Around The World Calais, France Migrants fight

Calais, France
Migrants fight: Violence is breaking out nightly in Calais, where hundreds of African migrants cluster in camps, waiting to sneak aboard trucks bound for Britain. Eritrean migrants said Albanian gangs had taken over the lots where cargo trucks parked before being loaded onto ferries, and that the Albanians were only letting Sudanese migrants who paid a fee get in. Eritreans and Sudanese battled with sticks and rocks over access to the parking lots, and several were injured. “The Albanian people smugglers lie to the African migrants and tell them that they can work in the U.K., which they describe as El Dorado,” said French aid worker Jean-Claude Larue.

Ex-king in paternity suit: A Catalan waiter has filed suit in Spain’s Supreme Court, claiming he is the illegitimate son of former king Juan Carlos. The king, 76, abdicated in June so his son, Felipe, could assume the throne, and that decision stripped Carlos of his immunity from lawsuits. Alberto Sola Jimenez, 58, has been pressing the palace for recognition for years, since he discovered that his birth mother might have had an affair with the king when both were teenagers. The palace ignored his letters as well as those from Ingrid Saritau, 48, a Belgian housewife who also claims the king is her father. DNA tests show the two have a 91 percent chance of sharing a parent.

Managua, Nicaragua
Liberation theology is back: Pope Francis has reinstated a Nicaraguan priest suspended in 1985 for his Marxist activism. The Rev. Miguel D’Escoto Brockmann became foreign minister in the revolutionary, leftist Sandinista government in 1979. Pope John Paul II, a passionate anti-Communist, rebuked him for getting involved in politics and stripped him of the right to perform Mass. But D’Escoto remained politically active—in 2004, he referred to Ronald Reagan as “the butcher of my people,” and from 2008 to 2009, he served as president of the United Nations General Assembly. The Vatican said the reinstatement was a manifestation of the pope’s mercy, not his politics.

La Paz, Bolivia
Latin America vs. Israel: Bolivia has become the latest Latin American country to criticize Israel harshly over its offensive in Gaza. Bolivian President Evo Morales declared Israel a “terrorist state” and said Israelis henceforth will have to apply for visas to visit his country. El Salvador, Brazil, Chile, Ecuador, and Peru have already recalled their ambassadors from Israel to protest the shelling of Palestinian homes. Israel said the Latin American position was “deeply disappointing” and “constitutes encouragement for Hamas, a group recognized as a terror organization by many countries around the world.”

Muslim quits government: The only Muslim member of Prime Minister David Cameron’s cabinet resigned this week, saying the government’s policy of supporting Israel throughout the monthlong war in Gaza was “morally indefensible.” Sayeeda Warsi, a daughter of Pakistani immigrants who became a baroness, was senior minister of state at the Foreign Office, responsible for international justice and human rights. In her surprise resignation letter, she said Cameron’s policy would have a “long-term detrimental impact” on Britain’s reputation, adding, “I must be able to live with myself for the decisions I took or the decisions I supported.”

Buenos Aires
Back in default: Argentina has defaulted on its sovereign debt for the second time since 2001 but says this time it’s not to blame. Argentina wanted to pay bondholders their usual installment, but a U.S. federal judge ruled that it could not do so unless it simultaneously paid the U.S. hedge funds that refused to accept less than they were owed as part of a deal to settle the 2001 default. The country couldn’t ignore the ruling, because the judge said any bank that facilitated Argentina’s payments to bondholders without also paying the hedge funds would be in contempt of court. President Cristina Fern├índez de Kirchner said the ruling was part of a capitalist conspiracy. “Every time Argentina has become viable,” she said, “they start lobbing financial missiles and bombs.”

Tit for tat: In retaliation for U.S. and European Union sanctions, the Kremlin this week announced it was imposing restrictions on food and agricultural imports from any state that has imposed sanctions “against Russian entities or individuals.” The decree by President Vladimir Putin didn’t specify which products would be hit, but analysts expect items like French wine and cheese and American whiskey to be included. In the past, Russia has cited public health as a pretext for restricting imports from countries it is angry with, as it did in 2008, when it banned Georgian wine, and earlier this year, when it banned Ukrainian dairy products and Polish fruit. Russia is already feeling the pinch from EU sanctions: One Russian airline has been forced to ground all its planes because they can’t be maintained without European parts.

Abuja, Nigeria
Military accused of atrocities: Amnesty International has accused the Nigerian military of war crimes in the country’s northeast, where troops are battling Islamist militants from Boko Haram. Videos show Nigerian soldiers and government-allied militias slitting the throats of detainees and dumping their bodies in mass graves. “What does it say when members of the military carry out such unspeakable acts and capture the images on film?” said Salil Shetty, secretary-general of Amnesty. “Nigerians deserve better.” Meanwhile, the government said more than half a million Nigerians have fled their homes as Boko Haram rampages across the north, kidnapping and killing in its effort to impose sharia law.

Luhansk, Ukraine
Russian buildup: Half the population of Luhansk fled this week as the Ukrainian army tried to dislodge pro-Moscow separatists from the city. As fighting raged between rebels and government forces, Russia deployed an extra 8,000 troops along its border with Ukraine—bringing the total number of Russian soldiers stationed in the area to 20,000, together with tanks, artillery, and at least 100 aircraft. NATO said Russia might intend to “use the pretext of a humanitarian or peacekeeping mission as an excuse to send troops into eastern Ukraine.” Even if there is no invasion, the Russian presence is a huge drain on the Ukrainian army, which must divert troops to guard the border instead of joining the offensive on the separatist strongholds of Luhansk and Donetsk.

American general killed: An Afghan soldier gunned down a general and wounded at least 15 other people this week. Maj. Gen. Harold Greene, 55, is the highest-ranking U.S. officer to be killed in more than 12 years of U.S. involvement in Afghanistan. The soldier, who was eventually killed by Afghan forces, fired a machine gun from inside a building as Greene and other coalition troops stood outside a training facility in Kabul. It’s unclear whether the gunman was tied to the Taliban or was acting alone. Such insider attacks were common in 2012, when dozens of coalition troops were killed by Afghan allies, but they have been rare since then. Greene, a logistics and infrastructure expert, was on his first combat tour of Afghanistan.

World trade deal killed: India has shocked the world by killing a World Trade Organization deal that would have saved the global economy $1 trillion. The deal to streamline customs procedures, which had to be signed by last week, was approved by the previous Indian government, but the new government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi refused to endorse it unless the WTO gave India an exemption allowing it to subsidize farmers and stockpile vast amounts of grain. “India must have freedom to use food reserves to feed their poor,” said Indian Trade Minister Nirmala Sitharaman. The U.S. and other countries are discussing how to move ahead on the pact without India.

Abandoned baby: A Thai surrogate mother has appealed for international help in raising a Down syndrome baby abandoned by his Australian parents. Surrogate Pattaramon Chanbua was told to have an abortion when one of the twins she was carrying was found to have Down, but she refused, citing her Buddhist beliefs. She says the Australian couple came and took away only the healthy girl, leaving the boy, who has an expensive heart condition, with her. She is raising the boy, Gammy, as her own and says she wants the girl returned as well, after Australian media reported that the father is a convicted molester of little girls. Authorities from both countries are investigating the case, and Australian charities have raised more than $200,000 to help Pattaramon.

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