From Around the World

San Francisco Chronicle - - WORLD -

1 Spain elec­tion: Mar­i­ano Ra­joy, the leader of Spain’s con­ser­va­tive Pop­u­lar Party, tried to form a coali­tion Mon­day af­ter his party won the coun­try’s un­prece­dented re­peat elec­tion — but his of­fer was quickly re­jected by both the cen­ter-left So­cial­ists and the busi­ness-friendly Ci­u­dadanos party. The Pop­u­lar Party won 137 seats in Sun­day’s vote but again fell short of cap­tur­ing the ma­jor­ity in the 350-seat Par­lia­ment that it had won in a 2011 elec­tion. Ra­joy’s party also won an elec­tion in De­cem­ber, but no other ma­jor party was will­ing to help him form a govern­ment, leav­ing Span­ish pol­i­tics dead­locked.

2 Birth con­trol: The Philip­pine pres­i­dent-elect said Mon­day that he would ag­gres­sively pro­mote birth con­trol in the coun­try even at the risk of get­ting in a fight with the dom­i­nant Catholic Church, which staunchly op­poses the use of con­tra­cep­tives. Ro­drigo Duterte, who is to take of­fice Thurs­day, said hav­ing many chil­dren has driven fam­i­lies deeper into poverty. Duterte cited his fam­ily plan­ning pro­gram as the mayor in Davao city, where he has of­fered cash re­wards to vil­lagers who vol­un­teer to un­dergo free va­sec­tomy or lig­a­tion.

3 Afghanistan un­rest: A for­mer Afghan warlord said Mon­day that a muchtouted peace deal be­tween his mil­i­tant group and the Kabul govern­ment was ef­fec­tively “dead.” The com­ments by Gul­bud­din Hekmatyar came af­ter his Hezb-i-Is­lami party scut­tled the deal, drafted weeks ago, with new de­mands. Afghan Pres­i­dent Ashraf Ghani’s govern­ment had hoped an agree­ment with Hekmatyar would be an in­cen­tive for other in­sur­gent groups to come to the ne­go­ti­at­ing ta­ble. But in re­cent weeks, Hezb-iIs­lami made ad­di­tional con­di­tions, in­clud­ing the scrap­ping of Kabul’s se­cu­rity pact with the United States and a timetable for the with­drawal of in­ter­na­tional forces.

4 Jor­dan bomb­ing: The Is­lamic State group claimed re­spon­si­bil­ity Mon­day for one of the dead­li­est at­tacks in Jor­dan in years, post­ing a video on­line that it said showed a car bomb ex­plod­ing near a bor­der post. Last Tues­day’s blast on the Syr­ian bor­der killed seven Jor­da­nian troops, wounded 13 and ex­posed the pro-Western kingdom’s vul­ner­a­bil­ity to at­tacks by the mil­i­tants who con­trol large ar­eas of neigh­bor­ing Syria and Iraq. Af­ter the at­tack, Jor­dan sealed the bor­der, cut­ting off thou­sands of Syr­ian refugees stranded in the area from in­ter­na­tional aid de­liv­ery. Aid of­fi­cials have said no food and lit­tle wa­ter have reached two bor­der tent camps since last week.

5 Cit­i­zen­ship stripped: Bahrain’s state news agency re­ported Mon­day that a court has stripped five peo­ple linked to rad­i­cal Shi­ite groups of their cit­i­zen­ship and or­dered them jailed af­ter con­vict­ing them on ter­ror­ism charges. Bahrain has faced un­rest since a 2011 Arab Spring-in­spired up­ris­ing led by the coun­try’s Shi­ite ma­jor­ity. A re­cent de­ci­sion to strip the cit­i­zen­ship of a prom­i­nent Shi­ite cleric, Sheikh Isa Qas­sim, sparked protests by his sup­port­ers last week.

6 Obama visit: First lady Michelle Obama landed in Liberia on Mon­day with her daugh­ters and her mother for an over­seas trip pro­mot­ing ed­u­ca­tion for girls, start­ing with a coun­try still re­cov­er­ing from the re­cent Ebola epi­demic that left thou­sands dead. Af­ter meet­ing Pres­i­dent Ellen Johnson Sir­leaf, the Oba­mas trav­eled to the town of Kakata, where they vis­ited a Peace Corps-spon­sored lead­er­ship camp for girls. Ed­u­ca­tion for girls is the cen­tral theme of the trip, which also in­cludes stops in Morocco and Spain.

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