World News at a Glance
Posted January 10, 2018 9:03 p.m. EST
New Search Begins for Malaysian Airliner That Disappeared 4 Years Ago
The government of Malaysia and an American ocean exploration company began a new effort on Wednesday to solve one of history’s greatest aviation mysteries: the disappearance of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 nearly four years ago. Ocean Infinity, a Houston-based company, could receive as much as $70 million if it finds the plane’s debris field or two data recorders within 90 days, Transportation Minister Liow Tiong Lai said Wednesday. But under the agreement, the company will receive nothing if it does not find the missing Boeing 777, which disappeared over the Indian Ocean on March 8, 2014, with 239 people aboard.
13,000 Tourists Trapped at Resort in Swiss Alps
About 13,000 tourists found themselves trapped in a winter wonderland Wednesday at the foot of the Matterhorn, Switzerland’s most famously photogenic mountain. A combination of heavy snowfall and rain made access routes inaccessible this week, stranding visitors in Zermatt, a picturesque resort village. Both road and rail access remained cut off for much of Wednesday as officials raced to clear the way for tourists and locals alike. The Glacier Express, whose carriages offer stunning views of the Alps, couldn’t reach Zermatt, either. A helicopter air bridge operated through most of the day, taking a few people out at a time.
South Korean President Credits Trump for Talks
President Moon Jae-in of South Korea warned on Wednesday that North Korea would face stiffer sanctions if it resumed weapons tests, while crediting President Donald Trump with helping force the North to resume dialogue and strike a broader agreement to improve Korean ties. “I am giving a lot of credit to President Trump,” Moon said at a nationally televised news conference a day after the two Koreas forged their agreement during border talks. “I am expressing my gratitude.” The White House said that Trump and Moon had spoken and “underscored the importance of continuing the maximum pressure campaign against North Korea.”
Iran Relaxes Death Penalty in Drug Cases
Iranians sentenced to death for drug-related crimes have had their convictions suspended by the country’s hard-line judiciary, a move that activists say could save potentially 5,000 lives. The decision, part of a legal overhaul in the works since 2016, is aimed at reducing the number of executions in the country. Iran is second only to China in its number of executions, and the majority who receive death sentences have been convicted of drug-related crimes. On Tuesday, the head of the judiciary, Sadegh Amoli Larijani, announced that anyone awaiting execution for such crimes was entitled to have his or her case fully re-examined.
Lawmakers Curb Powers of Islamic Courts in Greece
Greece has passed a law to limit the powers of Islamic courts in a northern region that is home to about 100,000 Muslims, restricting the application of religious law in the country and giving Muslims the option to take civil cases to Greek courts. The legislation, which Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras described as a “historic step” that “broadens and deepens equality before the law to all Greeks,” was passed a month after the European Court of Human Rights examined an appeal filed by a Muslim woman in Komotini, Greece, of a case involving the application of Shariah, the Islamic legal code, over an inheritance dispute.
2 Die in Protests Over Pakistani Girl’s Killing
Hundreds of protesters, enraged over the murder of a young girl, clashed with the police in eastern Pakistan on Wednesday after surrounding the office of a senior district official and demanding justice. At least two people were killed when the police opened fire on the protesters in the city of Kasur, officials said. Police officials said they had opened fire to safeguard public property after protesters tried to storm the office. Protesters said they were outraged over the police’s inability to stop a spree of child killings in the district.
Chechen Arrest Reflects Crackdown, Activists Say
A human-rights activist in Chechnya has been detained by police on drug possession charges in a case that colleagues and international observers say is part of a concerted effort to drive dissidents out of the Russian republic. Oyub Titiev, 60, has run the Chechen branch of the Memorial Human Rights Center since the 2009 murder of another activist, Natalya Estemirova, a case that remains unsolved. Chechnya’s Ministry of Internal Affairs reported on its website that police found about 180 grams of marijuana when they stopped Titiev’s car for a document inspection Tuesday. The State Department on Wednesday called for his immediate release.
Reporters for Reuters Face Charges in Myanmar
Two journalists for the Reuters news agency were formally charged in Myanmar with obtaining state secrets, prosecutors said Wednesday, in a case seen as a key test of the country’s nascent political freedoms. The reporters, Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo, have been accused of violating the Official Secrets Act, a law dating to the British colonial period that carries a maximum punishment of 14 years in prison. The journalists were brought to court in Yangon, Myanmar’s commercial capital, where they were arrested on Dec. 12, almost immediately after being given unidentified documents by members of the police.
Egypt Opens Inquiry Over Article in The Times
Egypt’s prosecutor general has ordered a criminal investigation over a New York Times article that described a covert effort by Egyptian intelligence to sway public opinion in favor of accepting President Donald Trump’s decision recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. The article “undermines Egypt’s security and public peace, and harms the country’s public interest,” the prosecutor, Nabil Sadek, said. The investigation comes after furious commentary in Egypt’s pro-government media and in Parliament, where lawmakers denounced the article as part of an international conspiracy to embarrass Egypt. Egypt officially supports a future Palestinian state with East Jerusalem as its capital.