Mosque attack in Egypt leaves over 200 dead; Erdogan says U.S. will no longer arm Kurds in Syria

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  • The U.N. Security Council and Secretary-General Antonio Guterres have condemned an attack on a mosque in Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula which killed 235 people. The council called for the perpetrators to be brought to justice. No organization has yet claimed responsibility for the attack. The Sinai region has experienced multiple terrorist attacks since the military, led by President Abdul-Fattah el-Sisi, seized control of the government in 2013. Several of the attacks were carried out by the group, Sinai Province, which is affiliated with the Islamic State.
  • U.S. President Donald J. Trump spoke with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan ahead of next week’s peace talks on ending the Syrian civil war. President Erdogan claims that President Trump promised that the U.S. would no longer arm Syrian Kurdish militants, known as YPG. This would be a reversal from U.S military strategy, which has relied on the Kurdish group in the fight against the Islamic State. The Turkish government classifies the YPG as a terrorist organization.
  • German Chancellor Angela Merkel and her Christian Democratic Union party (CDU) will have coalition talks with their previous partners, the centre-left Social Democratic Party (SPD), next week, according to the BBC. This is despite SPD leader Martin Schulz previously telling reporters that the party isn’t open to the idea of a coalition with Merkel. However, after late-night talks of SPD leaders and pressure from Schulz’s own party, the SPD’s general secretary, Hubertus Heil, said the SPD would “not say no to discussions.” According to Schulz, party members would have the final vote on any deal. This announcement comes after the SPD experienced its worst election result this September since 1949. Around half of Germans support another election, though president Frank Steinmeier has told party leaders to continue discussions.
  • Emmerson Mnangagwa was sworn in as president of Zimbabwe on Friday. The former vice-president was ousted by Robert Mugabe a few weeks ago in a move that precipitated the army to step in and end Mugabe’s 37-year rule. Zimbabweans have been celebrating the end of an era and are optimistic that Mnangagwa will bring about democratic reform.
  • Ex-Paralympic sprinter Oscar Pistorius’s sentence for murdering his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp has been more than doubled. South Africa’s Supreme Court found in favour of the state, whose lawyers argued that his initial six-year sentence was “shockingly lenient.” The court extended Pistorius’s sentence to 15 years, the country’s minimum term for murder, minus the two and a half years already served.
  • The Slovenian centrist prime minister, Miro Cerar, is facing a motion to be impeached from the country’s right wing opposition, according to The Guardian. Critics in the Slovenian parliament say Cerar has attempted to interfere in the business of the independent judiciary by voicing support for a Syrian man, Ahmad Shamieh, who faces deportation. Janez Janša, a rightwing former prime minister, said his party would seek to impeach Cerar. However the Guardian reports that Cerar has enough support to vote down the motion.

What we’re reading

  • CNN investigates China’s prisons and allegations of the widespread use of torture against lawyers and human rights activists. Their investigation shows that 265 lawyers have been detained since a crackdown that started last year and is continuing today. — Jack Barton
  • Martha Lillard spends half of every day with her body encapsulated in a half-century old machine that forces her to breathe. Gizmodo reporter Jennings Brown goes in search of the last people in the United States who still use the iron lung — a negative pressure ventilator. The machines became popular in the in the early 1950s, before polio vaccines were available. As Brown reports, some still rely on the machines to breathe for them, which requires constant upkeep of decades-old technology. — Charles Anderson

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