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Global Briefs: Aid theft deepens Ethiopian food crisis

Local officials have counted more than 700 hunger-related deaths since March

Yasuyoshi Chiba/AFP via Getty Images

Global Briefs: Aid theft deepens Ethiopian food crisis
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U.S. and international aid agencies have suspended food deliveries amid a glut of stolen rations. The U.S. Agency for International Development and the United Nations World Food Program suspended aid to the war-hit northern Tigray region in March after reports that local officials and rebels diverted food from people in need. Last month, both agencies extended the halt nationwide. In one Tigray town, investigators found stolen wheat for sale in a local market—enough to feed 134,000 people for a month. Officials in Tigray have recorded more than 700 hunger-related deaths in the region since the aid suspension. —Onize Ohikere

Fact Box Source: The World Factbook-CIA


Former President Jair Bolsonaro cannot run for elected office again until 2030, thanks to a ban imposed by the Brazilian Supreme Court on June 30. Right-winger Bolsonaro lost his bid for reelection by less than 2 percent of the vote to left-winger Luiz Inácio “Lula” da Silva in October 2022. The case before the Supreme Court focused on remarks Bolsonaro made in July 2022 to foreign ambassadors, in which he suggested Brazil’s electronic voting machines were vulnerable to hacking and fraud. The court concluded those comments constituted an abuse of power and undermined confidence in elections. Bolsonaro’s lawyers argued his comments had no bearing on the election results. After the verdict, Supreme Court Justice Alexandre de Moraes said, “Let us reaffirm our faith in our democracy and the rule of law.” Speaking to media, Bolsonaro called the ban “a rather difficult moment.” His lawyers are expected to appeal. —Emma Freire


In a fourth wave of repatriations, 10 women associated with ISIS and their 25 children returned from northeast Syria on July 4. All are French citizens. Authorities handed the adults over to the French justice system and placed the children with social services for medical and psychological care. The families lived in Kurd-run refugee camps since the fall of ISIS in 2019. Repatriations created controversy in France, where many fear the women pose a security threat. The government originally wanted them to face justice in the countries where they were captured, but deteriorating security and the humanitarian situation in the camps prompted international criticism and spurred repatriation efforts. Experts estimate about 100 children remain in the camps. —Jenny Lind Schmitt

Amir Levy/Getty Images


Tel Aviv Police Chief Ami Eshed resigned amid clashes with the country’s national security minister, Itamar Ben-Gvir. Eshed’s July 5 announcement blamed interference from political opponents for his decision. In March, Israel’s attorney general blocked Ben-Gvir’s attempt to transfer Eshed out of Tel Aviv. The city has been a hotbed of protests since January, when Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu proposed controversial judicial reforms. Ben-Gvir reportedly wanted Tel Aviv police to crack down on the protesters, but Eshed refused. In response to Eshed’s resignation, thousands of protesters blocked Tel Aviv’s Ayalon highway for hours. —Elizabeth Russell



Travelers who stay for more than four days will get extra time to enjoy the self-proclaimed “happiest nation on earth.” In September 2022, the Himalayan kingdom started charging tourists $200 per night to encourage high-value, low-volume visitors. But with 2023 tourism only one-fourth of pre-COVID levels, the government changed its policy in June to allow for ­longer stays. But the “stay more, pay less” scheme hasn’t helped the isolated country’s skilled workers. About 1.4 percent of the underdeveloped country’s 800,000 citizens have been granted visas to Australia, where they can make more money in blue-collar jobs. —Amy Lewis


Authorities jailed Kurdish immigrant Yahya Güngör for 4½ years under a newly revised anti-terrorism law. He was convicted of raising funds for the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), a militant group designated a terrorist organization by Turkey, the United States, and the EU. Güngör has Turkish origins and will be expelled from Sweden after serving his sentence, according to authorities. Justice ­officials called the timing of the ­conviction “pure coincidence,” but observers see a correlation with Turkey’s demand that the Swedes toughen their stance toward the PKK as a precondition for approving their bid to join NATO. Güngör’s sentencing coincided with a meeting of the foreign ministers of Turkey, Sweden, and Finland ahead of a NATO summit. —Jenny Lind Schmitt


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