World News at a Glance
Posted January 4, 2018 10:36 p.m. EST
Toronto Theater Director Resigns Amid Sexual Misconduct Accusations
One of Canada’s most powerful theater directors, Albert Schultz, resigned Thursday as leader of the Soulpepper Theater Company after four actresses said this week that they had been sexually harassed, groped, touched and repeatedly propositioned by him over 13 years. They filed a lawsuit against him and the company, a nonprofit he co-founded, for a combined $7.85 million Canadian. Schultz said he planned to “vigorously defend myself against the allegations that are being made.” Patricia Fagan, who left Soulpepper in 2013, after 13 years there, said, “The MeToo campaign has shown us for the first time that people are listening and that people care.”
Israel Offers African Migrants a Choice: Ticket Out or Jail
Israel is offering a stark choice to tens of thousands of African migrants in the country: Leave voluntarily by the end of March, with a plane ticket and a grant of $3,500, or face possible incarceration. “Every country must guard its borders,” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Wednesday, announcing the plan. Netanyahu said a few months ago that Israel had reached understandings with African countries willing to absorb the migrants, but without identifying the countries. Based on testimonies of people who have left, Israeli rights groups say the main destination appears to be Rwanda. The U.N. refugee agency has expressed concern over such proposals.
Iran Blames Large Cabal of Culprits for Protests
Members of Iran’s ruling establishment took turns Thursday assigning blame for what they regard as an embarrassing outbreak of protests in more than 80 cities. Iran’s chief prosecutor elaborated on the government’s claims that the United States and other foreign enemies were responsible for stirring up the violent protests. The United States, Israel and Saudi Arabia planned the “riots,” Mohammad Jafar Montazeri said on state television, in an effort to subvert the government. Montazeri asserted that Michael D’Andrea, a CIA officer who runs Iran operations, was a “main designer” of the protests and that the CIA hoped to turn the protest into an “armed” revolt.
South Africa Train Crash Kills at Least 18
A passenger train burst into flames Thursday after striking two vehicles at a crossing in central South Africa, killing at least 18 people and injuring more than 260, authorities said. Mondli Mvambi, a spokesman for the provincial health department, said a truck driver miscalculated the train’s speed and tried to dash across the tracks at the crossing, just outside Kroonstad. A passenger vehicle was also involved. “The death toll may rise,” Mvambi said. “Three burned carriages are yet to be lifted to check if anyone is trapped." He said the injured truck driver tried to run but was apprehended and escorted to the hospital.
American Charged With Subversion in Zimbabwe Is Released
An American arrested in Zimbabwe in November over a tweet mocking Robert Mugabe, weeks before he was forced out as president, was freed Thursday. Martha O’Donovan, 25, had been working for the Magamba Network, a website focusing on youth activism and culture. She was charged with subverting the government and undermining the president's authority. She faced up to 20 years in prison. O’Donovan denied she was responsible for the tweet, posted on an anonymous account, which read, “We are being led by a selfish & sick man.” The high court ordered O’Donovan’s release Thursday, after prosecutors said they were not prepared to provide a trial date.
Australia’s Prime Minister Warns of ‘Gang Violence’ by African Migrants
Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull of Australia has warned of the threat posed by African migrants forming gangs in one of the country’s most populous states but had little statistical evidence to support his claim, leading to accusations of fearmongering and counterclaims of political correctness. Turnbull on Tuesday accused Victoria's premier, Daniel Andrews — a member of the opposition Labor Party — of failing to address the “growing gang violence and lawlessness” in his state after a recent series of crimes by African-born offenders. But critics of Turnbull’s Liberal Party accuse the government of willfully stoking anxieties about migration, assimilation and sentencing for political purposes.
Nigeria Rescues Another Student From 2014 Chibok Kidnapping
The Nigerian military said Thursday that it had rescued one of the students kidnapped by Boko Haram militants in 2014 from a school in the village of Chibok. Nearly 300 girls were taken as they prepared for exams, an episode that aroused global outrage. The student, Salomi Pogu, was found in northern Nigeria along with at least one other person who had been kidnapped, according to the military. The other abductee was a 14-year-old girl who was with a child. Officials did not release details of their rescue, but local news media reports said it came during a military operation. In April 2014, fighters from the Islamic militant group stormed the girls’ school and kidnapped as many as 276 of the girls.
ISIS Suicide Attack Kills at Least 20 in Kabul
A suicide bomber working for the Islamic State attacked a market where shopkeepers were protesting against the police in Kabul, Afghanistan, on Thursday, killing at least 20 people and wounding more than two dozen others, officials said. Nasrat Rahimi, a deputy Interior Ministry spokesman, said civilians and members of the security forces were among the casualties, which he put at 20 dead and 30 wounded. The suicide bomber was on foot and detonated explosives in the area around 8:30 p.m. Hours later, the Islamic State claimed responsibility for the attack, issuing a bulletin on its Amaq news agency.