World News at a Glance
Posted December 29, 2017 9:35 p.m. EST
Frustrated U.S. Might Withhold $255 Million in Aid From Pakistan
When Pakistani forces freed a Canadian-American family this fall held captive by militants, they also captured one of the abductors. U.S. officials saw a potential windfall: He was a member of the Taliban-linked Haqqani network who could perhaps provide valuable information about at least one other American hostage. The Americans demanded access to the man, but Pakistani officials rejected those requests, the latest disagreement in the increasingly dysfunctional relationship between the countries. Now, the Trump administration may withhold $255 million in aid, according to U.S. officials, as a show of dissatisfaction with Pakistan’s broader intransigence toward confronting the terrorist networks that operate there.
Protests in Iran Over Economic Woes Spread
Protests over the Iranian government’s handling of the economy spread to several cities Friday, including Tehran, in what appeared to be a sign of unrest. President Hassan Rouhani began his second term in August after winning re-election on promises to revitalize an economy hurt by sanctions. Although foreign investment is rising, the country continues to survive mainly on oil sales. Youth unemployment stands at more than 40 percent, sluggish state-owned enterprises control significant sectors of the economy, and U.S. sanctions prevent most international banks from providing financing or credit to Iran.
Plan for Toronto City of Future Raises Concerns Out of ‘1984’
When Google announced that Sidewalk Labs had been chosen to create a city of tomorrow in a derelict part of Toronto’s waterfront, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau of Canada promised the project would create “technologies that will help us build smarter, greener, more inclusive” communities. Quayside, as the project is known, will be laden with sensors and cameras tracking everyone who lives, works or merely passes through the area. Extending the surveillance powers of one of the world’s largest technology companies from the virtual world to the real one raises privacy concerns for many residents.
Gunmen Attack Cairo Church, Killing at Least 9
At least nine people were killed when gunmen opened fire on a Coptic Orthodox Church in Cairo on Friday in the latest in a series of attacks on Egypt’s Christian minority. The assault targeted the Mar Mina Church. At least one gunman was killed by police, spokesman Boules Haliem said. Worshippers were attacked as they were leaving the church, he said, and at least eight were killed, along with one police officer. Eight more worshippers and a police officer were wounded. Two were in critical condition. Coptic Christians make up about 10 percent of Egypt’s population of 96 million.
South African Court Raises Pressure for Zuma to Go
South Africa’s highest court ruled Friday that Parliament had failed to hold President Jacob Zuma accountable in a long-running corruption case, putting pressure on the weakened leader to resign as his party tries to reinvent itself. The Constitutional Court ruled that Parliament — which is dominated by Zuma’s African National Congress and has stood behind the scandal-plagued president during his eight years in office — had failed to properly investigate Zuma’s conduct when it voted last year not to impeach him. The court ordered lawmakers to create rules to regulate a president’s impeachment.
Germans Will Ring in New Year With Extra Security, Especially for Women
While Germans are stocking up on Champagne to welcome the New Year, officials are setting up roadblocks and safety zones for women to ensure that festivities in cities across the country remain peaceful and safe. Organizers in Berlin have designated a “women’s safety area” where girls and women who feel threatened or have been assaulted can turn for help. But it is in and around Cologne where security has been especially fortified. There, two years ago, groups of mostly young men assaulted and robbed hundreds of women as 2016 arrived. This year, there will be 10 times as many police officers on the streets.