World News at a Glance
Posted December 28, 2017 9:23 p.m. EST
Islamic State Claims Deadly Blast at Afghan Shiite Center
At least 41 people were killed and dozens more wounded Thursday in a bombing at a Shiite cultural center in Kabul that also houses a news agency, Afghan officials said. The Islamic State has claimed responsibility for the attack. It was the latest in a series of mass-casualty attacks against Shiite targets by the militant group’s Afghan affiliate. In the assault Thursday, one suicide bomber entered the Tebyan cultural center during a group discussion and then detonated his explosive vest, said Sadiq Muradi, Kabul’s deputy police chief. Two improvised explosive devices placed nearby went off shortly after that, officials said.
George Weah Wins Liberia’s Presidency, Unofficial Results Show
For decades, Liberia has waited through war and strongmen for a peaceful democratic transfer of power. On Thursday that appeared to be on the verge of happening. Unofficial elections returns showed that George Weah, a former international soccer star, defeated the sitting vice president, two former warlords and his own ex-girlfriend and won the right to succeed the first woman democratically elected as president of an African country. It was Weah’s third bid to lead Liberia, a nation founded almost two centuries ago by freed American blacks. He will succeed Ellen Johnson Sirleaf.
Airstrikes in Yemen Kill 68 Civilians in a Single Day
Airstrikes on a market and a farm in Yemen killed at least 68 civilians in a single day, including eight children, the U.N. said. The two attacks occurred Tuesday, making it one of the bloodiest days for civilians so far in Yemen’s civil war. At least 109 civilians have been killed nationwide over the past two weeks, in a conflict that has intensified since the death of the country’s former president, Ali Abdullah Saleh, this month. Local Yemeni officials blamed the Saudi-led coalition for the airstrikes. More than three years of fighting have turned Yemen into the world’s largest humanitarian crisis.
Facebook Removes Chechen Strongman’s Accounts, Raising Questions
Ramzan Kadyrov, the strongman leader of the Chechen Republic, and Russian officials have challenged Facebook's decision to end his Instagram and Facebook accounts after he was added to a U.S. sanctions lists. Kadyrov’s Facebook and Instagram accounts, which had 4 million followers between them, were taken down Dec. 23. A Facebook spokeswoman said the company was legally obligated to act, but many other people on sanctions lists remain active on Facebook and Instagram, including President Nicolas Maduro of Venezuela. Kadyrov — and the Russian government — now want answers from Facebook about its reasoning.
Putin Talks Tough on Terror After Blast
President Vladimir Putin of Russia said Thursday that he had ordered security agents to “take no prisoners” during terrorist attacks, and authorized the police to “liquidate the bandits on the spot.” Putin’s comments came a day after a bomb exploded in a grocery store in St. Petersburg, Russia’s second-largest city, wounding about a dozen people. At first, police did not refer to the explosion as terrorism, but Putin said Thursday that it was, in fact, a terrorist attack. Putin has long burnished his image as tough on terrorism, and Russian forces have shot and killed dozens of suspects over the years.
Campaign Begins for Italian Election
The countdown to Europe’s next pivotal election began Thursday, when Italy’s president dissolved the Parliament and effectively opened the campaign for the first national elections in five years, scheduled for March 4. The move by President Sergio Mattarella now places Italy’s always tumultuous politics in the spotlight after a year in which populist forces continued to reshape the political landscape across Europe. The general election will be Italy’s first since 2013, when the government led by the center-left Democratic Party succeeded the caretaker administration of Mario Monti, a technocrat who stepped in after Silvio Berlusconi resigned in the midst of Italy’s debt crisis.