The world at a glance ...
Terrorist nabbed: French police this week shot and arrested a suspected terrorist wanted for a vehicle attack on a group of soldiers in Paris. Witnesses said the man lay in wait near an army barracks in the northwestern suburb of Levallois- Perret and sped his BMW straight into the soldiers as they came out of the building. Six troops were injured, three of them seriously. “It was without doubt a deliberate act,” said Patrick Balkany, mayor of Levallois-Perret. Police later chased the BMW on a highway north of Paris and shot and wounded the driver, who was taken into custody. The soldiers were stationed in Paris as part of France’s Operation Sentinel. About 10,000 soldiers and 4,700 police have been deployed to protect key sites across the country following the deadly Islamist attacks in Paris in early 2015.
No first lady: Thanks to a public outcry, Brigitte Macron will not be given any formal role as first lady of France. Her husband, President Emmanuel Macron, had promised to formalize the nebulous and unofficial role of the first lady, who traditionally has a small staff paid by the office of the presidency. But after more than 300,000 people signed a petition opposing any official title or salary for the presidential spouse, aides said there would be no such designation. Macron, who won the May election with 66 percent of the vote, has seen a dramatic drop in popularity after proposing cuts to public spending. His approval rating is now about 40 percent.
Haitians try their luck: Thousands of Haitians are fleeing the U.S. and heading to Canada to seek asylum. Some 58,000 victims of Haiti’s devastating 2010 earthquake have been living in the U.S. for the past seven years under “temporary protected status,” which lets them remain in America until conditions improve back home. But the Trump administration has hinted that this status could be revoked next January; Haitians who don’t qualify for asylum would then be deported. In June, false rumors began to spread on social media that Canada would give all Haitians asylum, and asylum requests there tripled within a month. So many Haitians have crossed the border that Montreal has turned its Olympic stadium into a shelter to house 1,050 people. “The pace is stretching our resources,” said Quebec Immigration Minister Kathleen Weil.
Migrants stay put: Unable to get into the U.S. because of stricter border controls, people fleeing drug-gang violence in Honduras, El Salvador, and Guatemala are increasingly opting to try to stay in Mexico. The U.S. Border Patrol says it apprehended 140,024 migrants in the first six months of 2017, about half the number recorded in the first half of 2016. Mexican officials predict that applications for asylum in Mexico this year will reach 20,000—more than twice last year’s number. The influx now includes Venezuelans, who are fleeing their country’s economic collapse. So far this year, more than 1,400 Venezuelans have applied for Mexican asylum, up from zero in 2015.
Swearing ban: A British pub chain has angered U.K. drinkers by banning cursing at its more than 200 establishments. Samuel Smith’s Brewery did not officially announce the policy, but local pub operators told The Wall Street Journal that they received a memo from management telling them to crack down on colorful language. “It feels like you’re sitting in your grandma’s lounge,” said custome r Sam Eeles, who said he and his friends have been repeatedly reprimanded for swearing in London pubs. Even some of the pub operators are annoyed at the edict. “Where do you draw the line?” asked one. “Is ‘bloody’ a swear word? It’s quite confusing.”
Rio de Janeiro
Highway robbery: Road banditry has become a menace to Brazilian truckers. Armed hijacking of cargo trucks has soared in the past few years: There were about 3,500 attacks in Rio de Janeiro state in 2013 and more than 9,800 in 2016. The freight industry expects to lose $1.3 billion to cargo pirates this year. More policing would help, but Brazil’s prolonged economic crisis has forced local governments to slash public services, and police are no longer paid for overtime. “You have a perfect storm of highly organized criminal networks, high-value goods like alcohol and medicine, very poor infrastructure and government control, and high levels of corruption,” Jim Yarbrough, a U.S.-based supply-chain security analyst, told Bloomberg.com.
Putin’s manly break: President Vladimir Putin spent his summer vacation in southern Siberia diving, fishing, hiking, and swimming, and the Kremlin released a load of photos and videos to prove his manliness. Many of the images show Putin, 64, shirtless, exposing a trim physique. Russian television juxtaposed the photos with unflattering images of U.S. politicians—including President Trump and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie—looking out of shape while on their own vacations. Analysts said the blitz of photos was a sign Putin will run for reelection next year. “We have a new Indiana Jones: charismatic, fearless, hardy, and attractive in every respect,” said Elena Yegorova in Moskovsky Komsomolets. “How could you not vote for a torso like that?”
Violence after election: Protests erupted in Nairobi this week after opposition leader Raila Odinga claimed that the presidential election had been stolen from him. Preliminary results from this week’s vote showed incumbent President Uhuru Kenyatta well ahead of Odinga. But Odinga called the outcome “a complete fraud,” saying hackers had accessed and manipulated the country’s electoral database using the login details of a top election official who was abducted, tortured, and murdered last week. Police responded to the protests with tear gas and truncheons, and two demonstrators were shot dead. The unrest raised fears of a repeat of the violence after the 2007 vote, which turned into tribal clashes that left some 1,400 people dead. Odinga has run unsuccessfully for president three times before, and claimed rigged results were responsible for two of his losses.
Heat wave: Record heat is scorching much of Europe, wilting crops and causing wildfires. Temperatures in Romania hit nearly 108 degrees and at least two people there died from heat exhaustion; two teenage Romanian boys also drowned while cooling off in a river. In southern Italy, Spain, and France, temperatures topped 100 degrees and residents nicknamed the heat wave Lucifer. In Serbia, train services were delayed because some tracks buckled in the heat, and Serbs were advised to avoid alcohol and physical exertion. In some parts of the continent, the scorching heat was followed by violent summer storms, which killed at least four people in northern Italy—including a woman who was swept to her death by a mudslide and a man who was struck by lightning.
Shiites massacred: More than 50 Shiite villagers, including women and children, were killed in northern Afghanistan this week in what appeared to be the first joint attack by Taliban and ISIS militants. Seven police were also killed, as they tried to fight off the attackers. Most of the victims were shot, but a few were beheaded, local officials said. ISIS and the Taliban both follow a radical strain of Sunni Islam, but until now they have fought each other, vying for control of territory. If they join forces against Afghanistan’s Shiite Muslim minority, Afghan officials fear, a new sectarian civil war could break out. Last week, two suicide bombers killed more than 33 worshippers at a packed Shiite mosque in the western city of Herat.
Netanyahu scandal: The legal troubles of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu deepened this week after his former chief of staff, Ari Harow, turned state’s witness against him. Prosecutors dropped most fraud and bribery charges against Harow in exchange for his testimony. Netanyahu is accused of trying to strike a deal with the newspaper Yedioth Ahronoth to get better coverage; investigators say he offered to curtail the circulation of the paper’s main rival, Israel Hayom, a pro-government free daily owned by U.S. casino mogul Sheldon Adelson. The prime minister is also accused of offering favors to a Hollywood producer in exchange for pricey cigars and champagne. Netanyahu has denied the allegations, calling them “background noise.”
Cape Clinton, Australia
Marines declared dead: Three U.S. Marines were killed last week when their MV-22 Osprey heli-plane tried to land on a ship off Australia’s coast, but crashed into the vessel’s deck and slid into the water. Twenty-three people on board the Osprey were rescued; three Marines were not found and were declared dead. “They will live on forever in our thoughts and our hearts,” said commanding officer Col. Tye R. Wallace. The troops had been taking part in a joint U.S.- Australian training exercise involving more than 30,000 troops and 200 aircraft. Since Ospreys went into service in 2007, the hybrid craft have been involved in five other crashes, killing nine more people. Navy pilot Jack McCain, son of Sen. John McCain, has called the Osprey—which can cost up to $100 million—“a piece of junk.”