Wed, Jan 03, 2018 - Page 6 News List

World News Quick Take

Agencies

UNITED STATES

NYC ballet leader resigns

The longtime leader of the New York City Ballet is retiring in the midst of an investigation into accusations of sexual misconduct by him. Peter Martins on Monday wrote a letter to the company’s board of directors announcing his retirement, saying the scandal had “exacted a painful toll on me and my family.” City Ballet last month announced Martins would take a leave of absence from the company and its School of American Ballet during an independent investigation. The company hired a law firm to conduct the investigation after receiving an anonymous letter accusing Martins of harassment.

ISRAEL

Land vote threshold raised

Israel yesterday set a higher threshold for any future vote on ceding parts of Jerusalem to the Palestinians, who want the eastern part of the city for a future independent state. The amendment passed by the Israeli parliament to existing legislation raised the number of votes that would be required in the 120-seat Knesset to approve any proposal to hand over part of the city to “a foreign party” from 61 to 80. “The authority to relinquish parts of the land is not in the hands of any Jew, nor of the Jewish people,” said Naftali Bennett, head of the far-right Jewish Home coalition party, which sponsored the legislation. Palestinian officials were not immediately available for comment on the new amendment, which passed by a vote of 64 to 52.

SYRIA

Al-Assad shuffles Cabinet

President Bashar al-Assad replaced his defense minister for the first time since 2012 as part of a government reshuffle announced by the state news agency SANA on Monday. “President Assad issued a decree, the first of 2018, naming General Ali Abdullah Ayoub minister of defense,” the agency said, without providing any explanation for the surprise announcement. The 65-year-old was until now the chief of general staff of the armed forces. The reshuffle also saw two other changes: Mohammed Mazen Ali Yusef was given the industry portfolio and Imad Abdullah Sara, previously the head of the state broadcasting corporation,

UNITED STATES

‘Time’s Up’ group launches

Reese Witherspoon, Shonda Rhimes and Jennifer Aniston are among hundreds of Hollywood women who have formed an anti-harassment coalition called Time’s Up. The initiative (www.timesupnow.com) was launched on Monday with an open letter vowing support for women in the entertainment business and beyond, from janitors to healthcare workers. Time’s Up is to include a legal defense fund and will advocate for legislation combating workplace harassment.

INDONESIA

Jakarta airport train opens

Jakarta yesterday launched the first train connecting its international airport to the city center. The new system links Soekarno-Hatta International Airport to downtown in 55 minutes, cutting driving time by half or more. President Joko Widodo inaugurated the new system that officials hope will convince travelers to make the switch from private to public transportation on the 38km route. Jakarta is also building its first subway and light-rail systems, with service expected to start next year. The direct link is to run 42 trips daily from dawn to shortly before midnight. Tickets will cost 70,000 rupiah (US$4.90) for the first two months, rising to 100,000 rupiah afterward — about half the cost of a taxi.

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