News In Brief

South Africa:

An outburst of anti-immigrant violence has killed five people and displaced many more in the costal city of Durban, according to the Guardian. Among the dead were two foreigners and three South Africans. The police have also arrested over 30 people for various related offenses, including unlicensed possession of firearms. The violence followed remarks by Zulu King Goodwill Zwelithini telling foreigners to “pack their bags” and leave.  This is not the first xenophobic attack this year; four people were killed in January in Johannesburg.


A move to re-start a nuclear power reactor in Japan for the first time since the Fukushima disaster in 2011 has been stalled by a local court, according to the BBC. While the power plant was cleared by the national nuclear watchdog, the court sided with nine local residents who claimed the plant could not withstand major earthquakes. The judge ruled not only that the company had not made appropriate safety changes, but also that the Nuclear Regulation Authority’s safety standards were insufficient.


Nine school officials have been found guilty of manipulating test scores in order to show educational improvement, according to the BBC. Evidence pointed to a conspiracy involving 44 schools and nearly 180 faculty. Three of the officials received 20-year sentences with parole after 7 years, while others received five-year sentences with parole after a year or two and two received weekend jail time and house arrest. Appeals are expected, especially in light of the harsh sentences. “(This scandal) is sickest thing that’s every happened in this town,” said judge Jerry Baxter.


Hassan Rouhani, the moderate Iranian president, has just appointed the second female ambassador in the country’s history, and the first since the 1979 Islamic revolution, according to the Guardian. Marzieh Afkhal, the new ambassador, will be headed to East Asia, although which nation has not been announced yet. She is already the first spokeswoman of the foreign ministry. Rouhani has made some progress on gender equality, opposing some of the gender segregation at universities and crackdowns on revealing hijabs. According to law, however, women still need permission from their husband for traveling abroad.