The week at a glance...Europe
Mallorca, SpainLegacy of the Inquisition: Descendents of Jews who were forced to convert to Catholicism during the Inquisition have been recognized by Israeli rabbinical authorities as Jews. The Chuetas are descended from the Spanish island’s Jewish inhabitants, who were persecuted so severely by Spanish Catholics that by 1435 all of them had either been killed or forcibly converted to Catholicism. Because the Chuetas have tended to marry among themselves, the rabbis said, they can be considered Jews. “The best revenge on the Inquisition,” said Michael Freund, head of an Israeli group that seeks out “lost” Jews around the world, “would be to bring as many of these people as possible back to their roots and back to their people.”
Mari, CyprusDeadly blast: Barrels of confiscated Iranian explosives caught fire and blew up at a Cypriot naval base this week, killing 12 people, including the head of the Cypriot navy, and destroying the island’s main power plant. The 98 barrels, seized in 2009 from a ship that was smuggling them from Iran to Syria, had for more than two years been carelessly stored in the open, baking in the hot sun. Opposition lawmakers said the poor storage amounted to “criminal negligence.” The government initially claimed that it had asked the United Nations, in vain, to take the explosives off its hands, but cables revealed by WikiLeaks showed that Cyprus actually rejected offers for help in disposing of the weapons. The defense minister and head of the national guard have already resigned.