World News at a Glance
Posted January 17, 2018 9:26 p.m. EST
Olympic Détente Upends U.S. Strategy on North Korea
North and South Korea reached an agreement Wednesday for their athletes to march together under one flag at the opening ceremony of the Winter Olympics next month, a powerful gesture of reconciliation that further complicates President Donald Trump’s strategy for dealing with the nuclear-armed government of Kim Jong Un. South Korea, the host of the games, said it hoped a partnership in sports could contribute to a political thaw after years of high tensions on the Korean Peninsula. It came even as the prospect of war over the North’s nuclear and ballistic missile tests has loomed large.
U.S. Funding Cut Reignites Debate on Palestinian Refugee Agency
The United Nations Relief and Works Agency, which aids more than 5 million other Palestinians living in refugee camps, is now endangered by what the agency’s leaders are calling the worst financial crisis in its seven-decade history. The United States, its biggest donor, announced this week that it was withholding $65 million from a scheduled payment of $120 million. The Trump administration said it was pressing for unspecified reforms from the agency, while also seeking to get Arab countries to contribute more. In response, the relief agency said Wednesday that it would begin a fundraising campaign.
A Girl’s Killing Puts Germany’s Migration Policy on Trial
It happened in the local drugstore: A teenage boy walked up to his ex-girlfriend in the local drugstore, pulled out a kitchen knife with an 8-inch blade and stabbed her in the heart. The death on Dec. 27 has traumatized Kandel, a sleepy town of 10,000 inhabitants in Germany, not just because both the suspect and the victim went to the local school, but also because the boy is an Afghan migrant and the girl was German. From the moment Germany opened its doors to more than 1 million migrants two years ago, episodes like this have stoked German insecurities.
Facebook to Take Broader Look at Possible Russian Role in Brexit Vote
Facebook said Wednesday that it was reopening and broadening an internal investigation into the possibility that Russia had used the platform to influence the British vote to leave the European Union. Reports that the Kremlin had used Facebook and other social media to try to sway elections in the United States, France and other countries have raised widespread suspicions it had played the same game in the June 2016 British referendum. But the possibility of Russian interference has threatened to further complicate the torturous negotiations with Brussels over Britain’s departure, known as Brexit, by undermining the credibility of the referendum.
Violence Shakes Myanmar’s Rakhine State During Ethnic Rally
Violence has again convulsed the western state of Rakhine in Myanmar, where the United Nations has accused the country’s authorities of ethnic cleansing against the Rohingya minority. At least seven ethnic Rakhine protesters were killed by the police and 12 others were injured Tuesday evening during a march commemorating the 233rd anniversary of the fall of the Rakhine, or Arakan, kingdom to an invading Burmese army. The local government had canceled the march, in Mrauk-U, the ancient Arakan capital, but about 4,000 people gathered anyway, with marchers surrounding local government offices while placing a Rakhine flag on a national flagpole.
Tillerson Says U.S. Troops to Stay in Syria Beyond Battle With ISIS
U.S. troops will remain in Syria long after their fight against the Islamic State to ensure that neither Iran nor President Bashar Assad of Syria take over areas that have been newly liberated with help from the United States, Secretary of State Rex W. Tillerson said Wednesday. Staying in Syria, Tillerson said, will help ensure that the Trump administration does not repeat what he described as the mistakes of former President Barack Obama, who withdrew troops from Iraq before the extremist threat was doused and failed to stabilize Libya after NATO airstrikes that led to the overthrow of Moammar Gadhafi.
Moscow Got 6 Minutes of Sunlight in December
For anyone who braves the Russian winter, overcast skies and short, dark days are a depressing reality. But even those bleak expectations were shattered in December, when Moscow was shrouded in cloud cover for all but six minutes. It was the darkest December in the capital since the city began recording the data, the previous worst having come in 2000, when the sun checked in for a meager three hours. "When they hear about this, many people say, ‘It’s clear now why I was depressed,'” said Roman Vilfand, the head of Russia’s Weather Service, according to the news agency Tass.