The world at a glance ...
An octopus on the march
A contestant speaks out.
Pop star and police
A Gaza crossing
Cephalopod parade: Dozens of octopuses marched out of the sea and up a Welsh beach this week, alarming beachgoers, one of whom likened the scene to “an end-of-days scenario.” Passersby tried to return the curled octopuses—which measured about 20 inches in length—to the water, only to find some of them washed up dead the next day. Some scientists speculated that recent heavy storms might have confused or injured the animals. Others said they might just be addled with old age: Extremely intelligent, octopuses live for only about a year, dying soon after they lay their eggs.
‘Sex pests’ in Parliament: The #MeToo campaign that has seen women share stories of harassment has spread to the U.K., where staffers with the ruling Con ser va tive Party have compiled a list of 36 Conservative lawmakers— including six cabinet ministers— they accuse of sexual harassment. The insider-politics blog Guido Fawkes published the accusations but redacted the names. One lawmaker was said to be “perpetually intoxicated and very inappropriate with women,” while another was “handsy in taxis.” Meanwhile, a female staffer told The Mail on Sunday that Trade Min i ster Mark Gar nier called her “sugar t--s” in front of witnesses and sent her to a sex shop to buy vibrators. None of the Con ser va tive lawmakers have been punished so far, but the Labor Party suspended one of its parliamentarians, Jared O’Mara, following allegations of sexist comments.
Miss Peru protest: Organizers of the Miss Peru contest this week used the pageant to condemn the country’s failure to punish violence against women. During the beauty portion of the pageant, when contestants are expected to recite their bust, waist, and hip measurements, every woman instead gave a statistic about crimes against women in Peru. “My name is Melina Machuca,” said one, “I represent the department of Cajamarca, and my measurements are.... More than 80 percent of women in my city suffer from violence.” Women’s activism in Peru spiked following a prominent case last year, when a man who beat up and sexually assaulted his ex-girlfriend got a suspended sentence even though he was caught on a hotel security camera dragging her down the hall by her hair.
La Paz, Bolivia
JFK files bolster claim: Bolivian President Evo Morales says the trove of recently declassified U.S. documents relating to the JFK assassination show that Chile made a secret offer in 1975 to give landlocked Bolivia a 6-mile corridor to the Pacific Ocean. In a series of tweets, Morales claimed the proposed deal, which foundered because of a dispute over who would manage the port, proved that Chile once recognized its obligation to grant Bolivia sea access. Bolivia lost a chunk of land that included all 250 miles of its coastline to Chile in the 1879–84 War of the Pacific. The country is currently suing Chile for ocean access at the International Court in the Hague.
Reformation anniversary: Germany this week marked the 500th anniversary of the day Martin Luther is said to have nailed a list of criticisms of the Catholic Church, his 95 Theses, to the door of a Wittenberg church. Those criticisms of papal innovations not found in the Bible, such as the selling of indulgences to get souls out of purgatory, marked the start of the Protestant Reformation—and sparked centuries of bloodshed and discrimination. In remembrance of the birth of Protestantism, Reformation Day was declared a national holiday in Germany this year—normally only a few eastern states get the day off—and Chancellor Angela Merkel and other German leaders attended ceremonies in Wittenberg. Merkel, whose father was a Lutheran pastor, said Luther “got a ball rolling that could not be stopped and that changed the world forever.”
Rio de Janeiro
Madonna offends: Brazilians reacted with outrage this week after Madonna posted a photo online that showed her decked out in camouflage fatigues and posing with armed police in Rio’s Rocinha slum. Social media users in Brazil said the pop star’s photo glorified the police and glamorized violence in Brazilian slums. The federal “pacification police,” sent in over the past decade to take back the favelas from drug gangs, have been accused of behaving like invading forces in Rocinha. Police killed nearly 500 Rio residents in the first five months of this year alone; two days before Madonna’s post, they accidentally shot dead a 67-year-old Spanish tourist who was on a favela tour.
Kurdish leader quits: Masoud Barzani, president of the Iraqi Kurdistan region, resigned this week, after the independence referendum that he championed sparked a fierce military backlash from Baghdad. In the wake of the Sept. 25 vote—which was opposed by the U.S., Iraq, and other regional powers—Baghdad sent troops to recapture territory held by Kurds outside their autonomous region. The Kurds lost control of the city of Kirkuk, its airport, and oil fields, and the region is now all but certain to lose much of its autonomy. Barzani blamed the U.S. for failing to help its Kurdish allies, who have been invaluable in the fight against ISIS. “Our people should now question whether the U.S. was aware of Iraq’s attack and why they did not prevent it,” Barzani said. After his resignation, Barzani’s supporters looted and torched the offices of political parties that had opposed him.
Kenyatta re-elected: Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta won 98 percent of the vote in last week’s repeat presidential election thanks to an opposition boycott, but says he expects a legal challenge to his victory. The vote was a redo of an Aug. 8 election, of which Kenyatta was initially declared the winner, before the Supreme Court nullified the vote because of a string of irregularities. Opposition leader Raila Odinga then sat out the redo because the election officials he accused of orchestrating the fraud in the first vote had not been replaced. “This election must not stand,” Odinga said this week. “If allowed to stand, it will mak e a complete mockery of elections and might well be the end of the ballot as a means of instituting government in Kenya.”
Making up with Seoul: After a yearlong diplomatic spat, China and South Korea have restored cordial relations. China had slapped an economic boycott on South Korean products after Seoul let the U.S. deploy an advanced anti-missile system—the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense—on its territory. The THAAD system was intended to protect against an attack by North Korea, but Beijing said it undermined China’s own nuclear deterrent. In an agreement announced by the nations’ foreign ministries this week, South Korea pledged not to accept additional THAAD launchers. The reconciliation comes just days before President Trump is set to visit both countries; all parties are expected to discuss cooperative measures to rein in North Korea’s nuclear weapons program.
Robot citizen: Women in Saudi Arabia mocked the government’s decision last week to grant symbolic citizenship to a female robot. The robot, Sophia, was not wearing a burqa or a hijab when she was introduced at a conference in Riyadh to highlight Saudi Arabia’s commitment to developing new technologies. Activists pointed out that Sophia seemed to have more rights than human Saudi women, who must be completely covered in public and get approval from a husband or male relative to work and travel abroad. “I’m wondering if robot Sophia can leave Saudi Arabia without her guardian consent!” tweeted Saudi activist Moudi Aljohani. The kingdom only this year granted women the right to drive.
Lawmakers are foreigners: At least eight Australian lawmakers have lost their seats in Parliament after discovering that they are dual citizens— revelations that have robbed Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull of his governing majority. Australia’s constitution bans members of Parliament from being “a subject or citizen of a foreign power,” and last week the deputy prime minister, Barnaby Joyce, was stripped of his post after a court found he held dual Australian–New Zealand citizenship when elected. Several more lawmakers, including the president of the Senate, subsequently resigned after realizing that they held automatic citizenship in another country, such as New Zealand or the U.K., because a parent was born there. More than half of Australia’s population either was born overseas or has a parent who was, and Turnbull is considering a national referendum to change the constitution.
Palestinian unity step: The Islamist militant group Hamas handed over control of Gaza’s border crossings with Egypt and Israel to the Palestinian Authority this week, an important step in the reconciliation process between the two dominant Palestinian factions. Under a preliminary reconciliation deal, brokered by Egypt last month, Hamas will cede authority in the Gaza Strip to the Palestinian Authority, which is dominated by the Fatah movement and governs Palestinians in the West Bank. Hamas kicked Fatah out of Gaza in 2007, and has run the territory ever since. Palestinians hope that Egypt will now reopen the Rafah crossing with Gaza—the main gateway for the territory’s 2 million people—which was largely shut after Hamas’ takeover to stop weapons flowing to the militants.
SeaMor Dolphin Watching Boat Trips, Getty, screenshot: YouTube, Newscom, screenshot; AP (3), Getty, AP, Newscom ■