The Trump administration has backed Israel’s claim to sovereignty over the Golan Heights. The move comes weeks before Israeli general elections and reverses the position U.S. administrations have held for decades. President Trump made the announcement via tweeter Thursday. Israel captured the Golan Heights from Syria in a 1967 war and annexed the territory, a move not recognized by the U.S. or the international community. For years, the U.S. has tried to broker a regional agreement that would involve Israel exchanging captured territory for peace.
A ferry overloaded with people celebrating the Kurdish new year and Mother’s Day capsized in the Tigris River near the Iraqi city of Mosul on Thursday, killing nearly 100 people, including families, officials said. An Interior Ministry official said 94 people were killed in the accident, which residents said was the worst in recent memory. The official spoke on condition of anonymity in line with regulations.
New Zealand came together in a national day of reflection Friday to mark a week since the mass shootings at two Christchurch mosques that killed 50 people. The Muslim Call to Prayer was broadcast on national television at 1:30 p.m. local time, followed by two minutes of silence to remember those who lost their lives in the terrorist attack. As the Muslim community gathered to pray and mourn, hundreds of non-Muslims stood around the perimeter of the site in solidarity.
Facebook employees had access to hundreds of millions of user passwords over the past few years, the social media giant said on Thursday, a disclosure that will add even more scrutiny on a company that has battled a flood of negative headlines over the past year. The passwords were stored in a readable format on internal systems, Vice President Pedro Canahuati wrote in a blog post, who added that the firm’s login systems are “designed to mask passwords using techniques that make them unreadable.”
Some 15,000 people still need to be rescued from the devastation caused by Cyclone Idai, Mozambique officials say. The cyclone victims there are stranded by catastrophic flooding and are clinging to roofs or stuck in trees, charities say. Some 300 people are confirmed dead in Mozambique and Zimbabwe, but the toll is expected to rise. The powerful cyclone swept in to Beira last Thursday, with winds of more than 177km/h (106 mph). It left a trail of devastation as it moved inland.
An explosion at a pesticide plant in eastern China has killed 47 people and injured more than 600, state media said on Friday, the latest casualties in a series of industrial accidents that has angered the public. The cause of the explosion is being investigated, but the company – which produces more than 30 organic chemical compounds, some highly flammable – has been cited and fined for work safety violations in the past, the China Daily said.
New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern on Thursday announced the country was immediately banning “military-style semi-automatic weapons” after last week’s attack that killed 50 people at two mosques. Ardern said the government is working on a large-scale buyback plan for citizens possessing the weapons affected by the ban. Those who still possess banned guns after a “reasonable period for returns” has passed will be found breaking the law, Ardern said.
A U.S. Senate panel plans a hearing on March 27 on aviation safety after two fatal Boeing 737 MAX 8 aircraft crashes since October, and said it will also schedule a future hearing with Boeing and other manufacturers, officials said on Wednesday. Federal prosecutors are investigating the FAA’s certification of the Boeing 737 MAX that was grounded last week by regulators around the world. Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger, who piloted a flight to land safely on the Hudson River in New York in 2009, said in an op-ed Tuesday the FAA has a “too cozy” relationship with industry.
Radovan Karadžić has been sentenced to life in prison at an appeal court in The Hague for his role in mass killings of civilians in the conflict that tore Bosnia apart a quarter century ago. One element from Karadžić’s 2016 conviction involving illegal detentions of civilians was overturned because he was not allowed to cross-examine witnesses, but the appeal court confirmed his guilt for his role in the worst massacres of civilians in Europe since the 1940s.
The European Union on Wednesday ordered Google to pay 1.49 billion euros ($1.69 billion) for stifling competition in the online advertisement sector. The European Commission said Google had placed exclusivity contracts on website owners, stopping them from including search results from Google’s rivals. The EU’s competition commissioner, Margrethe Vestager, said Google had prevented rivals from being able to “compete and innovate fairly” in the online ad market.