SOUTH SUDAN
Parliament extends Kiir's term until 2021

South Sudan’s parliament on Thursday approved extending President Salva Kiir’s term until 2021, angering the armed opposition and threatening fragile peace talks in a five-year civil war.

Elections have been delayed amid the fighting, which has killed tens of thousands and set off Africa’s largest refugee crisis since the 1994 Rwanda genocide.

Opposition spokesman Mabior Garang said, “We regret the move as it shows the regime is playing games at the negotiating table.” He called on the international community not to recognize the president’s extended term.

The extension comes days after the government said it had reached an agreement with the opposition to reinstate opposition leader Riek Machar as first vice president. The opposition denied it, however, and a final peace deal has not been signed.

The peace talks began last month as both sides faced the threat of United Nations and regional sanctions.

— Associated Press

GERMANY
Puigdemont can be extradited, court says

A German court on Thursday removed a hurdle to the extradition of a prominent Catalan politician, setting the stage for a possible trial in Spain but on lesser charges than prosecutors there had hoped for.

In its decision in the case of Carles Puigdemont, the Schleswig-Holstein state court said the former Catalan leader could be extradited on charges of embezzlement, but not rebellion.

The charge of rebellion is not recognized in Germany, and the court said related German statutes such as those against treason did not apply because Puigdemont’s actions “did not rise to this kind of violence.”

The charges relate to the Catalan regional government’s unauthorized referendum last year on independence from Spain and a subsequent unilateral declaration of independence by the separatist-controlled regional parliament. The Spanish government rejects Catalan independence.

The court decision means that if he is extradited, Puigdemont can stand trial in Spain only on charges that he misused public funds, court spokeswoman Christine von Milczewski said.

German state prosecutors said that they still would have to formally decide on the extradition request but that they would do so “soon” and did not plan on appealing the ruling.

Puigdemont fled Spain to avoid jail and has been living in the German city of Hamburg as he fights extradition.

— Associated Press

ITALY
Salvini refuses to let migrants disembark

Italy’s hard-line interior minister refused Thursday to let 67 migrants disembark from an Italian coast guard ship until an investigation determines whether any of them had violently threatened their rescuers to prevent being returned to Libya.

The Diciotti ship pulled into the port of Trapani after taking on board the migrants from an Italian-flagged oil rig supply tug that rescued them Sunday off the coast of Libya. The dispute over what transpired next has turned into the latest standoff since Italy’s anti-migrant government took power last month.

Italy’s transportation minister said the tug reported that some of the migrants made “death threats” against the crew. The tug requested assistance, and the migrants were transferred to the Diciotti. By late Thursday, it was still docked at Trapani’s port, with no authorization to let its passengers ashore.

Interior Minister Matteo Salvini said he would not give approval until prosecutors determine whether the migrants did make the threats.

— Associated Press

Israeli court freezes West Bank village demolition: Israel's Supreme Court has suspended the planned demolition of a Bedouin village in the West Bank pending an appeal amid international opposition to the move. The court extended a previous suspension of the encampment's demolition until a hearing no later than Aug. 15. Israel claims that Khan al-Ahmar, east of Jerusalem, was illegally built and has offered to resettle residents seven miles away.

Brazil's Lula acquitted of obstruction of justice: Former Brazilian president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva was found not guilty of obstruction of justice, in one of several cases against the jailed politician. The decision was not unexpected as the prosecutors' office had, in the end, said it had not found evidence that he was involved in attempts to interfere with a corruption investigation involving the state-run oil company Petrobras. He also faces charges in other pending cases.

— From news services