The Journal Gazette
Sunday, September 13, 2020 1:00 am


10,000 women protest Belarus leader

Associated Press

KYIV, Ukraine – About 10,000 women marched noisily through the Belarusian capital Saturday, beating pots and pans and shouting for the resignation of the country's authoritarian president in the 35th consecutive day of large anti-government protests.

Many carried portraits of Maria Kolesnikova, a leader of the opposition Coordination Council that is seeking a new presidential election for the ex-Soviet nation of 9.5 million people. She was jailed this week after police tried to force her out of the country. Her lawyer says Kolesnikova was driven to the border with Ukraine, but tore up her passport and refused to leave Belarus.

Others carried placards reading “You painted my heart with blue pain,” referring to President Alexander Lukashenko's claim that some women previously had painted themselves to appear to have been bruised by police beatings.

The human rights group Viasna said more than 70 people were detained by police during the march.

Lukashenko refuses to meet with the council, and most of its leaders have been detained or have left the country.

Taliban, Afghans start to negotiate

Afghanistan's warring sides started negotiations for the first time, bringing together the Taliban and delegates appointed by the Afghan government Saturday for historic meetings aimed at ending decades of war.

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo attended the opening ceremony in Qatar, where the meetings are taking place and where the Taliban maintain a political office. The start of negotiations was the latest in a flurry of diplomatic activity by the Trump administration ahead of the U.S. presidential election in November.

“Each of you carry a great responsibility,” Pompeo told the participants. “You have an opportunity to overcome your divisions.”

While Saturday's opening was about ceremony, the hard negotiations will be held behind closed doors and over a number of sessions.

Iran executes man on murder charge

Iranian state TV on Saturday reported that the country's authorities executed a wrestler for allegedly murdering a man, after President Donald Trump asked for the 27-year-old condemned man's life to be spared.

State TV quoted the chief justice of Fars province, Kazem Mousavi, as saying: “The retaliation sentence against Navid Afkari, the killer of Hassan Torkaman, was carried out this morning in Adelabad prison in Shiraz.”

Afkari's case had drawn the attention of a social media campaign that portrayed him and his brothers as victims targeted over participating in protests against Iran's Shiite theocracy in 2018. Authorities accused Afkari of stabbing a water supply company employee in the southern city of Shiraz amid the unrest.

Migrants get new tents after fire

Some asylum-seekers on the Greek island of Lesbos moved into temporary tent housing Saturday, part of the thousands left homeless after fires destroyed the notoriously overcrowded Moria migrant camp.

More than 100 people moved into the new camp built with UNHCR tents after undergoing coronavirus tests. Over 12,000 people were left homeless after fires Tuesday and Wednesday gutted the Moria camp.

Officials say the blazes were deliberately set by some camp residents who were angry at quarantine orders imposed after 35 people in Moria tested positive for COVID-19. Thousands have spent four nights sleeping in the open under improvised shelters of reed stalks, blankets and salvaged tents.

Hundreds attend funeral in Italy

Hundreds of people in Italy joined a funeral procession Saturday for a young Black man whose brutal beating death has shaken the country and drawn condemnation from the highest levels of the government.

Premier Giuseppe Conte and Italy's interior minister attended the funeral of 21-year-old Willy Monteiro Duarte, who was killed during a fight in Colleferro, a city on the outskirts of Rome, early Sept. 6.

Four Italians have been arrested, including two brothers with police records and a martial arts background.

Italian news reports have quoted witnesses as saying Monteiro Duarte, who was born in Rome to parents from the African island nation of Cape Verde, intervened while seeing a friend get beaten up in the fight and was then fatally beaten himself.

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