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Nigerian Army Uses Trump’s Words to Justify Shooting of Rock-Throwers

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, New York Times

Nigerian Army Uses Trump’s Words to Justify Shooting of Rock-Throwers

The Nigerian army on Friday used the words of President Donald Trump to justify its fatal shootings of rock-throwing protesters. Soldiers fired this Monday on a march of about 1,000 Islamic Shiite activists who had blocked traffic on the outskirts of the capital, Abuja. Videos on social media showed several protesters hurling rocks at heavily armed soldiers who then shot fleeing demonstrators. The Nigerian military said three protesters were killed, but the toll appears to have been higher. Amnesty International and leaders of the protest said more than 40 people were killed at the march and two smaller marches.

U.S. Reimposes Iran Sanctions but Exempts Big Customers

The Trump administration announced Friday that it was exempting eight countries from bruising sanctions the United States was reimposing against Iran, undercutting its pledge to economically punish Tehran’s regional aggressions while widening a rift with European allies. Mike Pompeo, the secretary of state, did not identify the eight countries that were being granted six-month waivers, but a senior official confirmed they include India, South Korea, Japan and China — among the world’s largest importers of Iranian oil. Pompeo said the European Union, which recently announced the creation of an economic channel to continue financial dealings with Iran, was not among the waiver recipients.

Pakistan Makes Concessions to Protesters in Blasphemy Case

After protesters blocked highways and forced the closing of schools and businesses, the Pakistani government and Islamist leaders enraged over the acquittal of a Christian woman accused of blasphemy reached an agreement Friday night that allows further appeals and bars her from leaving the country. Asia Bibi was convicted in 2010 on little evidence of violating Pakistan’s law against blasphemy by insulting the Prophet Muhammad. She spent years on death row before she was acquitted Wednesday by the country’s Supreme Court. The protesting religious leaders offered an apology if their statements had offended anyone, an apparent reference to their criticism of the military leadership.

Pakistani Religious Leader Known as ‘Father of the Taliban’ Is Killed

A Pakistani Muslim spiritual leader known as the “father of the Taliban” was killed Friday by a knife-wielding assailant who sneaked into his bedroom, officials said, further roiling the country’s religious tensions. Maulana Sami ul-Haq, 81, exerted an overarching influence over the Taliban movement in neighboring Afghanistan and within Pakistan and led his own faction of a religious party, Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam. “He has been stabbed to death,” said Fawad Chaudhry, the country’s information minister. There was no immediate claim of responsibility. Police officials said an unidentified assailant entered the house while Haq’s personal staff members were at a nearby market.

Turkey’s President Invokes NATO Solidarity in Killing of Khashoggi

Turkey’s president lashed out again at Saudi Arabia over the killing of Saudi dissident Jamal Khashoggi, and turned up pressure on the kingdom by invoking the NATO alliance as a means to ensure the perpetrators will be punished. Recep Tayyip Erdogan, in an opinion piece published by The Washington Post on Friday, reiterated his assertion that the order to kill Khashoggi in Istanbul came from “the highest levels of the Saudi government.” At the same time, however, he said he did not believe Saudi King Salman ordered it. That seemed to suggest that he blames Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

ISIS Claims Attack That Kills Christians in Egypt

Gunmen killed at least seven Coptic Christian pilgrims in Egypt on Friday and wounded at least 16 in an attack later claimed by the Islamic State group. The attack — an ambush on two buses — ended a nearly yearlong lull in major attacks on Copts in Egypt, and may signal a resumption of the Islamic State’s campaign to sow sectarian divisions in Egyptian society. It was also a setback for President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi, who has put security concerns at the heart of his autocratic style of rule and has vowed to protect Christians, a minority in the country.

Head of Far-Right German Party Cancels Oxford Talk

Citing security concerns, Alice Weidel, leader of Germany’s far-right political party, has canceled an appearance at the University of Oxford. Weidel, leader of the Alternative for Germany party, had been scheduled to give a short speech Wednesday before the Oxford Union, a famed debating society, and to answer questions from audience members. Facing widespread protest, Stephen Horvath, the president of the Oxford Union, had refused to cancel the event, citing the importance of free speech and the educational value of engaging with prominent politicians across Europe. On Friday, however, Horvath said in a statement that Weidel had decided to withdraw.

Bribery Accusations Deepen Political Crisis in Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka’s politics plunged into deeper turmoil Friday when a majority of the country’s parliamentarians refused to recognize the appointment of the new prime minister amid rising tensions and accusations of millions of dollars in bribes. Last week, President Maithripala Sirisena unexpectedly fired Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, accusing him of being inflexible and corrupt, and replaced him with Mahinda Rajapaksa, a former president who is considered by many to be the strongman of Sri Lankan politics. Since last week both Rajapaksa and Wickremesinghe have claimed to hold power, setting off a constitutional crisis.

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