North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has called for his nuclear scientists to increase production of weapons-grade material to make bombs to put on his increasing range of weapons. The report in state media Tuesday followed a series of missile launches — seven in this month alone — and rising threats to use the weapons against his enemies. North Korea's weapons tests and U.S.-South Korea military exercises have intensified in a tit-for-tat cycle, underscoring heightened tensions in the region. State media said Kim met with officials and scientists at a nuclear weapons institute and stressed the need to ramp up bomb fuel production to meet his goals to expand his nuclear arsenal.
Monday, March 27, 2023
Vice President Kamala Harris surprised onlookers in Ghana when she stopped at a local recording studio joined by two …
The Central American nation of El Salvador has finished a full year under anti-gang emergency measures that were originally supposed to last only a month. Monday was the the first anniversary of President Nayib Bukele's request for special powers to pursue the gangs on March 27, 2022, following a surge in gang violence in which 62 people were killed in a single day. The country's legislature has voted every month since then to renew the measures, which suspend some rights. In the year since, a total of 66,417 people have been arrested. Of those, 4,304 have been released. Rights groups say there have been 5,802 suspected cases of rights violations.
A massive landslide has swept over an Andean community in central Ecuador, burying dozens of homes, killing at least 16 people and sending rescuers on a frantic search for survivors. Ecuador’s Risk Management Secretariat said more than 30 people were rescued and nearly 50 others remained missing following Sunday’s landslide in Alausí, about 137 miles south of the capital, Quito. The agency also reported 23 people were injured when the mountainside collapsed around 10 p.m. The risk management agency estimated that 500 people and 163 homes were affected by the disaster, which also destroyed a portion of the Pan-American Highway.
State Department officials are consulting with Haitian grassroots organizations, academics and others to see how the …
Cuba’s government is reported that abstention in National Assembly elections was just over 24%, a figure some analysts say reflects discontent with the island's economic crisis as well as a rise in apathy. While a nearly 76% voter turnout in Sunday’s voting is high compared with other countries, it is about nine percentage points lower than the turnout for Cuba’s 2018 National Assembly elections and far lower than the 94% turnout seen in 2013. Since there was only one candidate running for each of the 470 legislative seats, voter turnout was watched as a political thermometer. Arturo López-Levy, is a professor at the Autonomous University of Madrid. He says that “it is evident that the government is dealing with less unconditional support from its bases."
WASHINGTON — Benjamin Netanyahu, Israel’s longest-serving prime minister, is a legendary master of political survival…
The family of a U.S. couple who has been kidnapped in Haiti is pleading for their release. Nikese Toussaint says that gangs kidnapped her brother, his wife and a third person traveling with them on March 18. Toussaint said in a phone interview Monday from the U.S. that the gang is demanding $200,000 for each person, and that her family does not have that kind of money. She said the FBI is helping secure their release. Spokespeople with the U.S. government did not immediately return a message for comment. Haiti is fighting a surge in gang-related kidnappings after the July 2021 of President Jovenel Moïse.
Mexico's president has defended the insertion of what teachers have long considered grammatical errors into grade-school textbooks. The new textbooks use words like “dijistes,” long considered an incorrect or uneducated way of saying “dijiste,” meaning “you said.” The same goes for “hicistes,” in which the final “s” is also not correct. Despite decades of censure by teachers and grammarians, the verb forms persist in Mexico, generally in poorer and less-educated neighborhoods. There is no tie to any particular ethnic group. One textbook also features terms long considered pleonasms, like “súbate para arriba,” that repeat themselves, somewhat like “come up, up here.”
State media in Sauid Arabia say at least 20 people were killed when a packed bus hit a bridge, overturned and burst into flames in the country's southwest. Al-Ekhbariya TV says 29 other people were injured in Monday's crash and aired footage showing the charred remains of the bus. It says the crash occurred when the vehicle’s brakes failed in southwestern Asir province bordering Yemen. The crash occurred during the first week of Ramadan, when the faithful fast from dawn to dusk. Many people travel to enjoy nightly feasts with family and friends during the Muslim holy month.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has delayed his contentious judicial overhaul plan on after a wave of mass protests. The Israeli leader said Monday that he wants to give time to seek a compromise with his political opponents. Netanyahu spoke after tens of thousands of people demonstrated outside the parliament building in Jerusalem. It was the latest in three months of mass protests. His announcement appeared to calm some of the tensions that have fueled three tumultuous months of unrest. Israel's main labor union called off a general strike. But it failed to address the underlying issues that have polarized the nation, and the anti-government protest movement vowed to intensify its efforts.
The U.N.’s atomic energy chief has warned Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy that the perilous situation at Europe’s largest nuclear plant “isn’t getting any better." The Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant has lost several of its power transmission cables during the war with Russia, and on multiple occasions has had to switch to emergency diesel generators to power its essential cooling systems to prevent a meltdown. International Atomic Energy Agency Director-General Rafael Grossi met with Zelenskyy on Monday as relentless fighting in the area puts the Russian-held plant at risk of a disaster. Grossi said the situation at the plant remains tense because of the heavy military presence around it and a recent blackout that recently hit the facility.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s proposed judicial overhaul unleashed the most intense social unrest in Israel in decades before he announced that he would delay the plan. Tens of thousands of people repeatedly took to the streets to protest the proposal. Business leaders, bank chiefs, fighter pilots, military reservists, academics, former security commanders and other influential sectors of society also came out against the plan. On Monday, Israel’s largest trade union declared a general strike, and thousands of people gathered outside parliament. Later in the day, Netanyahu announced he would delay the overhaul.
Officials say a 13-year-old student in Brazil’s biggest city Sao Paulo has fatally stabbed a 71-year-old teacher and wounded three teachers and two students at a public school. State officials say the five wounded victims from the Thomazia Montoro school are in hospital in stable condition. Gov. Tarcisio Freitas says the suspected attacker has been detained and is under investigation by the military police. A student who spoke to reporters outside the school says the attacker was involved in a fight last week with another student, and that the female teacher who was fatally stabbed had tried to settle the conflict.
Hungary’s parliament has approved Finland’s bid to join NATO, ending months of delays and bringing the Nordic country one step closer to becoming a full member of the Western military alliance. Hungarian lawmakers on Monday voted 182 for and only six against with no abstentions. The vote came after Hungary’s government frustrated allies in NATO and the European Union by repeatedly postponing the measure for months after nearly all other members of the alliance had ratified Finland’s bid. With Hungary’s approval, Turkey is now the only one of NATO’s 30 members not to have ratified Finland’s NATO accession. However, Sweden's membership bid still remains up in the air and a ratification vote by either Hungary or Turkey hasn't been set yet.
Hungary voted to support Finland’s accession to NATO, ending months of foot-dragging by Prime Minister Viktor Orban a…
Finland has moved one step closer to joining NATO after Hungary ratified the Nordic country’s bid on Monday. A similar decision is expected this or next month from Turkey, the only alliance member that hasn’t approved Finland’s membership. Still, there are specific steps and procedures that are required before Finland becomes the 31st full member of the Western alliance. Chief among those is an exchange of invitation and acceptance letters to be filed with the U.S. State Department.
An environmental organization is suing the U.S. government and accusing it of failing to protect 12 endangered coral species across the Caribbean and the Pacific Ocean that have been decimated by warming waters, pollution and overfishing. The Arizona-based Center for Biological Diversity said it filed the lawsuit Monday against the National Marine Fisheries Service more than two years after the agency proposed to protect more than 6,000 square miles worth of coral habitat but never did so. A spokeswoman for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Fisheries said the agency does not comment on litigation issues.
German weekly Der Spiegel is reporting that Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II asked her hosts for a gift of two horses during her state visit to Germany in 1978. The expensive presents raised eyebrows among German bureaucrats at the time, who noted that they cost more than any other offering made to a visiting head of state since the end of World War II. Nevertheless, Germany’s then-President Walter Scheel approved the gift in the interests of good bilateral relations, Der Spiegel reported citing previously confidential archive papers. They also noted the late monarch’s aperitif preferences, dislike of helicopters and British embassy concerns about her 1992 visit to Dresden. The report comes days before Elizabeth’s son, King Charles III, makes his first state visit to Germany.
Prince Harry and Elton John were in a London court as a British tabloid publisher seeks to toss their lawsuit alleging phone tapping and other privacy invasions. The High Court hearing that began Monday is expected to last four days. It’s one of several lawsuits Harry has brought against the media. The case alleges Associated Newspapers Ltd. hired private investigators to illegally bug homes and cars and record private phone conversations. The publisher says the claims are too old and barred because they rely on information they turned over in confidentiality for a 2012 probe into media law breaking. John’s husband, David Furnish, and actresses Liz Hurley and Sadie Frost have also sued the publisher.
Israel's national labor union calls off nationwide strike after prime minister pauses judicial overhaul
Israel's national labor union calls off nationwide strike after prime minister pauses judicial overhaul.
Israel's Netanyahu announces pause in judicial overhaul plan, says he will seek compromise with opponents
Israel's Netanyahu announces pause in judicial overhaul plan, says he will seek compromise with opponents.
Local authorities in eastern Congo say that at least 17 people have been killed by rebels. They were abducted while driving on a road and then killed by the CODECO militia group in Djugu territory in Ituri province over the weekend. Fighting between CODECO, a loose association of various ethnic Lendu militia groups, and Zaire, a mainly ethnic Hema self-defense group, has been ongoing since 2017 but has worsened recently. Local officials say that at least 32 civilians were killed by CODECO last month. In December, the United Nations said the insurgent group was expanding its areas of control, attacking civilians and Congo’s military, and taxing communities in the areas that it holds.
Scotland’s governing Scottish National Party has elected Humza Yousaf as its new leader. The 37-year-old son of South Asian immigrants is set to become the first person of color and the first Muslim to serve as Scotland’s first minister. Yousaf beat two other Scottish lawmakers on Monday in a contest to replace First Minister Nicola Sturgeon. She unexpectedly stepped down last month. He faces the challenge of uniting the SNP and reenergizing its campaign for Scottish independence from the United Kingdom. Yousaf is due to be confirmed as first minister by lawmakers on Tuesday. He said his victory sends a message "that your color of skin, your faith, is not a barrier to leading the country we all call home.”
Hungary’s parliament approves Finland’s bid to join NATO military alliance.
Two police officers were injured in scuffles that broke out when protesters tried to break through a police cordon during a demonstration against a meeting of oil and gas companies in Vienna. Police detained 143 people and resorted to using pepper spray to break up Monday's demonstration. Public broadcaster ORF reported that some protesters had tried to block roads leading to the hotel where the three-day European Gas Conference is being held. Environmental activists have criticized the conference participants for pursuing further natural gas projects amid strong demand and high prices due to the war in Ukraine.
U.N.-backed human rights experts say there is evidence that crimes against humanity — including women being forced into sexual slavery — have been committed against Libyans and migrants in the North African country. The investigators commissioned by the U.N.-backed Human Rights Council also faulted the European Union for sending support to Libyan forces that they say contributed to crimes against migrants and Libyans. The findings come in an extensive new report that was released on Monday. It's based on interviews with hundreds of people, including migrants and witnesses, that wraps up a fact-finding mission created nearly three years ago to investigate rights violations and abuses in Libya.
European Council President Charles Michel has pledged to continue supporting Ukraine against Russian aggression “for as long as necessary,” adding that EU leaders will “massively ramp up” ammunition production to send to the war-torn country. Michel on Monday met with Romanian President Klaus Iohannis at Cotroceni Palace in Bucharest, where the two leaders discussed EU support for Ukraine, security issues in neighboring Moldova, and Romania’s bid to one day join Europe’s ID check-free travel zone, also known as the Schengen area.
Thousands of anti-government protesters marched on the streets of Kenya’s capital, Nairobi, on Monday despite the government’s declaration that the protests are illegal. Opposition leader Raila Odinga joined protesters on the western side of the capital where his convoy attracted thousands of supporters and he addressed them at various stops calling for electoral justice and reduced prices for food items. Police chief Japheth Koome insists that Monday’s protests are illegal but the opposition leader Raila Odinga says Kenyans have a right to demonstrate. The opposition is protesting against the rising cost of living and calling for President William Ruto’s resignation saying he wasn’t validly elected in last year’s election.
Powerful Netanyahu ally says plan to overhaul Israeli judiciary has been delayed until May.
The Iraqi province of Diyala has seen a spike in bloody attacks over the past month that killed at least 19 civilians, including women and children. At least one instance appears to have been a Shiite revenge attack against Sunnis over an Islamic State group attack. But other violence, residents say, is by Shiites against Shiites as rival militias, backed by tribal and political allies, struggle over influence and over lucrative criminal activities like smuggling. The bloodshed is straining ties among communities in Diyala, an ethnically and religiously diverse province north of Baghdad. It also raises questions about the sustainability of the relative calm and stability that has prevailed in much of Iraq in the years since the defeat of IS.
Turkey's state-run agency says Ankara has summoned France’s ambassador to condemn the French senate's move to host representatives of Syrian Kurdish groups that Ankara considers to be terrorists. Anadolu Agency reported Monday that Turkish officials ""strongly condemned" the action to French Ambassador Herve Magro. The vice-president of the French Senate announced on Twitter on Saturday that he hosted a delegation from northeast Syria to discuss the situation in the region last week. Media reports said the Syrian Kurdish representatives were honored with medals by the Senate in recognition of their fight against the extremist Islamic State group in Syria.
Taking the stage like a rock star to cheering fans, Nicola Sturgeon did what she’d done for almost a decade as leader…
Officials from Poland and the European Union have discussed artillery munitions manufacturing as part of a new, 2 billion euro ($2.2 billion) program to supply Ukraine in its war against invading Russian forces and to replenish Europe's dwindling stocks. EU commissioner for internal market, Thierry Breton, was visiting a munition plant in southeast Poland Monday, accompanied by the prime minister and the defense minister. They said the EU needs to urgently increase its ammo output with an all-out war across its eastern border, while its 27 member states are encouraged to offer their existing stocks to Ukraine, which has pleaded for that.
Members of opposition parties dressed in black disrupted India's Parliament and protested in the capital after Rahul Gandhi, a key opposition leader and fierce critic of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, was expelled from the legislature last week. Hundreds of supporters of Gandhi’s Congress party demonstrated in the heart of New Delhi and dozens were detained by police. Lawmakers from 18 opposition parties also protested together outside Parliament, donning black clothes to symbolize mourning and waving posters that warned India’s democracy is in danger. Gandhi’s expulsion on Friday came a day after a local court convicted him of defamation and sentenced him to two years in prison for mocking Modi’s surname in an election speech in 2019.
India's top opposition leader and fierce critic of Prime Minister Narendra Modi was expelled from Parliament Friday. It came one day after a court convicted Rahul Gandhi of defamation and sentenced him to two years in prison for mocking the surname Modi in an election speech. The conviction and expulsion were widely condemned by opponents of Modi, who say democracy and free speech are under assault by a ruling government seeking to crush any dissent. Expelling Gandhi, the great-grandson of India's first prime minister, delivered a major blow to the opposition party ahead of next year’s elections. Gandhi was granted bail for 30 days and plans to appeal the verdict.
The Louvre Museum in Paris has been closed to the public because its workers took part in the wave of French protest strikes against the government’s unpopular pension reform plans. Dozens of Louvre employees blocked the entrance on Monday so the museum announced it would be temporarily closed. The demonstrators toted banners and flags in front of the Louvre’s famed pyramid where President Emmanuel Macron had celebrated his presidential victory in 2017. They demanded the repeal of the new pension law that raises the retirement age from 62 to 64. The action comes on the eve of another nationwide protest planned for Tuesday against the bill.
Lebanon’s caretaker prime minister has reversed an unpopular decision made by his office to delay the start of daylight saving time by a month. Najib Mikati said Monday the Cabinet has decided to implement daylight saving time at midnight Wednesday. The development comes after the government’s initial decision was widely criticized around the country with many, including the country’s largest church, saying they will not abide by the postponement. Last week, the government said it will delay the start of daylight saving time by a month until the end of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan leading to mass confusion in the country.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has met with UN atomic energy agency chief Rafael Mariano Grossi in Ukraine
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has met with UN atomic energy agency chief Rafael Mariano Grossi in Ukraine.
Saudi Arabia’s state-owned oil giant Aramco will invest billions of dollars in China’s downstream petrochemicals industry, including in the construction of a new refinery. The announcements on Sunday and Monday came days after the company posted a record profit of more than $160 billion in 2022. Aramco will acquire a 10% interest in China’s Rongsheng Petrochemical Co. Ltd,, a purchase valued at $3.6 billion. Under a long-term sales agreement, Aramco will supply 480,000 barrels per day to a Rongsheng affiliate that owns and operates China’s largest refining and chemicals complex. On Sunday, Aramco said it would build a new refinery and petrochemical complex in northeastern China through a joint venture.
A suicide bomber has struck near the foreign ministry in the Afghan capital, killing at least six people and wounding about a dozen. That's according to a local hospital and a spokesman for the Kabul police chief. The hospital says Monday's explosion happened close to the ministry, the second time this year that there has been an attack near it. There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the bombing but the regional affiliate of the Islamic State group has increased attacks since the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan in 2021. IS has targeted Taliban officials and patrols, as well as members of the country's minority Shiite community.
Humza Yousaf elected to head Scottish National Party, will be Scotland’s first leader of color.
Former Taiwan President Ma Ying-jeou has departed for a tour of China in what he calls an attempt to reduce tensions a day after Taiwan lost one of its few remaining diplomatic partners to China. The ex-president is visiting in a private capacity, bringing a delegation of academics and college students for exchanges, but the trip is loaded with political meaning. Ma’s policies brought Taiwan and Beijing to their closest relationship ever. Current President Tsai Ing-wen is expected to launch a 10-day diplomatic tour of her own Wednesday, ostensibly to visit the island's remaining allies in Latin America. Her tour, however, will also feature stops in the U.S., Taiwan’s biggest unofficial partner and supplier of arms.
The British government is pushing its contentious migration bill forward in Parliament, despite a call from Europe’s top human rights organization to block the legislation. The Illegal Migration Bill would bar asylum claims by anyone who reaches the U.K. by unauthorized means, and compel the government to detain and then deport them “to their home country or a safe third country.” They would be banned from ever reentering the U.K. The House of Commons is holding the first of two days of debate on the bill Monday. It comes after the 46-nation Council of Europe urged British lawmakers to “prevent legislation that is incompatible with the United Kingdom’s international obligations.”
UN-backed investigators say there's evidence that 'crimes against humanity' were committed against migrants in Libya
UN-backed investigators say there's evidence that 'crimes against humanity' were committed against migrants in Libya.
Afghans have celebrated their national cricket team’s landmark victory over Pakistan, although fan festivities were more muted back home because of the ruling Taliban restrictions on music. On Sunday, Afghanistan won its first series against neighboring Pakistan, a top-six ranked International Cricket Council team, for the first time since the war-torn country’s world cricket debut in 2009. It beat Pakistan to take a 2-0 lead in a three-match series in Sharjah, in the United Arab Emirates. The Afghanistan Cricket Board said in a tweet Monday that the team put on an “incredible show” to clinch a historic series win. Some social media posts showed Afghans dancing a national dance without music on the streets of their capital, Kabul.
Union official: Diplomats at Israeli missions abroad join strikes against Netanyahu's plan to overhaul the judiciary
Union official: Diplomats at Israeli missions abroad join strikes against Netanyahu's plan to overhaul the judiciary.
A Japanese student has showed up to graduation as Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s lookalike, wearing his signature olive-colored, snug-fit T-shirt and khaki trousers to show his support for Ukraine’s fight against Russia. Most graduation ceremonies in Japan feature graduates in suits or formal dress. But Kyoto University has its own tradition of students who opt for different attire on their special day. This year, Zelenskyy was the star at the event. The student, who goes by Amiki on Twitter, said he decided to be Zelenskyy's lookalike because he was told the two bore a resemblance when he grew out his beard. He held a sign carrying messages expressing his support for Ukraine, along with a passage from Zelenskyy’s speech in December at the U.S. Congress.
Alibaba founder Jack Ma has resurfaced in China after months of overseas travel, visiting a school in the eastern city of Hangzhou where he discussed various topics including artificial intelligence. Ma founded e-commerce firm Alibaba in the 1990s and was once China’s richest man. He has kept a low profile with few public appearances since Nov. 2020, when he had publicly criticized China's regulators and financial systems during a speech in Shanghai. In the past year, Ma has been travelling, with reports of sightings in Europe, Japan, Thailand and Hong Kong. His itinerary has been closely watched as a barometer of Beijing's attitude towards private businesses.
Officials say a Pakistani court has ruled in defense of former Prime Minister Imran Khan, granting him protection from arrest until next week. Monday's development comes as lawsuits mounted against the ousted premier, with police charging him with incitement to violence in several cases when his followers clashed with the security forces this month. The latest reprieve for Khan comes as a political crisis roils Pakistan, pitting the former cricket star turned Islamist politician against the government of his successor Shahbaz Sharif and spilling into violence in the streets. Khan was ousted through a no-confidence vote in Parliament last April.
Prosecutors in northern Poland say a foreign national suspected of spying for Russia will remain in custody for three months until an investigation is completed. Prosecutors in Gdansk responsible for military matters said Monday the foreigner, whose identity has not been released, admitted to having passed sensitive information to Russian intelligence. He has been in Poland since January and has collected information about key infrastructure and security procedures in the north of the European Union country. Poland's gas terminal and key poirts are located in the north. The suspect faces up to ten years in prison if convicted. Earlier this month Poland detained nine people suspected of being members of a Russian espionage ring preparing acts of sabotage.