BERLIN – The party that beat outgoing German Chancellor Angela Merkel's bloc pushed Monday for a quick agreement on a coalition government, but Europe's biggest economy could still be in for weeks of uncertainty after an election that failed to set a clear direction.
Olaf Scholz, the candidate of the center-left Social Democrats, called for Merkel's center-right Union bloc to go into opposition after its worst-ever result in a national election. Both parties finished with well under 30% of the vote, and that appeared to put the keys to power in the hands of two opposition parties – raising questions over the stability of a future government.
Armin Laschet, the Union's candidate, rejected the idea that the election gave any party a clear mandate and made clear he still hopes to lead a new government.
Taliban: Barbers can't trim beards
The Taliban on Monday banned barbershops in the southern Afghanistan province of Helmand from shaving or trimming beards, claiming their edict is in line with Shariah, or Islamic, law.
During their previous rule of Afghanistan, the Taliban adhered to a harsh interpretation of Islam. Since overrunning Kabul on Aug. 15 and again taking control of the country, the world has been watching to see whether they will recreate their strict governance of the late 1990s.
War crimes probe to eye Taliban, IS
The chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court sought urgent clearance Monday from the court's judges to resume investigations of war crimes and crimes against humanity in Afghanistan, saying that under the country's new Taliban rulers “there is no longer the prospect of genuine and effective domestic investigations” in the country.
Judges at the global court authorized an investigation by Prosecutor Karim Khan's predecessor, Fatou Bensouda, in March last year that covers offenses allegedly committed by Afghan government forces, the Taliban, American troops and U.S. foreign intelligence operatives dating back to 2002.
Khan said Monday he now plans to focus on crimes committed by the Taliban and the Afghan affiliate of the Islamic State group, adding that he will “deprioritize” other aspects of the investigation.
N. Korea sends missile into sea
North Korea today fired a suspected ballistic missile into the sea, Seoul and Tokyo officials said, the latest in a series of weapons tests by Pyongyang that raised questions about the sincerity of its recent offer for talks with South Korea.
Seoul's Joint Chiefs of Staff said in a statement that “an unidentified projectile” fired from an inland location in North Korea flew toward the country's eastern sea this morning. It said South Korean and U.S. intelligence authorities were analyzing details of the launch.