Poland

Holocaust speech law eased

Poland suddenly backtracked Wednesday on a disputed Holocaust speech law, scrapping the threat of prison for attributing Nazi crimes to the Polish nation — but leaving the possibility of fines in place. The original law, which was passed five months ago, was presented as an attempt to defend the country’s “good name” — but mostly had the opposite effect. The amendments were unexpectedly presented to lawmakers by Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki in the morning, passed with lightning speed in both houses of the legislature by the afternoon, and then signed by the president before nightfall.

Morocco

Hundreds protest convictions

Hundreds of protesters marched in Morocco’s capital Wednesday to denounce the convictions of a charismatic protest movement leader and three other activists, all given the maximum prison sentence of 20 years over mass demonstrations touched off by the death of a fish seller. The show of public anger over the convictions signaled anew that the discontent among Moroccans, originally anchored in the northern Rif region, was shared around the North African kingdom.

Japan

Party leader causes uproar

A leader of Japan’s ruling party has sparked uproar by calling people without children selfish, in the latest in a series of comments by senior politicians urging women to have more babies. Toshihiro Nikai, secretary-general of the Liberal Democratic Party, said Tuesday that recent generations think they’re better off without children. He contrasted them with older people who had large families despite the devastation of World War II. He urged women to have babies to contribute to Japan’s prosperity.

Thailand

Rainfall hinders cave rescue

Heavy rainfall stymied efforts to rescue members of a youth soccer team trapped in a cave in northern Thailand by flooding underground passages faster than water can be pumped out, a senior official said Wednesday. Muddy water rising to the ceiling of one of the chambers has prevented Thai navy SEAL divers from progressing farther into the cave to where they think the 12 schoolboys and their coach, who went missing Saturday, may be sheltering. There has been no contact with the group since they entered the Tham Luang Nang Non cave in Chiang Rai province.

Beacon Journal/Ohio.com wires