The widow of crack-smoking Toronto Mayor Rob Ford is suing former brother-in-law Doug Ford—the Progressive Conservative Party leader running to be Ontario’s next premier—for millions of dollars in lost income. Renata Ford alleges that Doug and his brother Randy negligently managed the family’s label-making firm, Deco Toronto, while arranging “extravagant” salaries and bonuses for themselves, depriving her two children of their inheritance. The case was filed just days before the Ontario election; Doug has pledged that, if elected, he’ll run the province “like a business.” He called the allegations “completely false,” and his mother, Diane, released a statement referencing Renata’s history of drug addiction.
Prime minister booted
With a slew of corruption scandals circling his center-right People’s Party, Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy was forced out of office last week by a no-confidence vote in the parliament. Socialist party leader Pedro Sánchez has replaced Rajoy as prime minister. Opposition parties united to demand the vote after 29 people linked to the People’s Party were convicted last month of crimes including influence peddling and falsifying accounts, and were sentenced to a total of 351 years in prison. But Sánchez may not last long as prime minister, because the Socialists have only 84 of the 350 seats in the lower house. The Popular Party has 134 seats, as well as a majority in the upper house, and has threatened to block a vote on the budget.
San Miguel los Lotes, Guatemala
At least 75 people were killed and entire towns left covered in ash after Guatemala’s Fuego Volcano suddenly erupted this week. Houses in the village of San Miguel los Lotes were turned to rubble by the force of the blast. “My mother’s house was buried with my entire family inside,” one resident told CNN. “My three sons, two daughters, and my grandson. My mother, my sisters, my nieces and nephews.” Days after the eruption, the ground was so hot that it burned through firefighters’ boots, and rescue workers couldn’t breathe in the smoky, ashy air. Unlike the slow-moving Kilauea lava eruption in Hawaii, Fuego unleashed a deadly pyroclastic flow—a mix of ash, rock, and volcanic gases that races down a volcano’s slopes at hundreds of miles per hour, far too fast for people to escape.
Nicaraguan police and paramilitaries killed at least five protesters in the city of Masaya this week, as demonstrators across the country continued to rally against the rule of President Daniel Ortega. Human rights activists said one of the dead, 23-year-old teacher Carlos Lopez, was killed by a bullet in the torso, indicating “he was executed, no doubt, by snipers.” At least 110 people have been killed and hundreds arrested since protests began in mid-April. Many Nicaraguans are now afraid to leave their homes. State-run hospitals have directed doctors not to treat wounded protesters and have fired medics who defied the order. “We are in a real crisis situation,” said Vilma Núñez, president of the Nicaraguan Center for Human Rights. Ortega “has turned it into a massacre.”
The German government has asked U.S. Ambassador to Germany Richard Grenell to explain himself after he told alt-right U.S. news site Breitbart.com that he intended “to empower other conservatives throughout Europe.” Some politicians called for Grenell to be expelled. “If a German ambassador were to say in Washington that he is there to boost the Democrats, he would have been kicked out immediately,” said Martin Schulz, former head of the center-left Social Democrats. Grenell also upset Germans by inviting the new far-right Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz—an outspoken critic of Germany’s refugee policy—to lunch at the embassy, saying he was a “big fan.”
Anti-immigrant party wins
A nationalist party’s election victory has made Melania Trump’s homeland the latest European country to surge rightward. The Slovenian Democratic Party won with 25 percent of the vote in this week’s election—twice as large a share as any other party in a fragmented field of 25 parties—after campaigning on a promise to crack down on illegal immigration and put “Slovenians first.”
Party leader Janez Jansa, who has been prime minister twice since 2004 but has recently moved significantly to the right, will get first crack at forming a coalition government. He says it will be difficult to muster a majority, since most other parties have already ruled out cooperating with him.
Iran’s supreme leader announced this week that he has ordered preparations to increase the country’s uranium enrichment capacity, if the international nuclear pact with Tehran collapses. For now, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said, Iran will keep its enrichment within the limits and subject to the inspections of the 2015 deal, from which the U.S. unilaterally withdrew last month. But Khamenei said Iran will prepare for a future outside the pact if European countries fail to prevent new U.S. sanctions on European firms that do business with Iran, which will hurt the country’s economy. “The Iranian nation will not tolerate being under both sanctions and nuclear restrictions,” Khamenei said. France, Germany, and the U.K. have submitted a joint request to the U.S. for a sanctions exemption for EU companies.
Ramadan hunger games
The coach of Tunisia’s national soccer team, Nabil Maâloul, admitted this week that he asked the squad’s goalkeeper to fake an injury during two recent World Cup warm-up games so his players could break their Ramadan fast during the time-out. Muslims must abstain from food and drink from sunup to sundown during the holy month, even while playing professional sports. During friendly matches against Portugal and Turkey last week, Tunisian goalkeeper Mouez Hassen fell to the ground at precisely sunset, and as he received medical aid, his teammates bolted to the sidelines to scarf down some sustenance. “I was hurt, bro,” Hassen tweeted in French, adding laughter emojis.
South China Sea standoff
U.S. Defense Secretary James Mattis aggressively pushed back against Beijing’s military buildup in the South China Sea last week, promising “much larger consequences” in the future if China continues to install weapons systems on disputed islands there. China is trying to assert its territorial claims in the area by deploying military assets to man-made and natural islands in the sea: In recent weeks, it has sent anti-ship missiles, surface-to-air missiles, and electronic jammers to the Spratly Islands and nuclear-capable bombers to Woody Island. Citing that militarization, the U.S. recently sent warships within 12 miles of some of the islands, and uninvited China from a large biannual multinational Pacific Rim military exercise in which China had previously participated. This week, the U.S. flew nuclear-capable B-52 bombers in the area. “Make no mistake: America is in the Indo-Pacific to stay,” said Mattis. “This is our priority theater.”
Attack on imams
An ISIS suicide bomber struck a gathering of 3,000 senior Afghan imams in Kabul this week, shortly after the Muslim clerics had issued a fatwa proscribing suicide bombings as un-Islamic. The jihadist detonated his explosives at one of the exits from the meeting ground, killing 14 people—including seven clerics—and wounding 17 more. The bombing was “an attack against the heirs of the prophet of Islam and the values of Islam,” said Afghan President Ashraf Ghani. The clerics had also called on the Taliban to take up Ghani’s offer of unconditional peace talks, and declared the 17-year Afghan War illegal under Islamic law, saying it has done nothing but “shed the blood of Muslims.”
New Delhi, India
India has announced that it intends to ban all single-use plastics by 2022. The United Nations praised the plan to end the use of plastic bags, cutlery, straws, and bottles, saying that while some 60 countries have announced curbs on plastics, India’s program to halt their use by more than 1.3 billion people is by far the most ambitious. The country generates about 6 million tons of plastic waste every year, much of which is dumped into the ocean and washes onto beaches. Enforcement will be difficult: Ten plastic bans are already in effect in Indian states and cities, yet only two have had significant results. But the government says it is committed. “An unclean environment hurts the poor and vulnerable the most,” said Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
The lawmaker with no face
One of Italy’s newly elected national legislators is a former Mafia informant whose face has not been seen by the public. Forced as a teenager to marry the son of a Cosa Nostra boss, Piera Aiello turned informant in 1991 after witnessing the murder of her husband by two Mafia hit men. She lived under an assumed identity and armed protection for years before writing a best-selling memoir in 2012. This year, the 51-year-old decided to run as a candidate for the anti-establishment Five Star Movement under her own name, but out of fear for her safety she did not show her face while campaigning except to select journalists. Parliament has agreed to issue her an ID with no photo. “I am well aware that, eventually, a journalist could expose me,” she said. “I’m just trying to do the right thing.” ■