World Digest: March 15, 2018


Councilor of Rio, dead driver shot

A popular councilor from Rio de Janeiro was shot four times in the head by badbadins, police said Thursday, a brazen badbadination that shocked Brazil.

A police officer said Marielle Franco, 38, and his driver, Anderson Pedro Gomes, were killed Wednesday night while they were sitting in a car with tinted windows. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to discuss the case publicly.

Press agent Fernanda Chaves was also wounded in the attack in the neighborhood of Río de Estacio de Sa. Previously, Franco had attended an event focused on the empowerment of black girls.

Elected in 2016, Franco was a member of the Left Freedom and Socialism Party, known for its social work in poor and marginalized communities and its frankness against police violence.

Protests were planned in several cities later on Thursday, and Franco's party called a march in Rio de Janeiro on Friday.


Prime Minister resigns after badbadinations

Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico and his government resigned on Thursday amid a political crisis triggered by the murders of an investigative journalist and his fiancée.

President Andrej Kiska accepted the resignation and asked Deputy Prime Minister Peter Pellegrini to form a new government. The measure aims to maintain the coalition of three parties in power and avoid the possibility of an early election.

Fico, who has headed three Slovak governments, said he had no plans to abandon politics. "I want to be an active president of a political party," he said.

His resignation came after tens of thousands of Slovaks joined protests across the country last week to demand the resignation of the government and an investigation into the Kuciak and Martina Kusnirova deaths. Kuciak was writing about the relations between the Italian mafia and the people close to Fico when he was killed.


U.N. threat of arms embargo, sanctions

The UN Security Council demanded an immediate end to the fighting in South Sudan on Thursday and threatened to consider an arms embargo and sanctions to prevent parties in conflict from violating an agreement December ceasefire.

The resolution, adopted unanimously, also expressed the council's intention to consider sanctions "against those who take measures that undermine the peace, stability and security of South Sudan."

The resolution extends the mandate of the UN peacekeeping force in southern Sudan until March 15, 2019 and maintains the ceiling of 17,000 troops, including a regional protection force of up to 4,000 troops and 2,101 international police.

In 2013, two years after South Sudan gained independence from Sudan, the country sank into ethnic violence when forces loyal to President Salva Kiir, a Dinka, began to fight against those loyal to Riek Machar, his Former vice president who is a Nuer.

Mugabe calls for overthrowing an overthrow: In his first interview since he was forced to leave office in November, former Zimbabwean leader Robert Mugabe described his dismissal as a "disgrace". In a program broadcast on Thursday, Mugabe, 94, told South African broadcaster SABC that he was expelled by the army, which organized a takeover that led to his resignation after 37 years in power. "It was a coup d'état," he said. "We must undo this misfortune." Mugabe spoke at his mansion in a suburb of the capital, Harare. Military intervention was very popular in Zimbabwe and led to impeachment by the ruling party against Mugabe. He was replaced by former confidant Emmerson Mnangagwa.

Trade unions plan rail strikes: French rail unions said on Thursday they agreed to call a wave of continuous strikes from April 3, affecting 36 days in three months, to protest the government's bet to reform the state railway operator SNCF. The strikes will be held on two consecutive days in five, the unions said. On Wednesday, the French government backed a bill to accelerate the SNCF's reorganization process, which includes the end of the right to lifelong employment and the cutting of provisions for early retirement.

U.N. asks Yemen to guarantee aid: Responding to what it calls the worst humanitarian crisis in the world, the UN Security Council on Thursday urged the warring parties in Yemen to ensure that aid reaches all affected areas , citing UN estimates of more than 22 million people need food, medicine and other help. A statement approved by the 15 council members expressed "great concern about the continuing humanitarian impact of the conflict on civilians," which has led to outbreaks of cholera and diphtheria and the threat of famine. He said that the number of Yemenis in need of badistance has increased by 3.4 million since last year.

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