One person was injured Tuesday after multiple explosions went off near German soccer team Borussia Dortmund’s bus ahead of their Champions League quarterfinal match against Monaco. Marc Bartra, one of the team’s players, was hospitalized, but the BBC said his injuries weren’t serious. It is not yet known what caused the blast. The match, which was scheduled to take place at Westfalenstadion, the team’s home stadium in western Germany, has been postponed to Wednesday. Norbert Dickel, the stadium’s spokesman, told fans there is “no reason for panic here at the stadium.”
—One person was injured after multiple explosions went off near German soccer team Borussia Dortmund’s bus ahead of their Champions League quarterfinal match. More here
—Toshiba cites “substantial doubt” over its future. More here
—We’re tracking the news stories of the day below. All updates are in Eastern Daylight Time (GMT -4).
Borussia Dortmund Soccer Team Bus Hit by Explosion
Egyptian Parliament Approves 3-Month State of Emergency
Egypt’s parliament unanimously approved Tuesday a three-month state of emergency following an attack on two of the country’s Coptic churches on Palm Sunday. The state of emergency, which broadens the powers of state police and armed forces to crackdown on “threats of terrorism and its financing,” was declared by Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sisi Sunday following ISIS-claimed attacks on Coptic worshippers in Tanta and Alexandria, though the move required formal parliamentary approval. Sherif Ismail, Egypt’s prime minister, said the move would be instrumental in combatting “an evil enemy that has not hesitated to kill and wreak havoc without justification or discrimination.” Still, some have raised concern the state of emergency could curb fundamental freedoms. The Arabic Network for Human Rights Information said in a statement Monday the state of emergency would not eliminate terrorism and stands instead to “further suppress freedom of opinion, expression and belief, and to crackdown on human rights defenders,” noting the state of emergency was employed for decades under ousted former President Hosni Mubarak to curb political opposition.
United Airlines Stock Drops Amid Passenger-Removal Scandal
Updated at 1:42 p.m. ET
United Continental Holdings Inc shares dropped by nearly 4 percent Tuesday amid backlash over the incident in which a passenger was dragged off an overbooked United Airlines flight. At the time of publication, United’s market capitalization had fallen by more than $750 million to $22.1 billion.
The U.S. Department of Transportation said Tuesday that it would begin “reviewing” whether the airline complied with department regulations, noting that “while it is legal for airlines to involuntary bump passengers from an oversold flight when there are not enough volunteers, it is the airline’s responsibility to determine its own fair boarding priorities.” Video of the incident, which sparked outrage online, shows a 69-year-old Asian man screaming as officers forcibly remove him from his seat on an overbooked United flight and dragged him off down the aisle. As my colleague Derek Thompson noted, “legally, the airlines can turn away paying customers, and they do it thousands of times a year.” Still, the physical nature of the incident has prompted calls for more scrutiny. The Chicago Department of Aviation said Monday the officer who dragged the man has been placed on leave pending a review of the situation, noting his actions were not in accordance with the department’s standards. Though United Airlines CEO Oscar Munoz called the incident “upsetting” in a statement Monday, Munoz said in an internal memo to United employees that the airline “followed established procedures,” adding the passenger was “disruptive and belligerent.” He said the airline’s “agents were left with no choice but to call Chicago Aviation Security Officers to assist in removing the customer from the flight.” In a new statement Tuesday, Munoz pledged to conduct a review of “the truly horrific event,” adding: “I deeply apologize to the customer forcibly removed and to all the customers aboard. No one should ever be mistreated this way.”
Test Confirms Sarin Gas Used in Syria Attack, Turkish Health Ministry Says
Turkey’s health ministry confirmed Tuesday the chemical agent used in last week’s attack on Syria’s Idlib province was indeed sarin gas. Recep Akdag, the Turkish health minister, said the tests conducted on victims of the attack, which left at least 58 dead and more than 160 others injured, confirmed they had been exposed to a nerve agent. Turkey also conducted autopsies on three victims of the attack, in coordination with the World Health Organization and the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons. Considered one of the most-toxic chemical weapons in existence, sarin gas is believed to have been used only four times in history—twice during the Syrian Civil War, and both times allegedly by Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. Assad and his allies in Russia have repeatedly denied using such weapons, despite evidence to the contrary.
Toshiba Cites 'Substantial Doubt' Over Its Future
Toshiba, in a statement Tuesday, cited “substantial doubt” over its future, stemming from the financial turmoil at Westinghouse Electric, its U.S-based nuclear arm. Westinghouse filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection last month. Toshiba suggested it was looking to sell its lucrative microchip business; suitors reportedly include FoxConn, the Taiwanese electronics giant. The company has been in trouble for at least two years: In 2015, it was engulfed by an accounting scandal, which showed the company had inflated profits for nearly a decade; that scandal led to the resignation of the company’s CEO and other members of senior management. The results announced Tuesday showed Toshiba reporting a loss of about $4.8 billion for the April-December period. Those numbers have not been approved by the company’s auditors, PriceWaterhouseCooper Aarata. “Toshiba has done everything in its power to gain the understanding of the auditors,” Satoshi Tsunakawa, Toshiba’s CEO, said at a news conference in Tokyo. “Without clear prospects for auditor approval, we could no longer inconvenience and worry our investors and other stakeholders and decided on this very unusual way of releasing results.”
UPDATE: 'The Reign of the Assad Family Is Coming to an End,' Tillerson Says
Updated at 9:24 a.m.
U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said Tuesday Russia needs to consider whether its alliance with the Syrian regime serves its interests, adding “it is clear to all of us that the reign of the Assad family is coming to an end.” The remarks in Lucca, Italy, following the meeting of the Group of Seven industrialized countries are the strongest remarks yet by the Trump administration following last week’s U.S. missile strike on a Syrian airbase after what the West says is the Assad regime’s use of chemical weapons in Idlib province. Tillerson’s remarks came a day before he visits Moscow to meet with his Russian counterpart.
At issue is what Russia knew about the last week’s chemical-weapons attack, which prompted the U.S. missile strikes. Russia and Syria deny Assad’s air force carried out that attack, though few, if any, other actors in Syria possess the capability to carry out the strike in that way. The U.S.’s own view of what to do next appears unclear: As recently as last week, the Trump administration said Assad’s removal from power was not a priority. Since the attack, however, that appears to have changed. Tillerson said Tuesday: “I think it is clear to all of us that the reign of the Assad family is coming to an end; but the question of how that ends and the transition itself could be very important, in our view, to the durability, the stability inside of a unified Syria, and its stability and durability of the outcome going forward.”
It’s also unclear what steps Western nations can take to persuade Russia from dropping its support of Assad, though Russian officials previously said their backing of Assad isn’t unconditional. Tillerson on Tuesday reiterated his criticism of Russia’s role in an agreement to destroy Syria’s chemical weapons, saying: “It is unclear whether Russia failed to take this obligation seriously or Russia has been incompetent, but this distinction doesn’t much matter to the dead. We can’t let this happen again.” He added: “I think it’s also worth thinking about Russia has really aligned itself with the Assad regime, the Iranians, and Hizballah. Is that a long-term alliance that serves Russia’s interest, or would Russia prefer to realign with the United States, with other Western countries and Middle East countries who are seeking to resolve the Syrian crisis?” He’ll have something of an answer on Wednesday.