World News

Compiled by Stephanie Meyer

Poland

Poland’s President Andrzej Duda made a public statement on Tuesday, Feb. 6, saying that he will sign the controversial Holocaust bill that would make it illegal for blaming Poland of complicity in Nazi crimes committed in Poland during World War II. The bill would make those who accuse Poland of playing a role in Nazi crimes, after the Third Reich invaded the country, subject to a fine or imprisonment for up to three years. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu strongly opposes the bill, calling it an attempt to rewrite history. Duda maintains that Poland played no explicit role in the Holocaust, as the country too was occupied by Nazi Germany during the war and that “Polish death camps” were built after Nazis invaded the country. Therefore, Duda claims, it is Nazi Germany’s responsibility. However, historians report that many acts were carried out by the citizens of Poland, such as informing Nazis of the hiding places of Jews for rewards and participating in massacres, such as the Jedwabne pogrom, where hundreds of Jews were murdered by their neighbors. — BBC

Taiwan

On Tuesday, Feb. 6, just before midnight, an earthquake struck the Taiwanese city of Hualien, killing two people and injuring at least 100 more. Although a multitude of aftershocks occurred after the earthquake, there is no indication of a tsunami. Hualien is a popular tourist destination on Taiwan’s east coast. According to Taiwanese government officials, a number of tourists are trapped in collapsed hotels and are in the process of being rescued. According to the Hualien County Fire Department, 28 people have been rescued so far. Tuesday’s 6.4 magnitude earthquake seemed to be the culmination of almost 100 smaller earthquakes that Taiwan has endured in the previous three days. Tuesday’s earthquake occurred on the anniversary of the 2016 earthquake of the same magnitude that struck the southern Taiwanese city of Tainan and killed more than 100 people. — CNN

France

On Monday, Feb. 5, Belgium-born French citizen Salah Abdeslam, stood trial in Belgium for the attempted murder of police officers after he shot at police, starting a shoot-out, directly before his arrest in March. Abdeslam was involved in the August 2015 attack on a high-speed train from Amsterdam to Paris (which was thwarted by three tourists), the November 2015 Paris attack that killed 130 people and injured hundreds and the March 2016 attack in Brussels airport, Zaventem, and metro system that killed 32 people. Abdeslam fled from Paris to Belgium after the 2015 Paris attack, where he hid in a Brussels suburb and was also where the shoot-out that he is on trial now for took place. Abdeslam, the only survivor of the Islamic State militant group who carried out the 2015 Paris attacks, is being held in France awaiting trial. — BBC

South Korea

On Wednesday, Feb. 7, one of the largest peace-time crossings of the Korean border occurred when a group of 280 North Koreans arrived in South Korea in preparation for the Winter Olympics, which formally start on Friday, Feb. 9. The group of North Koreans was mainly made up of the 229 member cheer squad, but also included 26 taekwondo performers, 21 North Korean journalists and four North Korea’s Olympic Committee members. The North Korean group will be staying at a luxury hotel two hours away from Pyeongchang, where the Olympic venue is located. The hotel has been decked with banners reading “welcome” and “we are one.” Police have been deployed to the hotel to ensure safety. On Tuesday, the 140-member North Korean arts troupe arrived by ferry to South Korea, where they were met with “anti-Kim Jong-un” protestors. These South Korean protesters were condemned by North Korean news media. — Reuters

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