MEXICO

Quake could cost $2 billion

President Enrique Pena Nieto said Wednesday that preliminary accounting of the damage caused by the two big earthquakes that hit Mexico this month could cost upward of $2 billion. Pena Nieto stressed that damage assessments were continuing, especially in hard-hit Mexico City. But preliminary estimates put repairing and rebuilding schools in several states and the capital at nearly $750 million. Repairing and rebuilding homes will be $550 million. Damage to cultural sites could reach $440 million.

Bangladesh

Refugees face sex abuse

The head of the U.N.’s migration agency warned Wednesday about increasing reports of sexual violence directed at Rohingya Muslims, who have been fleeing violence in Myanmar in recent weeks. Director-General William Lacy Swing of the International Organization for Migration said he was “shocked and concerned” about the reports of sexual and gender-based violence among Rohingya newly arrived in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh. IOM said rape, sexual assault, domestic violence, child marriage and other forms of gender-based violence have been identified. It did not specify who was responsible for the violence.

Afghanistan

Taliban target U.S. official

The Taliban unleashed a barrage of rockets at the Kabul international airport on Wednesday in a brazen attack that the insurgents said targeted the plane of visiting U.S. Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis. In response, the U.S. said it launched two missiles, one of which missed its intended target and killed at least one Afghan civilian. Afghan officials said one Afghan woman was killed and 11 civilians were wounded in the Taliban attack. Afghan special forces managed to repel the attackers, killing four in an ensuing gunbattle, officials said.

Spain

Catalan leader angry at EU

The leader of Catalonia accused the European Union on Wednesday of “turning its back” on the Spanish region in its conflict with the central government over a disputed independence vote planned for Sunday that Spanish authorities have vowed to prevent. “They are very brave when they talk about other countries where they have no competencies, but where are they when we citizens need them?” Catalan leader Carles Puigdemont said of EU officials four days before the secession referendum. “Is Europe’s solution to Catalans to turn its back?”

Compiled from wire reports