A prominent Jordanian writer, Nahed Hattar, was shot on Sunday outside of court where he was scheduled for a hearing. Hattar was arrested in August for sharing a caricature on Facebook that authorities deemed offensive to Islam. He was released on bail in September and was preparing to enter the courthouse when he was shot three times before the gunman was arrested. The Jordanian government has condemned the killing, but some supporters of Hattar accused Prime Minister Hani al-Mulki of not providing adequate security.
Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte announced on Monday that he plans to visit China and Russia to establish alliances with the two countries. Duterte said he welcomes the possibility of opening up trade, telecoms and airlines between the Philippines and the two countries. He assured that he is not ready to break ties with the U.S. despite Washington’s international political sparring with China and Russia.
Last week, the Russian and Syrian governments declared an end to the short-lived ceasefire and launched a renewed assault on the rebel-held sector of Aleppo. On Tuesday, the Syrian government started on their largest ground assault yet, targeting multiple areas of the city. It is estimated that more than 250,000 civilians are trapped in the besieged section of Aleppo.
On Sunday, Swiss citizens voted on a piece of legislation that would allow their national intelligence service to tap phones and computer networks under certain conditions. The law passed with over 65 percent of the vote. Proponents of the bill argue that the Swiss government has become too reliant on help from other nations because it does not have access to modern tools required to maintain national safety. Critics of the bill fear it poses a threat to citizens’ personal liberties and violates privacy rights.
On Monday, Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos and Rodrigo Londoño, the commander of the country’s largest rebel group, signed an agreement that put an end to a 52-year long civil war. The conflict has cost hundreds of thousands their lives and displaced millions more. Over the next few months, rebels will hand their arms over to the United Nations, and in return, some soldiers will be granted reduced sentences for their crimes.