In today’s digest:
- Thousands of refugees stranded at Eidomeni cross border river into Macedonia
- Myanmar elects new president ending decades of military rule
- President Putin orders withdrawal of Russian forces from Syria
- Four people killed in heavy clashes in Diyarbakir, southeast Turkey
- Italian prosecutor in Egypt to see all files on the killing of Giulio Regeni
- One person killed in Berlin in suspected bomb attack
- Flooding causes severe damage in Mississippi, Louisiana and Texas
Thousands of stranded refugees at Eidomeni, Greece crossed a border river to Macedonia, a day after three people drowned trying to cross. Macedonian authorities detained at least 600, returning them to Greece on military vehicles. They also arrested around 30 photojournalists, levying on them a €250 ($277) fine and a coverage ban.
Myanmar parliament elected the country’s new president, a quiet advisor to Aung San Suu Ki named Htin Kyaw. Htin Kyaw won 360 votes out of 652, ending decades of military rule. Pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi could not become president because a clause in the old military-drafted constitution forbids people with foreign relatives from holding the office.
In a surprise move, Russian president Putin ordered the withdrawal of Russian forces from Syria on the first day peace talks resumed. March 15 marks the fifth anniversary of Syrian revolution protests that preceded the civil war.
Four people were killed in heavy clashes in Diyarbakir, southeast Turkey. A renewed Turkish offensive on Kurdish militants in northern Iraq was launched after the Ankara bombing on Sunday. More professors were arrested in Turkey for signing an open letter calling for peace. The pro-Kurdish opposition HDP party reported gunfire on a provincial office and arrests of members.
Italian prosecutor Giuseppe Pignatone landed in Cairo Monday to see all files regarding the killing of disappeared researcher Giulio Regeni. He will also watch CCTV footage of the day of Giulio’s disappearance. Relationships between Italy and Egypt have become very tense. Talking to the Italian press, Giza prosecutor Ahmed Nagui still supported the theory that it could have been a simple criminal case and not a state security killing. Hundreds of people have disappeared in Egypt in the last few months only.
One person, reportedly the driver, was killed in a car explosion in Charlottenburg, west Berlin Tuesday. Police believe the blast, which caused the car to flip in the air as it was heading to downtown Berlin, may have been caused by an explosive device. The area has been sealed off and residents were asked to remain in their houses.
Flooding is causing severe damage in Mississippi, Louisiana and Texas. In Mississippi and Louisiana at least 5,000 homes were destroyed by severe rains and flooding. At least six people died in the floods while the National Guard said more than 3,295 people and hundreds of pets were rescued. A mandatory evacuation was ordered for the small town of Deweyville, Texas following record-breaking floods. The town is home to about 1,200 people who have been cut off from the rest of the county as the Sabine River overflows and is expected to be over 35 feet by Tuesday. Meanwhile in California, rains have been a relief to the drought-stricken state. Lake Shasta, home to the state’s most important reservoir has reached normal water levels for the first time since 2013.