World News at a Glance
Posted May 13, 2018 9:07 p.m. EDT
On Eve of 70th Anniversary, Israel Braces for Rage
When Israel achieved its independence in 1948, President Harry Truman rushed to recognize it. He took just 11 minutes. Now, 70 years later to the day, the U.S. Embassy’s formal establishment in Jerusalem on Monday comes at a moment so fraught with both pride and peril that Israelis seem not to know what to feel. An escalating shadow war with Iran has broken into the open. A mass protest in the Gaza Strip has spurred thousands of Palestinians to try to cross into Israel. Now, the border police and troops are bracing for expressions of pent-up frustration, impatience and rage.
Israel Sees the Eurovision Crown as a Diplomatic Victory, Too
Israel, confronting a host of contentious political and military issues, was struck by a wave of national euphoria this weekend after the country’s contestant won the Eurovision Song Contest on Saturday night with a defiant anthem about female empowerment. Many Israelis stayed up till nearly 2 a.m. Sunday to watch the nail-biting finish of the annual international pop competition, which took place in the Portuguese capital, Lisbon. The win by Netta Barzilai for her #MeToo-themed hit, “Toy,” seemed to ease, at least for now, deep-seated Israeli fears of cultural boycott and isolation.
Family, Including Four Children, Bombs 3 Indonesian Churches
After bombings that targeted three churches in Surabaya, Indonesia’s second-largest city, as worshippers gathered between services on Sunday morning, the police said they had been the work of one family: a couple who had led their four children on a terror spree that took their own lives and those of at least seven other people. The Islamic State claimed responsibility for the attacks, according to the group’s news agency, Amaq. The Islamic State identified the three modes of attack: a car bomb, a suicide vest and a motorcycle-borne bomb. At least 43 other people were wounded in the suicide bombings.
Knife Attacker in Paris Was on Terror Watch List
The knife-wielding man who spread terror in the heart of Paris on Saturday night was born in Chechnya and was on a list of potential terrorism suspects, leading critics of the French government’s anti-terrorism policy to call on Sunday for a crackdown on those on the list. The man, identified as Khamzat Azimov, 20, a French citizen, stabbed five passers-by, one fatally. A day after the fatal stabbing, the Islamic State’s news agency, Amaq, released a video of the attacker issuing a call to fellow Islamic State supporters in France, Germany, the United Kingdom and elsewhere to carry out attacks.
Freed From War, Iraqi Voters Focus on the Struggle of Daily Life
Iraq held its first election since defeating the Islamic State this weekend. In many ways, the remarkably peaceful election on Saturday was both a vivid illustration of how far the nation of about 37 million people has come since 2014 — and of the depth of the problems that remain. With official results not expected until Monday, the final shape of the next Parliament was not clear. But what was apparent was voter apathy. The lackluster turnout of 44.5 percent reflects a worrying challenge: a crisis of confidence in the political system as well as Iraq’s establishment parties.
In One Week, Taliban Kill About 100 Afghan Soldiers and Police Officers
A spring offensive by Taliban insurgents has resulted in a series of attacks across Afghanistan, killing about 100 soldiers and police officers in the past week, according to officials. In the latest attack, in the eastern city of Jalalabad on Sunday, at least 12 people were said to have been killed. And an Afghan military helicopter crashed early Sunday morning in the southern province of Helmand, and Taliban insurgents posted video of the mangled remains, claiming to have shot it down. The offensive was announced by the Taliban on April 25 in a statement rejecting government peace overtures.
Activists in Pakistan Stage a Defiant Rally Against Military Forces
A growing civil rights movement continued to test Pakistan’s tolerance for democratic dissent with a demonstration that drew several thousand protesters to Karachi on Sunday. Despite the organizers’ calls for a peaceful protest, Karachi’s paramilitary and police forces tried to thwart the demonstration, labeling the movement a terrorist group and accusing its leaders of sedition. The movement has shaken the military establishment with its mission: to seek justice for Pakistan’s Pashtun ethnic minority, which activists say has been subjected to years of abuse, discrimination and deadly violence under the guise of military operations against the Pakistani Taliban and other militants.
China’s First Home-Grown Aircraft Carrier Goes to Sea
China launched its first domestically built aircraft carrier to begin sea trials on Sunday, reaching another milestone in the expansion of the country’s navy. The aircraft carrier, as yet unnamed, left its berth at a shipyard in the northeastern port of Dalian after a blow of its horn and a display of fireworks, according to reports in state news media. The Chinese navy already has one operational carrier, the Liaoning, which it bought unfinished from Ukraine after the collapse of the Soviet Union. That ship joined the Chinese fleet in 2012 and began its first operations four years later.