World News

Compiled from various mainstream news outlets.

Russia

A court in Moscow convicted 63-year-old former Norwegian border guard Frode Berg of espionage on Tuesday, sentencing him to 14 years in prison. This came after the Russian government convicted a former police officer in December for passing files relating to the country’s Navy to the border guard. That officer received a sentence of 13 years. Berg’s attorney stated that his client would not be appealing the decision, and instead expects a diplomatic solution between the Norwegian and Russian governments to set him free with a pardon from Russian President Vladimir Putin. Putin commented following a meeting with Norwegian Prime Minister Erna Solberg last week that he was waiting for the court’s ruling before taking any action related to a pardon or other solution. The trial in this case was closed to the public, with access being given only when the ruling and sentence were announced on Tuesday. (Al Jazeera)

France

A fire started Monday afternoon local time at the famous Notre Dame cathedral in Paris in what has been reported by French authorities to have likely been an accidental blaze, though the exact cause remains unknown as of Tuesday afternoon. The fire burned through the night and resulted in the collapse of the central spire that the building was well-known for. The blaze started shortly after the cathedral closed for the evening and resulted in no fatalities, with one firefighter reported to be seriously injured. Massive crowds turned out to watch the blaze and some took to singing Ave Maria as night fell on the city. Following the incident, French President Emmanuel Macron said, “Notre Dame is our history, our literature, part of our psyche,” and pledged to rebuild the structure. “Let’s be proud, because we built this cathedral more than 800 years ago, we’ve built it and, throughout the centuries, let it grow and improved it. So I solemnly say tonight: we will rebuild it together.” (NPR)

Thailand

A dog was found swimming over 125 miles off the coast of Thailand on Friday and was rescued by a group of oil rig workers. The workers attempted to retrieve the dog with a long pole, but the dog kept slipping off. The workers ultimately decided to throw a rope around the dog, who hung on solemnly, staring at the rescuers as they pulled him to safety. Workers gave the animal, which they promptly named Boonrod (which roughly translates to survivor), water, electrolytes and a bath. After being returned to the mainland on Monday morning local time, the dog was taken to a national charity and then transferred to an animal hospital in Songkia province. One of the workers, Vitisak Payalaw, stated on his Facebook page that the dog would stay at a shelter until he regains strength, at which time Payalaw would be willing to adopt him if no one else does. (CNN)

Algeria

A top army official in Algeria stated on Tuesday that “time is running out” to end the political protests that have embroiled the nation’s capital in recent months ahead of the scheduled election on Jul. 4. The protests, which have led to the resignation of Algeria’s President Abdelaziz Bouteflika and other top officials, are calling for a complete overhaul of the political system in the country, including the removal of the former president’s political allies from power. Protesters have also implied corruption in the transitional authority, the body tasked with organizing and executing a smooth transition of power. “We will continue to march until a transitional [authority] led by clean politicians is set up,” Algerian medical student Mira Laifa told the AFP news agency, as quoted by Al Jazeera. The interim president has pledged to have a transparent election process and defended his appointment as the country’s leader for a 90-day period under the Algerian constitution. (Al Jazeera)

Indonesia

In Indonesia this week, election workers have taken on the enormous task of distributing ballots to the most remote regions of the country in preparation for the national election coming up on Wednesday. Everything from charter boats to walking (for, in some cases, days) between villages to using helicopters and small planes to access mountainous regions is part of the effort. Along with the challenge of distributing ballots, the government must make sure that people know who the candidates are, a major problem when most of the population does not have electricity, much less internet access. Despite all of these challenges, the process has gotten easier than in previous years according to election worker Daud Mita. “In a few areas, we have been able to start going by land because the roads have been paved, although another flood has destroyed the new bridges we were starting to use,” he said. Such improvements are the result of additional funding for infrastructure the national government has made available to villages. (Al Jazeera)


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