The world at a glance ...
Terrorist kills cop: France’s presidential candidates suspended their increasingly bitter election fight this week to honor the police officer shot dead by an ISIS sympathizer on the Champs-Élysées. Xavier Jugelé, 37, was killed three days before the election’s first round last week by Karim Cheurfi, 39, who opened fire with an automatic weapon on a police van on the Paris avenue. Two other officers were injured; Cheurfi was fatally shot as he tried to flee. In a moving eulogy, Jugelé’s partner, Etienne Cardiles, urged the French to “maintain dignity” and “live in peace,” saying, “I suffer without shame; you will not have my hatred.” Outgoing President François Hollande attended the funeral, as did centrist election front-runner Emmanuel Macron and his far-right rival, Marine Le Pen. After the ceremony, Cardiles shook hands with Macron but did not speak to Le Pen.
What is Steve? Scientists are studying a 16-mile-wide stream of ionized gas that can be seen glowing in the sky above Canada on a clear night, stretching east to west from Hudson Bay to British Columbia. A Facebook group of aurora borealis enthusiasts first discovered the stream, which looks white to the naked eye and appears farther south than the northern lights. They called it Steve, a nod to the 2006 animated movie Over the Hedge, in which animals afraid of a looming hedge make it less scary by naming it Steve. Eric Donovan, a physics and astronomy professor at the University of Calgary, told The New York Times that the gas moves through the air at 4 miles per second, and gets as hot as Earth’s core. He hopes to publish a study explaining what Steve is in a few months.
Deadly protests: Foreign companies are pulling their expat workers out of Venezuela as the country descends into violence and chaos. Last week in the city of Valencia, authorities seized a General Motors plant and all its cars, and GM said it would leave the country altogether. Clashes between anti-government protesters and police, and between looters and police, have killed at least 26 people over the past few weeks. Leftist President Nicolás Maduro, who has been ruling by decree since late 2015—when the Supreme Court he filled with friendly judges refused to let the oppositioncontrolled parliament convene—says the protesters are paid by foreigners intent on toppling his government.
Controlling the press: Ecuador has fined seven media companies for not publishing a news story that it deemed of public interest. The state’s media watchdog said the press had a duty to cover a story that first ran in an Argentine leftist paper about alleged tax evasion by opposition politician Guillermo Lasso, a conservative who lost this month’s presidential election. Four newspapers and three TV stations were fined $3,750 each—10 times the cost of the base salary for a reporter. Lasso was narrowly defeated in the election by Lenín Moreno, an ally of outgoing leftist President Rafael Correa. The fine, Lasso tweeted, “shows the radicalization of a totalitarian government that wants to destroy the free press.”
Ivanka booed: Attendees at a Berlin women’s summit booed and hissed at Ivanka Trump this week after she called her father a “tremendous champion of supporting families.” The event began with the German moderator asking Ivanka, an official adviser to President Trump, what her job was as first daughter: “Who are you representing, your father as president of the United States, the American people, or your business?” Ivanka, on a panel with German Chancellor Angela Merkel and IMF boss Christine Lagarde, said she was still learning the role. After praising President Trump’s support for paid maternity leave, eliciting boos from the crowd, Ivanka insisted that her father believed “in the potential of women—and their ability to do the job as well as any man.”
Ciudad del Este, Paraguay
Heist of the century: A large armed gang attacked the headquarters of a private security company in the Paraguayan border city of Ciudad del Este this week and made off with up to $40 million. Dozens of men set off explosives to break into Prosegur’s vaults, then set cars ablaze and fired on police, killing one officer. Some robbers fled by boat across the reservoir of the Itaipu Dam to Brazil. Authorities believe the gang was part of First Capital Command, one of Brazil’s biggest organized-crime groups. Brazilian police confronted a group of suspected robbers, killing thr ee, and separately arrested 12 men they believed were also part of the heist, seizing automatic weapons, two boats, seven vehicles, and an unspecified amount of cash.
Al Hasakah, Syria
Turkey bombs U.S. allies: American officials said they were “deeply concerned” this week after Turkish airstrikes hit U.S.-backed Kurdish groups fighting ISIS in Syria and Iraq. Ankara said it had “neutralized” 70 fighters from the PKK, a Kurdish separatist group that has staged terrorist attacks inside Turkey. But Kurdish elements of the Syrian Democratic Forces, the main U.S. ally in Syria, and the Iraq-based Kurdish Peshmerga said they also suffered casualties in the raids. “It is vital that Turkey and all partners in the defeat-ISIS effort coordinate their actions closely,” said Pentagon spokesman Maj. Adrian Rankine-Galloway. Turkey’s strike came days after President Trump called Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to congratulate him on winning a referendum that greatly expanded his powers.
Conservationist shot: Kuki Gallmann, the Italian-born environmentalist who wrote the best-selling memoir I Dreamed of Africa, was shot and wounded this week in an attack at her conservation park in Kenya. Gallmann, 73, is in stable condition after surgery. Authorities believe the attack was carried out by cattle herders, who have been invading private ranches and safari parks in recent months in search of grazing areas, which are now scarce because of prolonged drought. Cattle herders are suspected of having burned down a luxury safari lodge, run by Gallmann, in March. A few weeks earlier, British safari company owner, Tristan Voorspuy, was shot dead while inspecting his lodges. The plight of herders has become an issue in Kenya’s general election, set for August.
Pyongyang, North Korea
Peninsula on edge: As tensions escalated between the U.S. and North Korea, the regime of Kim Jong Un held its largest-ever live-fire military drill this week, unleashing hundreds of artillery pieces and submarine-torpedo attacks on mock enemy warships. Satellite photos indicate the Kim regime has made preparations for another nuclear test, its sixth in 11 years, but Trump administration pressure on China appears to have yielded some results: China’s staterun daily Global Times warned Pyongyang that such a test would “cross the point of no return.” Meanwhile, North Korea arrested a U.S. citizen, Tony Kim, as he attempted to travel from Pyongyang to China. The 58-year-old had been teaching accounting at Pyongyang University; his arrest brings the number of Americans held by North Korea to three.
President Trump, who has vowed that North Korea will not be allowed to develop nuclear-tipped missiles that could reach the U.S., continued the U.S.’s military buildup in the peninsula. The U.S. and South Korea began installing an advanced missiledefense system, known as THAAD, an American guided-missile submarine docked in South Korea, and an aircraft carrier group led by the USS Carl Vinson approached the region. Trump called for stronger U.N. sanctions against North Korea and, in a break with tradition, summoned the entire Senate to the White House this week to brief them on the crisis. “The real question now is, ‘[Is] somebody going to make a stupid mistake?’” Bruce Bennett, a defense analyst at RAND Corp., told CNN. “Some kind of minor escalation could get out of hand.”
Sneak attack: Afghanistan’s defense minister and army chief stepped down this week after a sneak attack left more than 140 Afghan soldiers dead—one of the deadliest Taliban attacks since 2001. Ten militants wearing army uniforms infiltrated a military base in Balkh province last week and killed troops as they were praying or eating lunch. The resignations came as U.S. Defense Secretary James Mattis arrived in Kabul to talk with President Ashraf Ghani. U.S. officials are currently considering whether to boost American troop numbers in the country. Gen. John W. Nicholson Jr., commander of U.S. forces in Afghanistan, has said he wants 3,000 more troops to add to the 8,400 U.S. forces stationed there. Nicholson said this week that he would “not refute” reports that Russia has been arming the Taliban in an effort to undermine Ghani.
Child marriage soars: The war in Yemen has reduced families to such desperation that they are selling their daughters. UNICEF said more than two-thirds of girls in Yemen are now married before they reach 18, compared with half before the war began two years ago. Girls are wed as young as 8, and some of them die from rape injuries or childbirth complications. With Yemen at risk of famine, and more than 2 million Yemeni children already severely malnourished, some families are marrying off their daughters in the hope that the new husband’s family will be able to feed them. Backed by the U.S., Saudi Arabia and other Arab nations have been pounding Yemen in a brutal campaign aimed at ousting Iranbacked Houthi rebels from the capital, Sanaa, and other key cities.