Rift continues between Trump and Europe — European leaders have long been alarmed that President Donald Trump’s words and Twitter messages could undo a trans-Atlantic alliance that had grown stronger over seven decades. They had clung to the hope that those ties would bear up under the strain. But during a security conference in Munich, the rift became open, angry and concrete, diplomats and analysts say. A senior German official, who asked not to be identified, said: “No one any longer believes that Trump cares about the views or interests of the allies. It’s broken.” The most immediate danger, diplomats and intelligence officials warned, is that the fissures risk being exploited by Russia and China.
Russian flag flies where ex-spy was poisoned — Two weeks before the anniversary of a nerve agent attack against a former Russian spy in Salisbury, England, someone unfurled a large Russian flag on the city’s cathedral overnight, in what residents took to be a mockery of the ordeal they suffered last year. It was not clear who climbed the scaffolding surrounding the building to put up the flag, which was removed Sunday morning. Authorities have not yet commented on the case. The attempted assassination of former Russian spy Sergei Skripal with a nerve agent on March 4, upended life in Salisbury for much of the past year and soured diplomatic relations between Russia and Britain.
Exiled Uighurs take fight with Beijing online — Many members of the Uighur ethnic group living in exile are worried that their relatives in China are locked in internment camps — or dead. So when China released a video last week to prove that a prominent Uighur musician had not died in custody as rumored, Uighurs around the world took to social media. “Now, we want to know, where are millions of #Uyghurs?” Dr. Murat Harri Uyghur, a doctor living in Finland, wrote on Twitter. He referred to reports that China is holding 1 million or more Uighurs, Kazakhs and members of other mostly Muslim Turkic minorities in internment camps in the far western Xinjiang region.
New Mormon temple invites curious Romans — Home to the Vatican, the pope and St. Peter’s Basilica, Rome is unchallenged in its claim to be the global center of the Roman Catholic Church. But the city also plays host to the largest mosque in Western Europe, the largest Jehovah’s Witness Kingdom Hall on the Continent and, as of this year, the biggest center in Europe belonging to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. More than 50,000 people visited the temple during an extended open house before its formal dedication in March. After that, only church members in good standing will be able to enter, though everyone is welcome on the grounds, officials said.
China’s leaders want more babies — Facing a future demographic crisis and aging society, China’s leaders are desperately seeking to persuade couples to have more children. But bureaucrats don’t seem to have gotten the message, fining a couple in a recent widely publicized case for having a third child against the strict letter of the law. The move has sparked public outrage as people vent their anger at population control officials who are hungry for revenue and have long persecuted couples for violating the now-scrapped “one-child policy.” “The country is doing all it can to encourage childbirth but the local governments need money, so we end with this sort of madness,” a columnist and political commentator who writes under the name Lianpeng said on China’s Weibo microblogging service. “The low birthrate has everyone on edge, yet the local governments care only about collecting fees,” journalist Jin Wei wrote on her verified Weibo account. “I don’t know of any other nation that pulls its people in different directions like this.”
School board may end transgender bathroom ban — For nearly four years, Gavin Grimm has been suing his former school district after it banned him from using the boys bathrooms in high school. Along the way, he’s became a national face for transgender rights. His case almost went to the U.S. Supreme Court. He graduated and moved to California but kept fighting. The school board in Virginia may finally be giving in, although not in court. It will hold a public hearing Tuesday to discuss the possibility of allowing transgender students to use restrooms that correspond with their gender identity. “I have fought this legal battle for the past four years because I want to make sure that other transgender students do not have to go through the same pain and humiliation that I did,” he said. The Gloucester County School Board’s meeting comes just months before a trial is set to begin over its current bathroom rules.
Florida student charged after not reciting pledge — A Florida student is facing misdemeanor charges after a confrontation with a teacher that began with his refusal to recite the Pledge of Allegiance and escalated into what officials described as disruptive behavior. The student, a sixth-grader at Lawton Chiles Middle Academy in Lakeland, Florida, refused to stand for the pledge, telling the teacher he thinks the flag and the national anthem are “racist” against black people, according to an affidavit. The teacher then had what appeared to be a contentious exchange with him. Ana Alvarez, who was substituting at the school, then called the district office because she did not want to keep dealing with the student, according to the statement. Officials said the situation escalated. The student yelled at the dean and a school resource officer who came to the classroom, accused them of being racist and repeatedly refused to leave the room. The student was later charged with disruption of a school facility and resisting an officer without violence. The 11-year-old was taken to a juvenile detention center and was suspended for three days after the Feb. 4 incident.