World News at a Glance
Posted December 27, 2017 9:17 p.m. EST
Deal With Japan on Former Sex Slaves Failed Victims, South Korean Panel Says
A South Korean government-appointed panel faulted on Wednesday a “final and irreversible” deal struck with Japan in 2015 to resolve a decades-old dispute over Korean women who were forced into sexual slavery during World War II. The panel’s findings offer President Moon Jae-in a potential opportunity to change or even scrap the agreement reached between Japan and his predecessor as president, Park Geun-hye. In the deal, Japan expressed responsibility and made a new apology to the victims, promising an $8.3 million fund to help provide old-age care. In return, South Korea promised not to criticize Tokyo on the issue again.
Tired of Regional Critics, Venezuela Looks to Russia and China
Venezuela is finding itself increasingly isolated in the hemisphere. It downgraded diplomatic relations with Canada and Brazil recently, after a war of words over the Venezuelan government’s decision to ban three influential opposition parties from running candidates in next year’s presidential election. As its leftist president, Nicolás Maduro, is increasingly regarded as a despot among neighbors in a region that has shifted politically to the right, Venezuela, once the richest country in South America but now in need of cash, is drawing closer — and becoming more dependent on — Russia and China.
Myanmar Court Extends Detention of Reuters Journalists
A court in Myanmar extended the detention of two Reuters journalists for another 14 days. Wa Lone, 31, and Kyaw Soe Oo, 27, were arrested while reporting on Rakhine state, where Myanmar’s military has taken part in a campaign of killings, rape and arson that has sent more than 655,000 Rohingya Muslims fleeing into Bangladesh. The two were charged with violating Myanmar’s Official Secrets Act, a colonial-era law that carries a maximum sentence of 14 years. The journalists were arrested Dec. 12 after having obtained photographs from residents of a village in which, the army’s chief said, a mass grave was found.
Israeli Minister Wants to Name a Jerusalem Train Station for Trump
After President Donald Trump recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, a powerful Israeli Cabinet minister is offering to express his gratitude by putting Trump’s name on a proposed new train station in the Old City, just a few hundred yards from the Western Wall and the Temple Mount. The minister, Yisrael Katz, has been promoting the idea of a railroad stop in the Old City for over a year. But the plan, which would require digging beneath some of the most sensitive acreage on Earth, is sure to invite more international criticism, not to mention further antagonize Palestinians.
North Korean Defectors Show Signs of Possible Radiation Exposure
Four defectors from the area near North Korea’s nuclear testing site showed symptoms that could be attributed to radiation exposure, but scientists said they could not conclude that the health problems had been caused by a nuclear test, the South Korean government said Wednesday. The four arrived in South Korea from Kilju, a county in northeastern North Korea that includes Punggye-ri, where the North has conducted all six of its nuclear tests in tunnels dug deep beneath the mountains. South Korea began conducting medical exams of defectors from that region in October, a month after the North conducted its biggest test explosion yet.
Assad Must Go, Says Turkey’s Leader, Seeking Leverage as War Winds Down
Turkey’s leader denounced President Bashar Assad of Syria on Wednesday as a terrorist mass murderer with no place in that country’s postwar future, scrapping a softened approach that Turkish officials had taken toward Assad in recent years. The statement by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey came as Assad seemed more confident than ever that he has won the war and will remain Syria’s leader for the foreseeable future. It also came against the backdrop of maneuvering by many powers — most notably Russia and Iran, Assad’s most important allies — to influence the outcome of a devastating conflict that has reshaped Middle East politics.