World News at a Glance
Posted December 30, 2017 8:27 p.m. EST
Iran Confronts 3rd Day of Protests, With Calls for Khamenei to Quit
Iran’s leaders were confronted by unauthorized protests in major cities for the third straight day Saturday, with crowds aiming their anger at the supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, and some demanding that he step down. On Saturday night, the protests turned violent, with at least two demonstrators shot in the western town of Dorud, according to social media videos. The protests, which erupted over declining economic conditions, corruption and a lack of personal freedoms, presented a challenge to the government of President Hassan Rouhani. On Saturday, crowds turned out on the same day as an annual pro-government rally in Tehran.
China to Try Tibetan Education Advocate Detained for 2 Years
Chinese officials plan to put Tashi Wangchuk, who advocates broader Tibetan language education, on trial next week for “inciting separatism,” a charge that could result in a sentence of up to 15 years in prison, his lawyers said. International human rights supporters and Tibet advocacy groups denounced the trial after Liang Xiaojun, one of Tashi’s lawyers, wrote online this week that officials at the Yushu Intermediate Court in Qinghai province had scheduled Tashi to appear in court Thursday. Communist Party officials generally decide the outcome of political trials in China; the accused is almost always convicted and sentenced to prison.
U.S. Pounds al-Qaida in Yemen, But Barely Dents Risk of Attack
The United States has tripled the number of airstrikes this year against al-Qaida’s branch in Yemen, U.S. allies have pushed the militants from their lucrative coastal strongholds, and the Pentagon recently boasted of killing key Qaida leaders and disrupting the group’s operations. Yet the top U.S. counterterrorism official and other U.S. intelligence analysts concede the campaign has barely dented the terrorist group’s ability to strike U.S. interests. The threat of a terrorist attack — with the most commonly feared target a commercial airliner — emanating from the ungoverned spaces of Yemen remains high on the government’s list of terrorism concerns.
BBC in Pidgin? People Like It Well-Well
The BBC renowned World Service recently added a dozen foreign language websites to its roster as part of efforts to capture a younger, more diverse and digitally savvy audience. The expansion was funded by a British government grant of about 290 million pounds, or $380 million. In addition to West African Pidgin English, the service now delivers news in Afaan Oromo, Amharic, Tigrinya (languages spoken in Ethiopia, Eritrea and other parts of Africa); and in Gujarati, Marathi, Punjabi and Telugu (spoken in India), among others. It plans to add the West African languages Igbo and Yoruba next year.
In Brussels, Foldable Tents for Homeless
With material tents forbidden on the streets of Brussels, homeless people in the Belgian capital are often left without a safe place to sleep. But one entrepreneur seems to have found a way around the rule: origami-style cardboard tents. The tents can be folded and carried on someone’s back, and are big enough to house two people. The hope is that they can last for a couple of weeks before needing to be replaced. The Brussels area had more than 2,600 homeless people in early 2017, according to La Strada. But most of the shelters there are overcrowded by wintertime.
Romania Braces for President’s Decision on Bills Seen as Weakening Judiciary
In Romania, protesters and politicians are gearing up for a tense January, almost a year after hundreds of thousands took to the streets to oppose government measures relaxing penalties for official corruption. On Dec. 20, the Romanian Senate passed legislation that critics said would weaken the judiciary’s independence. The country’s lower house previously had approved the changes. They now await the signature of President Klaus Iohannis, who has long criticized efforts to weaken the fight against corruption. Iohannis has 20 days to sign the measures into law or exercise his veto and send them back to parliament.
Nepal Bars Solo Climbers From Mount Everest
Nepal has barred solo climbers on its mountains, including Mount Everest, to promote safety and reduce accidents, an official said Saturday. Nepal has eight of the world’s 10 tallest mountains, including Mount Everest. Alpinists from all over the world pay tens of thousands of dollars for climbing permits and Sherpa guides. But some climbers try to summit the country’s mountains on their own. Maheshwor Neupane, secretary of Nepal’s Ministry of Culture and Civil Aviation, said the new rules require that all climbers, regardless of their experience level, be accompanied by guides. The prohibition should apply to the spring climbing season.