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In a High-Stakes Environmental Whodunit, Many Clues Point to China

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, New York Times

In a High-Stakes Environmental Whodunit, Many Clues Point to China

Last month, scientists disclosed a global pollution mystery: a surprise rise in emissions of an outlawed industrial gas that destroys the atmosphere’s ozone layer. The increase is undermining what has been hailed as the most successful international environmental agreement ever enacted: the Montreal Protocol, which includes a ban on chlorofluorocarbons, or CFCs, and which was expected to bring a full recovery of the ozone layer by midcentury. Interviews, documents and advertisements indicate that a major source is factories in China that have ignored a global ban and kept making or using the chemical, CFC-11, mostly to produce foam insulation.

Erdogan’s Election Win Gives Him Vastly Expanded Powers in Turkey

Turkish voters gave President Recep Tayyip Erdogan a decisive victory in national elections Sunday, lengthening his 15-year grip on power and granting him vastly expanded authority over the legislature and judiciary. The election was the first to be held since Turkish voters narrowly approved a referendum last year to give the president sweeping executive powers. Erdogan will also have a pliant Parliament, with his conservative party and its allies having won about 53 percent of the vote. Erdogan has overseen a crackdown on civil servants and journalists under a state of emergency declared after a failed coup two years ago.

Mexico’s Hardball Politics Get Even Harder as PRI Fights to Hold Onto Power

Wielding the power and resources of government, Mexico’s ruling Institutional Revolutionary Party has used some of the nation’s institutions in an attempt to change the course of next month’s presidential election, according to election observers and former party officials. The nation’s attorney general has accused an opposition candidate of crimes without much evidence. Similarly, decisions by a special court overseeing the election, which was appointed by a PRI-dominated congress, have been criticized. And last year, Cambridge Analytica offered to help PRI win. PRI declined but paid the firm anyway so that it would not work for anyone else.

Jared Kushner Criticizes Abbas, Questioning His Ability to Make Peace

Jared Kushner, President Donald Trump’s top adviser on the Middle East, said the Palestinian Authority president, Mahmoud Abbas, was afraid to make peace with Israel, bore responsibility for the deteriorating situation in Gaza and was prioritizing his own political survival at the expense of his people’s needs. Kushner, who is on a multination trip to the Middle East, made his comments in an interview published Sunday by the Palestinian newspaper Al-Quds. He said the Trump administration was “almost done” preparing its peace plan and would roll it out soon. He appeared to be attempting to goad Abbas into talks.

Pakistan’s Taliban Announces New Leader After US Drone Strike

Pakistan’s Taliban has named as its new leader a religious scholar known for running brutal extortion rackets and opposing polio vaccination campaigns, promoting violence against health workers across the country. The elevation of the leader, Mufti Noor Wali Mehsud, comes after a U.S. drone strike in Afghanistan killed the group’s previous leader, Mullah Fazlullah, this month. In a statement Saturday, Pakistan’s Taliban confirmed Fazlullah’s death and said it was a “matter of pride” that its leadership had been “martyred by infidels.” The group’s deputy leader, Khan Sayed, aka Khalid Sajna, was killed by an U.S. drone strike in February.

Germany and Italy at Odds as Leaders Confer on Migration

European leaders vented their frustrations with migration policies Sunday, with the German and Italian prime ministers trying to move the European Union toward their competing positions before a summit this week. In what was billed as an “informal meeting” under the auspices of the European Commission, the new Italian prime minister, Guiseppe Conte, presented a plan that would abandon the principle that migrants be returned for screening to the EU country where they first are registered. Chancellor Angela Merkel pushed for the meeting to try to forestall her interior minister from ordering that all migrants registered elsewhere be turned away.

Italy and Malta Block Another Rescue Ship Carrying Migrants

For the second time this month, authorities in Italy and Malta are refusing to allow a rescue ship with hundreds of migrants aboard to dock in their ports. The rescue vessel, the MV Lifeline, run by the German charity Mission Lifeline, has been unable to offload 234 people sheltering onboard since they were rescued from two dinghies in the Mediterranean on Thursday. A cargo vessel, the Alexander Maersk, was also waiting for clearance to dock with 110 rescued migrants onboard. While on a merchant mission Thursday, the ship assisted a boat in distress just off the coast of Pozzallo, Italy.

Prince William Lands in Jordan for ‘Historic’ Middle East Trip

Prince William, the second in line to the British throne, began Sunday what is being called a “historic” five-day tour of the Middle East in which he will juggle diplomatic and royal duties in the eye of a tense political climate. Kensington Palace said the trip was “the first official tour on behalf of the government by a member of the royal family.” William landed in Jordan on Sunday and will visit Israel and the Palestinian territories — places that Britain controlled for decades after World War I. The trip comes as Israel celebrates the 70th anniversary of its founding.

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