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Time’s choice of German Chancellor Angela Merkel as Person of the Year was “inspired,” tweeted U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Samantha Power on Dec. 9, as Merkel’s name trended worldwide. It was also historic, marking just the fourth time that a woman has held the title solo–a moment welcomed by Janice Moglen of Colorado Springs (“Note to all the schoolgirls of the world … You may grow up to be Angela Merkel”), Melinda Gates (she “put women and girls on the global agenda”) and the website Jezebel (“Yasssss Mom!!!”).

But some were critical of the choice, mostly because of Merkel’s welcoming stance on refugees. Although that position makes Germany “a moral leader,” wrote Dylan Matthews of Vox, Andrew Stuttaford at the National Review criticized the “naiveté” of TIME’s take on it. Donald Trump, who appeared third on our short list (behind ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi), was also vocal. “I told you @TIME Magazine would never pick me as person of the year despite being the big favorite,” he tweeted. “They picked the person who is ruining Germany.”

Meanwhile, Caitlyn Jenner, listed as No. 7, appeared grateful for the recognition. “Thank you TIME for including me,” she tweeted. “So cool!”


Days after Angela Merkel was named TIME’s 2015 Person of the Year, Saturday Night Live’s Kate McKinnon reprised her impression of the German Chancellor as part of the show’s Weekend Update segment. “This is und hoot, as well as und holler,” “Merkel” told anchor Colin Jost–especially coming at the end of a tough year during which, among other challenges, “Syria asked if 1 million refugees could sleep on my couch.”


The recession officially ended in 2009, but millions of Americans are still feeling its effects. Using new figures from the U.S. Census Bureau, TIME Labs maps out, county by county, where and how incomes have changed since the recovery began. Check your county at labs.time.com.

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–15% & less –14%to–10% –9% to –5% –4% to 4% 5% to 9% 10% to 14% 15% & more

The top 10 photos of 2015

A sampling of the year’s most powerful and important images, as chosen by TIME’s photo editors. See the full selection at lightbox.time.com.

Ukrainian soldiers conduct operations along a road to the embattled town of Debaltseve on Feb. 15

The impact of drought in California is vividly apparent in Rancho Mirage on April 3

A supporter of Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari is hit by a motorbike in Kano on March 31

Two children cry as migrants try to force their way past police in Gevgelija, Macedonia, on Aug. 21


Time asked filmmaker Oscar Boyson to explain, in just a few minutes, what makes Star Wars special. One reason: give-and-take with the larger culture. Watch at time.com/starwars-special.


In the most widely shared Super Bowl ad ever, a kid dressed as Darth Vader famously starts his parents’ Volkswagen Passat using the Force.


The Strategic Defense Initiative, a missile-defense system proposed by Ronald Reagan in 1983, was dubbed Star Wars by the media.


Star Wars bounty hunter Boba Fett sounds remarkably like Manco, the bounty hunter played by Clint Eastwood in the 1965 western For a Few Dollars More.


A new TIME Special Edition dives deep into the life of Alexander Hamilton. The man on the $10 bill has long been one of the least well-known figures among the Founding Fathers of the U.S.–but that’s changing, as his story has become a subject of interest from the best-seller list to the Broadway stage. As biographer Ron Chernow explains to TIME, it helps that Hamilton’s philosophy can sound surprisingly modern, as “America has grown into the contours of the country of his imagination.” Alexander Hamilton will be available in stores starting Dec. 25.

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