On Tuesday, Oct. 23 Ecuador’s foreign minister, Jose Valencia, reported that Ecuador does not plan to mediate between the British government and WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange in talks concerning his asylum the country’s London embassy. Valencia stated that Ecuador is only responsible for looking after Assange’s wellbeing, a responsibility they are legally required to uphold due to Assange’s lawsuit against the country over the new conditions placed on his asylum in the embassy. Valencia added that Ecuador is not required to and will not act as Assange’s lawyers nor as representatives of the British government. This stance is very different than Ecuador’s previous practice of maintaining dialogue with the British government over Assange’s asylum.
On Tuesday, Oct. 23, Japan’s Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga received information that a person believed to be journalist Jumpei Yasuda had been released. Suga reported no ransom was paid. Yasuda was captured by an al Qaeda affiliate in Syria three years ago. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said that he is “relieved” that the hostage has been released, but that the Japanese government still needs to confirm the released hostage’s identity. The released hostage is now being held at a Turkish immigration facility in Antakya, where the Japanese government plans on confirming the release of his identity on Wednesday.
This past Tuesday, an escalator at a train station in Rome malfunctioned, resulting in the injury of at least 20 people. At least seven people were left severely injured. Italian police reported that the escalator broke and rapidly accelerated, causing those riding it to collapse into each other. According to the local news outlet La Repubblica, most on the escalator were CSKA Moscow soccer fans en rorute to Rome’s Olympic stadium where CSKA Moscow was scheduled to play AS Roma. The escalator reportedly broke due to fans jumping and singing.
Hurricane Willa closed in on Mexico’s Pacific coast on Tuesday, Oct. 23, threatening an offshore penal colony, fishing villages, farms and resort areas. The hurricane has been classified as a Category 3 storm, bringing 120 mph winds. Mexico’s federal government has issued a decree of “extraordinary emergency” for the 19 municipalities in the Nayarit and Sinaloa states. The storm hit the Islas Marias, a group of islands 60 miles off the mainland, most severely. More than 4,500 people were evacuated and 58 shelters were set up before the storm hit. Federal authorities declined to comment on the measures taken at the prison due to security concerns.
On Tuesday, Oct. 23, Saudi Arabia’s King Salman and Crown prince Mohammed bin Salman met with the brother and son of slain Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi, offering their “deepest condolences.” This meeting came four days after the Saudi Arabian government acknowledged that Khashoggi died after visiting the Saudi consulate in Turkey on October 2. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan revealed new details of the disappearance and killing of Khashoggi. According to Erdogan, security tapes from the consulate showed a man donning Khashoggi’s clothes, glasses and a fake beard, giving the illusion that Khashoggi had left the building unhurt. Before the meeting between the Saudi Arabian leaders and Khashoggi’s family, Erdogan said that the death of Khashoggi was “brutal” and “political murder” and requires independent investigation and trial.