By Andrew Katz
February 20, 2014

POLL

WHAT’S THE WORLD’S TOP PROBLEM?

WIN/Gallup International asked 66,806 people in 65 nations. Here’s a sampling of what they said:

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21% Corruption

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12% The gap between rich and poor

10% Unemployment

7% Environmental issues

2% Religious fundamentalism

Let the Games Begin

BRAZIL

Drums queen Thalia Cristina walks into an office at a samba school in Rio de Janeiro’s Jacarezinho favela on Feb. 16 for a practice session ahead of the Carnaval festival that begins on Feb. 28. Previously controlled by drug traffickers, Jacarezinho was taken over by city police units in 2012 and cleaned up in advance of the 2014 World Cup and 2016 Summer Olympics. Pre-Carnaval celebrations are already under way.

Hurdles Arise for Scottish Nationalists

A referendum that will give Scots the option of splitting from the U.K. is more than six months away, but the tussle between pro- and anti-independence groups has already begun to resemble an acrimonious marital row.

On Feb. 17, after the British Chancellor of the Exchequer sought to dampen the call for a breakup with cold economic logic, saying a currency union with an independent Scottish nation would not work, Scotland’s nationalist First Minister Alex Salmond delivered a sharp riposte that revealed the primal feelings behind support for going it alone. “To be told there are things we can’t do will certainly elicit a Scottish response that is as resolute as it is uncomfortable to the no campaign,” said Salmond. “It is, ‘Yes we can.'”

The debate extends beyond Britain. The Scottish government has indicated that if the Sept. 18 referendum passes, it would seek to join the European Union. But on Feb. 16, Jose Manuel Barroso (left), head of the European Commission, told the BBC that this “would be extremely difficult, if not impossible.” Citing Spain–which faces nationalist movements in the Basque country and Catalonia, and which blocked Kosovo’s membership after its split from Serbia–he suggested that some E.U. members might not be so keen on setting a precedent for separatists elsewhere in Europe.

Salmond has dismissed the warning. Opinion polls, meanwhile, show that the result of the referendum lies in the hands of the 29% of voters who have yet to make up their minds. Will it be splitsville? A lot depends on the skills of those in favor of preserving the union. But it’s worth remembering that nobody ever won an emotional argument simply by being right.

RUSSIA

‘If you want to say something critical, you will be detained.’

NADEZHDA TOLOKONNIKOVA, of Pussy Riot, speaking to reporters after she and a fellow member were briefly detained by police in Sochi in connection with a theft at their hotel. Tolokonnikova said the activist group–three members were jailed for hooliganism in 2012–had arrived at the Winter Olympics to mount a new protest against President Vladimir Putin.

The Explainer

Venezuela’s Student-Driven Protests

Three weeks of protests against President Nicolás Maduro’s poor handling of the economy have boiled over in the nation of 30 million. Opposition leader Leopoldo López, accused of instigating unrest that led to four deaths, surrendered to authorities on Feb. 18.

THE ORIGINS

The protests started with calls for measures to tackle high crime rates but soon flared into larger demonstrations led by Maduro’s political opponents. They blamed him for economic woes like high inflation and shortages of essential goods.

THE DEMANDS

In addition to an improvement in the security and economic situations, protesters are pushing for efforts to protect free speech and create better opportunities for young people. While some are calling for a dialogue with Maduro, López has said he wants the government’s “exit.”

THE FALLOUT

This is the first popular revolt against Maduro’s rule since he was elected with a thin margin last year. His support could fragment if he doesn’t rein in the protests.

KENYA

56%

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Percentage of Kenya’s nearly 44 million people who regularly make or receive mobile-phone payments, according to a Pew report that put the country first among 24 developing nations in embracing mobile banking

Roundup

World’s Rarest Stamps

Sotheby’s has announced plans to auction a one-of-a-kind British Guiana 1¢ Magenta (1856) in June, saying it expects the stamp to fetch more than $10 million. Here are four others counted among the world’s rarest:

Post Office Mauritius (1847)

Hundreds of stamps were issued in Mauritius, one of the first British colonies to print its own postage, with the text “Post Office” rather than the usual “Post Paid.” A set of two sold in 1993 for about $2 million.

Swedish Treskilling Yellow (1855)

Rendered yellow as a result of a misprinting–it was meant to be green–it is the only one of its type. Sold in 1996 for about $2.3 million, it currently holds the world record for most valuable stamp.

Inverted Jenny (1918)

A rush to get it printed resulted in the 24¢ stamp–produced to celebrate the start of regular airmail service in the U.S. in 1918–showing an upside-down biplane. In 2005, four sold for nearly $3 million.

Benjamin Franklin Z-Grill (1868)

Only two copies of this 1¢ stamp are known to exist. One of those, bought by a collector for nearly $1 million in 1998, was traded in 2005 for the block of four Inverted Jennys sold earlier that year.

Trending In

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PROGRESS

Somayya Jabarti became the first woman to lead a Saudi Arabian daily when she was named editor in chief of the Saudi Gazette

GOODWILL

Fijian President Ratu Epeli Nailatikau said residents of Kiribati are welcome in Fiji if, as forecast, rising sea levels drown their island nation

PRISON

Norwegian mass killer Anders Behring Breivik threatened a hunger strike unless he was given better video games, a sofa and a larger gym

HUMAN RIGHTS

A U.N. commission warned Kim Jong Un that he may face international prosecution for North Korea’s human-rights abuses

Contact us at editors@time.com.

This appears in the March 03, 2014 issue of TIME.

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