The World’s Most Powerful Women: May 23

May 23, 2017

The death toll continued to climb early this morning in the suspected terrorist attack at an Ariana Grande concert in Manchester in northern England last night. Police there put the count at 22. Nearly 60 people have been injured.

A blast that authorities say came from an improvised explosive device denoted by a single man rocked the Manchester Arena following the singer's set, prompting mass panic as concertgoers raced for the exits.

British Prime Minister Theresa May said her thoughts were with the victims and their families in “what is being treated by the police as an appalling terrorist attack.”

"We are working to establish the full details," she said in a statement.

Campaigning for the U.K. general election has been suspended in the wake of the tragedy. When it resumes, national security—not a primary issue in the debate thus far—could surface as a prominent talking point in the contest that's seen May's Conservative party lose some of its comfortable lead in recent days.

May is scheduled to head a meeting of the government’s crisis response committee this morning.

Grande, with a booming voice and a massive Twitter following of 45 million, is on an international tour promoting her latest album "Dangerous Woman." In recent years, the 23-year-old who gained fame as a Nickelodeon star has sold more than 1.7 million albums. Hours after the blast, she posted that she was "broken."

"[F]rom the bottom of my heart, i am so so sorry. i don't have words."

@clairezillman

EUROPE/MIDDLE EAST/AFRICA

A messy manifesto

Prior to the attack on Monday, Theresa May retreated from a proposed policy to set a minimum amount of money an individual and his or her family could retain after paying for old-age care. Opponents had argued that it disadvantaged families dealing with longer-term care. May said yesterday the party would instead set a cap on care costs. 

Wall Street Journal

Turning the page

Gellara, a women's magazine launched last week in Afghanistan, tackles light topics like fashion tips during pregnancy, as well as heavier fare like articles about breast cancer. Editor Fatana Hassanzada, 23, wants it to be a forum for conversation among young women, but knows it may ignite outrage among certain circles of men who will view its content as leading women astray. “Our view is that without agitation, we won’t reach an equilibrium,” Hassanzada says.

New York Times

Words of encouragement

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's wife, Sara, offered words of encouragement to President Donald Trump and wife Melania when the couple arrived in Tel Aviv on Monday. At the Ben Gurion airport, Sara Netanyahu was caught on camera exchanging a few private words with the visitors. "The majority of the people of Israel, unlike the media, they love us, so we tell them how you are great and they love you," she told the U.S. president and first lady. Trump interjected: "We have something very much in common."

Reuters

THE AMERICAS

Paid leave pushback

First Daughter Ivanka Trump reportedly persuaded her father to introduce the paid leave policy that's expected to be announced today as part of the administration's budget proposal. But Congress may be a harder sell given Republicans' opposition to a federal paid leave policy and Democrats' reluctance to pass any measure that portrays the president as a moderate. 

New York Times

Billy's breakthrough

Billy Bush, the former TV show host to whom Donald Trump bragged about sexually assaulting women in 2005, spoke out for the first time since the infamous Access Hollywood video leaked. Bush, who lost his job in the scandal that failed to derail Trump's White House bid, says he thought Trump was being "provocative" with his comments and that the backlash over the tape has given him a "deeper understanding" of women's fight for equality: "When a woman watches that tape—and this is what really hit me—they may be asking themselves, 'Is that what happens when I walk out of a room? When I walk out of a meeting, is that what they're saying about me? Are they sizing me up?'"

Hollywood Reporter

Answers for an ambassador

U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley said yesterday that the independent investigation into possible ties between Russian interference in last year’s election and associates of President Trump is necessary. Last week, the Justice Department appointed Robert Mueller as a special prosecutor to oversee the investigation, a move the president called “the single greatest witch hunt of a politician in American history.” But Haley voiced support for Mueller’s appointment, saying "all these questions need to be answered so that the administration can get back to work.”

Politico

ASIA-PACIFIC

Unhealthy travel habits

The travel habits of Margaret Chan, the director-general of the World Health Organization, are under scrutiny following a report by the AP that the UN health agency routinely spends about $200 million on travel annually—more than it spends on fighting AIDS, tuberculosis, and malaria combined. The luxurious accommodations that Chan sometimes occupies—a presidential suite at a beach-side hotel in Guinea with a dining room for eight, for example—are sending the wrong message as the cash-strapped WHO pleads for more money to fund its responses to health crises.

Associated Press

Rebel with a cause

Rebel Wilson's defamation trial against publisher Bauer Media started yesterday as her lawyers told the jury that magazines "tore down" the Australian movie star by publishing articles that allegedly portrayed her as a serial liar, who invented "fantastic stories" including falsifying her age. Her lawyer claims the articles were timed to coincide with the release of Pitch Perfect 2 and cost the actress jobs. The publishing company is expected to argue that the articles didn't harm Wilson's reputation and were largely true.

Sydney Morning Herald

Hush money

Rapper Nicki Minaj promised to pay off fans' student loan debt earlier this month, and it turns out her philanthropic streak goes beyond that. In a video posted to Instagram over the weekend, Minaj revealed she's been quietly donating money to an unnamed village in India for several years through her pastor Lydia Sloley. Minaj wrote that her donations have provided the village with “a Computer Center, a Tailoring Institute, a Reading Program and 2 WATER WELLS” and promised to reveal more about the charity she works with in case anyone would like to join her.

New York Magazine

IN BRIEF

The prom dress: An anthropological history of America’s sexual coming-of-age costume

Quartz

Megyn Kelly's new Sunday magazine show will premiere in June

Deadline

Why Sally Yates stood up to Trump

New Yorker

Jo Cox's widower: 'I think there needs to be some disruption to politics'

Time

PARTING WORDS

"So tell your story. It is what makes you who you are."

—Valerie Jarrett, former senior advisor to President Barack Obama, in a speech to Spelman College graduates

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