World News at a Glance
Posted December 18, 2017 9:27 p.m. EST
Updated December 18, 2017 9:30 p.m. EST
Ramaphosa Wins ANC Leadership Battle in South Africa
In a humbling rebuke to President Jacob Zuma of South Africa, the African National Congress chose an anti-apartheid hero and business tycoon as its new leader on Monday, positioning him to become Zuma’s successor. The new ANC leader, Cyril Ramaphosa, was a protégé of Nelson Mandela, who had pushed unsuccessfully to name him as his successor in the late 1990s. After a long wait, he is now poised to lead a party and nation deeply tarnished by Zuma’s eight-year rule. The vote amounted to a rejection of Zuma, who had backed a veteran politician and his former wife.
Chile’s Voters Extend Latin America’s Shift Right
Latin America’s political right is on a decisive winning streak. In Brazil, the leftist Workers’ Party was ousted from power in 2016 when President Dilma Rousseff was impeached. In November, President Mauricio Macri of Argentina led his center-right coalition to a sweeping victory in legislative elections that left the once-formidable Peronist party divided and adrift. And then in Chile on Sunday night, the left’s last hope of hanging on to power in one of the region’s economic and diplomatic heavyweights slipped away as billionaire Sebastián Piñera, running on a conservative platform, cruised to victory in the presidential election.
Afghan President Fires a Powerful Governor
President Ashraf Ghani of Afghanistan fired the powerful governor of Balkh province on Monday, ousting an official who had held sway over a northern economic powerhouse for 13 years. The removal of the governor, Atta Muhammad Noor, raised fears of additional political pressure on Ghani and of further fraying of the coalition government in Kabul. The president had already come under fire from rivals and former allies alike for his government’s inability to hold long-delayed elections. In his first reaction to the firing, Noor said he rejected it, essentially setting up a showdown with the country’s president.
Independent Panel on Grenfell Tower Fire Condemns Construction Regulations
An independent review of one of Britain’s deadliest fires in modern times condemned construction regulations on Monday as “not fit for purpose,” saying the rules allowed dangerous latitude for cutting corners in a culture of “doing things cheaply.” The June 14 fire that consumed Grenfell Tower in West London killed 71 people and raised alarms about gaps in British fire regulations. The review was conducted by Judith Hackitt, a chemical engineer who previously served as a top health and safety regulator. Critics said that her report failed to examine how the building industry might have weakened enforcement of existing regulations.
Uber Driver in Lebanon Arrested in Killing of British Diplomat
A driver for Uber in Lebanon has been arrested in connection with the killing of a British diplomat in Beirut over the weekend, and the ride-hailing company said Monday that it was cooperating with authorities. The body of the victim, Rebecca Dykes, was found next to a highway on the outskirts of the Lebanese capital on Saturday. She is thought to have spent Friday night at a friend’s goodbye party. News outlets have reported that the suspect had a criminal record. Uber has come under intense scrutiny in the past for its lax approach to conducting background checks on drivers.
U.S. Vetoes U.N. Resolution Condemning Move on Jerusalem
The United States on Monday blocked a U.N. Security Council resolution demanding that the Trump administration rescind its Dec. 6 decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and to eventually move the U.S. Embassy there. Although the United States used its veto power as a permanent member of the Security Council to block the resolution, the council’s vote, 14-1, punctuated the U.S. isolation over a central issue in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. U.S. Ambassador Nikki R. Haley chastised her fellow council members after the vote, arguing that President Donald Trump’s decision two weeks ago was a “U.S. recognition of the obvious.”
India’s Governing Party Shows Its Might in State Elections
India’s governing party — which detractors say stokes religious divisions but supporters praise for economic development — handily won two state elections, according to results released on Monday. Despite aggressive campaigning by the opposition and talk about rising discontent over India’s economy, unemployment and poor public services, the governing party held control of the State Assembly of Gujarat, one of India’s most industrialized states, and it captured the assembly of Himachal Pradesh, a small state tucked in the Himalayas. It seems that Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Bharatiya Janata Party continue to be a formidable political force.