World News at a Glance
Posted June 4, 2018 10:00 p.m. EDT
Bomber Attacks Afghan Scholars Gathered to Denounce Violence
A suicide bomber targeted a gathering of Afghan religious scholars who were meeting Monday to condemn such attacks and authorities said at least 12 people were killed. The attacker detonated a device near a large tent in the Afghan capital where thousands of clerics had met to call for an end to the violence, said Hashmatullah Stanikzai, a spokesman for the Kabul police. Officials said that at least 17 people were wounded in the attack. Only an hour before the attack, the clerics had declared suicide bombing un-Islamic and said there was no religious justification for such violence.
More Afghan Children Are Out of School, Reversing a Trend
A study released Monday by UNICEF shows that Afghanistan’s out-of-school population has risen to 3.7 million, or 44 percent of the school-age population, compared with 3.5 million, or 40 percent of the school-age population, a few years ago. It was the first time the number of out-of-school children in Afghanistan had risen since the ouster of the Taliban government in 2001. Under the Taliban, many schools were closed and girls were barred from attending. “We’re very concerned we’ve lost these hard-won gains, and that’s very frustrating in the humanitarian and development world,” UNICEF’s executive director, Henrietta H. Fore, said.
U.S. and Turkey Agree on Kurds’ Withdrawal From Syrian Town
The United States and Turkey agreed Monday on a plan to withdraw Kurdish fighters from the northern Syrian city of Manbij as a step toward resolving one of the tensest disputes to erupt recently between the countries. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Turkey’s foreign minister, Mevlut Cavusoglu, “endorsed a road map” to “ensure security and stability in Manbij,” according to a State Department statement issued Monday. Neither side released details, but Turkish and U.S. officials confirmed that the plan called for the withdrawal of Kurdish forces. The agreement hands a significant gain to President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey just weeks before presidential elections.
Guatemala Volcano’s Death Toll, Now at 65, Is Likely to Rise
Rescue workers searched for survivors amid a desolate landscape of ash and mud on Monday, a day after a volcano erupted near the capital of Guatemala, killing at least 65 people. The number of missing after the Fuego volcano’s eruption was still unclear, according to officials with Guatemala’s natural disaster commission. Volunteer firefighters waded though layers of ash that reached knee-deep in places, only to find the charred remains of those who had been unable to flee the torrent of burning rock and ash that poured down the slopes of the volcano, whose name means “fire.”
Pentagon May Cut Commando Forces in Africa in Major Military Review
A sweeping Pentagon review of elite U.S. commando missions is likely to result in a sharp cut — by as much as half over the next three years — in Special Operations forces in Africa, military officials said. Ordered by Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, the assessment of Special Operations units worldwide follows an ambush in Niger that killed four U.S. soldiers last fall. The review is an outgrowth of a Defense Department strategy that focuses on combating rising threats from Russia and China. More than 7,300 Special Operations troops are working around the world, many of them conducting shadow wars against terrorists in Yemen, Libya and Somalia.
Jordan’s Prime Minister Quits as Protesters Demand an End to Austerity
Escalating economic pressures on Jordan threatened to turn into a political crisis Monday as the prime minister resigned amid nationwide protests against proposed tax and price increases in a country that has suffered through years of declining living standards. Prime Minister Hani Mulki stepped down after two years in office, but there was no sign that his departure would mollify the protesters or change unpopular austerity policies proposed by the government. The replacement of a prime minister is a tactic used by King Abdullah II, Jordan’s ruler, in an attempt to placate the populace when discontent threatens the stability of the kingdom.
Making History, Saudi Arabia Issues Driver’s Licenses to 10 Women
Saudi Arabia issued driver’s licenses to 10 women on Monday, a historic move that came 20 days before the government had planned to lift its ban on women driving. The announcement followed the detention of a number of Saudis who had campaigned for women’s right to drive. Some are still being held and have been accused of grave crimes. Many Saudis have applauded what they say are efforts to make life in their ultraconservative kingdom more like life elsewhere. But critics say the changes have come with a heavy dose of authoritarianism that has further restricted Saudis’ already limited margins for expression.