Hard Numbers: New Catholic bishops in China, Executions in Iran, Presidential runoff in Finland, Peruvian dog goes surfing
2: Pope Francis has appointed two new bishops in China, signaling rapprochement after years of conflict with Beijing. The Chinese government attempted to exercise control over clerical appointments in the country (just wait for the firestorm when the Dalai Lama dies and Beijing tries to name his reincarnation) and agreed to a compromise to jointly appoint bishops with the Vatican in 2018 – only to violate it in 2022 and 2023. Pope Francis’ appointments signal he's ready to turn the other cheek.
67: Tehran seems determined to retain its title as one of the world’s top executioners. On Monday, Iran executed four men it accused of spying for Israel amid historic tensions between Tehran and the Jewish state. But Iran Human Rights challenged the government’s claims, saying the men were Kurdish political prisoners and “denied basic fair trial rights.” There have been 67 executions in Iran so far in 2024, the rights group says.
27.2: Finland will hold a runoff presidential election in February, given no candidate secured at least 50% of the vote in the first round on Sunday. Former Prime Minister Alexander Stubb won the first round with 27.2% of the vote, and he will face off against Pekka Haavisto, a former foreign minister, who earned 25.2% of the vote. Finnish presidents serve as commander-in-chief and play a big role in the country’s foreign policy, which is particularly important for the Nordic country as NATO’s newest member.
4: If there was a competition for the “raddest dog in the world,” a four-year-old Jack Russell terrier named Efruz would probably have a good chance of winning. If you head to San Bartolo, Peru, you might catch the yellow-vested pup wowing beachgoers while surfing with his owner. Right on, Efruz, you rule!