News Wire | September 2023 Archive

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Kim Pledges to Back Putin’s ‘Sacred Struggle’ During Rare Summit

By Michelle Ye Hee Lee | The Washington Post

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un called his country’s relations with Russia his top priority and pledged full support to President Vladimir Putin and his government, as the leaders met Wednesday for the first time in four years at a space facility in Russia’s far east.

More Than 5,000 Dead in Libya as Collapsed Dams Worsen Flood Disaster

By Mohammed Abdusamee, Vivian Nereim and Isabella Kwai | The New York Times

More than 5,000 people were killed in Libya after torrential rains caused two dams to burst near the coastal city of Derna, destroying much of the city and carrying entire neighborhoods into the sea, local authorities said on Tuesday.

Guatemala President-Elect Suspends Transition After Agents Raid Election Facilities

By Sonia Perez D. | Associated Press

Guatemalan President-elect Bernardo Arévalo said Tuesday he was temporarily suspending the transition process and called for the resignation of the attorney general following raids on electoral facilities during which government agents opened boxes of votes and photographed their contents in what experts called an unprecedented violation of the law.

More from WPR: To Reform in Guatemala, Arevalo Will Need the World’s Attention

EU to Launch Anti-Subsidy Probe Into Chinese Electric Vehicles

By Alice Hancock, Henry Foy, Hudson Lockett and Peter Campbell | Financial Times

Brussels will launch an anti-subsidy investigation into Chinese electric vehicles that are “distorting” the EU market, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen announced Wednesday, a probe that could constitute one of the largest trade cases launched given the scale of the market.

Niger Junta Ends Military Accord With Benin Amid Regional Standoff


The junta in Niger on Tuesday said it would end a military pact with neighboring Benin, accusing it of authorising the deployment of troops on its territory for a possible military intervention against Niger by the West African regional bloc.

More from WPR: An ECOWAS Intervention in Niger Could Remake West African Security

Tunisian Judge Issues International Arrest Warrants for Prominent Political Figures


A Tunisian judge issued international arrest warrants for 12 prominent political figures, including a former prime minister and a former presidential chief of staff, charging them with forming a terrorist alliance and conspiring against the state, the state news agency reported on Tuesday, citing a court spokesperson.

More from WPR: Ghannouchi’s Arrest Could Be a Tipping Point for Tunisia’s Democracy

Japan’s Kishida Shuffles Cabinet and Party Posts to Solidify Power

By Mari Yamaguchi | Associated Press

Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida shuffled his Cabinet and key party posts on Wednesday to strengthen his position before a key party leadership vote next year, bringing in a new defense minister and the country’s first female foreign minister since 2004.

U.S. Advances Deal With Iran to Swap Prisoners, Free Frozen Oil Funds

By John Hudson | The Washington Post

The Biden administration has issued a waiver for banks to transfer $6 billion in frozen Iranian oil funds without fear of U.S. sanctions — a key step in securing the release of five American citizens detained in Iran, people familiar with the matter said. As a part of the arrangement, the administration will release five Iranian citizens detained in the United States.

China's Navy Starts Largest-Ever Exercises in Pacific Ocean

By Kathrin Hille | Financial Times

The Shandong, the People’s Liberation Army Navy’s second aircraft carrier, was on course on Tuesday to converge with more than 20 other Chinese warships in waters between Taiwan, the Philippines and the US Pacific territory of Guam, two Asian security officials said.

Colombia’s Coca Production at All-Time High, UN Says

By Joe Daniels | Financial Times

Last year 230,000 hectares of land were planted with coca—the main ingredient in cocaine—a 13 per cent increase over 2021, according to the annual report by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime. The group also found that potential cocaine output surged to its highest level in two decades, rising 24 per cent last year to 1,738 tons.

U.K.’s Arrest of Suspected Spy Fuels Calls for Tougher Stance on China

By Mark Landler | The New York Times

The man may have been recruited there by Chinese agents to return to London with a goal of disrupting the work of the Parliament’s China Research Group, a circle of lawmakers who have long warned about China’s efforts to influence British universities, think tanks, and government ministries—and have urged successive British leaders to take a harder line against Beijing.

A Tanzanian Opposition Leader Was Arrested Briefly Amid Human Rights Concerns

By Evelyne Musambi | Associated Press

Tanzania’s opposition leader Tundu Lissu was arrested and later released on bail by the police who accused him of unlawful assembly and obstructing police officers. Lissu was barred from attending a human rights rally Sunday in Ngorongoro, in the north of the country. In speeches at other political rallies, he had been critical of the government’s new port deal with a Dubai-based company.

More from WPR: To Restore Tanzania’s Democracy, Samia Must Solidify Her Reforms

Israel’s Supreme Court Takes Up Judicial Overhaul Following Mass Protests

By Steve Hendrix and Shira Rubin | The Washington Post

Tens of thousands of protesters gathered in Israel’s government quarter ahead of Tuesday’s much-anticipated legal clash between lawyers defending and opposing the recent explosive parliamentary vote to limit Supreme Court powers—in front of the Supreme Court itself.

Maria Ressa, Journalist and Nobel Laureate, Is Cleared of Tax Fraud

By John Yoon and Camille Elemia | The New York Times

The Nobel Prize-winning journalist Maria Ressa on Tuesday was acquitted by a Philippine court of tax fraud, the latest legal victory in her fight for the survival of her news site Rappler, which has come to represent the precariousness of the nation’s press freedoms.

G20 Summit Agrees on Words but Struggles on Action

By YP Rajesh and Krishn Kaushik | Reuters

The Group of 20 major economies reached a hard-fought compromise over the war in Ukraine and papered over other key differences in a summit declaration at the weekend, presenting few concrete achievements in its core remit of responses to global financial issues.

More from WPR: High-Level Summitry Is Increasingly Prominent in International Diplomacy

Biden Forges Deeper Ties With Vietnam as China’s Ambition Mounts

By Peter Baker and Katie Rogers | The New York Times

During a landmark visit to Hanoi by the American president, Vietnam’s Communist Party leadership formally raised the country’s ties to the United States to the highest level in Hanoi’s diplomatic hierarchy, equivalent to those it has with Russia and China. Mr. Biden said the breakthrough was “the beginning of even a greater era of cooperation” a half-century after American troops withdrew.

More from WPR: Vietnam Is Doubling Down on Its ‘Multi-Alignment’ Strategy

Chile, Mexico Presidents Call for Democracy, Santiago Protests Flare on Eve of Coup Anniversary


The presidents of Chile and Mexico called for the strengthening of democracy in Latin America during a joint address on Sunday to commemorate the 50th anniversary of a 1973 coup in Chile, hours after a peaceful march culminated in violent clashes with police.

NATO to Launch Biggest Military Exercise Since Cold War

By Alice Hancock | Financial Times

NATO is preparing its biggest live joint command exercise since the cold war next year, assembling more than 40,000 troops to practice how the alliance would attempt to repel Russian aggression against one of its members.

Gabon Junta Eyes Two-Year Transition Period Before Holding Elections

Agence France-Presse

"It's good to set off with a reasonable objective by saying: We have the desire to see the process come to an end in 24 months so we can go back to elections," said Raymond Ndong Sima, prime minister during the transition. That period could end up being slightly longer or shorter, he added.

More from WPR: In Gabon, the Bongo Family Is the State

In Quake-Battered Mountains, Many Moroccans Must Fend for Themselves

By Vivian Yee, Aida Alami and Jenny Gross | The New York Times

The most powerful quake to hit the region in a century spared neither city apartment dwellers nor those living in the mud-brick homes of the High Atlas Mountains, but many in the remote and rugged areas of Morocco have been left almost entirely to fend for themselves.

Kim Jong Un’s Train Appears Bound for Russia for Putin Talks

By Sangmi Cha and Jon Herskovitz | Bloomberg

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un appears to have departed for Russia via his luxury armored train, South Korean media reported, ahead of expected talks with President Vladimir Putin in Vladivostok that the U.S. said would touch on arms transfers to help the Kremlin’s war machine.

Islamists Kill Dozens of Civilians and Soldiers in Two Attacks in Mali

By Elian Peltier | The New York Times

Islamist militants staged separate attacks on a passenger ferry and a military camp in northern Mali on Thursday, the government said, killing dozens of civilians and soldiers in a region of the West African nation that is increasingly controlled by armed groups.

More from WPR: In Mali, Islamist Insurgent Groups Are Forming Shadow Governments

Colombian Ex-Soldier Pleads Guilty to Conspiring in Haiti President’s Murder

By Joe Daniels | Financial Times

A retired Colombian soldier charged in the 2021 assassination of Haitian president Jovenel Moïse pleaded guilty on Thursday, as authorities continue to pursue individuals linked to a murder that has deepened a spiralling crisis in the Caribbean country.

Top French Court Upholds Abaya Ban in Schools

By Aurelien Breeden | The New York Times

A top court in France on Thursday upheld a new government decree barring children in public schools from wearing the abaya, a loosefitting, full-length robe worn by some Muslim women, in a blow to critics who had called the ban discriminatory and had filed an emergency petition to strike it down.

More from WPR: In France, Teachers Tasked With Fighting Radicalization Face an Impossible Job

Gabon's Junta Frees Deposed President on Health Grounds and Appoints a New Prime Minister

By Chinedu Asadu and Yves Laurent Goma | Associated Press

Gabon’s ousted President Ali Bongo Ondimba, who has been under house arrest since he was deposed last week, is free and can travel abroad for medical treatment, the country’s junta said as it appointed a new prime minister.

More from WPR: In Gabon, the Bongo Family Is the State

Clashes Resume Between Factions in Lebanon's Largest Refugee Camp

Associated Press

Clashes resumed in Lebanon’s largest Palestinian refugee camp overnight, with heavy gunfire and shelling wounding at least 20 people and prompting residents of the camp and the surrounding area to flee on Friday.

China’s Renminbi Hits 16-year Low After Exports Tumble in August

By Joe Leahy and Hudson Lockett | Financial Times

China’s currency has fallen to its lowest point against the dollar since 2007 after exports shrank for a fourth straight month in August, showing how the manufacturing sector in the world’s second-largest economy is struggling to regain momentum.

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