International News in Brief

Egyptian citizens hold protest against President Sisi

CAIRO — On Friday in downtown Cairo, more than a thousand people gathered for the largest demonstration in at least two years in Egypt to denounce President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi and protest his decision to transfer sovereignty of two islands to Saudi Arabia. The event was unusual in that it defied a strictly enforced ban on political protest.

Source: The New York Times

Documents indicate Honduran police's role in assassination

MEXICO CITY — The recent emergence of case files in an investigation have revealed to the public that high ranking police officers in Honduras have been responsible for the assassinations of two top antidrug officials and their subsequent cover ups. Parts of the files have been published in the Honduran press, and reveal top-level government corruption and collusion with drug traffickers.

Source: The New York Times

Second powerful earthquake strikes Japanese island

TOKYO — The southwestern Japanese island of Kyushu was struck by a strong earthquake which was followed by multiple aftershocks on Saturday. It took place just two days after a different strong earthquake had struck the island. At least 23 people were killed in Saturday’s quake, while nine were killed in the first one. Buildings were toppled, roads buckled, and numerous landslides occurred.

Source: The New York Times

Despite withdrawal, Russian forces remain in Syria

MOSCOW — Even though President Vladimir Putin announced the withdrawal of the majority of Russian forces from Syria a month ago, evidence indicates that the level of Russian support on the ground has not changed since the first deployment of forces in September. The appearance of a drawdown lessened Western political pressure on Russia, but keeping Russian forces there allows Putin to influence any political transition in Syria.

Source: Reuters, The New York Times

Pope Francis visits Greek island, returns with 12 refugees

LESBOS — After a visit on Saturday to a camp in Greece, Pope Francis took three families of Syrian refugees back with him to Rome. The pope stressed that the gesture was a humanitarian one, not political. Borders are largely shut for migrants now after a European Union decision to block a migrant route that had been previously used by a million people to flee conflict since early 2015.

Source: Reuters

Inky the octopus escapes from a New Zealand aquarium

NAPIER — A New Zealand octopus named Inky escaped from the National Aquarium of New Zealand during the night. Inky, about the size of a soccer ball, apparently slipped through a small gap at the top of his tank, and octopus tracks indicate that he then traveled eight feet across the floor, into a 164-foot-long drainpipe that led him to the sea. Employees searched the aquarium's pipes to no avail.

Source: The New York Times