International news in brief

Valene Mezmin Apr 16, 2017

Turks plan to vote on expanding Erdogan’s power

ANKARA — Turkish opinion polls show that there is a narrow lead for a "yes" vote to replace Turkey's parliamentary democracy with an all-powerful presidency. This would mean that President Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey could remain in office until at least 2029, which would create the most radical change to Turkey's political system in its history.

Around 55 million people were eligible to vote at 167,140 polling stations across the nation on Sunday. Turkish voters abroad have already cast their ballots.

The referendum has divided the nation. Erdogan and his supporters say the changes are needed to amend the current constitution and to avoid the fragile coalition governments the country has faced in the past. Opponents say this would lead to an authoritarian government.

Source: Reuters

North Korea shows off deadly missiles at military parade

PYONGYANG/SEOUL — On the 105th birth anniversary of North Korea's founding father, Kim Il Sung, North Korea displayed new long-range and submarine-based missiles at the event's military parade.

North Korea has conducted several missile tests and has regularly threatened to destroy the United States. This missile display occurred several days after America's recent attack on a Syrian airfield, which has raised questions about Donald Trump's plans for North Korea.

Officials believe that North Korea is some time away from mastering all the necessary technology to launch a missile that can strike the United States.

Source: Reuters

Italy rescues over 2,000 migrants off the Libyan coast

ROME — Italian rescue ships have rescued over 2,000 migrants from smugglers' boats off the coast of Libya. This past weekend, one rescue ship brought 504 migrants to Pozzallo, Sicily, while another brought 500 other migrants to Augusta, Sicily. More migrants were due to reach Calabria on the Italian mainland on Sunday.

This year, around 29,000 migrants have arrived in Italy after being rescued by European military ships or private charity organizations. Most of these immigrants were reported to be fleeing poverty in sub-Saharan Africa. Their numbers are expected to rise due to the warmer weather.

Source: The Associated Press

U.S. bomb death toll in Afghanistan rises to 94 people

KABUL — The number of militants killed in Thursday's attack by the largest non-nuclear weapon ever used in combat by the U.S. military has risen to 94.

The U.S. attack on a tunnel complex in the remote eastern Nangarhar province near the Pakistan border killed at least four IS group leaders. "Fortunately there is no report of civilians being killed in the attack," Ataullah Khogyani, spokesman for the provincial governor in Nangarhar, said.

Former Afghan president Hamid Karzai criticized both the Afghan and U.S. governments for the attack, saying that allowing the U.S. to carry out the bombing was an insult to Afghanistan. Current President Ashraf Ghani's office said that there was close coordination between the U.S. military and the Afghan government on the operation, and they were careful to prevent any civilian casualties.

Source: The Associated Press