World News at a Glance
Posted March 27, 2018 9:50 p.m. EDT
Trump Backers See Trade Deal With South Korea as a Validation
President Donald Trump scored his first significant trade deal this week, securing a pact with South Korea. The deal, which could be formally announced Wednesday, opens the South’s market to U.S. autos by lifting existing limits on manufacturers like Ford and GM, extends tariffs for South Korean truck exports and restricts, by nearly a third, the amount of steel that the South can export to the U.S. Winning the deal may have had more to do with geopolitical realities as the U.S. embarks on tricky nuclear discussions with North Korea.
Putin Faces Public Fury Over Children’s Deaths in Siberian Mall Fire
At the end of a month that has seen him unveil new “invincible” missiles, announce a space mission to Mars and secure a sky-high vote in Russia’s election, President Vladimir Putin faced a grim reality Tuesday: a nation enraged by the deaths of children trapped in a burning mall in Siberia. Putin traveled to the town of Kemerovo to lay flowers next to a memorial for the at least 64 people who died in the fire Sunday. Public anger at the fire drowned out the Kremlin’s fury over Monday’s expulsion of Russian diplomats by 23 countries.
North Korea’s Kim Met Xi During Secret Visit to Beijing, China Says
North Korea’s leader, Kim Jong Un, made an unannounced visit to Beijing, meeting with President Xi Jinping weeks before planned summit meetings with U.S. and South Korean leaders, Chinese and North Korean state news media reported Wednesday. The visit amounted to Kim’s international debut: It was the 34-year-old leader’s first trip outside North Korea since he took power in 2011, and his first meeting with another head of state. Kim’s trip was confirmed only after he left Beijing on the same armored train that stirred speculation when it arrived mysteriously in the Chinese capital on Monday.
Egyptians Trudge to the Polls, Bribed or Bullied
With no real opponent to provide drama in his re-election bid, President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi is relying on the sheer enthusiasm of his supporters to generate a credible turnout. And where fervor isn’t enough, he has other means of enticing — or pushing — voters to the polls. Some voters said they had been paid, from about $3 to $9, to vote. The state news agency reminded Egyptians that failing to vote was an offense punishable by fines of up to $28. The three-day vote ends Wednesday. In the last presidential election, in 2014, el-Sissi won 97 percent of the vote.
Taliban’s Rare Silence on Talks Charges New Peace Conference
Senior diplomats have gathered to talk about peace in Afghanistan dozens of times through the years, and the Taliban have uniformly been both absent and dismissive of their efforts. On Tuesday, Afghanistan and its allies, neighbors and benefactors gathered in Uzbekistan to talk again. The Taliban have kept a studious public silence about this latest effort. Even among the feuding factions within the Afghan delegation, there has been remarkable cohesion over the latest peace overture. Beyond even the Taliban’s rare refusal to dismiss the offer out of hand, there is evidence that a serious conversation is underway among the insurgents.
U.N. Renews Push to Solve Its Biggest Mystery: Hammarskjold’s Death
A quest to uncover the cause of the plane crash that killed Dag Hammarskjold, the secretary-general of the United Nations, received new life Tuesday, as the current U.N. leader extended the inquiry. Secretary-General António Guterres said he had reauthorized the work of a prominent jurist, Mohamed Chande Othman, who has been investigating whether previously untapped sources of information, including declassified intelligence archives, could yield clues into the 1961 crash of the aircraft carrying Hammarskjold and 15 others on an African peace mission. Othman produced a report that gave weight to a long-standing suspicion that Hammarskjold may have been assassinated.
Why the Snow in Parts of Europe Was Orange
The photos are surreal, like a Martian ski slope or a toasted marshmallow sky. But why did some people in Eastern Europe last week see the world in sepia tones? The answer lies hundreds of miles away. The orange-brown filter applied briefly to that part of the world was caused by dense Saharan dust kicked into the air and swept north, experts said. The process began when a polar jet stream made its way farther south than usual last week, bringing the strong winds and thunderstorms needed to whip up the dust, according to Tyler Roys, a meteorologist with AccuWeather.