News Watch

An overloaded ferry carrying passengers on Lake Toba, Sumatra, Indonesia, sank in bad weather on June 18. As of press time, 190 people were still missing, with three confirmed dead. Only 17 people were rescued, including the captain. 

The ferry was rated to carry only 60 passengers. The captain, who was also reported to be the owner, was arrested on June 21.

Lake Toba is, in surface area, the largest volcanic crater lake in the world and has a depth of about 1,500 feet....


On June 13, the Yemeni army, with backing from a coalition of Arab states led by the United Arab Emirates, began an operation to take the rebel-held port city of al-Hudaydah. By June 19, the Yemeni army had taken control of the port and airport.

Yemen has been embroiled in a civil war since early 2015 when the Houthi, an ethnic group from northern Yemen, took over the capital, Sana’a, forcing the Yemeni government into exile. During this conflict, more than 10,000 people have...


An explosion, possibly from a grenade, occurred at a podium in the city of Bulawayo, Zimbabwe, on June 23, killing two people and injuring at least 49. Zimbabwe’s president, Emmerson Mnangagwa, had spoken to the crowd and had just left the podium when the explosion occurred, leading authorities there to describe it as an assassination attempt.

On July 30, Zimbabwe was scheduled to hold its first presidential election since the removal of former president Robert Mugabe, in...


In Addis Ababa on June 23, a grenade thrown into a crowd supporting Ethiopian prime minister Abiy Ahmed killed at least two people and injured at least 44. Ahmed was present at the rally but was not injured.

Abiy became prime minister after the former prime minister unexpectedly resigned in February 2018. He is the first prime minister who is a member of the Oromo people, one of the largest ethnic groups in Ethiopia, and is considered a reformer. Since taking the position, Abiy has...


Police in The Gambia killed three people during a protest against pollution in the southwestern town of Faraba Banta. The town is home to sand-mining operations that locals say are polluting their rice fields. After the incident, five officers were arrested and President Adama Barrow ordered a “full investigation.”

The Gambia has been largely peaceful since the former president, Yahya Jammeh, stepped down on Jan. 21, 2018, in favor of Barrow, who had won a democratic...


In central Nigeria’s Plateau State, at least 86 people were killed over June 23 and 24 in clashes between Muslim herders and Christian farmers.

According to authorities, the herders, members of the Fulani ethnic group, attacked farming villages in the night while the inhabitants slept, setting fire to buildings and firing on the occupants. In response, villagers in the area, who are ethnically Berom, set up roadblocks and attacked anyone suspected of being Fulani.



On June 4, a suicide bomber struck a group of Muslim clerics in Kabul, Afghanistan, killing 14 people. The bombing occurred at a religious gathering that attracted more than 2,000 religious scholars and clerics from across the country to work toward peace. The clerics had just declared a fatwa (religious ruling) against suicide bombing, calling it a sin.

No group claimed responsibility for the bombing, but Afghan authorities believe it was a member of the Islamist militant group the...


A June 22 report by the United Nations Human Rights Council presented evidence that, under the guise of law enforcement, Venezuelan police killed more than 500 civilians without cause between July 2015 and March 2017. 

Venezuela has seen waves of violent antigovernment protests in the last few years, spurred by shortages of food and medicine and by a soaring inflation rate (25,000% in June 2018, when the minimum wage was raised to more than 5 million bolivars [less than $2] per...