The week at a glance...International
Cairo Christians killed: Egyptian President Mohammed Mursi has ordered an investigation into a surge of violence against Coptic Christians that left five dead this week. The police said the clashes started over inflammatory graffiti that sparked an argument between Christians and Muslims in a town north of Cairo; four Copts were killed in the ensuing brawl. Then, at the funeral for the victims, a mob of Muslims attacked the mourners with rocks and Molotov cocktails as they left Cairo’s main cathedral, killing one and injuring more than 80. The Coptic leader, Pope Tawadros II, said Mursi was failing to protect Christians, who make up 10 percent of Egypt’s population. “We want action, not words,” he said.
Asmara, Eritrea Wave of defections: A female pilot in the Eritrean air force has become the latest military officer to flee the dictatorial country. Capt. Rahwa Gebrekristos refuses to return from Saudi Arabia, where she was sent to retrieve a presidential jet stranded there since last year, when two other Eritrean pilots defected to Saudi Arabia. Dozens of officers have defected from the country in the past year to protest political oppression. Eritrea is known as “the North Korea of Africa” because of its massive army, extreme limits on personal freedom, and detention of up to 10,000 political prisoners. It has been led by dictator Isaias Afwerki since its 1993 split from Ethiopia after decades of war.
Tehran More nukes: Defiant after the latest round of nuclear talks ended in stalemate, Iran announced that it had opened two more nuclear-related facilities. The facilities—a large uranium mine and a processing center—will give Tehran more control over the entire chain of nuclear production, from raw ore to uranium that is enriched enough to serve as reactor fuel or, potentially, bomb fuel. Speaking from Jerusalem, where he met with Israeli leaders, Secretary of State John Kerry warned that “open-ended, endless negotiation” was not an option. “President Obama could not be more clear: Iran cannot have and will not have a nuclear weapon,” he said.
Zabul Province, Afghanistan U.S. diplomat killed: A U.S. Foreign Service officer traveling to a rural Afghan village to deliver schoolbooks was killed this week when a suicide car bomber attacked her convoy. Four other Americans were also killed. Anne Smedinghoff, 25, a public diplomacy officer, had volunteered for Afghan duty. “She particularly enjoyed the opportunity to work directly with the Afghan people and was always looking for opportunities to reach out and help to make a difference in the lives of those living in a country ravaged by war,” her parents said in a statement.
Shanghai Bird flu outbreak: A new strain of avian flu that has killed at least nine people in the past five weeks is causing panic in eastern China. After some officials said—based on no scientific evidence—that a traditional herb, ban lan gen, could protect against the virus, prices shot up and pharmacies across the region sold out their stocks. Panic spread further after a Chinese army colonel posted a theory on social media that the virus, H7N9, was actually a U.S. biological weapon meant to destabilize China. So far, though, the virus does not appear to have made the leap to human-to-human transmission. Authorities in Shanghai have slaughtered tens of thousands of birds and closed several large markets in an effort to contain the outbreak.
Snowy River National Park, Australia Woman rescued: Australian police found a woman lost in a vast national park after she wrote a huge “HELP” in the sand with a stick. Authorities began looking for Lynette Joyce Bond, 68, last week after they found her broken-down car in the park with a note on the windshield saying she had gone for help. Four days after she abandoned her car, searchers in a helicopter finally spotted her message and saw her lying nearby, making a sand angel to attract attention. The park covers nearly 400 square miles and has few roads. “I think I’ll buy a bicycle,” Bond said.