TIME Vatican

Pope Francis Knocked for ‘Mexicanization’ Remark

Pope Francis addresses the crowd from the window of the apostolic palace overlooking Saint Peter's square during his Angelus prayer on Feb. 22, 2015 at the Vatican.
Tiziana Fabi—AFP/Getty Images Pope Francis addresses the crowd from the window of the apostolic palace overlooking Saint Peter's square during his Angelus prayer on Feb. 22, 2015 at the Vatican.

The Vatican said he meant no offense

The Vatican said Wednesday that Pope Francis “absolutely did not intend to offend the Mexican people” when he appeared to express concern that drug trafficking was making his native Argentina resemble Mexico.

Over the weekend, the Pope wrote in an email to Argentine lawmaker and friend Gustavo Vera, “Hopefully we are in time to avoid Mexicanization,” referring to the country’s drug trade, the Associated Press reports. After Vera published the email on the website for his organization, the Alameda Foundation, Mexico formally complained that the Pope was unnecessarily “stigmatizing Mexico” despite the country’s efforts to battle drug cartels there.

In response, the Vatican sent Mexico’s ambassador an official note and said the Pope’s choice of words were taken from a informal, private email that merely borrowed language Vera himself had used as lawmaker battling Argentina’s own drug trade.

“The Pope intended only to emphasize the seriousness of the phenomenon of the drug trafficking that afflicts Mexico and other countries in Latin America,” Vatican spokesperson Rev. Federico Lombardi said. “It is precisely this importance that has made the fight against drug trafficking a priority for the government.”

[AP]

TIME France

Drones Spotted Over Paris Again

A view shows the illuminated Eiffel Tower and La Defense business district in Paris, Feb. 24, 2015.
Gonzalo Fuentes—Reuters A view shows the illuminated Eiffel Tower and La Defense business district in Paris, Feb. 24, 2015.

For the second time in two days

Drones were again spotted overnight hovering above Paris on Wednesday, prompting an investigation in the city just a day after they were first spotted.

Between 11 p.m. Tuesday and 2 a.m. Wednesday, the unmanned aerial vehicles were spotted above Rue de Vaugirard, the Assembly, the city’s east train station, Porte de Saint-Ouen and Porte de la Chapelle, CNN reports.

Its unclear whether the drones are recreational and to whom they belong, but they’ve put authorities on edge following the terrorist attacks in the city last month.

Just a day earlier, five drones were seen over the Eiffel Tower, the Bastille, Place de la Concorde, Les Invalides and the U.S. Embassy, said Agnes Thibault-Lecuivre, a spokeswoman for the Paris prosecutor’s office.

[CNN]

TIME Foreign Policy

Obama Aide Calls Israeli Leader’s U.S. Visit ‘Destructive’

Says planned address to Congress has "injected a degree of partisanship"

President Barack Obama’s top national security aide on Tuesday lambasted Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s plan to address Congress as “destructive [to] the fabric of the relationship” between the two countries, as political fallout continued to mount ahead of Netanyahu’s controversial visit.

National Security Adviser Susan Rice, delivering the Obama Administration’s strongest critique of the visit to date while speaking Tuesday night on PBS, said Netanyahu’s address next week has “injected a degree of partisanship, which is not only unfortunate, I think it’s destructive [to] the fabric of the relationship.”

Netanyahu’s visit has been sharply criticized in both Israel and the U.S. as overly political, coming just weeks before Israeli elections and after House Speaker John Boehner invited him without informing Obama or congressional Democrats. Obama will not meet with Netanyahu while he’s in town, and many Democrats, including Vice President Joe Biden, have signaled that they won’t attend his address to a joint session of Congress.

“The relationship between Israel as a country and the United States as a country has always been bipartisan and we’ve been fortunate the politics have not been injected into that relationship,” Rice said. “It’s always been bipartisan. We need to keep it that way. We want it that way. I think Israel wants it that way, the American people want it that way, and when it becomes infused with politics, that’s a problem.”

The Israeli leader has steadfastly defended the speech as an opportunity to voice his concerns over a potential nuclear deal between the U.S. and Iran, and did so again Tuesday, saying he was coming to the U.S. to “do everything I can” to stop a deal with Iran, the New York Times reports.

“Therefore, I will go to Washington to address the American Congress, because the American Congress is likely to be the final brake before the agreement between the major powers and Iran,” Netanyahu said.

Still, the trip risked coming off as more partisan when Netanyahu turned down an invitation to address Senate Democrats.

“Thought I greatly appreciate your kind invitation to meet with Democratic Senators, I believe that doing so at this time would compound the misperception of partisanship regarding my upcoming visit,” Netanyahu said in a letter released by the office of Illinois Democratic Sen. Dick Durbin.

Dubin wasn’t pleased with Netanyahu’s response.

“We offered the prime minister an opportunity to balance the politically divisive invitation from Speaker Boehner with a private meeting with Democrats who are committed to keeping the bipartisan support of Israel strong,” he said in a statement. “His refusal to meet is disappointing to those of us who have stood by Israel for decades.”

TIME Germany

Hitler’s Mein Kampf Will Be Reprinted in Germany for the First Time Since World War II

The new edition will be presented as a historical document and heavily annotated with analysis and criticism

Reprints of Adolf Hitler’s autobiography Mein Kampf will be hitting bookstores across Germany once more — the first time since the Nazi leader’s death.

A ban on reprinting the Nazi manifesto in the country has been in place since the end of World War II. The state of Bavaria has held the German copyright ever since but it expires in December, reports the Washington Post.

The new edition, which is being produced and published by the taxpayer-funded Institute of Contemporary History, will be a heavily annotated 2,000-page volume that features mostly criticism and analysis.

The institute says Mein Kampf (My Struggle) is an important historical and educational tool.

But opponents, including many Holocaust survivors, are outraged with the reissue, with many seeing it as giving a fresh voice to a ruthless and deranged dictator who was responsible for the deaths of more than 11 million people.

“This book is most evil; it is the worst anti-Semitic pamphlet and a guidebook for the Holocaust,” said Charlotte Knobloch, head of the Jewish community in Munich.

Though republication of Mein Kampf has been banned in Germany, the book is widely available online and in many other countries including the U.S. and Canada.

The first print run is due out early next year.

Read next: The ‘Death Penalty’ and How the College Sports Conversation Has Changed

Listen to the most important stories of the day.

TIME Cricket

Australia Cricketers to Test New Helmet Design Following Phillip Hughes’ Death

Cricket bats line the funeral procession route for Australian cricketer Phillip Hughes outside a primary school in his home town of Macksville
Jason Reed—Reuters Cricket bats line the funeral procession route for Australian cricketer Phillip Hughes outside a primary school in his home town of Macksville, Dec. 3, 2014

Innovative design intended to better protect batsmen

Australian cricket batsmen will over coming weeks test a new helmet design that features a protective attachment to guard the backs of players’ necks, announced Cricket Australia representative Pat Howard on Wednesday.

Upgrading existing helmet designs had become a priority following the tragic death of Australian professional cricketer Phillip Hughes during a match in November. The 25-year-old collapsed on the field after getting struck on the side of the neck by a bouncing ball, and died two days later in a Sydney hospital. His death was attributed to a brain hemorrhage, AFP reports.

British company Masuri is producing the new clip-on helmet attachments, which are constructed from hard plastic and foam. Howard called the new design “quite innovative” and said players “are very receptive to trying it” following Hughes’ passing.

“It’s got impact protection and comes down the side of the head,” said Howard. “Players will be given an opportunity to try it out in a game outside an international, but work our way up.”

Cricket Australia says it will work with the International Cricket Council to push the new helmet design into worldwide use should trials prove successful.

TIME Cuba

Cuban President Raúl Castro Honors Spies Jailed in U.S. as National Heroes

Raul Castro, Gerardo Hernandez, Ramon Labanino,  Antonio Guerrero
Ramon Espinosa—AP Cuba's President Raul Castro and Gerardo Hernandez salute, as fellow agents Ramon Labanino, background, second from right, and Antonio Guerrero applaud during a medal ceremony, in Havana, Cuba, Tuesday, Feb. 24, 2015

The awards come despite thawing relations between Washington and Havana

Cuban President Raúl Castro awarded medals to five men on Tuesday, calling them national heroes for their espionage work in the U.S.

“The Cuban Five,” as they were nicknamed, had attempted to infiltrate Cuban exile groups within the U.S. but were arrested and imprisoned in 1998, Reuters reports.

All were sentenced to lengthy prison terms, but three were released from U.S. custody on Dec. 17 when President Barack Obama announced a shift in Washington’s relationship with Havana. (The remaining pair had already returned to their homeland.)

In exchange for the final three spies, the Cuban government released a Cuban prisoner convicted 20 years ago of spying on his home country for the U.S.

The prisoner exchange was one element of a dramatic recent shift in U.S.-Cuba relations. Both countries have announced that they will restore diplomatic relations after decades of hostility and sanctions.

The Cuban Five were presented to a group of Cuban government officials, military officers and dignitaries at the Cuban parliament. Castro led the ceremony, but his brother, former President Fidel Castro, was not seen. Fidel, 88, has not appeared publicly in over a year.

Gerardo Hernandez, 49, was the leader of the arrested spies. “The honor that we receive today also demands that we rise to the challenges facing the revolution,” he said.

[Reuters]

TIME Jamaica

Jamaica Decriminalizes Marijuana and Moves Toward Cultivation

Jamaican ganja farmer checks his marijuana plants
John Greim—LightRocket/Getty Images Jamaican ganja farmer checks his marijuana plants

New law decriminalizes possession of small amounts

A law passed in Jamaica on Tuesday decriminalized possession of small amounts of marijuana, while also laying the groundwork for regulating the drug’s cultivation and medical usage.

The new law states that possession of up to 2 oz. of pot or weed, as it is otherwise known, will be considered a petty offense without going on a person’s criminal record, the Associated Press reported.

It also legalizes the cultivation of up to five marijuana plants on any premises and the use of the drug for religious purposes. Furthermore, tourists prescribed medical marijuana abroad can apply for a permit to buy it locally.

The amendment in Jamaica, where weed has long been a part of daily life but remained illegal, comes soon after Alaska became the third U.S. state to legalize recreational marijuana.

However, both American and Jamaican authorities insisted that this does not change the strict rules and guidelines around cross-border drug trafficking and illegal cultivation.

TIME Behind the Photos

A Turkish Flag Draws Parallels to Iconic Iwo Jima Photo

Turkish soldiers put a wire fence around area after Turkish flag is raised on Feb. 22, 2015 in the Esme region of Aleppo where the Tomb of Suleyman Shah will be placed.
Firat Yurdakul—Anadolu Agency/Getty Images Turkish soldiers put a wire fence around area after Turkish flag is raised on Feb. 22, 2015 in the Esme region of Aleppo where the Tomb of Suleyman Shah will be placed.

Photographer Firat Yurdakul captured a scene reminiscent of Joe Rosenthal's WWII image

Seventy years ago, Associated Press photographer Joe Rosenthal captured the historic photograph of five U.S. Marines and a Navy officer raising the American flag on Iwo Jima. The photograph marked a decisive, but not ultimate, victory for the U.S. during World War II, and was printed across the front pages of hundreds of newspapers in America.

On Feb. 22, 2015—just before the iconic photograph’s anniversary—a group of Turkish soldiers were portrayed in a similar ceremonial setup, this time in Syria.

Earlier that day, the Turkish army had launched a military operation 20 miles into its neighboring country to the tomb of Suleyman Shah, the grandfather of the Ottoman Empire’s founder, Osman I. The area around the tomb has been controlled by the militant group Islamic State of Iraq and Greater Syria (ISIS) and soldiers tasked with guarding it have been trapped there for months. Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said in a televised news conference that the mission aimed to evacuate the soldiers and relocate the remains; the tomb was then destroyed.

With the new tomb situated in Turkish-controlled territory just 600 ft. inside Syria, journalists and photographers were invited to document the historic groundbreaking. “It was an embedded operation,” says Firat Yurdakul of the Anadolu photo agency. “On the day, we had no idea where we were going. As we were waiting at the border, Turkish soldiers, tanks and armored vehicles entered Syria.”

Once the area was secured, bulldozers started working on the new tomb. They were followed by a group of soldiers carrying a flagpole, which they quickly raised on the new historic site in front of Yurdakul’s camera. “I [don’t] think the soldiers were posing for a photo,” he tells TIME. “The Turkish flag has an important meaning in [our] society, thus they were trying to do that ritual as honorably as they [could].”

U.S. Marines of the 28th Regiment, 5th Division, raise the American flag atop Mt. Suribachi, Iwo Jima, on Feb. 23, 1945. Strategically located only 660 miles from Tokyo, the Pacific island became the site of one of the bloodiest, most famous battles of World War II against Japan.
Joe Rosenthal—APU.S. Marines of the 28th Regiment, 5th Division, raise the American flag atop Mt. Suribachi, Iwo Jima, on Feb. 23, 1945.

Naturally, Yurdakul admits that his photo resembles Rosenthal’s icon. “Without any doubt, young photojournalists like [myself] have common references—Joe Rosenthal is one of them. I thought about Rosenthal’s picture as I was taking [this] photo,” but, he assures, it was “completely spontaneous.”

With additional reporting by Mikko Takkunen

TIME Syria

British Police Believe 3 Missing Teen Girls Have Entered Syria

The three Londoners were suspected of flying to Turkey to cross into Syria

London’s Metropolitan Police said Tuesday that officials believe three teenage girls who traveled to Turkey have entered Syria.

Police said in a statement they “now have reason to believe that [the girls] are no longer in Turkey,” but did not provide further details, CNN reports. Officials had been hunting the classmates—Shamima Begum, 15; Kadiza Sultana, 16; and Amira Abase, 15—after they boarded an Istanbul-bound flight on Feb. 17. The girls’ parents have publicly pleaded for them to return home.

Turkey’s Deputy Prime Minister Bulent Arinc told reporters earlier in the day it was “condemnable and shameful” that British authorities allowed the girls to leave for Turkey. “The search efforts are ongoing. If we can find them, great,” he said. “If not, then it is the British authorities who are responsible, not Turkey.”

[CNN]

TIME career

IMF Chief Christine Lagarde: Female Equality Laws Are Good For the Economy

BELGIUM-GREECE-EU-EUROGROUP-FINANCE
JOHN THYS—AFP/Getty Images International Monetary Fund Managing Director Christine Lagarde gives a joint press after an Eurogroup Council meeting on February 20, 2015 at EU Headquarters in Brussels. ( JOHN THYS--AFP/Getty Images)

Notes GDPs would increase dramatically if laws changed to make it easier for women to work

International Monetary Fund Chief Christine Lagarde has some good news for economies in the developing world: in one step, they can boost their GDPs up by up to 30 percent. All they have to do is let women into the workforce.

In an article posted Monday on the IMF’s blog, Lagarde discusses a new study that found that over 90% of countries worldwide have some kind of legal restrictions that keep women from working, getting loans, or owning property. Women make up 40% of the global workforce, but in some regions they’re vastly underrepresented– only 21% of women in the Middle East and North Africa work outside the home.

Lagarde says that fixing the laws that keep women from fully participating in the economy could boost GDPs– by a lot. Getting women equally represented int the workforce would amount to a 9% increase in Japan’s GDP, a 12% increase in the United Arab Emirates, and a 34% increase in Egypt. In the US, our GDP would increase by 5% if we made it easier for women to participate in the economy.

Changing the laws is only the first step– Lagarde also notes that childcare and maternity leave benefits also play a major role in whether and how women work outside the home. Currently, the US is one of few developed countries that offers no guaranteed maternity leave, and the IMF study found that in 2009, the U.S. spent only 1.2% of our GDP on family benefits– less than any other developed country. Oh great.

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