World News at a Glance
Posted June 18, 2018 9:19 p.m. EDT
Liberal European Allies, Barely Afloat, Get Shoved by U.S.
With a rift over migrants bringing German politics to a boil, the country’s feuding leaders scraped together a truce Monday on an issue that threatens to topple the fragile government. Then President Donald Trump stepped in. “The people of Germany are turning against their leadership as migration is rocking the already tenuous Berlin coalition,” Trump said on Twitter. The migrant issue has breathed new life into populist movements from Hungary to Austria to Italy. These forces are making it harder for European centrists to hold onto power — and as his comments made clear, Trump is not making it any easier for the United States’ longtime partners.
Plan to Raise ‘Pious Generation’ Divides Turkey
Public schools are closing, and being replaced by religious schools. Exams are scrapped by presidential whim. Tens of thousands of public teachers have been fired. Outside religious groups are teaching in schools, without parental consent. The battle over how to shape Turkey’s next generation has become a tumultuous issue for President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, as he seeks re-election on Sunday in a vote that is shaping up as a referendum on his deepening imprint on the country after 15 years at the helm. Parents around the country are protesting his changes and scrambling to find schools of their choice as standards slide and unemployment swells.
Pentagon Suspends a Military Exercise With South Korea
The Pentagon announced Monday that it was suspending a major military exercise with South Korea that President Donald Trump had criticized as a waste of money. The decision to cancel — at least for now — the large-scale Ulchi Freedom Guardian exercise set for August had been expected after Trump’s surprise announcement in Singapore that he was ending joint military exercises as an inducement for North Korea to dismantle its nuclear weapons program. The announcement Monday seemed to clear the way for routine training between U.S. and South Korean troops that takes place throughout the year, culminating in major war games in the spring and summer.
Cautious Optimism for Freer Speech in Malaysia
For his cartoons skewering Malaysia’s political elite, Zulkiflee Anwar Haque was hit with nine sedition charges and banned from leaving the country. But after Malaysians voted in May to oust Prime Minister Najib Razak and his governing party — the first such ouster in the country’s history — Zulkiflee, who is better known as Zunar, said he logged into a government database and discovered he was free to travel abroad. Zulkiflee’s discovery was a promising early indicator for supporters of the new prime minister, Mahathir Mohamad, and his opposition coalition, which had campaigned against Najib’s tightening restrictions on free speech, among other issues.
Israel Charges Fallen Former Minister With Spying for Iran
The Israeli physician already had an extraordinary history: former legislator, agriculture expert, government minister and ex-convict imprisoned for having tried to smuggle 32,000 ecstasy tablets disguised as M&M’s into Israel. On Monday, another entry was added to the record of the convicted Israeli, Gonen Segev, minister of energy and infrastructure in the mid-1990s. The Israeli authorities announced that he had been charged with spying for Iran and had been operating as an agent for Iranian intelligence. Segev, 62, who has been living in Nigeria in recent years, was arrested in May, the Israeli police and the Shin Bet internal security agency said in a joint statement.
At World Cup, Muted Cheers for a Mexican Soccer Superstar Turned Pariah
Rafael Márquez, one of the best-known stars on Mexico’s World Cup soccer team, is a standout of the tournament in Russia. But it has nothing to do with his prowess on the field. Márquez, 39, is on a U.S. Treasury Department blacklist of people it says have helped launder money for drug cartels. Several businesses connected to him are accused of acting as fronts and holding assets for Raúl Flores Hernández, who is suspected of leading a drug trafficking organization. Márquez has vehemently denied any link to drug traffickers and has hired a team of lawyers to challenge his placement on the list and assuage fretful sponsors.
At $400,000 in Auction, a Felt Bicorn for the Ages
A hat attributed to Napoleon Bonaparte and said to have been dropped on the battlefield at Waterloo 203 years ago was bought on Monday for over $400,000. It was another sign, if one were needed, that the French emperor continues to fascinate collectors and curators across the globe. The hat — one of Napoleon’s iconic black felt bicorns — was sold at an auction in the central French city of Lyon for 350,000 euros, or about $407,000, including fees, far beyond the presale estimate of 30,000 to 40,000 euros. The buyer was a private collector from Europe whose identity was not made public.