NEWS OF THE DAY
From Around the World
1 “Rigged” summit: Israel’s prime minister said Thursday that an upcoming conference in Paris seeking to revive peace talks with the Palestinians was “rigged” and that Israel was not bound by the meeting. Dozens of countries are set to attend the conference Jan. 15, when they may endorse an international framework for peace between Israel and the Palestinians. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu vehemently opposes such a move, saying it would undermine the negotiating process. French President François Hollande said Sunday’s conference strives to ensure the support of the international community for the two-state solution as a reference for future direct negotiations.
2 Parliament blockade: Poland’s main opposition party ended its weeks-long blockade of parliament Thursday, stepping back in what had been a bitter standoff with the populist conservative ruling party. Lawmakers from Civic Platform and another centrist opposition party, Modern, had staged the blockade since Dec. 16, first over a since-abandoned plan to curb media access to parliament and then over the 2017 budget they say was passed illegally. After ending the sit-in, Civic Platform leader Grzegorz Schetyna declared it at least a partial success because the protest pushed the ruling party to abandon the media restrictions. The underlying matter has been the state of democracy and rule of law in Poland.
3 Egypt report: Human Rights Watch says in a new report that Egypt has banned public criticism and peaceful opposition, and that security forces routinely torture detainees and forcibly disappeared hundreds last year. In the report issued Thursday, the New York-based advocacy group says President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi’s government has also taken “unprecedented” steps to criminalize human rights work and cripple independent civil society groups.
4 Poachers killed: Officials in Zimbabwe say wildlife park rangers have killed three suspected poachers in the past two days as the country battles increased targeting of vulnerable animals. The Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority said Thursday that rangers fatally shot a poacher in Hurungwe safari area on Wednesday. The parks agency says two poachers were killed on Tuesday in Hwange National Park, whose large elephant population has been targeted. Caroline Washaya-Moyo, a spokeswoman for the parks agency, says 443 poachers were arrested last year, up from 378 in 2015. She says that of the 2016 arrests, 57 people were convicted and sentenced to a total of 513 years in jail.
5 Kardashian robbery: French authorities have filed the first charges against three suspects in the armed jewelry heist of Kim Kardashian West, with more charges expected to follow, the Paris prosecutors’ office said Thursday. Robbers are believed to have forced their way into the private apartment where Kardashian West was staying in October, tied up the reality TV star and stolen more than $10 million worth of jewelry. Authorities are focusing on the possibility that the robbery was an inside job. A 63-year-old suspect, named by the prosecutors only as Yunice A., was handed preliminary charges of armed robbery in an organized gang, kidnapping and criminal association. Complicity charges in the alleged robbery and kidnapping were filed against 44-year-old Florus H. The third suspect, 64-year-old Marceau B., faces preliminary charges of handling stolen goods and criminal association.