expected in the coming days:

MYSTERY BIRTH DATE

Clarence House announced on Sept. 8 that Kate was pregnant, but gave no clues about the due date other than to say it would be this month. On a recent public visit, Kate reportedly told a charity worker that she is due mid-to-late April.

The baby could share a birthday with her great-grandmother, Queen Elizabeth II, who was born on April 21. The newborn’s birthday could also coincide with William and Kate’s fourth wedding anniversary, on April 19.

PRINCESS ALICE?

Though there has been no confirmation of the baby’s gender, bookies and the British media seem confident it will be a girl. Some suggest that Kate herself offered a hint of what’s to come with her choice of clothing: She wore a bright pink coat for her final public appearance, before she disappeared for maternity leave.

As for what the baby will be called, many are betting on one quaint-sounding name: Alice.

The name is by far the favorite among Britain’s bookmakers, with William Hill putting odds at 2-1 after a number of unusually large bets came in for it. Ladbrokes puts the odds at 3-1. No one seems to know why, though.

Elizabeth and Charlotte follow closely, with Victoria, Alexandria and Diana trailing behind. James and Arthur come in as the top bets for a baby boy.

“It’s absolutely dominated at top of the market by girls’ names,” said Joe Crilly, spokesman for William Hill. “They’re the seemingly perfect couple so maybe they’ll have the perfect combination of a boy and girl family.”

Britain’s royal history has seen a few women called Alice: Queen Victoria named her second daughter Princess Alice, and the queen’s mother-in-law — Prince Philip’s mother — is Princess Alice of Battenberg.

Whatever the royals choose, it’s fairly safe to rule out names like Wayne or Mercedes — both with odds of 500-1, according to Ladbrokes.

HEIR OR SPARE?

When George was born in 2013, he jumped the line of succession ahead of uncle Prince Harry to become the third in line to the throne — after Charles, his granddad, and his father William.

George’s sibling will become the fourth in line, bumping Harry down to fifth place. Prince Andrew, the queen’s second son, moves to sixth.

As the second-born, the new baby will likely not be expected to become the ruling monarch. Instead, he or she will be the “spare,” or backup, should anything happen to the first-born.

George VI famously became king unexpectedly after his brother, Edward VIII, abdicated in 1936.

“An abdication is highly unlikely to happen again, but you never know,” says Joe Little, managing editor at Majesty magazine.

And unlike in the old days, the gender of the second child will not matter.

Britain in 2013 introduced legal changes to end a centuries-old “male primogeniture” rule that puts boys before girls in the line of succession. Under that system, a princess can be robbed of her place in the line by a younger brother.

That rule, which dates back to the 1701 Act of Settlement, is now abolished in Britain as well as in 15 former British colonies.

RELAXED PARENTS

Kate, 33, and William, 32, seem relaxed about the birth of their second child, and both have been out and about chatting with locals and keeping up their official duties until March.

Kate did suffer from severe morning sickness, or hyperemesis gravidarum, in the early months — just as she did during her first pregnancy — and had to pull out of plans to make her first solo royal tour to Malta. But her health improved since then, and she looked well as she was snapped by photographers wherever she went.

Meanwhile, William will be taking some paternity leave from his new job. The former search and rescue helicopter pilot began his full-time job with the East Anglian Air Ambulance on March 30, and is expected to begin flying rescue missions this summer.

THE BIRTH ANNOUNCEMENT

Britain’s royal family may be one of the world’s most traditional institutions, but its press team has made efforts to modernize communications by taking on Twitter and other social media.

Just like when George was born, royal officials plan to announce the baby’s birth by Twitter, broadcasting the news directly to the monarchy’s millions of followers worldwide.

Journalists will get a slight head start, though — reporters will get an email two minutes before the palace tweets the news.

About two hours later, officials will post a more traditional announcement on a gilded easel outside of Buckingham Palace.

 

TIME Yemen

The U.N. Envoy to Yemen Has Quit

YEMEN-POLITICS-UNREST-SOUTH-DIALOGUE
MOHAMMED HUWAIS—AFP/Getty Images Jamal Benomar, UN envoy to Yemen, speaks during a press conference conference in Sanaa December 24, 2013.

Moroccan diplomat Jamal Benomar had lost the support of the Gulf countries in his mission

The U.N. envoy to Yemen has resigned, citing “an interest in moving on to another assignment.”

Jamal Benomar, who has served as U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s special envoy to the Middle Eastern country since 2012, reportedly threw in the towel due to lack of support from Gulf countries for his peacekeeping endeavors, reports the AFP.

“A successor shall be named in due course,” read a statement from the U.N. “Until that time and beyond, the United Nations will continue to spare no efforts to relaunch the peace process in order to get the political transition back on track.”

Benomar had already mentioned the possibility of resigning in an interview with the New York Times on Wednesday, saying he had already expressed his desire to step down to the Secretary-General.

The conflict in Yemen is continuing to escalate as Shi‘ite Houthi rebels march on the country’s major port Aden after capturing the capital city of Sana‘a. The fighting has reportedly killed over 700 people and wounded more than 2,700 others.

The U.N. Security Council earlier this week adopted a resolution calling for the resumption of peace talks, even as coalition forces led by Saudi Arabia continued to carry out air strikes. The Saudi offensive has been criticized by other countries in the region, with Iran — whom it accuses of arming the Houthis — calling it “genocide.”

Iran’s neighbor Iraq also traded barbs with the Saudis on Wednesday, when Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi said there was “no logic to the operation at all in the first place.” The Saudi ambassador to the U.S. later said there was “no logic” to al-Abadi’s remarks, and denied reports that Yemeni civilians had been killed in some of the air strikes.

Benomar’s successor, meanwhile, has been tipped as Mauritanian diplomat Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed, who currently leads the U.N. Ebola mission in the Ghanaian capital, Accra.

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