News in Brief


Oleg Sokolov, a specialist in French history, famous historical reenactor and professor at the University of St. Petersburg, was pulled out of the Moika River on Saturday, Nov. 9, and investigated as the main suspect for the murder of Anastasia Yeshchenko, one of his students. Her dismembered body was found in Sokolov’s apartment. According to CNN, Russian investigators found Sokolov with a backpack full of severed arms when they pulled him from the river. Sokolov has signed a statement of guilt according to Russian media reports.


Fires continue to blaze through NSW and Queensland on the third day of an emergency situation in Australia. Fire officials reported that 150 homes have been destroyed. According to the Red Cross, approximately 1,300 people have been displaced and are sheltered in evacuation centers. Prime Minister Scott Morrison stated it might be necessary for military reinforcements to back firefighters and civilian volunteers. Strong winds and drought conditions have kept the fires alive and three people have been found dead by response teams.


On Nov. 10, President Hassan Rouhani announced that a field containing 53 billion barrels of oil was found in southwest Iran, according to the Mehrs news agency. This is the second largest oil field in Iran, a founding member of OPEC. The addition of this discovery has boosted the total oil reserves in Iran by about 34 percent (CNN). Iran has also become the world’s third largest holder of oil reserves. Along with a recent finding of natural gas reserves, the oil field could help Iran recover its economy, which has suffered since the United States withdrew from the Iran nuclear deal.


The Indian Supreme Court has decided that Ayodhya, a disputed holy site in Uttar Pradesh, should be given to Hindus, who would like to build a temple on the land dedicated to the deity Ram. The site has been contested for decades by Hindus and Muslims, who will be granted another plot of land to rebuild a mosque that was demolished by Hindu mobs in 1992. The Supreme Court based their unanimous decision on a report given by the Archaeological Survey of India, which provided evidence of remnants from a non-Islamic building beneath the foundations of the mosque.


Naharayim and Tzofar, two exclaves of Jordan, were accessible for agriculture by Israeli farmers under a 1994 peace treaty. King Abdullah of Jordan announced the expiration of the 25-year lease and has reclaimed the exclaves (The Times of Israel), claiming full sovereignty over the lands and forcing Israeli farmers to leave. The gates were closed on Nov. 10. This was seen as a reflection of the worsening relationship between Israel and Jordan due to the contested status of Jerusalem and unpopular public opinions on the 1994 agreement.