The week at glance...International



Bolshoi overhaul: Anatoly Iksanov, the head of the Bolshoi Theater, was fired this week just three days before the opening of a new production, in the culmination of a violent power struggle at the famed ballet company. One dancer was jailed this year for organizing an acid attack that disfigured the ballet’s artistic director. The most popular male dancer—a favorite among influential oligarchs’ wives—was fired after he complained about casting and other artistic choices. Then last week, prima ballerina Svetlana Zakharova quit the production of Eugene Onegin in a huff after she wasn’t given the lead role. “The Bolshoi Theater is in a state of decay,” said Valeria Uralskaya, editor of Ballet magazine.


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Police renew assault: Istanbul’s Gezi Park, the scene of last month’s protests brutally put down by police, reopened this week for just three hours. Activists gathered in the park as soon as it opened, but police used tear gas, rubber bullets, and a water cannon on them almost immediately, critically injuring at least one teenager. “Police encircled us when we were walking to the park after the governor publicly opened it and invited all citizens to enjoy it,” said Ali Ozyurt of the Istanbul Chamber of Physicians.


Hezbollah targeted: A car bombing this week in a Beirut suburb is believed to have been a revenge attack for Hezbollah’s interference in the civil war in neighboring Syria. The bomb ripped through a grocery parking lot in a Hezbollah-dominated neighborhood, injuring more than 50 people. Hezbollah has sent militants to fight alongside the forces of its longtime ally, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, and Syrian rebels said they would retaliate. Hezbollah officials blamed “Israel and its agents” for the bombing.

Riyadh, Saudi Arabia

Ramadan is mandatory: Saudi Arabia will kick out any foreigner who is not observing a daytime fast for the holy month of Ramadan. “Non-Muslim residents in the kingdom must not eat or drink in public during Ramadan, in respect to the holiness of Ramadan and the feelings of Muslims,” the Interior Ministry announced. Any expat caught eating or smoking in public from sunup to sundown will be fired from their job and deported. Saudi Arabia is home to some 8 million foreign workers, mostly from Asian countries. In the past, foreigners were asked to refrain from eating in public during Ramadan, but they weren’t threatened with punishment. Saudis, meanwhile, will be jailed or lashed if they’re caught breaking the fast.

Abbottabad, Pakistan

How bin Laden hid: Osama bin Laden was able to live undetected for nine years in Pakistan because authorities there weren’t doing their jobs, according to a government report leaked to Al Jazeera. The 336-page report—the result of an exhaustive investigation by a Supreme Court judge, a retired general, a retired police chief, and a former diplomat—said the episode was “a glaring testimony to the collective incompetence and negligence” of intelligence agents, police, and all local and national authorities. At one point, bin Laden was pulled over for speeding, but the cop didn’t recognize him without a beard. He reportedly wore a cowboy hat when strolling in his compound “to avoid detection from above.” The report said it couldn’t rule out the possibility that rogue elements of Pakistani intelligence had colluded with al Qaida to protect bin Laden.

Bodh Gaya, India

Buddhist temple bombed: Bombs ripped through one of the world’s holiest Buddhist sites this week in an apparent act of revenge for Buddhist attacks on Muslims in neighboring Myanmar. Nine bomb blasts damaged parts of the Bodh Gaya temple complex, home to the Bodhi Tree, on the site where the Buddha is said to have achieved enlightenment. The tree was not damaged. In Myanmar, hundreds of Muslims have been killed in the past year by Buddhist mobs, some led by monks, and Buddhists in India and Tibet have been threatened with revenge attacks.


Visit your parents: China has made it a crime for adult children to neglect their elderly parents. Millions of Chinese workers now live thousands of miles away from their parents, and the tradition of filial piety has lapsed. Under a law that took effect last week, those who fail to visit or call can be fined. The law doesn’t spell out how many visits are required, though, so it’s up to disgruntled parents to lodge complaints. Almost immediately, vendors on Taobao, China’s largest e-commerce website, began offering to send strangers on filial visits. “We offer services such as chatting, celebrating birthdays, and even performances,” one vendor told the Shanghai Daily.

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