Shooting at Raptors’ parade
After the gunfire
Four people were wounded this week when gunfire erupted at a rally celebrating the Toronto Raptors’ first NBA championship title. Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, NBA Finals MVP Kawhi Leonard, and other players and officials were addressing a crowd of tens of thousands near Toronto City Hall when the shots rang out. A few people were injured in the ensuing stampede, but the crowd was so large that many people didn’t notice the disturbance at all. Three people were arrested in connection with the shooting. The Raptors’ victory over the two-time defending champion Golden State Warriors was Canada’s first NBA title. A million people attended the rally, many chanting the Raptors’ motto, “We the North.”
No sexist ads
Britons will no longer see commercials featuring bumbling dads who can’t change diapers or women who struggle to park the car, after a U.K. ban on gender stereotypes in ads went into force this week. The Advertising Standards Authority—which regulates TV, print, and online ads—said the ban will also apply to ads that link physical features with success in romance. “Harmful gender stereotypes in ads can contribute to inequality in society, with costs for all of us,” said ASA head Guy Parker. One of the ads that prompted the ban was a 2017 commercial for Aptamil baby formula showing a baby girl growing up to be a ballerina and baby boys becoming engineers and mountain climbers. Norway has had a law prohibiting sexism in ads since 1978.
Francis: Amazon outreach
Pope Francis is considering allowing older married men to be ordained as priests to remedy a shortage of Catholic clergy in the Amazon. The viri probati—married men of proven virtue—would be drawn from remote indigenous communities and would minister to their tribes. The proposal also recommends incorporating indigenous music and dance into Catholic services in those areas. “The revolution for Francis is to give importance to the local populations and their cultures,” said Rev. Giuseppe Buffon, a professor at Rome’s Pontifical Antonianum University. The tribesmen would not be the first married men to serve as Catholic priests: Pope Benedict XVI allowed the ordination of Anglican priests who converted to Catholicism after they were already married.
Going dark in Argentina
A massive blackout caused almost the whole of mainland Argentina and neighboring Uruguay to lose power for hours this week. The unprecedented electrical failure affected tens of millions of people; in Buenos Aires, subway trains stopped in their tracks and traffic lights went dark, slowing cars to a crawl. The cause of the blackout is still unclear—heavy rains might be to blame—but Argentine Energy Secretary Gustavo Lopetegui said a power surge in a major transmission line had spread to the whole grid. “The question,” he said, “is why did a system that is capable of isolating that section not do so?” Argentines are already annoyed with President Mauricio Macri for raising electricity prices, and this mishap could hurt his chances of re-election in October.
A suspected neo-Nazi was arrested this week in connection with the murder of a high-profile ally of Chancellor Angela Merkel. Walter Lübcke, a member of Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union and the president of the Kassel regional council, was an outspoken defender of the chancellor’s 2015 decision to let 1 million migrants settle in Germany. Lübcke’s body was found on the terrace of his home on June 2; he’d been shot in the head at close range. The 45-year-old suspect, identified only as Stephan E., is linked to the neo-Nazi group Combat 18 and was convicted of a 1993 arson attack on a refugee center. “A far-right attack on a leading representative of the state is an alarm signal,” said Interior Minister Horst Seehofer, “and it’s directed at all of us.”
‘Hero’ judge scandal
Moro: Ethics problem
The judge who was hailed as a national hero for overseeing Brazil’s huge Operation Car Wash investigation into political and business corruption is now at the center of a new scandal. Private chat messages published by The Intercept Brasil news site appear to show Sérgio Moro advising prosecutors on how to try their cases against top politicians. The revelations have shaken Brazil, making some suspect that authorities rigged the case against leftist ex-President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, who is serving nine years in prison for corruption. Moro denies any wrongdoing and called for an investigation into the authenticity of the messages. Lula would likely have won the 2018 presidential race had he not been in prison; instead, Jair Bolsonaro became president and promptly made Moro justice minister.
Four people will be charged with murder for the missile attack that brought down a Malaysia Airlines plane over eastern Ukraine in 2014, killing all 298 passengers and crew, an international investigation team said this week. Flight 17 was en route from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur when it was blasted out of the sky over the war-torn region. Three Russians—including Igor Girkin, a former colonel in Russia’s FSB intelligence service—will face charges in the Netherlands for bringing a Russian anti-aircraft missile system into a part of Ukraine controlled by pro-Moscow rebels. At the time, those forces were using Russian missiles to target Ukrainian government spotter planes that were flying at similar altitudes to commercial air traffic. Russia has repeatedly denied involvement in the incident.
Morsi dies in court
Morsi in court in 2015
Egypt’s first and only fairly elected president, Mohammed Morsi, collapsed and died while on trial in a Cairo courtroom this week. Elected in 2012 after a democratic uprising that ousted longtime dictator Hosni Mubarak, Morsi, 67, was deposed a year later by a military coup after his attempt to rule by decree sparked massive protests. In the following years, the military regime of President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi arrested up to 41,000 people, mostly members of Morsi’s Muslim Brotherhood and pro-democracy activists. Morsi was charged with terrorism and other offenses and kept in solitary confinement in Cairo’s Scorpion Prison, sleeping on a concrete floor and denied treatment for his diabetes and liver disease. The prison, says former warden Ibrahim Abd al-Ghaffar, is meant for political prisoners and “was designed so that those who go in don’t come out again unless dead.”
Belgium was facing international criticism this week after staff at its embassy in Beijing allowed Chinese police to detain a Uighur family seeking asylum. Horiyat Abula and her four children had traveled to Beijing to get their Belgian visas so they could join Abula’s husband, Abdulhamid Tursun, a political refugee in Brussels. According to Tursun, his family panicked when embassy officials said it would take three months to approve the paperwork. They refused to leave the building, saying Chinese police had already questioned them at their hotel. Chinese authorities escorted the family from the embassy to the hotel, and a few days later they were taken back to their home region of Xinjiang, where 1 million Muslim Uighurs are being held in re-education camps. Tursun says he hasn’t heard from his family since.
Magician dies in stunt
Entering the water
An Indian illusionist drowned in a branch of the Ganges River this week after an escape stunt went horribly wrong. Chanchal Lahiri, whose stage name was the Wizard Mandrake, was trying to re-create a trick that illusionist Harry Houdini had done more than 100 years before. Lahiri had himself tied up with ropes, bound with chains and six locks, and then lowered by a crane into the rushing water. “If I can open it up, then it will be magic,” he told the assembled crowd. “If I can’t, it will be tragic.” He had successfully completed the trick and swum to safety at least a dozen times before. This time Lahiri didn’t make it out, and his body washed up nearly a mile away.
Suicidal Flight 370
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
The pilot of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370, which disappeared from radar in 2014 with 239 people on board, likely deliberately crashed the plane into the sea, according to an in-depth report by The Atlantic. An unnamed friend of Capt. Zaharie Ahmad Shah, 53, told aviation writer William Langewiesche that Shah showed signs of depression after his wife left him, and “spent a lot of time pacing empty rooms.” Evidence of the flight path shows that Shah flew the Beijing-bound plane north after taking off from Kuala Lumpur, then swung south, ending in fuel exhaustion over the Indian Ocean. Shah had tested a similar route on a flight simulator at home. The captain’s friend suspects that he locked his inexperienced co-pilot out of the cockpit and then depressurized the cabin, killing everyone else on board. Flight 370 would have disintegrated into confetti on impact, which explains why its crash site has not yet been found.
U.N. points finger at MBS
The crown prince
The United Nations is calling for further investigation of high-level Saudi Arabian officials, including Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, in the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi at the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul last year. Special rapporteur Agnes Callamard said in a 101-page report that the 11 Saudis now on trial in the kingdom for killing and dismembering Khashoggi did not act alone. Saudi authorities participated in the destruction of evidence, she said, and while there was no “smoking gun” pointing to the crown prince—the kingdom’s de facto ruler—it was “inconceivable” that he would not have been aware of the crime. Khashoggi had criticized the prince in columns for The Washington Post. ■