switzerland

Syria gets leadership role

Syria on Monday assumed the rotating presidency of the U.N. Conference on Disarmament in Geneva, which negotiated the global ban on chemical weapons. Western governments protested the new leadership. The head of the conference changes every four weeks among U.N. member countries in alphabetic order. “The Syrian regime has caused immeasurable suffering — through massive bombardment, oppression, starvation and repeated use of chemical weapons,” a German Foreign Ministry spokesman said. “Therefore, the regime has no credibility whatsoever to carry out the presidency.”

Bolivia

Protests spread after death

Thousands of protesters took to the streets of several cities across Bolivia on Monday to demand justice after a college student was killed during a protest Thursday. Some clashed with police in the central city of Cochabamba. Officials did not immediately report injuries or arrests. Student Jonathan Quispe was killed during a protest demanding an increase in the budget for the public university of El Alto. The government has said Quispe’s death was caused by a marble shot from a large firecracker by demonstrators. But university authorities say he was killed by police.

Belgium

EU floats plastic straw ban

The European Union has proposed banning plastic products like cotton buds, straws and stirrers when alternatives are easily available in an attempt to reduce litter spoiling beaches and ocean beds. The European Commission said its plan would seek to cut marine litter in half for the 10 most prominent items and avoid environmental damage estimated at over $250 billion over the next dozen years. EU Vice President Frans Timmermans said utensils would not be banned completely, but steps would be taken to have them made out of sustainable materials when possible.

France

Migrant saves dangling child

President Emmanuel Macron on Monday lauded as a hero a migrant from Mali who scaled an apartment building to save a child dangling from a balcony, and rewarded the young man’s bravery with an offer of French citizenship and a job as a firefighter. Mamoudou Gassama, 22, climbed five stories up the apartment building, moving from balcony to balcony, and whisked a 4-year-old boy to safety Saturday night as a crowd below screamed. His actions went viral on social media, where he was dubbed “Spider-man.”

Beacon Journal/Ohio.com wires