World News at a Glance
Posted May 16, 2018 9:41 p.m. EDT
North Korean Threats Add a Wobble to a High-Wire Act of Nuclear Negotiation
The White House on Wednesday brushed aside threats by North Korea to cancel a summit meeting between President Donald Trump and its leader, Kim Jong Un, but the harsh words underscored the chasm that will separate the two leaders next month over how to deal with North Korea’s nuclear arsenal. Trump struck a noncommittal tone about the status of the meeting but said he still planned to demand that the North surrender its entire nuclear program. A top North Korean official said Kim would not tolerate attempts to “drive us into a corner to force our unilateral nuclear abandonment.”
Tusk Takes Trump to Task on Twitter
“With friends like that, who needs enemies.” That was how Donald Tusk, one of the European Union’s top officials, took President Donald Trump to task on Wednesday, offering the latest look at how the Continent’s leaders are trying to come to terms with the United States’ shifting policy on issues like the Iran nuclear deal. Tusk, president of the European Council, which represents the European Union’s heads of government, used 280 characters on Twitter not only to rebuke Trump’s head-snapping policy decisions but also to reaffirm the bloc’s commitment to its own agenda.
A Child of Gaza Dies. A Symbol Is Born. The Arguing Begins.
Like many symbols in the Middle East, a small but intense tragedy has become fodder for competing narratives. Photographs of Mariam Ghandour clutching her 8-month-old daughter Layla after she died following a tear gas attack in Gaza have become a potent political symbol. But the rules of grief in Gaza, where private pain is often paraded for political causes, kicked in. Hamas officials have made little secret of their desire to publicize the case. On Tuesday, an Israeli military spokesman said on Twitter that the army had obtained “multiple accounts that raise doubts” about the baby’s death.
As Italy Seeks to Form a Government, Leaked Documents Stir Anxiety
Talks between two anti-establishment parties to form a new Italian government seemed to be regaining momentum Wednesday, even as financial markets were spooked by leaked documents that suggested the two sides shared a desire to radically change Italy’s relationship with the European Union. The leaders of the Five Star Movement and the anti-immigrant League party dismissed the leaked document Tuesday night as “old.” Current or not, the document, obtained by Huffington Post Italy, brought into focus concerns among European leaders and markets about what a government run by the two parties could mean for the European Union as a whole.
Taliban Overrun Afghan City, Kill 30 People and Leave
Taliban insurgents abandoned their effort to take over the capital of the western Afghan province of Farah, leaving the city early Wednesday without apparent opposition, local residents said. Even with 25 members of the security forces and five civilians killed, officials immediately hailed the insurgents’ departure as a victory. They said that hundreds of insurgents had been killed in the one-day assault on Farah city. But for many Afghans, especially residents in battered Farah, the assault showed mostly that the insurgents could attack at will even against a well-entrenched government position backed up by both Afghan and U.S. air power.
Lebanon Is Known as Gay Friendly. But Pride Week Was Shut Down.
For members of Lebanon’s gay community, Beirut Pride week was intended as a way to celebrate diversity, fight discrimination and push for more rights and recognition. But that dream came crashing down this week when Lebanese authorities detained the celebration’s organizer, releasing him only after he promised to cancel the remaining events. The cancellation was a blow to gay men, lesbians and transgender people in Lebanon, who say they face legal and social discrimination despite living in one of the most socially liberal countries in the Arab world.
Now Free, Malaysia’s Anwar Attacks System That Jailed Him Twice
Anwar Ibrahim, the imprisoned longtime opposition leader in Malaysia, was pardoned and released from custody Wednesday, opening the door for his possible ascent to become prime minister after a coalition of his allies won a national election last week. Speaking to reporters Wednesday, Anwar, 70, newly free after five years of detention, vowed that ending the influence of politics over the country’s justice system would be a priority. “We must stop this once and for all,” he said. “The most significant lesson one can learn from prison life is the value of freedom.”