San Francisco Chronicle



1 South Africa riots: Rioters looted shops on the outskirts of South Africa’s capital on Wednesday, and police reported two deaths and more than 40 arrests since violence erupted in the Pretoria area two days ago. Looters targeted shops in the Mabopane and Ga-Rankuwa neighborho­ods belonging to immigrants, echoing similar attacks last year against foreigners, including Pakistanis and Somalis, who run businesses in poor urban areas of the country. The violence started Monday after the selection of the ruling party’s mayoral candidate for Pretoria ahead of local elections on Aug. 3. Some residents said they were not adequately consulted about the selection.

2 Lightning deaths: Lightning has killed 74 people, mostly farm laborers working in fields, across eastern and northern India over the past 24 hours, officials said Wednesday. A majority of the deaths occurred in the eastern state of Bihar, where 57 people died after being struck by lightning, a state official said. At least 24 others were injured when thundersto­rms and monsoon rains lashed 14 districts of the state. Lightning strikes are common during India’s monsoon season, which runs from June to September. However, the recent toll is unusually high. At least 2,000 people have died in lightning strikes in India every year since 2005, according to the National Crime Records Bureau.

_3 Right to protest: The French government and unions reached a compromise Wednesday allowing a new labor march in Paris, amid heightened political tensions and security fears after recent protest violence injured dozens and damaged a renowned children’s hospital. The debate about the protest march planned for Thursday had taken on national importance, echoing a larger battle raging for months over a government bill rethinking France’s cherished but costly worker protection­s. Paris police on Wednesday banned the protest, saying they could not ensure safety. Leftist lawmakers and union members threatened to defy the ban, condemning the move as a violation of the people’s right to protest.

4 Terror trial: A Danish court on Wednesday convicted a 24-year-old Copenhagen pizzeria owner of joining Islamic State militants in Syria, dismissing his claims that he had gone there to work as a cook. The Copenhagen suburban Glostrup City Court found Hamza Cakan, who has dual Danish and Turkish citizenshi­p, guilty of enrolling in the radical Islamist group, the first such ruling in the Scandinavi­an country. Cakan has acknowledg­ed traveling twice to Syria in 2013 but said he didn’t go there to fight. However, he admitted to filling in a form saying he had joined Islamic State to become a fighter. He was arrested last year after attempting to head for Syria again. 5 EU refugee plan: The European Union agreed Wednesday to set up a new border and coast guard agency to better manage refugee arrivals after more than a million people came to the EU in search of jobs or sanctuary last year. The Brussels agency would establish a pool of 1,500 border guards and technical equipment that could deploy to areas of extraordin­ary migration flows within about 10 days in times of need. Liaison officers would be stationed in all member states with external borders to monitor those borders. The EU hopes the scheme will strengthen borders, which have proved porous particular­ly off the coasts of Italy and Greece, and ensure that Europe’s passportfr­ee travel zone can function correctly.

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