News summary for Sunday, October 22, 2017

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A quick look at the most important news of the last 24 hours:

  • The World Health Organization has reversed its decision to appoint Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe as a goodwill ambassador for Africa. The appointment led to widespread criticism from governments, human rights groups, and the public. They pointed to human rights abuses under Mugabe’s regime and the poor state of the country’s health system.

  • The ruling coalition of Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has won a two-thirds super majority in Sunday’s snap election. Abe called the election a year early to increase his mandate to deal with North Korea. Abe also seeks to change the U.S.-drafted constitution which renounces war and prohibits Japan from maintaining armed forces. The constitution has not been changed since it was created at the end of World War II. A change requires the support of a super majority in parliament and then the public’s approval in a referendum.

  • The wealthy Italian regions of Veneto and Lombardy have voted for greater autonomy in a non-binding referendum. The regions, which include the cities of Milan and Venice, want to pursue a better financial agreement with Rome. Supporters argue that the regions send much more in taxes to Rome than they get back through public spending. They hope Sunday’s referendum will improve their position in talks with the central government.

  • Typhoon Lan made landfall in central Japan with winds up to 145 kilometers (90 miles) per hour, just hours after polls closed for Sunday’s snap election. The storm, which passed near the capital Tokyo, caused landslides and flooding in parts of the country. At least 3 people have been killed and dozens more have been treated for injuries, according to Japanese media.

  • Thousands of people have taken to the streets of Malta after the murder of investigative journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia, who was known for her reporting on corruption and the Panama Papers. Protesters have called for the resignation of the police chief and the attorney general. Caruana Galizia was killed last Monday when a bomb in her car exploded. The government has issued a reward of €1 million ($1.17 million) to find those responsible.


  • 38 women have accused film director James Toback of sexual harassment, according to the LA Times. Toback, who was nominated for an Oscar in 1991 for “Bugsy,” has denied the allegations.

  • A gunman took 2 people hostage at a bowling alley in Nuneaton in central England. Police stormed the building after 4 hours and rescued the hostages. The suspect was taken into custody. No link to terrorism.

  • Police in Tampa, Florida, are investigating whether a serial killer is responsible for 3 recent murders. Two men and one woman were shot dead in separate incidents. A $5,000 reward has been issued.

  • Lewis Hamilton has won the U.S. Grand Prix in Texas, with Sebastian Vettel taking second place and Kimi Raikkonen third. It means Hamilton is almost certain to win the world title after next week’s race in Mexico.


  • Monday: U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis will meet with his counterparts from Japan and South Korea on the sidelines of the ASEAN Defense Ministers Meeting in the Philippines. They are expected to discuss the North Korean crisis..

  • Thursday: A trove of long-classified files on the assassination of former U.S. President John F. Kennedy is scheduled to be released. President Donald Trump is able to delay the release but the White House has said he won’t unless unless intelligence agencies provide a compelling justification. The archive contains about 3,000 unreleased documents.

  • Thursday: Kenya is scheduled to elect a new president after the results of the August 8 vote, in which President Uhuru Kenyatta was declared the winner, were annulled. It remains uncertain whether opposition leader Raila Odinga will boycott the election re-run.

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