Jogger detained at border
White Rock, British Columbia
A French teenager out for a jog along a Canadian beach ended up being detained by U.S. authorities for two weeks after she inadvertently crossed the border into the U.S. Cedella Roman, 19, was visiting her mother in British Columbia when she went for a run on the shoreline near Peace Arch Park—where an arch dedicated to the friendship between the two nations straddles the border—with no ID on her. Instead of shooing her back across the unmarked border toward Canada, border guards transferred her to Immigration and Customs Enforcement custody 140 miles away in Tacoma, Wash., where it took weeks to process her removal. “There was nothing, no sign at the border,” said her mother, Christiane Ferne. “Anybody can be caught at the border like this.”
All police arrested
Michoacán state police arrested the entire 28-strong police force of Ocampo this week in connection with the murder of a candidate running to be the city’s mayor. A day earlier, state authorities had tried to detain and question Ocampo’s top police official, Óscar González García, about the killing of Fernando Ángeles Juárez, who was aligned with the leftist Democratic Revolution Party. But city police stepped in to block the arrest and fired their guns in the air, leading state authorities to retreat. Since campaigning began last September for the July 1 municipal, presidential, and legislative elections, at least 130 candidates, politicians, and public servants have been killed, compared with nine deaths in the run-up to the 2012 elections.
A 16th-century wooden sculpture of St. George in a Spanish church has been repainted so badly that the dragon-slaying knight now looks like the Belgian comic-book character Tintin. Parish officials hired a children’s crafts workshop rather than a fine-arts restorer to touch up the piece, and they slathered the sculpture in paint, eliminating all previous nuance. Spanish art conservators say they plan to sue. “Estella used to be known as a place that took care of its heritage,” said the town’s mayor, Koldo Leoz. “Now we’re famous for the opposite.” The kerfuffle evokes the notorious 2012 art crime in Borja, Spain, where an elderly resident did her own retouching of a fresco of Jesus, Ecce Homo, ruining it so thoroughly that it is now a tourist destination in its own right.
Starving in the desert
Algeria has expelled some 13,000 migrants into the Sahara over the past year, forcing them to walk across the scorching desert without food or water. Activists said the migrants are crammed into trucks, driven south into the desert, and ordered to trek in temperatures of up to 118 degrees—sometimes at gunpoint—to neighboring Mali or Niger. Hundreds are believed to have died en route. The mass expulsions began in 2017, when the European Union began pressuring North African nations to stop migrants from sub-Saharan Africa from reaching the Mediterranean and heading to Europe. “It’s a catastrophe,” said Alhoussan Adouwal of the International Organization for Migration, who tries to help the migrants when they arrive at Niger’s border.
Attacks on Roma
Suspected neo-Nazis armed with knives, chains, and metal rods launched a savage attack on a Roma encampment outside the city of Lviv last week, stabbing a man to death and injuring at least four others—including a pregnant woman and a 10-year-old boy. The 10 suspected assailants are affiliated with the Misanthropic Division, one of many Hitler-admiring groups that have sprung up in Ukraine in recent years. Neo-Nazis have carried out at least five such attacks on Roma camps near Kiev and Lviv in the past two months, beating residents and torching their tents and possessions. Roma said that in some cases police stood by, chatting with the neo-Nazis.
Migrants, stay home
Vice President Mike Pence this week told Central Americans thinking of immigrating to the U.S. that if they “can’t come legally, don’t come at all.” Pence made the comments in Brasília during the first stop of a Latin American tour, which will see him discuss the crisis at the southern U.S. border with leaders from Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador. “To all the nations of the region,” Pence said in a meeting with Brazilian President Michel Temer, “let me say with great respect, that just as the United States respects your borders and your sovereignty, we insist that you respect ours.” The two men also spoke about Venezuela, where a collapsing economy has caused millions of Venezuelans to flee to Colombia, Brazil, and other nations. Pence said the U.S. would provide an extra $10 million to support Venezuelan migrants.
Trump-Putin summit on
U.S. national security adviser John Bolton met with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow this week to plan a much-anticipated July summit between Putin and President Trump. Putin said he regretted that ties between the two countries are “not in the best shape,” but added that their poor state was due to “the internal political struggle” in the U.S., indicating he doesn’t blame Trump personally. Bolton said he hoped Russia and the U.S. could find “areas where we can agree and make progress together.” NATO allies fear that the bilateral summit may occur before Trump attends a NATO meeting in Brussels on July 11 and that an eager-to-please Trump might make major concessions to Putin, undoing efforts to isolate Russia for its destabilizing activities.
Kushner’s peace plan
Ramallah, West Bank
President Trump’s son-in-law and senior adviser Jared Kushner told Palestinians this week that he has a peace plan that will bring them prosperity if they abandon “the narrative of victimhood.” In an interview with the Palestinian newspaper Al Quds, he criticized Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas for being focused more on power than on peace, and said his leadership had failed ordinary Palestinians. “The world has moved forward while you have been left behind,” Kushner said. “Don’t allow your grandfather’s conflict to determine your children’s future.” Palestinian leaders refused to meet with Kushner during his weeklong trip to the region, saying the U.S. had abandoned its role as a neutral peace broker by moving its Israeli embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem; Palestinians claim east Jerusalem as their future capital.
Thousands flee offensive
Backed by Russian airstrikes and Iranian militias, Syrian government forces launched a major offensive against rebel-held towns in southwestern Syria this week, sending some 45,000 civilians fleeing toward Jordan. Aircraft bombed at least three hospitals. “It is beyond comprehension that after six years medical workers are still being killed with impunity,” said relief coordinator Ghanem Tayara. Jordan, which has already taken in more than 700,000 Syrian refugees, said its border would stay closed. Experts have warned that the offensive could potentially spark a wider regional war with Israel, which does not want Iranian troops and missiles deployed near its northeastern border.
Naked hermit evicted
An 82-year-old Japanese man who has been living alone and naked on a remote island near Taiwan for the past 30 years has been brought back to civilization over worries about his health. Masafumi Nagasaki has lived on Sotobanari since 1989, receiving rice cakes and water once a week from nearby islanders. He came to the world’s attention in 2012, when he gave a rare interview in which he said his only wish was to die on the island, “surrounded by nature.” But a few months ago, a visitor to the island called the police, saying Nagasaki looked unwell, and Japanese authorities have now put him in government housing on the nearby island of Ishigaki. “They won’t allow him to return,” said Alvaro Cerezo, a filmmaker who once spent five days with the hermit.
Duterte vs. God
Filipino Catholics, who make up 80 percent of the country’s population, were startled this week when President Rodrigo Duterte launched a surprise attack on a new target: God. At a speech in Davao, Duterte said, “Who is this stupid God? This son of a bitch is really stupid” to have allowed Adam and Eve to fall from Eden. Relations between president and church were already strained. Catholic officials have protested Duterte’s shoot-to-kill policy toward suspected drug dealers and have offered protection to police who testify about extrajudicial killings. Duterte, who says he was molested by a priest as a teenager, likes to hand out copies of a book exposing corruption and sex abuse in the Philippine Catholic Church.
On the road
Saudi women began driving legally this week as Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s latest reform came into effect. Some women jumped behind the wheel at midnight, saying they had waited decades for the moment. “I am between belief and disbelief—between a feeling of joy and astonishment,” said new driver Mabkhoutah al-Mari. Most Saudi women, though, have yet to obtain licenses, and wait lists for gender-segregated driving classes are long. The most prominent activists who campaigned for the right can’t hit the road: Loujain al-Hathloul, Aziza al-Yousef, Eman al-Nafjan, and eight others were detained a month before the ban was lifted, apparently as a warning that women’s rights will be decided by the monarchy, not activists. ■