Two Americans and a Spaniard suffered gruesome injuries this week during the annual running of the bulls in the town of Pamplona. One of those wounded, San Francisco lawyer Jaime Alvarez, 46, said he hadn’t even planned to run with the bulls but got caught up in the excitement. “It was like being hit by a car or a truck,” Alvarez said of the bull that gored him in the neck. The thrill of outracing angry bulls as they charge through the cobbled streets, a centuries-old tradition, was popularized by American novelist Ernest Hemingway in his 1926 novel The Sun Also Rises. The annual festival boosts the Basque town’s population from 200,000 to about 1.2 million.
Residents of Rome were fuming this week as rats and wild boars rifled through more than 1,000 tons of uncollected garbage lining the city’s streets. Italy’s trash industry has long been plagued by corruption and mismanagement, and this week two of Rome’s biggest waste plants were closed for maintenance—at the height of the tourist season and in the middle of a historic heat wave. Mayor Virginia Raggi, from the anti-establishment Five Star Movement, blames the crisis on Nicola Zingaretti, governor of the wider Lazio region. He, in turn, blames her. The European Union closed Rome’s only large landfill six years ago, ruling it unsafe, and since then the city has had trouble shipping out or burning the 1.7 million tons of trash it produces every year.
Turning against migrants
Mexican police and soldiers are intensifying their crackdown on migrants—raiding hotels, buses, and trains and transferring the mostly Central American detainees to overcrowded and unsanitary holding centers. While similar scenes have caused an outcry in the U.S., the response in Mexico has been muted. When the first migrant caravans began arriving in the country last fall, about 48 percent of Mexicans said the migrants should be granted asylum in Mexico, with 38 percent opposed; now only 37 percent say they should stay, with 57 percent opposed. Last month alone, Mexico arrested more than 23,000 migrants and deported more than 17,000.
Justice for disappeared
An Italian court has sentenced 24 people to life in prison for their roles in Operation Condor, a conspiracy among six right-wing South American dictatorships to assassinate dissidents in the 1970s and ’80s. Only one of those convicted, former Uruguayan naval officer Jorge Néstor Troccoli, lives in Italy. The rest—including former Peruvian President Francisco Morales Bermúdez, 97—were convicted in absentia and are unlikely to see the inside of a prison. Still, families of the hundreds, perhaps thousands, of victims feel vindicated. “Today’s ruling is dedicated to all the people killed and kidnapped under Condor,” said Aurora Meloni, whose husband, Daniel Banfi, was kidnapped and murdered in Buenos Aires in 1974. At the time, the U.S. assisted the military governments of all six countries: Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Paraguay, and Uruguay.
Kyriakos Mitsotakis, a Harvard-educated former banker and son of a former prime minister, has become Greece’s new prime minister, after his center-right New Democracy party decisively beat the left-wing Syriza party of incumbent Alexis Tsipras in elections this week. Syriza rode a populist wave to power in 2015, channeling anger against harsh austerity measures forced on Greece by international creditors. But once in office, Syriza could not implement the radical policies it had promised, because it had only limited control over the euro currency, which is shared by 19 countries. And to secure more bailouts for his debt-loaded country, Tsipras had to hike taxes and cut spending. Mitsotakis, 51, has pledged to lower taxes. “Greeks deserve better,” he said.
Rio de Janeiro
A former governor of Rio de Janeiro testified last week that he paid $2 million in bribes to ensure his home city was awarded the 2016 Summer Games. Sergio Cabral, who is serving a 200-year prison sentence for corruption, told a judge that the payment was the idea of Carlos Nuzman, former head of Brazil’s Olympic Committee. “Nuzman came to me and said, ‘Sergio, I want to tell you that Lamine Diack’”—then head of the International Association of Athletics Federations—“‘is a person that is open to undue advantages.’” Cabral said he paid $2 million to secure the votes of up to nine International Olympic Committee members. He aired the allegation at a hearing that he hopes will result in his sentence being reduced. Nuzman and Diack, who have both been charged with corruption, deny Cabral’s allegations.
Deadly sub fire
Russian officials said that a blaze aboard a nuclear-powered research submarine in the Arctic last week could have caused a “catastrophe of global proportions” if 14 crew members hadn’t sacrificed themselves to save the ship. All of those who died were high-ranking officers—two had been awarded the Hero of Russia medal—which suggests that the vessel had been conducting a top-secret mission. Three crew members and an unidentified civilian survived. Had the officers not shut a door to prevent the fire from spreading, the resulting nuclear explosion could have contaminated a wide swath of sea near Norway. The deep-diving submarine was designed for operations near the seafloor, such as tapping or cutting undersea communications cables and exploring the Arctic for minerals and oil.
Pretoria, South Africa
South Africa was in mourning this week after the man who was picked to become the first black African in space died in a motorcycle accident. Mandla Maseko, 30, was one of 23 people selected out of a million applicants to win a trip to space in a promotion sponsored by Axe, the men’s body spray company. Maseko spent a week training at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida in 2015, but never fulfilled his dream of going into orbit because the company that was supposed to build the passenger spacecraft went bankrupt. The aspiring “afronaut” grew up in a poor Pretoria township and became a private pilot and corporal in the South African army. The only African in space has been Mark Shuttleworth, a white South African entrepreneur who bought a tourist seat on the International Space Station in 2002.
Angry at America
North Korea has accused the Trump administration of being “more and more hell-bent on hostile acts,” just days after President Trump became the first U.S. president to enter the Hermit Kingdom. Trump last week made a surprise visit to the Demilitarized Zone between North and South Korea and stepped over the two countries’ border for a face-to-face chat with dictator Kim Jong Un. Trump said the visit was “an honor” and that he and Kim had agreed to restart negotiations aimed at denuclearizing the Korean Peninsula. But this week Pyongyang said that the quick trip was a ruse, because the U.S. had already sent a letter asking nations that host North Korean workers to obey global sanctions and deport them by the end of the year.
Uranium limit exceeded
The U.S. called an emergency meeting of the International Atomic Energy Agency this week after Iran announced it had surpassed the limit on its uranium stockpile—a cap set by the Obama-era 2015 Iran nuclear deal. Iran said it had flouted the accord, which permits the country to keep 300 kg (661 pounds) of low-enriched uranium, because the U.S. unilaterally withdrew from the deal in 2018 and reimposed punishing sanctions. Tehran noted that it had given the other signatories—including Russia, China, and the European Union—a year to find a way around the sanctions before it took any action. Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said it was absurd for the U.S. to have called the IAEA meeting, given that the Trump administration not only violated the deal but also “punishes all who observe it.”
Hong Kong’s Chief Executive Carrie Lam said this week that the extradition bill that sparked the former British colony’s largest protests since its 1997 reversion to Chinese rule is “dead.” Protesters, though, aren’t satisfied. They want guarantees that the bill—which would allow residents of the semi-autonomous city to be tried in secretive mainland courts—will never be brought up again. They are also demanding Lam’s resignation, an inquiry into police brutality during the demonstrations that brought millions of people onto the streets, and the dropping of charges against protesters. Lam has hinted at resigning, but it’s not up to her. While Hong Kong has a semi-independent legislature, candidates for chief executive are selected by Beijing.
Ituri province, Congo
The International Criminal Court this week convicted a notorious Congolese rebel commander known as the Terminator on 18 counts of crimes against humanity and war crimes for his role in a bloody ethnic conflict. Bosco Ntaganda has been involved in numerous battles in Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo, but the charges stem from a conflict in Congo’s mineral-rich Ituri province in 2002–03. Witnesses told the court that Ntaganda, 46, and his forces committed widespread rape and murder—he personally shot dead an elderly Catholic priest—recruited child soldiers, and kept girls as sex slaves. The ICC issued an arrest warrant for Ntaganda in 2006, but Congo allowed him to live freely in the eastern city of Goma. He finally surrendered himself to the U.S. Embassy in Rwanda in 2013. Ntaganda could face life in prison. ■