World News at a Glance
Posted December 23, 2017 7:15 p.m. EST
Tensions Rise as Fired Afghan Governor Refuses to Go
A powerful Afghan governor fired by the country’s president refused Saturday to leave a post he has held for 13 years, raising fears that the political tensions could undermine the country’s security. Speaking to a crowd of about 2,000 people in Mazar-e-Sharif, the governor, Atta Mohammad Noor, said that President Ashraf Ghani did not have the power to unilaterally remove him because his party had half of the seats in the coalition government. Noor said 80 percent of the effort to remove him had come from Abdullah Abdullah, a leader of Noor’s party, Jamiat-e-Islami, and the rest from the president.
London Zoo Fire Kills Aardvark; 4 Meerkats Are Missing
More than 70 firefighters battled a blaze at the London Zoo early Saturday that engulfed a cafe, killed at least one animal — an aardvark — and left some staff members suffering from smoke inhalation, the zoo said. Four meerkats were missing, a spokeswoman for the zoo said. The zoo, in Regent’s Park in central London, will remain closed until further notice. The fire broke out shortly after 6 a.m. local time in the Animal Adventure section. Staff members quickly moved animals like llamas and camels to safety, and the fire was brought under control about 9:16 a.m.
Yemeni Crisis Deepens as Rebels Lock Up Foes
The rebels who control Sanaa, the capital of Yemen, have tightened their grip on the city and its people in recent weeks, shutting off access to the internet, blocking social media sites and sending gunmen to raid the homes of anyone they suspect of opposing them. Hundreds of people have been detained, and prices for basic goods like food and fuel are soaring, threatening to exacerbate a dire humanitarian crisis. The power consolidation by the rebels, known as the Houthis, is a grim new chapter in the war and highlights the tremendous barriers facing international efforts to end it.
For More Than 300 Afghan Children, Many Older Than 5, Home Is Mother’s Cellblock
A survey of Afghan prisons by The New York Times concluded that at least 333 children are imprisoned with their mothers nationwide, according to interviews with officials at 33 of the country’s 34 provincial prisons. Of those 333 children, 103 of them are older than 5, the age at which they are eligible for transfer to orphanages. The total does not include children in juvenile detention for crimes of their own. Although four orphanages accept children older than 5 whose mothers are imprisoned, they are already filled to capacity. The system allows convicts to decide their young children’s fates.
In Bethlehem, a Mood of Hopeless Resignation Among Palestinians
Just days before Christmas, the management of the Jacir Palace Hotel in Bethlehem was mulling whether to remain closed for the holidays, normally one of the hotel's busiest periods. Since President Donald Trump’s recognition this month of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, Palestinians have been clashing intermittently with Israeli forces outside the hotel’s gates. As the clashes have simmered on, Bethlehem, like the rest of the Palestinian territories, seemed suspended in a kind of limbo. With residents neither basking in seasonal cheer nor raging in the throes of a new intifada, the popular mood was more one of hopeless resignation.
In a First, U.N. Evacuates Dozens of Refugees from Libya to Italy
Dozens of refugees and migrants who were held in detention in bleak conditions in Libya were evacuated to Italy late Friday, according to the United Nations’ refugee agency. It is the first time that the organization has relocated people from Libya directly into Europe. The group of 162 refugees and migrants from Eritrea, Ethiopia, Somalia and Yemen arrived at a military base near Rome and included families, single mothers, newborns, unaccompanied children and disabled people. Most had been held for months in harsh conditions in detention centers where they were subjected to abuses — and in some instances sold as slaves — by traffickers and local militiamen.
Erdogan Trains His Broom on a Sweep of Turkey’s Governing Party
Looking ahead to elections next year, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey has been conducting a vigorous housecleaning, pledging a “serious renewal” of his governing party. In recent months, his micromanagement has even reached into the ranks of municipal governments, forcing the resignations of six mayors from some of Turkey’s most important cities, including the capital, Ankara. Most of those who were pushed out had failed to deliver a yes vote during the April referendum that approved constitutional changes that would give Erdogan expanded powers as president if he were to be re-elected.