In today’s digest:
- French high court rules against burkini ban
- Daraya evacuated after four-year siege
- Historic life sentence for former general in Argentina
- Brazil’s Senate starts impeachment trial for President Dilma Rousseff
- Ten killed in attack on beachside restaurant in Mogadishu
- UN calls for international human rights investigation in Yemen war
- Kurdish militias in northern Syria agree to evacuate east of Euphrates
- Anti-government rally once again repressed in Zimbabwe
France’s highest court suspends the ban of the full-body swimsuits called burkinis. Today’s ruling responds to an appeal to the ban in Villeneuve-Loubet, but it will affect all of the city councils that introduced the ban. Many people stood outside the French embassies in Berlin and London in swimwear Thursday to protest the bans.
Daraya is being evacuated, ending a four-year siege. The Damascus suburb, besieged by the Syrian regime since 2012, endured cluster bombs and napalm strikes, and the destruction of farmland and medical facilities while pleading for aid in recent months. Daraya was one of the first Syrian cities to mount peaceful protests in 2011.
Former Argentine General Luciano Benjamín Menéndez was sentenced to life in prison for his role in overseeing clandestine detention centers during the country’s Dirty War. The four-year trial known as the “La Perla case,” named after one of the detention facilities, had 43 defendants and resulted in 28 life sentences, six acquittals and nine terms that varied from two to 14 years in prison. Menéndez is now serving four prison terms and 12 life sentences for torture, murder, disappearances and crimes against humanity. Human rights groups estimate 30,000 people disappeared during Argentina’s military regime. The verdict was celebrated by thousands in the streets of Cordoba.
The first session of Brazil’s Senate hearings impeachment trial of suspended President Dilma Rousseff started Thursday. She maintains most of those who accuse her of corruption are themselves corrupt and that the impeachment trial is a coup. Rousseff is to begin her defense case Friday. You can follow proceedings live on the Brazilian Senate’s YouTube channel. Proceedings are expected to last a few days.
At least ten people died after Al Shabaab attacked a crowded beachside restaurant in Mogadishu. Attackers detonated a car bomb then fought with security forces for several hours. The assault took place on Thursday at the same time as an attack in Bardhere, on the western side of the country.
The UN human rights chief called for an international investigation of human rights violations in the Yemen conflict. An accompanying report documented attacks on civilians by both the Saudi-led coalition and the Houthis rebels. The renewed escalation of violence in recent months includes airstrikes on a school, a foodstuff factory and an MSF-supported hospital, and shelling on residential areas in Taiz. US Secretary of State John Kerry pledged $189 million in new aid for Yemen to address a shortfall in response, and presented a new peace plan calling for the Houthi rebels’ participation in a unity government.
Kurdish militias in northern Syria started to evacuate east of the Euphrates river, after threats by Turkey and warnings by the US. Turkish artillery fired on US-backed militias in the recently liberated town of Manbij, after Turkish tanks and Syrian rebels secured the town of Jarablus on Thursday. ISIS troops fleeing Jarablus entrenched in Al Bab, the next target of the joint operation by Turkey and Syrian rebels.
Despite a government ban, thousands joined an anti-government rally in Zimbabwe on Friday. The “This Flag” movement and opposition leaders have said the protest will continue despite a promise from the government of President Robert Mugabe that planners will face the “full wrath of the law.” Zimbabwe’s High Court approved a peaceful rally to the Electoral Commission’s offices, but riots ensued after protesters were met with teargas and water cannons.
A Bolivian governmental minister was kidnapped and killed by protesting miners Thursday. Rodolfo Illanes was taken when he went to negotiate with the National Federation of Mining Cooperatives of Bolivia, who have been protesting for better working conditions.
A Burundi human rights group claims to have discovered 14 mass graves. Last January, Amnesty documented the discovery of five possible mass graves with satellite photos. The Burundi Association for the Protection of Detainees’ Human Rights alleges they were handed the data by dissidents in the police force. President Pierre Nkurunziza’s bid for a third term set off an period of instability that’s expected to continue as the country is poised to completely scrap presidential term limits.
An alleged barrel bomb killed at least a dozen people in Aleppo on Thursday, including 11 children. Russia and the United Nations are pushing for a ceasefire in Aleppo.
The death toll in central Italy’s earthquake has reached 268. As time passes, hopes to find somebody alive under the rubble become weaker. Pledges of aid from the international community have been pouring in. Swarms of strong aftershocks keep hitting the area. An investigation has been opened into the collapsing of recently restored buildings.
A truck bomb targeting a police checkpoint in Cizre, Turkey killed 11 people and injured dozens on Friday. The PKK claimed the attack.
The trash crisis in Lebanon continues. After allowing hills of trash to pile up in the streets of Beirut for months, the government is now planning to reopen a highly polluting landfill in Burj Hammoud, east of the capital, which is going to affect a long stretch of coast. Activists rallied against it Thursday, marching to a protest campsite set up by the Kataeb Party.
Egypt’s Ministry of Social Solidarity announced new regulations requiring NGOs to consult with the ministry’s security department regarding all planned activities. NGOs have been under government’s scrutiny since 2012, some of them no longer able to operate, some plagued by ongoing judicial proceedings over foreign funding.
Hungary plans to build a second fence on its southern border with Serbia that would enable it to keep out any major new wave of migrants, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban said Friday.
A Brazilian coalition has filed a lawsuit to allow abortion in the face of the Zika virus. The lawsuit seeks to guarantee health care rights for women, including abortion, which is mostly illegal in Brazil.
A global day of action for Mexico’s missing students of Ayotzinapa is expected on Friday. Supporters of the students are participating in “43 days for the 43” which include daily demonstrations. September 26 will mark the two-year anniversary since the students were stopped by local police in the state of Guerrero and went missing.