Former Venezuelan Supreme Court Justice Christian Zerpa has fled to the United States to protest President Nicolas Maduro’s second term that will begin with his inauguration this week, the onetime Maduro backer told a Miami broadcaster on Sunday. The latest defection from the crisis-stricken OPEC nation’s government comes amid growing international pressure on Maduro over his new term, which resulted from a broadly boycotted 2018 vote dismissed by countries around the world as a sham.
An 18-year-old woman detained in Thailand after fleeing her family in Saudi Arabia and renouncing Islam will not be sent back to the Middle East against her wishes, Thai officials have said. Rahaf Mohammed al-Qunun barricaded herself inside a transit zone hotel room in Bangkok airport to prevent immigration officials putting her on a flight to Kuwait. Qunun says she would be killed if she was returned to Saudi Arabia and has vowed not to leave the hotel room until she can see representatives from the United Nations high commissioner for refugees.
Malaysia’s king, who is known as the Yang di-Pertuan Agong, has abdicated in an unprecedented move, with his successor set to be elected in January. Sultan Muhammad V is stepping down immediately as the 15th King of Malaysia after serving since Dec. 13, 2016, according to a statement from the palace on Sunday which gave no reason for the abdication. Malaysia’s nine Malay state rulers elect the king among themselves through a rotational monarchy, with each term lasting for five years.
An American airstrike in Yemen last week killed one of the suspected plotters of the deadly Qaeda bombing of the United States Navy destroyer Cole in 2000, President Trump and military officials confirmed on Sunday. “Our GREAT MILITARY has delivered justice for the heroes lost and wounded in the cowardly attack on the USS Cole,” Mr. Trump tweeted on Sunday before flying to Camp David for meetings with White House staff.
Vast numbers of bluebottle jellyfish have been pushed ashore in Queensland, Australia, stinging thousands of people and forcing the closure of swim spots. Surf Life Saving Queensland said over 2,600 people received treatment at the weekend. Bluebottle stings are painful but typically not life-threatening. Unusually strong winds pushed the jellyfish colonies towards beaches. About 13,000 stings were recorded in the past week – three times more than in the corresponding period last year.
A black man was arrested and charged with murder in the killing of a 7-year-old black girl in a drive-by shooting that authorities said Sunday appeared to be a case of mistaken identity, not a racially motivated attack, as her family feared. Jazmine Barnes’ family had described the gunman in the Dec. 30 slaying as a white man driving a red pickup and believed race played a role in the shooting. The shooting took place at a stoplight while Jazmine, her mother and three sisters were on their way to the grocery store.