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April 17, 2014
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Flyers in Donetsk, Ukraine telling Jewish residents they need to register and pay a fee to pro-Russian separatists are likely a hoax or extortion scheme, TIME reports.

The news spread on Wednesday via a small local website based in eastern Ukraine. The site claimed that three masked men were passing out anti-Semitic flyers outside of a synagogue, which ordered Jewish residents to register with a militia, show proof of property they own, and pay a fee of $50 in U.S. currency. Eventually, the story made its way to U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, who told reporters in Geneva, "In the year 2014, after all of the miles traveled and all of the journey of history, this is not just intolerable, it's grotesque. It is beyond unacceptable."

TIME points out that the evidence is leaning toward this all being propaganda or a badly thought out extortion plot. The signature at the bottom of the flyer is "the People's Governor of Donetsk, Denis Pushilin," but the actual man who calls himself the "People's Governor" is Pavel Gubarev. Pushilin has already stated that he has nothing to do with the flyer, telling Russia Today, "in reality, this is a fake, and a pretty unsuccessful one. It was all done with Photoshop."

An organizer who supports the unity of Ukraine told TIME that he believes the flyers are being used by a splinter group of separatists who are looking for money. As for the local Jewish community, no one has any plans to register or pay a fine. "It looked like a pretty stupid provocation," Larissa Loyko, a representative of the Jewish Foundation of Ukraine, said. "But this is not the kind of matter that can be turned into a prank. Someone will have to answer for this." Catherine Garcia

7:38 a.m. ET
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Donald Trump trails Hillary Clinton by just two points nationally, a new NBC News/Survey Monkey poll released Tuesday reveals. Clinton leads the presumptive Republican nominee just 47 percent to 45 percent — a narrow edge just barely outside the poll's 1.2-point margin of error. Meanwhile, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) boasts a 12-point lead over Trump in a hypothetical general election matchup, 52 percent to 40 percent.

The poll surveyed 12,969 registered voters online between May 23 and May 29. Becca Stanek

7:37 a.m. ET
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Actor Kit Harrington slammed the film industry for "sexism towards men" in an interview with The Sunday Times, accusing the system of "a double standard."

"If you said to a girl, 'Do you like being called a babe?' and she said, 'No, not really,' she'd be absolutely right," Harrington said. "I like to think of myself as more than a head of hair or a set of looks."

Some thought the Game of Thrones actor's comments came across as tone-deaf. "I think what he is actually describing is feeling objectified, which certainly isn't a phenomenon belonging to a single gender," Aimée Lutkin observed for Jezebel.

Still, "it's demeaning," Harrington said. "Yes, in some ways you could argue I've been employed for a look I have. But there's a sexism that happens towards men. There's definitely a sexism in our industry that happens towards women, and there is towards men as well ... At some points during photoshoots when I'm asked to strip down, I felt that." Jeva Lange

7:15 a.m. ET
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Journalist Katie Couric admitted to deceptively editing an exchange with gun rights activists in Under the Gun, a documentary she produced and narrated about gun violence. "I take responsibility for a decision that misrepresented an exchange I had with members of the Virginia Citizens Defense League," she said in a statement Monday evening.

The edit made the activists appear stumped and ashamed by her question about felons and terrorists purchasing guns if there are no background checks, when in fact they responded quickly to the criticism and had candid answers. The discrepancy was exposed by The Washington Free Beacon last week. Jeva Lange

6:22 a.m. ET
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On Monday, Iraqi counterterrorism forces, backed by U.S.-led airstrikes, started to push into Islamic State–held Fallujah, capturing about 85 percent of the city's southern Nuaimiya area. At dawn on Tuesday, ISIS launched a counterattack, two officers with the special forces told The Associated Press, and Iraqi forces repelled the four-hour assault. ISIS used tunnels and snipers to attack Iraqi forces, and sent out six car bombs, the officers said, but the explosives-laden vehicles were destroyed before they reached Iraqi troops.

There are an estimated 50,000 civilians trapped in Fallujah, and on Tuesday the Norwegian Refugee Council aid group warned that "a human catastrophe is unfolding in Fallujah." Jan Egeland, the secretary general of the group, said that the "warring parties must guarantee civilians safe exit now, before it's too late and more lives are lost." Peter Weber

5:33 a.m. ET

Previews of the J.K. Rowling play Harry Potter and the Cursed Child begin June 7 at London's Palace Theatre, but on Tuesday, Rowling's Pottermore site released the first photos of the lead characters in costume. Jamie Parker is a grown-up Harry Potter, complete with the lightning scar on his forehead, and Poppy Miller is his wife, the former Ginny Weasley. Playing their youngest son, Albus Severus Potter — the titular cursed child — is Sam Clemmett, dressed in hand-me-down Hogwarts robes.

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child is being presented as the eighth installment of the Harry Potter saga, following the seven books. Rowling, who wrote the play with Jack Thorne and John Tiffany, says she is thrilled with the casting. Parker "simply is Harry now," she said. "There's a kind of relief in watching him, he gets it so right." And Miller's Ginny is "kind and cool, exactly as I imagined her," Rowling added. The play will run in two parts, with the first performed as a matinee and the second at night. Peter Weber

5:00 a.m. ET

"While Donald Trump is widely disliked, he is especially disliked by women," Trevor Noah said on The Daily Show last week, "as Trump is well aware." He played a video of Trump speaking at a rally in New Mexico, telling the crowd, among other things, "I want to set records with women." Noah was slightly repulsed: "It sounds like Trump is getting speech ideas from a pervert's Tinder profile."

Trump does have some female admirers, but "there's a reason the large majority of women are not Trump fans," Noah said, playing another recent clip of Trump saying he can't stand Hillary Clinton's voice. But then he dug into the Trump archive, unearthing a 1994 interview on Prime Time Live with Nancy Collins in which Trump explained why he didn't want his wife at the time, Marla Maples, to work outside the home. "Now, these clips aren't online, so pretty much nobody has seen them since they aired in 1994," Noah promised. And sure, times have changed in 22 years, but even in year two of the Bill Clinton presidency, Trump knew what he was saying would be construed as "chauvinist." And to show that some things never change, he went ahead and said what was on his mind anyway. Watch below. Peter Weber

3:40 a.m. ET

At a Bernie Sanders campaign rally in Oakland late Monday, five animal-rights activists jumped over the barricade and ran toward the stage, prompting two agents to jump on the platform and push Sanders away from the mic. Security dragged the protesters into nearby Oakland City Hall, and Sanders, looking more annoyed than frightened, returned to the mic and said, "We are not easily intimidated." Sanders campaign spokesman Michael Briggs said later that the interruption "was handled professionally by the Secret Service." The group, Direct Action Everywhere, said one of its protesters at the event had been "assaulted."

Why are animal-rights activists targeting Sanders? "His campaign has promoted itself based on this idea of progressivism and rejecting discrimination and inequality," member Zach Groff tells ABC News, "but when it comes to the animals in the United States and around the world, discrimination and violence is the name of the game every single day." Sanders "claims to be a progressive, but you cannot be a progressive if you oppose animal rights," Groff added. Another Direct Action Everywhere organizer, Aidan Cook, explained that "Sanders claims to oppose 'factory farming,' but what he hides is that virtually all farms in the United States, including farms he supports, are essentially factory farms." You can watch the drama below. Peter Weber

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