World News at a Glance
Posted January 16, 2018 9:34 p.m. EST
FBI Detains Man It Says Betrayed U.S. Spies in China
A former CIA officer suspected of helping China dismantle U.S. spying operations and identify informants has been arrested, the Justice Department said Tuesday. The collapse of the spy network in China was one of the U.S. government’s worst intelligence failures in recent years. The arrest of Jerry Chun Shing Lee, 53, capped an intense FBI inquiry that began around 2012, two years after the CIA began losing its informants in China. Lee, who left the CIA in 2007 and has been living in Hong Kong, was apprehended at Kennedy Airport on Monday.
Pentagon Suggests Countering Devastating Cyberattacks With Nuclear Arms
A newly drafted U.S. nuclear strategy that has been sent to President Donald Trump for approval would permit the use of nuclear weapons to respond to a wide range of devastating but non-nuclear attacks on American infrastructure, including cyberattacks. For decades, U.S. presidents have threatened “first use” of nuclear weapons against enemies in only very narrow and limited circumstances. But the new document is the first to expand that to include attempts to destroy wide-reaching infrastructure, like a country’s power grid or communications, that would be most vulnerable to cyberweapons.
U.S.-Backed Force Could Cement a Kurdish Enclave in Syria
A plan to create a new U.S.-backed, Kurdish-led border force in northeastern Syria has raised alarms in the region that the United States may be helping to cement an autonomous Kurdish enclave. The 30,000-strong force, vehemently opposed by Russia, Turkey, Iran and the Syrian government, could also draw the United States deeper into the conflict. Kurdish and U.S. officials sought to tamp down the controversy Tuesday, insisting the border force would help defend and preserve the section of northeastern Syria controlled by the Kurdish-led, U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces, an area that has become a de facto semiautonomous zone.
U.S. Withholds $65 Million From U.N. Relief Agency for Palestinians
The Trump administration is withholding more than half the funding that the U.S. generally has provided to a United Nations agency that aids Palestinian refugees, officials said Tuesday. Heather Nauert, the State Department spokeswoman, said the U.S. would provide $60 million to the U.N. Relief and Works Agency but would withhold $65 million “for future consideration.” Nauert said that the decision was not intended to be a punitive move against Palestinians. But she refused to comment when asked if the funding shortfall was linked to President Donald Trump’s threat on Jan. 2 to end the aid.
In Chile, Pope Francis Apologizes for ‘Irreparable Damage’ Caused by Sexual Abuse
Pope Francis said on Tuesday that he was “pained and ashamed” over the “irreparable damage” priests had inflicted on minors, as he offered Chileans an apology during his first visit to their country as pontiff. The remarks were the pope’s latest effort to contain the fallout from a series of sexual abuse scandals that have contributed to the decline of Catholicism in several regions, including Latin America. But victims of sexual abuse by members of the clergy in Chile said the pope’s words rang hollow.
Fugitive Venezuelan Police Officer Is Killed in Shootout
Óscar Pérez, a former police officer who led an armed rebel band against the isolated and embattled government of Venezuela, was killed in a shootout with the authorities, the authorities announced Tuesday. Pérez, 36, rose to fame last year during street protests against President Nicolás Maduro as a dissident police officer. In June, he and a small group dropped grenades from a helicopter onto the Supreme Court building and opened fire on the Interior Ministry in a brazen attack. He had been a fugitive ever since, posting videos urging Venezuelans to resist what he called Maduro’s tyrannical government.
Huge Oil Spill Spreads in East China Sea, Stirring Environmental Fears
An oil spill from an Iranian tanker that sank in the East China Sea is rapidly spreading, officials said Tuesday, alarming environmentalists about the threat to sea and bird life in the waterway. The tanker, the Sanchi, was carrying 136,000 tons of highly flammable fuel oil when it crashed into a freighter on Jan. 6. The oil slicks from the sunken tanker were growing in size, China’s State Oceanic Administration said Tuesday. There are now two huge slicks covering 52 square miles, compared with just 4 square miles the previous day.