Connect with us

Tanoodle

Tanoodle

Politics this week

Politics this week

Politics this week

Politics this week

Politics this week

Politics this week

Politics this week

Politics this week

Politics this week

Politics this week

Politics this week

Politics this week

Politics this week

Politics this week

Politics this week

Politics this week

Politics this week

Politics this week

Politics this week

Politics this week

Politics this week

Politics this week

Politics this week

Politics this week

Politics this week

Politics this week

Politics this week

Politics this week

Politics this week

Politics this week

Politics this week

Politics this week

Politics this week

Politics this week

Politics this week

Politics this week

Politics this week

Politics this week

Politics this week

Politics this week

Politics this week

Politics this week

Politics this week

Politics this week

Politics this week

Politics this week

Politics this week

Politics this week


Uncategorized

Politics this week

Brazil reported a record 35,000 new cases of covid-19 in a day. Even that grim figure is widely regarded as an undercount. India is now recording tens of thousands of new infections each week. In America, Florida, Texas and Arizona set daily records for new cases. Although many places are easing lockdowns, Anthony Fauci, the…

Politics this week thumbnail

Brazil reported a record 35,000 new cases of covid-19 in a day. Even that grim figure is widely regarded as an undercount. India is now recording tens of thousands of new infections each week. In America, Florida, Texas and Arizona set daily records for new cases. Although many places are easing lockdowns, Anthony Fauci, the leading adviser to the White House on infectious diseases, warned that the pandemic is far from over: “The numbers speak for themselves.” See article.

Beijing went into “wartime mode” to battle an outbreak of covid-19, the first in the Chinese capital after eight weeks with no cases reported of local transmission. Many of the cases are linked to a wholesale food market. See article.

A court in China sentenced the country’s former insurance regulator, Xiang Junbo, to 11 years in prison for accepting 18m yuan ($2.5m) in bribes. Mr Xiang had also served as deputy governor of the central bank.

At least 20 Indian troops were killed in a fight with Chinese soldiers in the Galwan valley, the first combat deaths on the disputed Sino-Indian border in 45 years. China did not say how many of its soldiers died. The brawl involved nail-studded clubs and stones rather than guns. Tensions have increased since April, when the Chinese army encroached on Indian-claimed territory. See article.

North Korea blew up the building used for meetings between its officials and those from South Korea. It said the explosion was retaliation for unflattering leaflets about its supreme leader, sent over the border via balloons by defectors, whom North Korea called “rubbish-like mongrel dogs”. See article.

A court in the Philippines found Maria Ressa guilty of libel for alleging links between a businessman and a judge. Ms Ressa is the boss of Rappler, a news website that is critical of the country’s strongman president, Rodrigo Duterte. Her lawyer said the message to other journalists was “Keep quiet, or you’ll be next.”

Steven Mnuchin, America’s treasury secretary, said his government will nominate Mauricio Claver-Carone, a staff member of Donald Trump’s National Security Council, to lead the Inter-American Development Bank. All the bank’s four presidents since its founding in 1959 have been from Latin America. The US has 30% of the bank’s shares, the largest stake of any country. See article.

Venezuela’s Supreme Court removed the leaders of two opposition parties, Justice First and Democratic Action. It replaced them with men whom the parties had previously expelled for being stooges of Nicolás Maduro, the country’s dictator.

America’s Supreme Court ruled that the 1964 Civil Rights Act makes it illegal to fire workers for being gay or transgender. More than half the states allowed such discrimination. The 6-3 majority decision was written by Neil Gorsuch, a Trump appointee. See article.

The White House tried to stop publication of a book by John Bolton, a former national security adviser, claiming that it contained classified information. The book says that Donald Trump tried to persuade Xi Jinping, China’s president, to buy American farm goods to help his re-election campaign. It also alleges that in a meeting with Mr Xi, Mr Trump said he approved of China’s policy of putting Uighur Muslims in internment camps. On June 17th Mr Trump signed a bill that imposes sanctions on Chinese officials who were responsible for the Uighurs’ internment. See article.

A white policeman in Atlanta who shot dead a black man when he took the officer’s Taser weapon was charged with murder. Republicans in the Senate unveiled their own set of police reforms. These are less radical than those put forward by Democrats but support the creation of a database to track police officers with a record of misconduct.

Boris Johnson, Britain’s prime minister, announced that Britain’s Department for International Development would be folded back into the Foreign Office. British aid will now focus less on ending poverty and more on advancing British foreign-policy goals. See article.

Yousef al-Otaiba, a diplomat from the United Arab Emirates, wrote in an Israeli newspaper that any unilateral annexation of West Bank territory would harm Israel’s relations with Arab countries. It is thought to be the first-ever opinion piece written by an official from the Gulf for an Israeli newspaper.

Real Life. Real News. Real Voices

Help us tell more of the stories that matter

Become a founding member

America imposed new sanctions on Syria that target any person, company or institution—Syrian or foreign—that does business with or provides support to the regime of President Bashar al-Assad. See article.

There were more demonstrations in Lebanon. The government began injecting more American dollars into the market in an effort to support the local currency. Early talks with the IMF over a bail-out package have been shaken by concerns that the government is not serious about reform.

A judge overseeing a corruption trial in the Democratic Republic of Congo was murdered. Police initially said that the judge had had a heart attack, but an autopsy showed he had died from brain injuries after being stabbed in the head.

Coronavirus briefs

A randomised trial conducted by scientists at Oxford found that dexamethasone, a cheap steroid drug found in many countries, reduced the death rates for patients on ventilators by 35% and by 20% for those needing oxygen. See article.

The president of Honduras, Juan Orlando Hernández, said he and his wife have covid-19.

The remaining lockdown restrictions were lifted in France, enabling bars and restaurants to reopen fully. In England all shops were allowed to open their doors to customers again.

Next year’s Oscars ceremony was postponed by two months until April 25th. It is not yet clear whether the event will be held in a theatre or virtually.

The English Premier League resumed its season, three months after it was suspended. The football matches are being played behind closed doors.

This article appeared in the The world this week section of the print edition under the headline “Politics this week”

Subscribe to the newsletter news

We hate SPAM and promise to keep your email address safe


Uncategorized

Politics this week

Democrats in the House of Representatives introduced legislation to reform policing in America in the wake of the killing of George Floyd. The measures, which will be resisted in the Senate, would simplify the process for prosecuting officers for misconduct and curtail the “qualified immunity” law that shields them from civil lawsuits. Mr Floyd was…

Politics this week thumbnail

Democrats in the House of Representatives introduced legislation to reform policing in America in the wake of the killing of George Floyd. The measures, which will be resisted in the Senate, would simplify the process for prosecuting officers for misconduct and curtail the “qualified immunity” law that shields them from civil lawsuits. Mr Floyd was laid to rest in his home town of Houston. See article.

Protesters turned their energy to toppling statues. Among those torn down were effigies of Jefferson Davis in Richmond, Virginia, and Christopher Columbus in a number of cities. NASCAR, a car-racing tournament popular in the South, banned the Confederate flag from its events. See article.

Israel’s high court struck down a law that sought to legalise Jewish settlements built on private Palestinian land as long as the Palestinians are compensated. The law would have retroactively legalised thousands of homes built in the occupied West Bank. Meanwhile, the Palestinian prime minister, Muhammad Shtayyeh, said the Palestinian Authority would declare an independent state if the Israeli government follows through on its plans to annex parts of the West Bank.

Militias aligned with the UN-backed government in Libya ousted the forces of Khalifa Haftar, a renegade general, from areas around Tripoli, ending his 14-month siege of the capital. General Haftar’s forces, which are backed by Russia, retreated to areas in the south and east which are under his control. The government’s forces, supported by Turkey, have pursued them to Sirte, where the fighting continues. See article.

Russia was suspected of carrying out air strikes on the last rebel-held enclave in Syria. The bombing in Idlib province breached a ceasefire brokered by Turkey and Russia in March. Separately, protesters in the southern city of Sweida, fed up with a sinking economy, denounced President Bashar al-Assad in a rare show of dissent.

Pierre Nkurunziza, the president of Burundi, died, possibly of covid-19. Mr Nkurunziza, who was due to step down in August, had said that God would protect the country from the virus. See article.

Ali Kushayb, a militia leader who is wanted by the International Criminal Court to face charges of war crimes in the Darfur region of Sudan, surrendered to authorities in the Central African Republic.

Mali said it would investigate the army after men in uniform attacked two villages and killed 43 civilians in Mopti, in the centre of the country.

The British government conceded that plans to return children to school in England were unworkable. After weeks of resistance from teachers and local authorities, barely half of the pupils in primary-year groups that could have gone back have done so. The return of pupils to secondary schools has also been postponed until September.

Spain’s supreme court opened an investigation into a former king, Juan Carlos, over possibly illegal commissions linked to a rail project in Saudi Arabia.

Brazil’s ministry of health removed briefly from its website much of the data it had reported on covid-19. The country’s president, Jair Bolsonaro, says that cumulative totals do not reflect the current situation. The government complied with an order by a justice on the Supreme Court to resume reporting the data. See article.

A recount of votes in Guyana’s election, held in March, showed that it was won by the opposition People’s Progressive Party, a mainly Indo-Guyanese party. The government of President David Granger, who leads the mainly Afro-Guyanese A Partnership for National Unity, is to challenge the recount in court.

China reached a “positive consensus” with India over border scuffles between their two countries’ forces. India said they had agreed to “peacefully resolve” the matter.

Real Life. Real News. Real Voices

Help us tell more of the stories that matter

Become a founding member

The Chinese city of Mudanjiang, on the border with Russia, became the second in the country, after Wuhan, to test all of its residents for coronavirus. Among the 780,000 people examined, at least 19 were found to be infected, without symptoms. In April there had been a spike in cases in the city as Chinese citizens returned from Russia.

China warned its citizens to avoid travel to Australia, citing a “sudden rise in discriminatory and violent actions” against Chinese nationals. Australia said this description had “no basis in fact”. China is furious at Australian criticism of its initial cover-up of the new coronavirus.

North Korea shut down the hotlines it shares with South Korea’s leadership. The South’s defence department said the North was not answering calls on military lines for the first time since they were established in 2018. The North’s blood-drenched regime was upset because defectors in the South were flying insolent leaflets over the border by balloons.

Election officials in Singapore announced measures that make it safer for voters to cast their ballots during the pandemic, including time slots, stoking speculation that a poll will be called for July.

Coronavirus briefs

The World Health Organisation changed its advice and now recommends that people wear face masks on public transport and in other situations where social distancing is difficult.

Anthony Fauci, the chief scientist advising the American government about the virus, warned that the epidemic is far from over and that there was “no way” covid-19 would simply disappear.

India reported a surge in infections; it now has the world’s fifth-highest number of cases.

All workers in construction and manufacturing were allowed to return to work in New York City, and shoppers could pick up goods they ordered from stores.

Scientists in New Zealand proclaimed that the country was rid of covid-19 following a two-week absence of new cases. The country’s borders remain closed to foreigners.

This article appeared in the The world this week section of the print edition under the headline “Politics this week”

Subscribe to the newsletter news

We hate SPAM and promise to keep your email address safe


Uncategorized

Politics this week

Both riots and peaceful protests spread across America in response to the death of George Floyd. It was the country’s worst unrest for decades, prompting many states to call out the National Guard and cities to impose curfews. Looting accompanied the chaos; shops in midtown Manhattan were ransacked. The policeman who knelt on Mr Floyd’s…

Politics this week thumbnail

Both riots and peaceful protests spread across America in response to the death of George Floyd. It was the country’s worst unrest for decades, prompting many states to call out the National Guard and cities to impose curfews. Looting accompanied the chaos; shops in midtown Manhattan were ransacked. The policeman who knelt on Mr Floyd’s neck for nine minutes was indicted for second-degree murder; the three officers who failed to stop him were charged with lesser offences. Donald Trump suggested sending in the army to restore order. Mark Esper, the defence secretary, said soldiers should only be deployed as a last resort. See article.

NASA launched astronauts into space from American soil for the first time since the end of the shuttle programme in 2011. A capsule carrying two astronauts to the International Space Station was propelled by a SpaceX rocket, marking the first time a private company has sent humans into orbit. See article.

Steve King, a Republican congressman from Iowa, who once questioned whether white supremacy was offensive, was booted out by voters in a primary election.

In response to China’s move to impose a new national-security bill on Hong Kong, Donald Trump said his administration would “begin the process” of scrapping the “full range” of policies that treat the territory differently from the rest of China. He also said he was “terminating” America’s relationship with the WHO, citing China’s “total control” over the body, and banned Chinese airlines from flying to the United States from June 16th, a tit-for-tat measure. China’s aviation regulator indicated that it would allow limited flights to resume. See article.

Britain’s prime minister, Boris Johnson, suggested that if China enacts the national-security law in Hong Kong, Britain could make it easier for up to 3m Hong Kongers to go to Britain to live and work and eventually become citizens. Beijing told Mr Johnson to stop interfering in its affairs. See article.

Bangladesh,India and Pakistan ended lockdowns intended to slow the spread of covid-19, even as all three countries continued to register record numbers of new cases. See article. 

Taiwan’s constitutional court struck down a law that criminalised adultery, as an unwarranted invasion of personal privacy. Most of the people convicted under the law were women.

The Philippines retracted its decision in February to end a treaty under which American troops visited the country to conduct joint exercises and train Filipino troops.

As schools started to reopen the British government faced a backlash from teachers’ unions and local authorities, who claim it is still unsafe. Social distancing has meant that class sizes have been halved.

The German government unveiled a €130bn ($145bn) stimulus package that includes a cut to value-added tax, aid for local authorities and incentives to buy electric cars. It will also issue a one-off €300 boost to child benefit in order to raise household spending.

After years of fixing the petrol price close to zero, Venezuela’s government raised it to near market levels. For cars the first couple of tankfuls a month will continue to be nearly free, but refills after that will cost 50 cents a litre. The government hopes to alleviate chronic fuel shortages and reduce a massive budget deficit. Venezuela’s economy has shrunk by two-thirds since 2013.

Bolivia’s electoral tribunal agreed with political parties to hold a national election by September 6th. The vote will be a re-run of the one held in October, in which the president, Evo Morales, claimed victory but left office, and the country, after protesters accused him of electoral fraud.

Israel told thousands of students and teachers to go into quarantine for covid-19. Almost 250 people tested positive for the virus in schools, which reopened last month. Dozens have closed again.

Iran, which has had one of the worst outbreaks of covid-19, reported its highest daily number of cases in the past two months. The government warned of a second wave, even as it attempts to reopen businesses, schools and mosques. “People seem to think the coronavirus is over,” said the health minister; it “may come back stronger than before”.

Real Life. Real News. Real Voices

Help us tell more of the stories that matter

Become a founding member

Governments in the Middle East began opening some of the most important sites in Islam, such as the al-Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem. Worshippers had their temperatures checked and were asked to observe social distancing and wear masks. Islam’s holiest site, the Grand Mosque in Mecca, remained closed.

The UN said Libya’s warring parties have agreed to restart talks over a possible ceasefire.

A court in South Africa ruled that a ban on the sale of cigarettes and alcohol was unconstitutional. The ban was part of the government’s lockdown regulations to fight covid-19.

A militia leader in the Democratic Republic of Congo was arrested for the murder three years ago of two UN experts, one of whom was beheaded, and their interpreter. They had been investigating abuses of human rights.

Coronavirus briefs 

South Korea temporarily closed some schools that had only just reopened after recording the highest spike in new cases in two months.

The Chinese city of Wuhan tested all of its 10m residents for covid-19 over ten days. The campaign identified just 300 infections, all of which were asymptomatic.

The head of Britain’s statistics agency criticised Matt Hancock, the health secretary, for data published on testing, saying the distinction between actual testing and posting test-kits was “too often elided” during official presentations. 

Mexico, which has the second-largest number of deaths from covid-19 in Latin America, loosened lockdown measures.

French cafés and restaurants reopened after 11 weeks of lockdown. The joie de vivre is still subject to social-distancing restrictions.

This article appeared in the The world this week section of the print edition under the headline “Politics this week”

Subscribe to the newsletter news

We hate SPAM and promise to keep your email address safe


Uncategorized

Politics this week

Both riots and peaceful protests spread across America in response to the death of George Floyd. It was the country’s worst unrest for decades, prompting many states to call out the National Guard and cities to impose curfews. Looting accompanied the chaos; shops in midtown Manhattan were ransacked. The policeman who knelt on Mr Floyd’s…

Politics this week thumbnail

Both riots and peaceful protests spread across America in response to the death of George Floyd. It was the country’s worst unrest for decades, prompting many states to call out the National Guard and cities to impose curfews. Looting accompanied the chaos; shops in midtown Manhattan were ransacked. The policeman who knelt on Mr Floyd’s neck for nine minutes was indicted for second-degree murder; the three officers who failed to stop him were charged with lesser offences. Donald Trump suggested sending in the army to restore order. Mark Esper, the defence secretary, said soldiers should only be deployed as a last resort. See article.

NASA launched astronauts into space from American soil for the first time since the end of the shuttle programme in 2011. A capsule carrying two astronauts to the International Space Station was propelled by a SpaceX rocket, marking the first time a private company has sent humans into orbit. See article.

Steve King, a Republican congressman from Iowa, who once questioned whether white supremacy was offensive, was booted out by voters in a primary election.

In response to China’s move to impose a new national-security bill on Hong Kong, Donald Trump said his administration would “begin the process” of scrapping the “full range” of policies that treat the territory differently from the rest of China. He also said he was “terminating” America’s relationship with the WHO, citing China’s “total control” over the body, and banned Chinese airlines from flying to the United States from June 16th, a tit-for-tat measure. China’s aviation regulator indicated that it would allow limited flights to resume. See article.

Britain’s prime minister, Boris Johnson, suggested that if China enacts the national-security law in Hong Kong, Britain could make it easier for up to 3m Hong Kongers to go to Britain to live and work and eventually become citizens. Beijing told Mr Johnson to stop interfering in its affairs. See article.

Bangladesh,India and Pakistan ended lockdowns intended to slow the spread of covid-19, even as all three countries continued to register record numbers of new cases. See article. 

Taiwan’s constitutional court struck down a law that criminalised adultery, as an unwarranted invasion of personal privacy. Most of the people convicted under the law were women.

The Philippines retracted its decision in February to end a treaty under which American troops visited the country to conduct joint exercises and train Filipino troops.

As schools started to reopen the British government faced a backlash from teachers’ unions and local authorities, who claim it is still unsafe. Social distancing has meant that class sizes have been halved.

The German government unveiled a €130bn ($145bn) stimulus package that includes a cut to value-added tax, aid for local authorities and incentives to buy electric cars. It will also issue a one-off €300 boost to child benefit in order to raise household spending.

After years of fixing the petrol price close to zero, Venezuela’s government raised it to near market levels. For cars the first couple of tankfuls a month will continue to be nearly free, but refills after that will cost 50 cents a litre. The government hopes to alleviate chronic fuel shortages and reduce a massive budget deficit. Venezuela’s economy has shrunk by two-thirds since 2013.

Bolivia’s electoral tribunal agreed with political parties to hold a national election by September 6th. The vote will be a re-run of the one held in October, in which the president, Evo Morales, claimed victory but left office, and the country, after protesters accused him of electoral fraud.

Israel told thousands of students and teachers to go into quarantine for covid-19. Almost 250 people tested positive for the virus in schools, which reopened last month. Dozens have closed again.

Iran, which has had one of the worst outbreaks of covid-19, reported its highest daily number of cases in the past two months. The government warned of a second wave, even as it attempts to reopen businesses, schools and mosques. “People seem to think the coronavirus is over,” said the health minister; it “may come back stronger than before”.

Real Life. Real News. Real Voices

Help us tell more of the stories that matter

Become a founding member

Governments in the Middle East began opening some of the most important sites in Islam, such as the al-Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem. Worshippers had their temperatures checked and were asked to observe social distancing and wear masks. Islam’s holiest site, the Grand Mosque in Mecca, remained closed.

The UN said Libya’s warring parties have agreed to restart talks over a possible ceasefire.

A court in South Africa ruled that a ban on the sale of cigarettes and alcohol was unconstitutional. The ban was part of the government’s lockdown regulations to fight covid-19.

A militia leader in the Democratic Republic of Congo was arrested for the murder three years ago of two UN experts, one of whom was beheaded, and their interpreter. They had been investigating abuses of human rights.

Coronavirus briefs 

South Korea temporarily closed some schools that had only just reopened after recording the highest spike in new cases in two months.

The Chinese city of Wuhan tested all of its 10m residents for covid-19 over ten days. The campaign identified just 300 infections, all of which were asymptomatic.

The head of Britain’s statistics agency criticised Matt Hancock, the health secretary, for data published on testing, saying the distinction between actual testing and posting test-kits was “too often elided” during official presentations. 

Mexico, which has the second-largest number of deaths from covid-19 in Latin America, loosened lockdown measures.

French cafés and restaurants reopened after 11 weeks of lockdown. The joie de vivre is still subject to social-distancing restrictions.

This article appeared in the The world this week section of the print edition under the headline “Politics this week”

Subscribe to the newsletter news

We hate SPAM and promise to keep your email address safe


Uncategorized

Politics this week

At the World Health Organisation’s annual summit (held remotely), China accepted an Australian-led motion calling for an inquiry into the origins of covid-19. This marked a climbdown by the Chinese government in the face of widespread demands for such a probe. Earlier, Donald Trump once again threatened to pull America out of the WHO unless…

Politics this week thumbnail

At the World Health Organisation’s annual summit (held remotely), China accepted an Australian-led motion calling for an inquiry into the origins of covid-19. This marked a climbdown by the Chinese government in the face of widespread demands for such a probe. Earlier, Donald Trump once again threatened to pull America out of the WHO unless it took unspecified steps to show “independence from China”. Despite its success in tackling the coronavirus, Taiwan was not invited to this year’s meeting.

China imposed tariffs on Australian barley on the day the WHO considered the Australian motion. China maintains that such tariffs have nothing to do with Australian criticism of its rulers. See article.

A police watchdog in Hong Kong issued a report on the force’s handling of protests last year. It found no serious problem with police tactics, which involved lots of rubber bullets. Opposition politicians called it a whitewash. In the territory’s legislature, pro-government politicians took control of an important committee. They are expected to put forward a bill making it a crime to insult the Chinese national anthem. Some pro-democracy legislators were evicted after scuffling with guards.

The two men who both claimed to be the president of Afghanistan after a disputed election in September, Ashraf Ghani and Abdullah Abdullah, struck a power-sharing deal. Mr Ghani will remain president, while Mr Abdullah will take charge of peace negotiations with the Taliban. See article.

Malaysia’s parliament met for the first time since Muhyiddin Yassin was appointed prime minister on March 1st. But it adjourned without voting on a no-confidence motion put forward by the prime minister whom Mr Muhyiddin replaced, Mahathir Mohamad. See article.

Cyclone Amphan, the most powerful storm to gather over the Bay of Bengal in 20 years, made landfall near the city of Kolkata in India. Initial reports suggested relatively few casualties, thanks to Indian and Bangladeshi efforts to evacuate people in its path.

Marco Rubio took over as chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, when Richard Burr stepped down amid an FBI inquiry into claims he benefited from a briefing about the emerging covid-19 threat in mid-February by selling stock.

Angela Merkel and Emmanuel Macron put forward a joint plan for a €500bn ($546bn) fund to help countries in the European Union recover from the pandemic. The money is to be provided as grants, not loans, and will be borrowed by the EU as a whole from markets. The “frugal four” (Austria, Denmark, the Netherlands and Sweden) are unhappy with the proposal, which requires unanimous agreement. See article.

Italy greatly eased its lockdown, allowing most shops, restaurants and even hairdressers to reopen, though with strict controls. To many people’s surprise, the government said it hopes to allow flights to and from the country to resume soon. Greece and Portugal also indicated they would reopen to tourists.

After a year of political deadlock Israel swore in a new government. Binyamin Netanyahu will continue to serve as prime minister for 18 months. His former rival, Benny Gantz, will be his deputy, before taking over the top job. As part of the coalition deal the government can seek approval for annexing parts of the West Bank. Mahmoud Abbas, the Palestinian president, responded by threatening to pull out of agreements and security arrangements with Israel. See article.

Forces aligned with the internationally recognised government in Libya captured an important air base from the forces of Khalifa Haftar, a rebellious general. General Haftar’s men then pulled out of parts of Tripoli, the capital, which they have tried to seize.

Police in the Democratic Republic of Congo killed 55 people in raids on a religious sect that had urged its followers, mostly ethnic Kongo, to drive members of other ethnicities from their homes.

The prime minister of Lesotho, Thomas Thabane, resigned after battling to stay in power despite claims he was involved in the murder of his ex-wife.

Real Life. Real News. Real Voices

Help us tell more of the stories that matter

Become a founding member

Nelson Teich quit as Brazil’s health minister after just one month in the job. The country’s president, Jair Bolsonaro, sacked the previous minister, who had pushed for stronger action against covid-19. The president and Mr Teich were also at odds. Brazil’s almost 300,000 confirmed cases are the third-highest number in the world.

El Salvador’s Supreme Court suspended an order from the president, Nayib Bukele, to extend a state of emergency, ruling that he must seek the approval of the Legislative Assembly. The legislature then passed a law to hasten the economy’s reopening, which Mr Bukele said he would veto.

Researchers in Argentina found fossils of an undiscovered type of megaraptor (large carnivorous dinosaur)in Patagonia. The dinosaur lived 70m years ago, was ten metres long and had 40cm claws. Megaraptors were slimmer than the Tyrannosaurus rex, and more prepared to race “with long tails to help them maintain balance”.

Coronavirus briefs

The Chinese city of Shulan was put under a strict lockdown after an outbreak of covid-19.

Infections in Russia surged to a cumulative total of 310,000. See article.

Protests erupted in a poor suburb of Santiago, Chile’s capital, over food shortages caused by the lockdown.

Donald Trump said he was taking hydroxychloroquine, a malaria drug, to ward off covid-19. Doctors warned that this is unsafe. See article. 

America’s House of Representatives is to allow remote voting for the first time.

Captain Tom Moore, a war veteran who walked laps of his garden ahead of his 100th birthday to raise money for Britain’s health service, was awarded a knighthood. Captain Tom’s quest went viral, raising £32m ($39m), and cheering up a nation.

This article appeared in the The world this week section of the print edition under the headline “Politics this week”

Subscribe to the newsletter news

We hate SPAM and promise to keep your email address safe


Uncategorized

Politics this week

Protests erupted in Hong Kong after an announcement that the National People’s Congress, China’s rubber-stamp parliament, would impose a national-security law on the territory. The demonstrations were also fuelled by a proposal in the city’s legislature to make insulting China’s national anthem a crime. Mike Pompeo, America’s secretary of state, said that the “facts on…

Politics this week thumbnail

Protests erupted in Hong Kong after an announcement that the National People’s Congress, China’s rubber-stamp parliament, would impose a national-security law on the territory. The demonstrations were also fuelled by a proposal in the city’s legislature to make insulting China’s national anthem a crime. Mike Pompeo, America’s secretary of state, said that the “facts on the ground” showed that Hong Kong was no longer autonomous. This could pave the way for American action, including possibly treating the territory the same as the rest of China for trade and other purposes. See leader.

At the opening of the National People’s Congress in Beijing, the government abandoned a GDP target for the first time. The economy shrank by 6.8% in the first quarter.

A border dispute between India and China appeared to intensify. China reportedly sent soldiers and military vehicles onto land that India deems Indian, where they dug defensive positions. A Chinese state mouthpiece asserted a new territorial claim.

The Japanese government lifted restrictions in the last remaining prefectures under lockdown. It also unveiled a second stimulus, worth $1trn.

Rodrigo Duterte, the president of the Philippines, said schools would not reopen until a vaccine for covid-19 is available. That could mean a year or more of subpar education.

Four policemen were sacked in Minneapolis after a black man died while being restrained during an arrest. Video showed one officer kneeling on George Floyd’s neck to keep him on the ground. Protesters later clashed with police.

The University of California, America’s foremost public-college system, said it would phase out the use of SAT scores when deciding whom to admit. A faculty task-force had concluded that the tests were excellent predictors of academic success. But critics say they are unfair on those who cannot afford prepping courses.

Days after he began a new term in office Binyamin Netanyahu, the prime minister of Israel, stood trial on charges of bribery, fraud and breach of trust. He has denied wrongdoing and has called the justice system politically biased. Mr Netanyahu also told members of his Likud party that extending Israeli sovereignty over parts of the occupied West Bank was a priority for his new government.

America accused Russia of sending fighter jets to Libya to support Russian mercenaries fighting on behalf of Khalifa Haftar, a rebellious warlord. General Haftar launched an offensive on the capital, Tripoli, last year but has been pushed back by forces aligned with the internationally recognised Government of National Accord, which is supported by Turkey.

Authorities in Tanzania charged a comedian, Idris Sultan, after a video on social media showed him laughing at a photograph of the president, John Magufuli, in an oversize suit. Mr Sultan was initially charged with “bullying” the president. In court this was changed to using someone else’s mobile-phone SIM card.

Electoral officials in Burundi declared the ruling party’s candidate, Evariste Ndayishimiye, the winner in a presidential vote. Opposition parties say the election was rigged. Many dead people reportedly voted. See article.

More lockdown restrictions were eased in England. From mid-June, all shops will be allowed to reopen; outdoor markets from June 1st. The government also announced a UK-wide quarantine on international arrivals from June 8th, including Britons returning from abroad. Ireland, which is in Britain’s common travel area, is exempt.

By contrast, other European countries started to reopen their borders. Germany said it would lift warnings and allow its citizens to travel abroad from June 15th; it is pushing neighbouring countries to agree on common standards for social distancing. Greece and Italy will allow tourism from June, and Spain from July 1st. Cyprus offered to repay some holiday costs to tourists if they contract covid-19 while visiting the country.

Real Life. Real News. Real Voices

Help us tell more of the stories that matter

Become a founding member

The European Commission proposed a new seven-year budget for the EU that includes a €750bn ($825bn) post-covid recovery fund. The fund would distribute to member states €500bn in grants and €250bn in loans, and would be financed by borrowing based on guarantees provided by national governments. The plan builds on ideas proposed by France and Germany, but Austria, Denmark, the Netherlands and Sweden, the “frugal four”, are sceptical.

A judge on British Columbia’s Supreme Court ruled that extradition proceedings brought by the United States against Meng Wanzhou, the chief financial officer of Huawei, a Chinese telecoms giant, could continue. The decision means she cannot go home. Her arrest in Vancouver in December 2018 provoked a diplomatic row between Canada and China.

Two women became the first same-sex couple to marry in Costa Rica, immediately after it became legal. The ceremony was shown on a three-hour television broadcast about marriage equality.

Coronavirus briefs

Countries in the Americas are the new centre of the pandemic, according to the WHO. Infections and deaths in Mexico have doubled over the past two weeks. Brazil now has the world’s second-highest number of cases, prompting the United States (more than 100,000 deaths) to ban non-American travellers who have been to the country.

Russia has also reported sharp increases in confirmed cases and deaths over two weeks; the actual numbers are thought to be much higher.

Spain revised its death toll down by more than 1,900 because of “duplicates” and wrongly attributed deaths.

A test-and-trace system was introduced in England.

India resumed domestic flights, amid much confusion at airports about whether planes would be allowed to land in certain states.

This article appeared in the The world this week section of the print edition under the headline “Politics this week”

Subscribe to the newsletter news

We hate SPAM and promise to keep your email address safe


Uncategorized

Politics this week

Reversing course, Donald Trump said that America’s coronavirus task-force would continue, but also focus on rebooting the economy. More states began easing their lockdowns. Florida allowed shops to trade if they limit customers, except in the heavily populated corridor between Miami and Palm Beach. In Michigan, the scene of rowdy anti-lockdown protests, the Republican legislature…

Politics this week thumbnail

Reversing course, Donald Trump said that America’s coronavirus task-force would continue, but also focus on rebooting the economy. More states began easing their lockdowns. Florida allowed shops to trade if they limit customers, except in the heavily populated corridor between Miami and Palm Beach. In Michigan, the scene of rowdy anti-lockdown protests, the Republican legislature refused a request from the Democratic governor to extend her stay-at-home order. She extended it anyway.

America’s Supreme Court worked remotely for the first time, hearing arguments via teleconferences. The normally reticent Clarence Thomas, a justice on the court since 1991, asked questions, only his third comments during hearings in more than a decade. Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who is 87, was in hospital with an infection and took part from there.

America’s secretary of state, Mike Pompeo, said there was “enormous evidence” that covid-19 came from a laboratory in Wuhan, but did not provide any. China reacted angrily. State television called him “evil”. See article.

A Chinese journalist who had worked for state media was sentenced to 15 years in prison for “picking quarrels and provoking trouble…and bribery”. “Picking quarrels” is a term often used by the government to describe political dissent.

Kim Jong Un, North Korea’s dictator, resurfaced without explanation after a three-week absence. State media published images of him touring a fertiliser factory.

A regulator in the Philippines ordered ABS-CBN, a big television network, to stop broadcasting after its licence expired. Rodrigo Duterte, the president, had previously complained about bias and had threatened to take it off the air. But officials insist that Mr Duterte has no strong feelings about renewing the licence. See article.

Dariga Nazarbayeva was removed as the head of Kazakhstan’s Senate and thus as the first in line to the presidency. Her father, Nursultan Nazarbayev, resigned as president in 2019, but remains head of a powerful committee in charge of national security. The personal lives and financial affairs of Ms Nazarbayeva and her sons have been the subject of legal proceedings in London in recent months. See article.

Israel’s Supreme Court refused to block a power-sharing deal between Binyamin Netanyahu, the prime minister, and Benny Gantz, his old rival. It also rejected petitions that aimed to disqualify Mr Netanyahu because he faces prosecution on corruption charges. The rulings pave the way for a new government to be sworn in.

Iraq’s parliament approved a new prime minister, nearly six months after the previous one resigned amid big protests. Mustafa al-Kadhimi, a former intelligence chief, was acceptable to both America and Iran. But he faces big challenges at home, where the coronavirus has frozen the economy and oil and gas revenues have plummeted. Earlier, Islamic State carried out several attacks in Iraq, killing at least 18 people.

The government in cash-strapped Lebanon adopted an economic-reform plan and requested assistance from the IMF. This came after protesters, defying a coronavirus lockdown, took to the streets to vent their anger over a deteriorating economy and poor governance. See article.

A leaked letter from Zimbabwe to the IMF warned that the country is heading towards economic collapse and that it needs assistance in clearing its existing debts to unlock new funding. The letter said Zimbabwe’s economy could shrink by 15-20% this year.

In a decision with potentially huge implications Germany’s constitutional court declared that the European Central Bank had acted improperly in buying government bonds under a quantitative-easing programme. Many legal experts fear that because the ECB is supposed to answer only to EU institutions, not to member governments, a constitutional crisis is being created. See article. 

Italy partly emerged from eight weeks of lockdown, having been the first country in Europe to impose one. People can now go out to exercise, cafés have reopened for takeaway service and travel to visit close relatives is now permitted. See article.

Real Life. Real News. Real Voices

Help us tell more of the stories that matter

Become a founding member

Canada banned assault-style weapons with immediate effect following a gun massacre in April.

Venezuelan forces intercepted two boatloads of men allegedly trying to overthrow the country’s dictator, Nicolás Maduro. Eight of the men were killed. Mr Maduro accused America and Colombia of plotting the attack. As evidence, a captive was paraded, post-interrogation, on television. Meanwhile, a security contractor based in Florida claimed responsibility for the “daring amphibious raid”. The governments of America and Colombia denied any involvement.

The new chief of Brazil’s Federal Police, Rolando Souza, transferred the head of the force in Rio de Janeiro. Mr Souza became police chief after the Supreme Court blocked the man initially chosen by Jair Bolsonaro, the Brazilian president, who is a friend of the president’s family. Mr Bolsonaro is facing claims that he tried to influence investigations, centred on Rio, into his family, which he denies. Coronavirus briefs

Coronavirus briefs

The worldwide death toll from covid-19 rose above 250,000.

Infections surged in Russia, to over 10,000 a day. Mikhail Mishustin, the prime minister, tested positive for the disease.

The first infection was officially confirmed in Sana’a, Yemen’s capital, which is held by Houthi rebels.

Reports from Nigeria, Somalia and Tanzania of a sharp rise in unexplained deaths suggested that official tallies of covid-19 are misleadingly low. See article.

New Zealand’s prime minister, Jacinda Ardern, said border restrictions would remain for “some time to come”. But she would like a quarantine-free travel “bubble” with Australia.

In Germany shops were allowed to reopen, with social distancing. Football matches will resume in the Bundesliga, but without spectators.

This article appeared in the The world this week section of the print edition under the headline “Politics this week”

Subscribe to the newsletter news

We hate SPAM and promise to keep your email address safe


Uncategorized

Politics this week

Boris Johnson, Britain’s prime minister, set out a path for easing lockdown in England. His message has changed from “stay at home” to “stay alert”. Restrictions will be eased in phases, depending on how quickly infections fall. Those who can’t work from home are urged to return cautiously to their jobs. Northern Ireland, Scotland and…

Politics this week thumbnail

Boris Johnson, Britain’s prime minister, set out a path for easing lockdown in England. His message has changed from “stay at home” to “stay alert”. Restrictions will be eased in phases, depending on how quickly infections fall. Those who can’t work from home are urged to return cautiously to their jobs. Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales published their own advice. See article.

Emerging, into the light

France lifted many lockdown restrictions. Primary schools and nurseries have reopened. Most people are allowed to go back to work, with social distancing. Even hairdressers are operating again, but with compulsory masks and no coffee to chat over. See article.

New York state also took tentative steps towards reopening; three of its regions have met seven criteria, such as a 14-day decline in hospital admissions from covid. In Wisconsin the state Supreme Court ruled against the Democratic governor and overturned an extension to his stay-at-home order.

Anthony Fauci, an expert on infectious diseases who is advising the White House, told the Senate (via a video link) that rushing to end lockdowns before the pandemic has ended would result in more “suffering and death” and do more economic harm in the long run.

The governor of California, Gavin Newsom, said that ballot papers for November’s elections would be posted to all homes. Far fewer polling stations will open than normal.

William Barr, America’s attorney-general, astounded Washington by dropping the criminal case against Michael Flynn, DonaldTrump’s first national security adviser, who had pleaded guilty to misleading the Mueller inquiry. See article.

Two advisers to Juan Guaidó, who is recognised by scores of democracies as Venezuela’s interim president, resigned after a failed attempt to topple the regime of Nicolás Maduro. One of them, Juan Rendón, a Miami-based member of the Venezuelan opposition, admitted negotiating a preliminary agreement with the American security firm behind the botched raid, but says he backed away from the plan. See article.

Moisés Escamilla May, a leader of Los Zetas, a Mexican drug gang, died in prison of covid-19. He was serving a 37-year sentence for crimes, including beheading 12 people in Yucatán. Mr Escamilla supplied cocaine to Cancún.

Avianca, Colombia’s main airline, filed for bankruptcy protection in New York. Founded in 1919, it claims to be the world’s second-oldest continuously operating airline. Its boss blamed covid-19.

India’s government said it would spend $266bn (10% of GDP) on stimulus measures to diminish the economic damage done by its covid-19 lockdown. Around 120m Indians have lost their jobs over the past two months.

Terrorists attacked a maternity ward in Afghanistan, killing 24 people including mothers, babies, medics and a policeman. A suicide-bomber killed 32 mourners at a funeral. The Taliban denied responsibility for both attacks, but the government ordered the army to go back on the offensive, after a period in which it had sought to reduce violence.

Indian and Chinese soldiers brawled at two different spots along the two countries’ long and ill-defined border. See article.

Beef beef

China announced a ban on imports of meat from four abattoirs in Australia, citing “food safety”. In unrelated news, Chinese officials are furious that Australia is calling for an international probe into the origins of covid-19. China also threatened to impose a tariff of over 80% on Australian barley in response to alleged dumping.

Donald Trump’s administration said work visas given to Chinese journalists would have to be renewed every 90 days. Previously they were open-ended. Liberals fretted that America cannot outdo a dictatorship in curbing reporting, and should not want to.

Real Life. Real News. Real Voices

Help us tell more of the stories that matter

Become a founding member

China warned France not to sell weapons to Taiwan, which is seeking an upgrade of French-made warships it bought in 1991. France said it respected its contractual obligations to Taiwan.

A missile fired by an Iranian naval vessel mistakenly struck an Iranian support ship, killing 19 sailors.

The IMF agreed to lend Egypt $2.8bn to help it cope with the economic fallout from covid-19. “The global shock has resulted in a tourism standstill, significant capital flight, and a slowdown in remittances,” said the fund. Meanwhile, President Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi approved changes to Egypt’s state of emergency that grant him and the security services more power. Human-rights groups say he has used the pandemic to tighten his grip.

Ethiopian troops accidentally shot down a Kenyan plane carrying humanitarian supplies to Somalia, according to a leaked report of the incident.

Three UN peacekeepers were killed when a UN convoy in northern Mali hit a roadside bomb. The peacekeeping mission is the UN’S most dangerous ongoing operation.

Coronavirus briefs

The Chinese city of Wuhan, which recently ended a stringent lockdown, recorded its first new infections since early April. South Korea, which had also largely brought the epidemic under control, reported a cluster of new cases linked to nightclubs in Seoul. See article.

Lebanon reimposed its lockdown after a spike in covid-19. The government has faced widespread protests recently. It blamed people who ignore social-distancing rules.

Brazil recorded its highest daily death toll. It is the sixth-worst affected country by cases and fatalities.

Disneyland Shanghai reopened for business after shutting for three months. The limited number of visitors must have a digital health code.

The White House ordered everyone in the building to wear a face mask, except Donald Trump and Mike Pence.

This article appeared in the The world this week section of the print edition under the headline “Politics this week”

Subscribe to the newsletter news

We hate SPAM and promise to keep your email address safe


Uncategorized

Politics this week

Spain announced a complicated four-phase, eight-week return to a “new normality”, which will vary in speed between provinces. If all goes well, Spaniards will be able to return to beaches and bars by the end of June, and in some places before then. France also outlined its own “deconfinement” strategy. Most businesses will be allowed…

Politics this week thumbnail

Spain announced a complicated four-phase, eight-week return to a “new normality”, which will vary in speed between provinces. If all goes well, Spaniards will be able to return to beaches and bars by the end of June, and in some places before then. France also outlined its own “deconfinement” strategy. Most businesses will be allowed to reopen from May 11th, except for cafés, restaurants and large public spaces such as museums; public transport will largely resume too. The French prime minister said this was necessary to avoid economic collapse. France also suffered some alarming instances of rioting. See article.

The chief executive of Heathrow called for the mandatory testing of passengers for covid-19 at airports in Britain,because travellers are currently allowed to enter the country “without visible measures in place”. Britain is one of only a few countries not to have introduced tighter border screening. Following scientific advice, the government has concluded that temperature checks are ineffective.

Argentina extended its ban on all domestic and international flights until September.

In El Salvador the president, Nayib Bukele, encouraged police to use “lethal force” against criminals following dozens of murders over a few days. The country’s homicide rate, one of the world’s highest, has fallen since Mr Bukele became president in June. He accused gangs of taking advantage of the pandemic, which has distracted security forces from fighting crime.

Brazil’s justice minister, Sérgio Moro, quit after the country’s populist president, Jair Bolsonaro, sacked the head of the federal police. Mr Moro accused the president of trying to interfere in investigations of members of his own family. The attorney-general opened an inquiry into Mr Moro’s charge that the president tried to obstruct justice. See article.

Dozens of people were killed when a fuel lorry rigged with explosives was detonated in the Syrian city of Afrin, which is controlled by Turkish forces and their local allies. Turkey’s defence minister blamed a Kurdish militia, the YPG, which was pushed out of the city two years ago.

Southern separatists in Yemen broke a peace deal with the internationally recognised government and claimed control of the port city of Aden. The separatists are backed by the United Arab Emirates; the government, by Saudi Arabia. All four are ostensibly on the same side in the war against the Houthi rebels, who control the north. See article.

Khalifa Haftar, the warlord battling the government in Libya, declared military rule in the east. General Haftar hopes to become Libya’s strongman, but he is on the back foot after recent losses in the west. See article.

Saudi Arabia said it would no longer execute people who committed crimes when they were children. It also banned flogging as a punishment. But the beheadings continue: 184 people were put to death last year, a record for the kingdom. See article.

The IMF agreed to provide $3.4bn in emergency funding to Nigeria,its biggest disbursement related to covid-19 so far. Nigeria faces a shortage of foreign currency after a collapse in the oil price.

The scheduled launch of the African Continental Free Trade Area on July 1st was postponed indefinitely because of the outbreak of covid-19. The agreement is intended to create the world’s largest free- trade zone, with 55 members.

At least 43 people were killed in fighting in the east of the Democratic Republic of Congo. These include 12 rangers killed by rebels in the Virunga National Park.

America’s top brass were reportedly at odds about whether to re-instate Brett Crozier as captain of the uss Theodore Roosevelt, an aircraft-carrier. Captain Crozier was fired for going outside official channels to ask for help amid an outbreak of covid-19 on his ship. The navy wants to give him his command back, but the Joint Chiefs of Staff is pushing for a full inquiry.

Real Life. Real News. Real Voices

Help us tell more of the stories that matter

Become a founding member

Gavin Newsom, the governor of California, warned that coronavirus “doesn’t take the weekends off” after two southern counties in the state re-opened beaches.

China’s parliament, the National People’s Congress, said it would convene its annual session on May 22nd. The meeting, which normally lasts for about ten days, had been scheduled for early March but was delayed because of the pandemic. The event will involve thousands of people from around the country.

Kim Jong Un, North Korea’s dictator, remained invisible. He has not been seen in public since April 11th, prompting speculation that he is sick. America and South Korea said they saw no sign of anything unusual. Mr Kim is the third-generation hereditary ruler of a supposedly communist state. He has no publicly designated successor. See article.

The government of India said it would allow migrant workers stranded far from their home villages to return to them if they wanted. Many of the workers had lost their jobs as a result of a national coronavirus lockdown, but the associated curbs on travel had left them with nowhere to go.

Coronavirus briefs

The WHO asked states not to issue immunity passports. It said there was insufficient evidence that exposure to the virus confers immunity. See article.

Singapore reported another surge in cases; it is now one of the worst-hit countries in Asia, after Iran, China, Pakistan and India. South Korea reported no new domestic infections.

In Wuhan officials said no more patients with the disease were being treated in the city’s hospitals. A team that had been deployed to the city to oversee its fight against the outbreak returned to Beijing.

Australia called for an international inquiry into the origins of the disease. China warned it not to.

Boris Johnson returned to work, three weeks after being admitted to intensive care and a period of convalescence. The British prime minister’s fiancée gave birth to a son.

This article appeared in the The world this week section of the print edition under the headline “Politics this week”

Subscribe to the newsletter news

We hate SPAM and promise to keep your email address safe


Uncategorized

Politics this week

Spain announced a complicated four-phase, eight-week return to a “new normality”, which will vary in speed between provinces. If all goes well, Spaniards will be able to return to beaches and bars by the end of June, and in some places before then. France also outlined its own “deconfinement” strategy. Most businesses will be allowed…

Politics this week thumbnail

Spain announced a complicated four-phase, eight-week return to a “new normality”, which will vary in speed between provinces. If all goes well, Spaniards will be able to return to beaches and bars by the end of June, and in some places before then. France also outlined its own “deconfinement” strategy. Most businesses will be allowed to reopen from May 11th, except for cafés, restaurants and large public spaces such as museums; public transport will largely resume too. The French prime minister said this was necessary to avoid economic collapse. France also suffered some alarming instances of rioting. See article.

The chief executive of Heathrow called for the mandatory testing of passengers for covid-19 at airports in Britain,because travellers are currently allowed to enter the country “without visible measures in place”. Britain is one of only a few countries not to have introduced tighter border screening. Following scientific advice, the government has concluded that temperature checks are ineffective.

Argentina extended its ban on all domestic and international flights until September.

In El Salvador the president, Nayib Bukele, encouraged police to use “lethal force” against criminals following dozens of murders over a few days. The country’s homicide rate, one of the world’s highest, has fallen since Mr Bukele became president in June. He accused gangs of taking advantage of the pandemic, which has distracted security forces from fighting crime.

Brazil’s justice minister, Sérgio Moro, quit after the country’s populist president, Jair Bolsonaro, sacked the head of the federal police. Mr Moro accused the president of trying to interfere in investigations of members of his own family. The attorney-general opened an inquiry into Mr Moro’s charge that the president tried to obstruct justice. See article.

Dozens of people were killed when a fuel lorry rigged with explosives was detonated in the Syrian city of Afrin, which is controlled by Turkish forces and their local allies. Turkey’s defence minister blamed a Kurdish militia, the YPG, which was pushed out of the city two years ago.

Southern separatists in Yemen broke a peace deal with the internationally recognised government and claimed control of the port city of Aden. The separatists are backed by the United Arab Emirates; the government, by Saudi Arabia. All four are ostensibly on the same side in the war against the Houthi rebels, who control the north. See article.

Khalifa Haftar, the warlord battling the government in Libya, declared military rule in the east. General Haftar hopes to become Libya’s strongman, but he is on the back foot after recent losses in the west. See article.

Saudi Arabia said it would no longer execute people who committed crimes when they were children. It also banned flogging as a punishment. But the beheadings continue: 184 people were put to death last year, a record for the kingdom. See article.

The IMF agreed to provide $3.4bn in emergency funding to Nigeria,its biggest disbursement related to covid-19 so far. Nigeria faces a shortage of foreign currency after a collapse in the oil price.

The scheduled launch of the African Continental Free Trade Area on July 1st was postponed indefinitely because of the outbreak of covid-19. The agreement is intended to create the world’s largest free- trade zone, with 55 members.

At least 43 people were killed in fighting in the east of the Democratic Republic of Congo. These include 12 rangers killed by rebels in the Virunga National Park.

America’s top brass were reportedly at odds about whether to re-instate Brett Crozier as captain of the uss Theodore Roosevelt, an aircraft-carrier. Captain Crozier was fired for going outside official channels to ask for help amid an outbreak of covid-19 on his ship. The navy wants to give him his command back, but the Joint Chiefs of Staff is pushing for a full inquiry.

Real Life. Real News. Real Voices

Help us tell more of the stories that matter

Become a founding member

Gavin Newsom, the governor of California, warned that coronavirus “doesn’t take the weekends off” after two southern counties in the state re-opened beaches.

China’s parliament, the National People’s Congress, said it would convene its annual session on May 22nd. The meeting, which normally lasts for about ten days, had been scheduled for early March but was delayed because of the pandemic. The event will involve thousands of people from around the country.

Kim Jong Un, North Korea’s dictator, remained invisible. He has not been seen in public since April 11th, prompting speculation that he is sick. America and South Korea said they saw no sign of anything unusual. Mr Kim is the third-generation hereditary ruler of a supposedly communist state. He has no publicly designated successor. See article.

The government of India said it would allow migrant workers stranded far from their home villages to return to them if they wanted. Many of the workers had lost their jobs as a result of a national coronavirus lockdown, but the associated curbs on travel had left them with nowhere to go.

Coronavirus briefs

The WHO asked states not to issue immunity passports. It said there was insufficient evidence that exposure to the virus confers immunity. See article.

Singapore reported another surge in cases; it is now one of the worst-hit countries in Asia, after Iran, China, Pakistan and India. South Korea reported no new domestic infections.

In Wuhan officials said no more patients with the disease were being treated in the city’s hospitals. A team that had been deployed to the city to oversee its fight against the outbreak returned to Beijing.

Australia called for an international inquiry into the origins of the disease. China warned it not to.

Boris Johnson returned to work, three weeks after being admitted to intensive care and a period of convalescence. The British prime minister’s fiancée gave birth to a son.

This article appeared in the The world this week section of the print edition under the headline “Politics this week”

Subscribe to the newsletter news

We hate SPAM and promise to keep your email address safe


Uncategorized

Politics this week

Brazil’s president, Jair Bolsonaro, who has dismissed covid-19 as “sniffles”, spoke outside the army’s headquarters at a rally against lockdowns. Some of the protesters called for a shutdown of Congress and the Supreme Court and urged the army to take control of the pandemic response. Mr Bolsonaro has said: “Really, I am the constitution.” He…

Politics this week thumbnail

Brazil’s president, Jair Bolsonaro, who has dismissed covid-19 as “sniffles”, spoke outside the army’s headquarters at a rally against lockdowns. Some of the protesters called for a shutdown of Congress and the Supreme Court and urged the army to take control of the pandemic response. Mr Bolsonaro has said: “Really, I am the constitution.” He also sacked a health minister who supported lockdowns and replaced him with one who favours a return to business-as-usual “as quickly as possible”. 

Sporadic protests broke out in several American state capitals against lockdown measures. Some states took steps to reopen businesses. Georgia’s governor went as far as allowing cinemas and restaurants to resume service from April 27th, subject to social-distancing rules. President Donald Trump said he disagreed with this “totally egregious” decision. See article.

Spain followed France and Britain in extending its lockdown, the toughest in Europe, until at least May 9th. However, it slightly relaxed the rules, so that people can leave home for brief exercise.

A man dressed as a royal Canadian mounted policeman murdered at least 22 people in a shooting spree in Nova Scotia. The killer was a denture-maker said to be obsessed with the federal police. A member of that force eventually killed him. It was the worst mass shooting in Canada’s history.

Argentina’s government asked creditors to accept big losses in the value of the bonds they hold. It proposed that those who hold $65bn-worth of paper, nearly 40% of foreign-currency debt, accept sharply lower interest payments and wait three years to receive them. The plan was rejected. See article.

China tightened controls on movement in the north-eastern city of Harbin, the capital of Heilongjiang province, to keep covid-19 in check. Heilongjiang borders Russia, where the disease appears far more rampant than in China.

China announced the establishment of two districts within a municipality that it says has jurisdiction over the South China Sea. The districts are called Xisha and Nansha, the Chinese words for the Paracel and the Spratly islands. Vietnam, which also claims the Paracels, expressed outrage.

Police in Hong Kong arrested 15 well-known pro-democracy activists. China blew a hole in Hong Kong’s Basic Law, a mini-constitution that protects Hong Kongers’ freedoms. Its Liaison Office in Hong Kong said it was not bound by a provision that bars the mainland’s government departments from interfering in Hong Kong’s affairs. See article.

Kim Jong Un, North Korea’s dictator, missed an annual ceremony to commemorate the birthday of his grandfather, who was North Korea’s first president, prompting speculation that he is ill.

Data on burials suggested that there have been many more deaths from covid-19 in Jakarta, Indonesia’s capital, than have been officially recorded. The Indonesian government reversed itself and banned migrant workers from returning to their home villages to celebrate the end of Ramadan in May. It fears the massive annual migration would accelerate the spread of the disease across the archipelago.

After three elections in a year, Israel at last has a new government. Binyamin Netanyahu, the prime minister, made a deal with Benny Gantz, the former opposition leader, which will see Mr Netanyahu stay in office for 18 months. Then Mr Gantz will take over. Both men were under pressure to avoid another election and co-operate to tackle covid-19. See article.

Donald Trump told the American navy to “shoot down [sic] and destroy any and all Iranian gunboats if they harass our ships at sea.” America recently reported that 11 vessels from Iran’s Revolutionary Guards Corps came close to American ships in what it described as “dangerous” manoeuvres.

Reports emerged of a massacre by jihadist rebels in northern Mozambique. Dozens of villagers were shot or beheaded after refusing to join the group. The insurgents have reportedly also killed 20-30 members of the security forces.

Real Life. Real News. Real Voices

Help us tell more of the stories that matter

Become a founding member

The UN warned that millions of people in Africa face an increased risk of famine because of the economic dislocation caused by covid-19. Many were already in need of food or cash aid because of drought in places such as Zimbabwe and locusts in Kenya. See article.

Donald Trump suspended for at least 60 days the provision of green cards to people who are immigrating legally to the United States. He said he was doing this to protect American workers from foreign competition during the crisis, but he backed away from stopping visas for guest workers after businesses complained that they would suffer.

NASA set May 27th as the date for the first launch of “American astronauts on American rockets from American soil” since the end of the space- shuttle programme. The vessel has been built by Space X, one of Elon Musk’s companies. Since 2011 Americans travelling to the International Space Station have had to hitch a ride on Russian rockets.

Coronavirus briefs

Officials in Wuhan, the Chinese city where covid-19 was first detected, raised the death toll there by 50%, to 3,869. The true extent of the outbreak in China remains unclear.

Having thought it had contained the spread of the disease, Singapore reported a spike in infections, mostly among migrant workers.

The port city of Guayaquil, Ecuador’s commercial hub, was overwhelmed with deaths from covid-19. Many corpses have been left in the streets.

Chile said it would issue immunity cards to people who have recovered.

Nearly 1,100 sailors aboard the Charles de Gaulle, a French aircraft-carrier, tested positive.

The German state of Bavaria cancelled the Oktoberfest beer festival. The mayor of Munich supported the decision, but said it was still a bitter blow.

This article appeared in the The world this week section of the print edition under the headline “Politics this week”

Subscribe to the newsletter news

We hate SPAM and promise to keep your email address safe


Uncategorized

Politics this week

Brazil’s president, Jair Bolsonaro, who has dismissed covid-19 as “sniffles”, spoke outside the army’s headquarters at a rally against lockdowns. Some of the protesters called for a shutdown of Congress and the Supreme Court and urged the army to take control of the pandemic response. Mr Bolsonaro has said: “Really, I am the constitution.” He…

Politics this week thumbnail

Brazil’s president, Jair Bolsonaro, who has dismissed covid-19 as “sniffles”, spoke outside the army’s headquarters at a rally against lockdowns. Some of the protesters called for a shutdown of Congress and the Supreme Court and urged the army to take control of the pandemic response. Mr Bolsonaro has said: “Really, I am the constitution.” He also sacked a health minister who supported lockdowns and replaced him with one who favours a return to business-as-usual “as quickly as possible”. 

Sporadic protests broke out in several American state capitals against lockdown measures. Some states took steps to reopen businesses. Georgia’s governor went as far as allowing cinemas and restaurants to resume service from April 27th, subject to social-distancing rules. President Donald Trump said he disagreed with this “totally egregious” decision. See article.

Spain followed France and Britain in extending its lockdown, the toughest in Europe, until at least May 9th. However, it slightly relaxed the rules, so that people can leave home for brief exercise.

A man dressed as a royal Canadian mounted policeman murdered at least 22 people in a shooting spree in Nova Scotia. The killer was a denture-maker said to be obsessed with the federal police. A member of that force eventually killed him. It was the worst mass shooting in Canada’s history.

Argentina’s government asked creditors to accept big losses in the value of the bonds they hold. It proposed that those who hold $65bn-worth of paper, nearly 40% of foreign-currency debt, accept sharply lower interest payments and wait three years to receive them. The plan was rejected. See article.

China tightened controls on movement in the north-eastern city of Harbin, the capital of Heilongjiang province, to keep covid-19 in check. Heilongjiang borders Russia, where the disease appears far more rampant than in China.

China announced the establishment of two districts within a municipality that it says has jurisdiction over the South China Sea. The districts are called Xisha and Nansha, the Chinese words for the Paracel and the Spratly islands. Vietnam, which also claims the Paracels, expressed outrage.

Police in Hong Kong arrested 15 well-known pro-democracy activists. China blew a hole in Hong Kong’s Basic Law, a mini-constitution that protects Hong Kongers’ freedoms. Its Liaison Office in Hong Kong said it was not bound by a provision that bars the mainland’s government departments from interfering in Hong Kong’s affairs. See article.

Kim Jong Un, North Korea’s dictator, missed an annual ceremony to commemorate the birthday of his grandfather, who was North Korea’s first president, prompting speculation that he is ill.

Data on burials suggested that there have been many more deaths from covid-19 in Jakarta, Indonesia’s capital, than have been officially recorded. The Indonesian government reversed itself and banned migrant workers from returning to their home villages to celebrate the end of Ramadan in May. It fears the massive annual migration would accelerate the spread of the disease across the archipelago.

After three elections in a year, Israel at last has a new government. Binyamin Netanyahu, the prime minister, made a deal with Benny Gantz, the former opposition leader, which will see Mr Netanyahu stay in office for 18 months. Then Mr Gantz will take over. Both men were under pressure to avoid another election and co-operate to tackle covid-19. See article.

Donald Trump told the American navy to “shoot down [sic] and destroy any and all Iranian gunboats if they harass our ships at sea.” America recently reported that 11 vessels from Iran’s Revolutionary Guards Corps came close to American ships in what it described as “dangerous” manoeuvres.

Reports emerged of a massacre by jihadist rebels in northern Mozambique. Dozens of villagers were shot or beheaded after refusing to join the group. The insurgents have reportedly also killed 20-30 members of the security forces.

Real Life. Real News. Real Voices

Help us tell more of the stories that matter

Become a founding member

The UN warned that millions of people in Africa face an increased risk of famine because of the economic dislocation caused by covid-19. Many were already in need of food or cash aid because of drought in places such as Zimbabwe and locusts in Kenya. See article.

Donald Trump suspended for at least 60 days the provision of green cards to people who are immigrating legally to the United States. He said he was doing this to protect American workers from foreign competition during the crisis, but he backed away from stopping visas for guest workers after businesses complained that they would suffer.

NASA set May 27th as the date for the first launch of “American astronauts on American rockets from American soil” since the end of the space- shuttle programme. The vessel has been built by Space X, one of Elon Musk’s companies. Since 2011 Americans travelling to the International Space Station have had to hitch a ride on Russian rockets.

Coronavirus briefs

Officials in Wuhan, the Chinese city where covid-19 was first detected, raised the death toll there by 50%, to 3,869. The true extent of the outbreak in China remains unclear.

Having thought it had contained the spread of the disease, Singapore reported a spike in infections, mostly among migrant workers.

The port city of Guayaquil, Ecuador’s commercial hub, was overwhelmed with deaths from covid-19. Many corpses have been left in the streets.

Chile said it would issue immunity cards to people who have recovered.

Nearly 1,100 sailors aboard the Charles de Gaulle, a French aircraft-carrier, tested positive.

The German state of Bavaria cancelled the Oktoberfest beer festival. The mayor of Munich supported the decision, but said it was still a bitter blow.

This article appeared in the The world this week section of the print edition under the headline “Politics this week”

Subscribe to the newsletter news

We hate SPAM and promise to keep your email address safe


Uncategorized

Politics this week

Boris Johnson, Britain’s prime minister, who has contracted covid-19, was admitted to intensive care after a deterioration in his breathing. Dominic Raab, the foreign secretary, is to stand in for him chairing cabinet meetings “where necessary”. See article.America braced itself for a surge in deaths related to the new coronavirus. There were some tentative signs…

Politics this week thumbnail

Boris Johnson, Britain’s prime minister, who has contracted covid-19, was admitted to intensive care after a deterioration in his breathing. Dominic Raab, the foreign secretary, is to stand in for him chairing cabinet meetings “where necessary”. See article.

America braced itself for a surge in deaths related to the new coronavirus. There were some tentative signs of good news in Europe, as the number of people dying and the number of new cases registered each day fell in several countries, including Spain and Italy, the two worst-affected. Austria talked of starting to emerge from its shutdown, and in Denmark junior schools and kindergartens are to reopen. But Europe remains the worst-hit part of the globe.

For the first time since it started publishing daily figures in January, China reported no new deaths from covid-19. A cordon sanitaire was lifted around Wuhan, the city where the outbreak was discovered. The country’s borders remained shut to most foreigners. Meanwhile, Donald Trump accused the WHO of being “very China-centric” in its handling of the crisis.

China’s Communist Party said it was investigating a property tycoon, Ren Zhiqiang, for “serious violations of discipline and law”. An essay attributed to Mr Ren accused Xi Jinping of being a “clown” and argued that the covid-19 epidemic had been made worse by curbs on freedom of speech.

Covid-19 infections jumped in a number of big Asian countries, including Indonesia, Japan and Pakistan. The governments of Japan and Singapore, which had not yet placed severe restrictions on people’s movement, did so. But South Korea, which was the first country outside China to suffer a severe outbreak, said elections would go ahead on April 15th, after a slowing of new infections. See article.

The authorities in Myanmar arrested the editor-in-chief of a news website for publishing an interview with the spokesman of a rebel militia that the government had recently labelled a terrorist group. The editor faces life in prison.

George Pell, an Australian cardinal who was once the Vatican’s main financial manager, was acquitted of sexual abuse of minors on appeal, after a two-and-a-half-year legal saga. A court in the state of Victoria had found Mr Pell guilty of assaulting two choirboys when he was Archbishop of Melbourne in the 1990s. 

Wisconsin’s Democratic primary went ahead. A last-minute order from the Democratic governor to postpone the election, and other state contests, until June because of covid-19 was overturned by the state Supreme Court. Those voters who did venture out to the polling stations faced long queues. See article.

Meanwhile, the Democrats pushed back the date of their national convention from mid-July to mid-August. It is still supposed to take place in Milwaukee, though Joe Biden has suggested it might have to be held online.

Donald Trump sacked the inspector-general of America’s intelligence services. There was no apparent reason other than that he was the official who alerted Congress to a whistleblower’s complaint about the president’s dealings with Ukraine, which led to Mr Trump’s impeachment. See article.

Twitter removed thousands of accounts linked to the governments of Egypt, Honduras, Indonesia, Saudi Arabia and Serbia for attempting to “undermine the public conversation” in those countries.

Iran’s president, Hassan Rouhani, said that “low-risk” economic activities would resume in most areas. Iran has struggled to contain one of the world’s worst outbreaks of covid-19. But the government is worried about the effect of its mitigation efforts on the economy, which was already reeling because of sanctions.

Negotiations took place to free the leader of the opposition in Mali, Soumaïla Cissé, after he was kidnapped by gunmen believed to be affiliated with al-Qaeda, a jihadist group.

Real Life. Real News. Real Voices

Help us tell more of the stories that matter

Become a founding member

The British Labour Party elected Sir Keir Starmer as its new leader, replacing Jeremy Corbyn, who in December led Labour to its worst election defeat since 1935. The party’s new deputy leader, Angela Rayner, a Manchester native, may help the party recover the “red wall” of northern seats it lost to the Tories in December, though it has its work cut out. As the pandemic deepens the Conservative government’s popularity is hitting new highs. See article. 

Ecuador’s top court convicted Rafael Correa, who was president of the country from 2007 to 2017, of corruption and sentenced him to eight years in jail. He was charged with accepting $8m in bribes in exchange for awarding public contracts. Mr Correa, who is living in Belgium, can appeal.

A Venezuelan naval patrol vessel fired on an unarmed Portuguese-flagged cruise ship, the RCGS Resolute, which it claimed was in its waters. Columbia Cruise Services said the holiday craft, hardened to withstand polar ice, was rammed by the Venezuelan vessel, which then sank. All 44 Venezuelan sailors were rescued. Their commanders congratulated them on their “impeccable performance”. See article.

Coronavirus briefs

Joe Biden floated the idea that voters in America’s presidential election might have to participate by mail only.

The captain of the USS Theodore Roosevelt was fired after asking for help when covid-19 spread among his sailors. Officials said he had not gone through the proper channels in airing his complaint. The captain was given a rousing send-off by sailors. After a backlash, the head of the navy resigned. See article.

In South Africa a man was charged with spreading fake news about testing.

Scotland’s chief medical officer resigned after she broke the government’s advice by leaving her house, twice, during lockdown to visit her second home. See article.

A tiger in the Bronx Zoo is thought to have contracted covid-19 from an infected zookeeper. There is no evidence that tigers can give the disease to humans.

This article appeared in the The world this week section of the print edition under the headline “Politics this week”

Subscribe to the newsletter news

We hate SPAM and promise to keep your email address safe


Uncategorized

Politics this week

Scientists advising the American government about the covid-19 outbreak predicted that between 100,000 and 240,000 Americans could die, even with partial lockdowns and social-distancing measures in place. Donald Trump warned his compatriots “to be prepared for the hard days that lie ahead”. The United States now has more reported infections than any other country. New…

Politics this week thumbnail

Scientists advising the American government about the covid-19 outbreak predicted that between 100,000 and 240,000 Americans could die, even with partial lockdowns and social-distancing measures in place. Donald Trump warned his compatriots “to be prepared for the hard days that lie ahead”. The United States now has more reported infections than any other country. New York city has recorded more deaths from the coronavirus than all but half a dozen countries. Lagging behind other states, Florida at last ordered people to stay at home. See article.

Fortress China

With most of its newly confirmed cases of covid-19 now being found among travellers from abroad, China closed its borders to most foreigners. On a visit to Zhejiang province, President Xi Jinping said curbing imported cases, which mostly involve returning Chinese citizens, had become the “most important” task in the country’s fight against the virus and could remain so “for a long period”. State media coverage of the trip showed Mr Xi without a mask; he had always worn one on previous outings during the crisis.

Fights broke out on the border between Hubei and Jiangxi provinces after Hubei allowed people to move freely across it for the first time in two months. In many parts of China Hubei residents are treated as potential carriers of the virus.

India’s prime minister, Narendra Modi, apologised for the suffering he caused by locking down the country with so little preparation. Millions of migrant workers struggled to get home to their villages. Many crowded into transport hubs, making social distancing impossible. Videos emerged of police beating people who broke the quarantine laws. See article.

Japan reaffirmed its 2015 goal to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions by 26% by 2030 based on levels from 2013, disappointing environmentalists who want it to cut deeper and faster. Japan is the only G7 country still building coal-fired power stations.

Meanwhile, this November’s UN climate-change summit, COP26, was postponed until next year. The talks, which are expected to speed up action on reducing emissions, will still take place in Glasgow.

A narco state

America charged Venezuela’s dictator, Nicolás Maduro, and 14 other members of his regime with drug-trafficking, money-laundering and “narco-terrorism”. The State Department offered a reward of $15m for information leading to Mr Maduro’s arrest. The indictments allege that he co-founded the “cartel of the suns”, which sought to flood America with cocaine. The State Department later said America would lift sanctions on Venezuela if it agreed to its framework for restoring democracy. See article.

The ELN, a guerrilla group in Colombia, declared a one-month ceasefire starting on April 1st. It called the decision a “humanitarian gesture” in response to the covid-19 pandemic. The ELN killed more than 20 cadets at a police academy in Bogotá in January 2019.

Nothing will stop them

Fighting in Yemen continued despite calls for a truce to fight covid-19 instead. Saudi Arabia, which supports the Yemeni government, said it intercepted missiles launched by Houthi rebels towards Saudi territory. The Saudi-led coalition then bombed targets in Sana’a, the Yemeni capital. Yemen has not yet recorded any cases of covid-19.

Israel’s prime minister, Binyamin Netanyahu, self-isolated after an aide tested positive for covid-19. Mr Netanyahu himself tested negative (though the health minister came down with the disease). He is in talks with Benny Gantz, the leader of the opposition, over forming a unity government. See article.

Ethiopia postponed parliamentary elections scheduled for the end of August because of covid-19. The poll will be the first test of the popularity of Abiy Ahmed, a reformist prime minister, who assumed the role in 2018 after the resignation of his predecessor.

Opposition parties in Guinea rejected the result of a constitutional referendum that could allow President Alpha Condé to run for a third term of five years, saying it was marred by violence. Electoral officials said 91% of votes cast were in favour of the new constitution.

Real Life. Real News. Real Voices

Help us tell more of the stories that matter

Become a founding member

Grasping an opportunity

Hungary, which has been dismantling checks and balances on the executive for a decade, passed a covid-19 emergency law that gives Viktor Orban the power to rule by decree as prime minister. The opposition says the country has become a dictatorship. But the EU did not criticise Hungary by name, and the European People’s Party, the EU-level group that includes Mr Orban’s Fidesz party, made no move to expel it. See article.

European leaders were at loggerheads over the issuance of so-called coronabonds, government bonds jointly guaranteed by all countries of the euro zone. Rich northern countries have refused to countenance these, but a group of nine mainly southern countries are warning of economic calamity and threats to the single currency if they are not created.

Coronavirus briefs

Boris Johnson contracted covid-19, the first political leader of a country to do so. The British prime minister is self-isolating at Number 10.

Austria made it compulsory to wear face masks in supermarkets. The Czech Republic and Slovakia have put similar measures in place.

The captain of an American aircraft-carrier docked in Guam asked the navy for help following an outbreak of covid-19 on board. Around 100 sailors on the USS Theodore Roosevelt have tested positive for the new coronavirus.

The world’s biggest condom-maker, which is based in Malaysia, warned of a global shortage because it has had to shut factories. Forecasters have already predicted a baby boom because of couples staying at home.

The Wimbledon tennis tournament was cancelled.

This article appeared in the The world this week section of the print edition under the headline “Politics this week”

Subscribe to the newsletter news

We hate SPAM and promise to keep your email address safe


Uncategorized

Politics this week

Boris Johnson, Britain’s prime minister, who has contracted covid-19, was admitted to intensive care after a deterioration in his breathing. Dominic Raab, the foreign secretary, is to stand in for him chairing cabinet meetings “where necessary”. See article.America braced itself for a surge in deaths related to the new coronavirus. There were some tentative signs…

Politics this week thumbnail

Boris Johnson, Britain’s prime minister, who has contracted covid-19, was admitted to intensive care after a deterioration in his breathing. Dominic Raab, the foreign secretary, is to stand in for him chairing cabinet meetings “where necessary”. See article.

America braced itself for a surge in deaths related to the new coronavirus. There were some tentative signs of good news in Europe, as the number of people dying and the number of new cases registered each day fell in several countries, including Spain and Italy, the two worst-affected. Austria talked of starting to emerge from its shutdown, and in Denmark junior schools and kindergartens are to reopen. But Europe remains the worst-hit part of the globe.

For the first time since it started publishing daily figures in January, China reported no new deaths from covid-19. A cordon sanitaire was lifted around Wuhan, the city where the outbreak was discovered. The country’s borders remained shut to most foreigners. Meanwhile, Donald Trump accused the WHO of being “very China-centric” in its handling of the crisis.

China’s Communist Party said it was investigating a property tycoon, Ren Zhiqiang, for “serious violations of discipline and law”. An essay attributed to Mr Ren accused Xi Jinping of being a “clown” and argued that the covid-19 epidemic had been made worse by curbs on freedom of speech.

Covid-19 infections jumped in a number of big Asian countries, including Indonesia, Japan and Pakistan. The governments of Japan and Singapore, which had not yet placed severe restrictions on people’s movement, did so. But South Korea, which was the first country outside China to suffer a severe outbreak, said elections would go ahead on April 15th, after a slowing of new infections. See article.

The authorities in Myanmar arrested the editor-in-chief of a news website for publishing an interview with the spokesman of a rebel militia that the government had recently labelled a terrorist group. The editor faces life in prison.

George Pell, an Australian cardinal who was once the Vatican’s main financial manager, was acquitted of sexual abuse of minors on appeal, after a two-and-a-half-year legal saga. A court in the state of Victoria had found Mr Pell guilty of assaulting two choirboys when he was Archbishop of Melbourne in the 1990s. 

Wisconsin’s Democratic primary went ahead. A last-minute order from the Democratic governor to postpone the election, and other state contests, until June because of covid-19 was overturned by the state Supreme Court. Those voters who did venture out to the polling stations faced long queues. See article.

Meanwhile, the Democrats pushed back the date of their national convention from mid-July to mid-August. It is still supposed to take place in Milwaukee, though Joe Biden has suggested it might have to be held online.

Donald Trump sacked the inspector-general of America’s intelligence services. There was no apparent reason other than that he was the official who alerted Congress to a whistleblower’s complaint about the president’s dealings with Ukraine, which led to Mr Trump’s impeachment. See article.

Twitter removed thousands of accounts linked to the governments of Egypt, Honduras, Indonesia, Saudi Arabia and Serbia for attempting to “undermine the public conversation” in those countries.

Iran’s president, Hassan Rouhani, said that “low-risk” economic activities would resume in most areas. Iran has struggled to contain one of the world’s worst outbreaks of covid-19. But the government is worried about the effect of its mitigation efforts on the economy, which was already reeling because of sanctions.

Negotiations took place to free the leader of the opposition in Mali, Soumaïla Cissé, after he was kidnapped by gunmen believed to be affiliated with al-Qaeda, a jihadist group.

Real Life. Real News. Real Voices

Help us tell more of the stories that matter

Become a founding member

The British Labour Party elected Sir Keir Starmer as its new leader, replacing Jeremy Corbyn, who in December led Labour to its worst election defeat since 1935. The party’s new deputy leader, Angela Rayner, a Manchester native, may help the party recover the “red wall” of northern seats it lost to the Tories in December, though it has its work cut out. As the pandemic deepens the Conservative government’s popularity is hitting new highs. See article. 

Ecuador’s top court convicted Rafael Correa, who was president of the country from 2007 to 2017, of corruption and sentenced him to eight years in jail. He was charged with accepting $8m in bribes in exchange for awarding public contracts. Mr Correa, who is living in Belgium, can appeal.

A Venezuelan naval patrol vessel fired on an unarmed Portuguese-flagged cruise ship, the RCGS Resolute, which it claimed was in its waters. Columbia Cruise Services said the holiday craft, hardened to withstand polar ice, was rammed by the Venezuelan vessel, which then sank. All 44 Venezuelan sailors were rescued. Their commanders congratulated them on their “impeccable performance”. See article.

Coronavirus briefs

Joe Biden floated the idea that voters in America’s presidential election might have to participate by mail only.

The captain of the USS Theodore Roosevelt was fired after asking for help when covid-19 spread among his sailors. Officials said he had not gone through the proper channels in airing his complaint. The captain was given a rousing send-off by sailors. After a backlash, the head of the navy resigned. See article.

In South Africa a man was charged with spreading fake news about testing.

Scotland’s chief medical officer resigned after she broke the government’s advice by leaving her house, twice, during lockdown to visit her second home. See article.

A tiger in the Bronx Zoo is thought to have contracted covid-19 from an infected zookeeper. There is no evidence that tigers can give the disease to humans.

This article appeared in the The world this week section of the print edition under the headline “Politics this week”

Subscribe to the newsletter news

We hate SPAM and promise to keep your email address safe


Uncategorized

Politics this week

Donald Trump said that data suggested America was past the peak of the covid-19 outbreak, as he mooted guidelines to reopen the economy. The president created a council to look at the options, some of whose members were surprised to be included. Earlier he started a row with state governors who are trying to co-ordinate…

Politics this week thumbnail

Donald Trump said that data suggested America was past the peak of the covid-19 outbreak, as he mooted guidelines to reopen the economy. The president created a council to look at the options, some of whose members were surprised to be included. Earlier he started a row with state governors who are trying to co-ordinate the lifting of some restrictions. He claimed they needed his permission; the constitution says they don’t. When a journalist asked Mr Trump what he had done all February to prepare for covid, he called her “disgraceful”.

Mr Trump said he would suspend American funding to the World Health Organisation, accusing it of pushing “China’s misinformation” on the coronavirus. See article.

Bernie Sanders bowed out as the sole remaining challenger to Joe Biden and endorsed his hitherto rival for president. Mr Sanders said he was endorsing Mr Biden now so they can unite the Democratic Party in trying to defeat Mr Trump in November’s election. See article.

A sailor serving on the USS Theodore Roosevelt died from covid-19. More than 600 crew members have now tested positive, including the former captain, who was sacked by the navy after he asked for help. He was fired for seeking assistance outside the proper lines of communication.

South Korea went ahead with legislative elections despite the covid-19 epidemic. Turnout was high. The ruling Minjoo (Democratic) party won an outright majority in the unicameral national assembly. Before the election Minjoo had been governing in coalition with several smaller parties. See article.

Migrant workers protested in Mumbai and other Indian cities as the government extended the country’s three-week-old lockdown by a further three weeks. The workers want to be able to return to their home villages, but are not able to because of the suspension of public transport. The government did relax restrictions on farming and construction work.

Bangladesh hanged Abdul Majed, one of a group of former army officers who killed the country’s founding father, Mujibur Rahman, during a military coup in 1975. Majed had been convicted of murder in absentia in 1998, and had been in hiding in India until last month. The current prime minister, Sheikh Hasina Wajed, is Mujib’s daughter.

The Saudi-led coalition fighting the Houthi rebels in Yemen began a unilateral two-week ceasefire aimed at stemming the spread of covid-19. Shortly after the move was announced, Yemen confirmed its first case of the virus (though it has carried out little testing). Years of war have devastated the country’s health system. See article.

Despite calls for a ceasefire in Libya, fighting between the internationally recognised government and forces led by Khalifa Haftar, a rebellious general, continued. The government seized two towns, Surman and Sabratha, on the coast. But it struggled to deal with a power cut in the besieged capital of Tripoli.

Iraq’s president nominated Mustafa al-Kadhimi, the intelligence chief, as prime minister. Mr Kadhimi is the third person tapped for the job since November, when Adel Abdul-Mahdi resigned under pressure from anti-government protests. The previous two nominees failed to win enough support in parliament to create a government.

Economic shutdowns are leading to food-price inflation and shortages in several African countries including Zimbabwe, Kenya and Sudan. Aid groups such as the World Food Programme are struggling to respond because of restrictions on movement.

Efforts to contain Ebola in the Democratic Republic of Congo suffered a setback with the emergence of three new cases, the first in 54 days.

The G 20 said its member governments would suspend loan repayments from developing economies until the end of the year. It encouraged private creditors to do the same. Separately, the IMF postponed repayments from 25 countries.

Real Life. Real News. Real Voices

Help us tell more of the stories that matter

Become a founding member

A group including American anti-drug agents and Interpol arrested one of Brazil’s most wanted suspected criminals, Gilberto Aparecido dos Santos (aka Fuminho), in Maputo, Mozambique’s capital. He allegedly trafficked cocaine worldwide as a leader of First Command of the Capital, a gang based in São Paulo, and evaded capture for 20 years.

Several European countries moved to ease their lockdowns. In Spain work was allowed to restart in some factories and on construction sites, and in Italy some small shops were allowed to re-open. Germany is allowing small shops to trade and schools to open; social-distancing measures remain in place. But France and Britain extended their lockdowns into May. Death tolls continued to rise across Europe, but in almost all instances at diminishing rates. See article.

The European Commission, stung by criticism that it has been absent during the crisis, outlined a roadmap that it hopes EU member states will follow to co-ordinate the easing of restrictions. EU ministers agreed on an aid package of up to €540bn ($590bn) for hard-hit countries. The European Central Bank had said up to €1.5trn was needed.

Coronavirus briefs

Boris Johnson was discharged from hospital, where he had been admitted to intensive care. The British prime minister is convalescing at Chequers, an official residence.

Taiwan reported no new coronavirus cases on April 14th, the first such interlude in more than a month. China recorded scores of new cases, including an increase caused by local infections. A cluster of cases was discovered on China’s north-east border with Russia.

Russia reported several record daily surges in new cases, bringing its total to 25,000.

New York City’s cumulative death toll soared past 10,000 as officials added 3,700 previously unrecorded deaths from the disease to the rolls. See article.

America’s Supreme Court said it would hold its first-ever hearings by telephone conference, starting next month.

This article appeared in the The world this week section of the print edition under the headline “Politics this week”

Subscribe to the newsletter news

We hate SPAM and promise to keep your email address safe


Uncategorized

Politics this week

Scientists advising the American government about the covid-19 outbreak predicted that between 100,000 and 240,000 Americans could die, even with partial lockdowns and social-distancing measures in place. Donald Trump warned his compatriots “to be prepared for the hard days that lie ahead”. The United States now has more reported infections than any other country. New…

Politics this week thumbnail

Scientists advising the American government about the covid-19 outbreak predicted that between 100,000 and 240,000 Americans could die, even with partial lockdowns and social-distancing measures in place. Donald Trump warned his compatriots “to be prepared for the hard days that lie ahead”. The United States now has more reported infections than any other country. New York city has recorded more deaths from the coronavirus than all but half a dozen countries. Lagging behind other states, Florida at last ordered people to stay at home. See article.

Fortress China

With most of its newly confirmed cases of covid-19 now being found among travellers from abroad, China closed its borders to most foreigners. On a visit to Zhejiang province, President Xi Jinping said curbing imported cases, which mostly involve returning Chinese citizens, had become the “most important” task in the country’s fight against the virus and could remain so “for a long period”. State media coverage of the trip showed Mr Xi without a mask; he had always worn one on previous outings during the crisis.

Fights broke out on the border between Hubei and Jiangxi provinces after Hubei allowed people to move freely across it for the first time in two months. In many parts of China Hubei residents are treated as potential carriers of the virus.

India’s prime minister, Narendra Modi, apologised for the suffering he caused by locking down the country with so little preparation. Millions of migrant workers struggled to get home to their villages. Many crowded into transport hubs, making social distancing impossible. Videos emerged of police beating people who broke the quarantine laws. See article.

Japan reaffirmed its 2015 goal to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions by 26% by 2030 based on levels from 2013, disappointing environmentalists who want it to cut deeper and faster. Japan is the only G7 country still building coal-fired power stations.

Meanwhile, this November’s UN climate-change summit, COP26, was postponed until next year. The talks, which are expected to speed up action on reducing emissions, will still take place in Glasgow.

A narco state

America charged Venezuela’s dictator, Nicolás Maduro, and 14 other members of his regime with drug-trafficking, money-laundering and “narco-terrorism”. The State Department offered a reward of $15m for information leading to Mr Maduro’s arrest. The indictments allege that he co-founded the “cartel of the suns”, which sought to flood America with cocaine. The State Department later said America would lift sanctions on Venezuela if it agreed to its framework for restoring democracy. See article.

The ELN, a guerrilla group in Colombia, declared a one-month ceasefire starting on April 1st. It called the decision a “humanitarian gesture” in response to the covid-19 pandemic. The ELN killed more than 20 cadets at a police academy in Bogotá in January 2019.

Nothing will stop them

Fighting in Yemen continued despite calls for a truce to fight covid-19 instead. Saudi Arabia, which supports the Yemeni government, said it intercepted missiles launched by Houthi rebels towards Saudi territory. The Saudi-led coalition then bombed targets in Sana’a, the Yemeni capital. Yemen has not yet recorded any cases of covid-19.

Israel’s prime minister, Binyamin Netanyahu, self-isolated after an aide tested positive for covid-19. Mr Netanyahu himself tested negative (though the health minister came down with the disease). He is in talks with Benny Gantz, the leader of the opposition, over forming a unity government. See article.

Ethiopia postponed parliamentary elections scheduled for the end of August because of covid-19. The poll will be the first test of the popularity of Abiy Ahmed, a reformist prime minister, who assumed the role in 2018 after the resignation of his predecessor.

Opposition parties in Guinea rejected the result of a constitutional referendum that could allow President Alpha Condé to run for a third term of five years, saying it was marred by violence. Electoral officials said 91% of votes cast were in favour of the new constitution.

Real Life. Real News. Real Voices

Help us tell more of the stories that matter

Become a founding member

Grasping an opportunity

Hungary, which has been dismantling checks and balances on the executive for a decade, passed a covid-19 emergency law that gives Viktor Orban the power to rule by decree as prime minister. The opposition says the country has become a dictatorship. But the EU did not criticise Hungary by name, and the European People’s Party, the EU-level group that includes Mr Orban’s Fidesz party, made no move to expel it. See article.

European leaders were at loggerheads over the issuance of so-called coronabonds, government bonds jointly guaranteed by all countries of the euro zone. Rich northern countries have refused to countenance these, but a group of nine mainly southern countries are warning of economic calamity and threats to the single currency if they are not created.

Coronavirus briefs

Boris Johnson contracted covid-19, the first political leader of a country to do so. The British prime minister is self-isolating at Number 10.

Austria made it compulsory to wear face masks in supermarkets. The Czech Republic and Slovakia have put similar measures in place.

The captain of an American aircraft-carrier docked in Guam asked the navy for help following an outbreak of covid-19 on board. Around 100 sailors on the USS Theodore Roosevelt have tested positive for the new coronavirus.

The world’s biggest condom-maker, which is based in Malaysia, warned of a global shortage because it has had to shut factories. Forecasters have already predicted a baby boom because of couples staying at home.

The Wimbledon tennis tournament was cancelled.

This article appeared in the The world this week section of the print edition under the headline “Politics this week”

Subscribe to the newsletter news

We hate SPAM and promise to keep your email address safe


Uncategorized

Politics this week

Governments around the world took extraordinary measures to curb the novel coronavirus and alleviate its economic consequences. In America the Trump administration proposed giving direct cash transfers to every American as part of an emergency- spending package. Some Republicans balked at the idea, but Mitch McConnell, the leader of the Senate, said that now was…

Politics this week thumbnail

Governments around the world took extraordinary measures to curb the novel coronavirus and alleviate its economic consequences. In America the Trump administration proposed giving direct cash transfers to every American as part of an emergency- spending package. Some Republicans balked at the idea, but Mitch McConnell, the leader of the Senate, said that now was the time for “urgent bipartisan action”. See article.

Joe Biden swept the board in the latest Democratic primaries. In Florida, the biggest prize on offer, he won 62% of the vote to 23% for Bernie Sanders. The pair also debated in their first one-on-one clash. Ohio postponed its primary because of the pandemic, as have Georgia and Louisiana. See article.

The Justice Department dropped charges against two Russian entities indicted by the Mueller inquiry because it believes a trial would give Russia access to sensitive documents it would have to share with the defence.

It’s war

The president of France, Emmanuel Macron, declared that the country is “at war” with the coronavirus. He announced the suspension of local elections, a day after France had voted in the first round. See article.

The Constitutional Court in Russia approved amendments to the country’s constitution that will reset to zero the number of terms already served by Vladimir Putin. He would otherwise have been ineligible to run again when his current term expires in 2024. See article.

The brother of the suicide-bomber who killed 22 people at an Ariana Grande concert in Manchester in 2017 was found guilty of the murder of each victim. He was convicted for obtaining the materials for the bomb and of helping in the plot. In addition to those murdered a further 800 were hurt, more than 90 with life-changing injuries.

Another chance for Gantz

Benny Gantz, the leader of the opposition in Israel, was given the first shot at forming a government after a tight election earlier this month. But his coalition is divided. Binyamin Netanyahu, the prime minister, has tried to push Mr Gantz into forming a unity government, under Mr Netanyahu, to deal with covid-19. See article.

The president of Iraq named Adnan al-Zurfi as prime minister-designate in a bid to end a months-long political deadlock. The previous prime minister resigned in November amid large anti-government protests. Powerful Shia parties have already lined up against Mr Zurfi’s nomination.

Sweden promised to send 150 commandos and helicopters to Mali to join a French-led mission fighting jihadists in the Sahel. Security in the country has continued to deteriorate.

Peter Mutharika, president of Malawi, sacked the head of the army, dissolved his cabinet and refused to sign new laws allowing for fresh elections in May. Malawi’s top court had annulled his re-election victory, citing vote-rigging. He plans to stick around anyway.

Risky behaviour

Brazil’s president, Jair Bolsonaro, joined supporters who were holding demonstrations in favour of him. He fist-bumped his fans and took selfies with them even though at least 17 people who accompanied him on a recent visit to Mar-a-Lago, Donald Trump’s getaway in Florida, tested positive for covid-19. Mr Bolsonaro describes the reaction to the virus as “hysteria”.

A court in Guyana temporarily blocked a recount of votes cast in the general election on March 2nd. A candidate from the president’s coalition brought the suit seeking the injunction. International observers had said there was credible evidence of fraud in an initial tally, which gave victory to the president.

Repressing the press

China ordered American citizens working for the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal and the Washington Post to leave the country. It was the biggest mass expulsion of western correspondents from China since the Communist takeover in 1949. The government said it was a response to America’s decision to limit the number of people working for China’s main state-owned news organisations stationed in America to 100. See article.

Amid cries of “shame”, opposition MPs staged a walkout from the Rajya Sabha, India’s upper house, when Ranjan Gogoi took oath as a new member. Mr Gogoi recently retired as chief justice; critics of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party claim his seat is a pay-off for rulings that favoured the government.

Real Life. Real News. Real Voices

Help us tell more of the stories that matter

Become a founding member

East Timor entered its third week of political flux after the prime minister resigned. The president is mulling whether to call a snap election or appoint as prime minister Xanana Gusmão, a former president who says he has the support of a majority of MPs.

America urged the government of Afghanistan and the Taliban to proceed with a proposed exchange of prisoners, as promised in the agreement the Taliban signed with America in February. The Afghan government wants the exchange to proceed alongside peace talks, but the Taliban say talks cannot begin until the prisoners are released.

Coronavirus briefs

Countries imposed strict restrictions on border crossings, including between America and Canada. See article.

Stringent curbs on the movement of people were enforced in France, Spain, the San Francisco Bay Area and other places.

The number of deaths surged in Italy. For the first time China reported no new daily local infections. See article.

The Philippines declared a “state of calamity”.

Researchers were concerned about a second wave of infections in Hong Kong, Singapore and Taiwan.

Supermarketstook steps to ration the sale of products and to set aside shopping hours for the vulnerable.

In what some saw as a blow, the Eurovision Song Contest was cancelled.

For our latest coverage of the virus and its consequences please visit economist.com/coronavirus or download the Economist app.

This article appeared in the The world this week section of the print edition under the headline “Politics this week”

Subscribe to the newsletter news

We hate SPAM and promise to keep your email address safe


Uncategorized

Politics this week

More countries rolled out wartime-like emergency measures to fight covid-19. In Britain people were told to leave home only in limited circumstances; gatherings of more than two people were banned. All non-essential businesses, pubs and restaurants were ordered to shut. The government announced an unprecedented aid package, including paying up to 80% of workers’ wages.…

Politics this week thumbnail

More countries rolled out wartime-like emergency measures to fight covid-19. In Britain people were told to leave home only in limited circumstances; gatherings of more than two people were banned. All non-essential businesses, pubs and restaurants were ordered to shut. The government announced an unprecedented aid package, including paying up to 80% of workers’ wages. The American Congress prepared a $2trn economic-rescue bill, the biggest in modern history, which provides relief to business and direct payments to workers. Germany tore up its strict fiscal rules and launched a raft of emergency measures totalling €750bn ($810bn). See article.

In America more states went into lockdown, but the message to stay indoors was somewhat undermined by Donald Trump’s insistence that some restrictions should be relaxed so that the economy can get working again by Easter.

India’s prime minister, Narendra Modi, sparked panic-buying when he said the entire country would be placed on lockdown within hours for a duration of three weeks to slow the spread of the new coronavirus. He later clarified that food shops and other essential services would remain open. See article.

Abe Shinzo, Japan’s prime minister, announced that the summer Olympics would be delayed by a year because of the pandemic. Athletes have been complaining that restrictions on movement related to the outbreak made it impossible to train. Tokyo’s governor warned of an “explosive spike” in cases in the city. See article.

The government of Bangladesh released on bail Khaleda Zia, the leader of the Bangladesh Nationalist Party, the main opposition, to allow her to seek medical treatment. See article.

The supreme leader of Iran, which is fighting one of the world’s worst outbreaks of covid-19, rejected an offer of aid from America. “Possibly your medicine is a way to spread the virus more,” said Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, revealing an odd worldview. China’s ambassador to America said it was “harmful” to speculate about the origin of covid-19. His remarks appeared aimed at a baseless conspiracy theory, promoted by some Chinese diplomats, that the American army may have brought the virus to China.See article.

Could it be?

Hubei, the province in China worst-hit by covid-19, allowed most of its people to move freely again, as long as they have no symptoms. Officials said the lockdown of the province’s capital, Wuhan, where the disease was first discovered, would end on April 8th, 11 weeks after it was imposed. China continued to report few if any newly confirmed domestic cases of infection. See article.

The Speaker of Israel’s parliament, Yuli Edelstein, resigned instead of complying with a Supreme Court order to hold a vote on his replacement. The opposition bloc, which won a majority in the last election, hopes to appoint a new Speaker and may seek to bar Binyamin Netanyahu from leading a new government. Mr Edelstein, an ally of the prime minister, had been accused of obstructing those moves.

Prosecutors in Turkey charged 20 Saudi citizens for the murder of Jamal Khashoggi, a Saudi dissident writer, in Istanbul in 2018. A former adviser to the royal family and a former deputy head of intelligence were accused of instigating the killing, the rest with carrying it out.

Risking legal action, Lebanon said it would stop paying its maturing Eurobonds in foreign currencies, as the heavily indebted country deals with an economic and financial crisis.

Boko Haram, a jihadist group operating mainly in north-eastern Nigeria, killed 92 soldiers in an attack on an army base in Chad. In a separate incident the group killed 50 soldiers in Nigeria.

The World Bank and the IMF said that Somalia will qualify for debt relief under the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries Initiative. Outstanding debt of more than $5bn will decline to $557m over three years.

At least 23 prisoners died in a riot at one of Colombia’s largest jails. Prisoners fearful of contracting covid-19 attempted to break out of La Modelo jail in Bogotá.

Real Life. Real News. Real Voices

Help us tell more of the stories that matter

Become a founding member

Political parties in Chile agreed to postpone a plebiscite due to be held on April 26th on whether to set up an assembly to write a new constitution. Bolivia delayed a general election that had been planned for May 3rd. Both are in response to covid-19.

As the covid-19 pandemic deepened in Europe, both Italy and Spain overtook China to become the countries where the largest and second-largest numbers of people have died from the disease. See article.

In Russia, Vladimir Putin put on hold his plans for a popular vote on constitutional changes that could allow him to stay in office for another 16 years. The vote had been scheduled for April 22nd, Lenin’s birthday. He blamed covid-19. The mayor of Moscow criticised his slow response to the crisis.

Alex Salmond, a former leader of the Scottish Parliament, was cleared of sexual assault charges by the high court. The Scottish government has conceded that its own investigation into the matter breached its guidelines. See article.

Coronavirus briefs

In America, some senators and congressmen were accused of having used intelligence information on the covid-19 outbreak to sell stock before markets crashed.

New York’s governor warned about the “astronomical numbers” of infections in the state, but also said that social distancing seemed to be working.

Amid a wave of panic-buying, the British government urged shoppers to behave responsibly. Hoarders are thought to have £1bn-worth ($1.2bn) of extra food in their kitchens that they have not eaten.

Mississippi followed Texas and Ohio in classifying abortions as non-essential medical procedures during the crisis. 

Among those testing positive for covid-19 were Prince Charles and Rand Paul, a Republican senator. Angela Merkel went into self isolation after her doctor tested positive.

This article appeared in the The world this week section of the print edition under the headline “Politics this week”

Subscribe to the newsletter news

We hate SPAM and promise to keep your email address safe


Uncategorized

Politics this week

Vladimir Putin, Russia’s president, said that he would be prepared to continue in office past 2024, when his fourth and supposedly final presidential term expires. The Russian parliament voted this week to amend the constitution to reset to zero the number of consecutive terms that he has already served. See article.The trial began in the…

Politics this week thumbnail

Vladimir Putin, Russia’s president, said that he would be prepared to continue in office past 2024, when his fourth and supposedly final presidential term expires. The Russian parliament voted this week to amend the constitution to reset to zero the number of consecutive terms that he has already served. See article.

The trial began in the Netherlands of four men—three Russians and a Ukrainian—who are charged with involvement in the shooting down of Malaysian Airlines flight MH17 over eastern Ukraine in 2014. The four were not in court, having refused to turn themselves in, but the court decided that the trial can go ahead without them.

Rishi Sunak, Britain’s new chancellor of the exchequer, had been expected to increase borrowing. But the scale of fiscal loosening in the government’s budget was still surprising. A package of measures tallied up to a £30bn ($38bn) splurge, almost half of it for the emergency response to covid-19. The National Health Service will benefit the most, but a reserve fund for businesses and workers will also help with the economic hit the virus will cause. See article.

Bernie burned by Biden

Joe Biden won the Michigan primary and several other states in the latest Democratic contests. Bernie Sanders could not repeat the surprise win he chalked up in Michigan four years ago. Kamala Harris and Cory Booker, two former candidates, endorsed Mr Biden, who looks like he has the nomination all but sewn up. See article.

Harvey Weinstein was sentenced to 23 years in prison for his recent convictions for rape and sexual assault. The movie mogul has been cleared of charges that carry even lengthier prison terms.

Donald Trump ditched Mick Mulvaney as his chief of staff, and named Mark Meadows, a loyal congressman, as his replacement. Mr Mulvaney was the president’s third chief of staff, but fell foul of his boss some time ago, especially when he went off script about Mr Trump withholding aid from Ukraine in return for political favours.

Fighting for her life

Millions of Mexican women stayed home from work and school to protest against murders of women. The strike was spurred by recent brutal killings. The country classified 980 murders last year as “femicides”, that is, committed because of the victim’s sex, up from 411 in 2015.

Jair Bolsonaro, Brazil’s president, dined with Donald Trump at his Florida estate, Mar-a-Lago. Brazil and America signed an agreement on defence technology that could lead to more American purchases of Brazilian weaponry.

Guyana’s chief justice blocked the Elections Commission from declaring the result of a general election in the country’s biggest electoral district after foreign observers said vote counting had “lacked credibility and transparency”. Initial results gave victory to the government.

Circles of power

Both the incumbent, Ashraf Ghani, and his main electoral opponent, Abdullah Abdullah, were sworn in as president of Afghanistan in rival inauguration ceremonies. In the meantime, talks between Afghan politicians and the insurgents of the Taliban, which had been due to start on March 10th, are on hold, as the two sides argue about a planned prisoner exchange. See article.

Myanmar’s army vetoed constitutional amendments that would have reduced its political power. The ruling National League for Democracy, led by Aung San Suu Kyi, had proposed shrinking the proportion of MPs appointed by the army and making it easier to amend the constitution, among other things. See article.

North Korea launched several missiles into the Sea of Japan in an apparent military drill. It was its second missile test in the space of a week.

Lebanese bind

Mired in economic crisis, Lebanon did not repay a $1.2bn Eurobond, defaulting on its debts for the first time. Foreign reserves have plummeted and unemployment is rising. The government will try to negotiate a restructuring with its creditors, as it struggles with debt that is about 170% of GDP. See article.

Two Americans and a Briton were killed by a rocket attack on a military base near Baghdad. Tensions have been high in Iraq, as Iranian-backed militia have sworn revenge for America’s assassination of a senior Iranian commander at Baghdad airport in January.

Real Life. Real News. Real Voices

Help us tell more of the stories that matter

Become a founding member

Prince Ahmed bin Abdel-Aziz, a brother of Saudi Arabia’s King Salman, and Prince Muhammad bin Nayef, a nephew of his who was previously the crown prince, were arrested with several other senior figures. The arrests were presumably ordered by the current crown prince, Muhammad bin Salman, who runs the show. This suggests that opposition to the crown prince’s authoritarian ways may be stirring in rival royal circles.

Abdalla Hamdok, the prime minister of Sudan, survived a gun-and-bomb attack on his motorcade. The assassination attempt highlights the precariousness of the country’s transition towards democracy.

The coronavirus crisis

The World Health Organisation officially declared covid-19 to be a pandemic: “We have rung the alarm bell loud and clear.” See article.

America announced a travel ban on visitors from Europe (except Britain and Ireland).

The lockdown in northern Italy was extended to the whole country. Most shops were ordered to close.

In Germany, Angela Merkel said that 60-70% of the country’s population may contract the disease at some point.

Xi Jinping said there had been a positive turn to contain covid-19 in the province of Hubei. Outside Hubei, China reported three days with no newly confirmed cases of local infection.

The central bank of Nigeria will, in effect, ban imports of hand sanitiser. The governor said this would boost local production.

For our latest coverage of the virus and its consequences please visit economist.com/coronavirus or download the Economist app.

This article appeared in the The world this week section of the print edition under the headline “Politics this week”

Subscribe to the newsletter news

We hate SPAM and promise to keep your email address safe


Uncategorized

Politics this week

Joe Biden’s campaign bounced back after he won most of the 14 states that voted on Super Tuesday. Barack Obama’s vice-president racked up big victories in southern states, where black voters are a large part of the Democratic electorate. Mr Biden earlier scored a huge win in the South Carolina primary. The race for the…

Politics this week thumbnail

Joe Biden’s campaign bounced back after he won most of the 14 states that voted on Super Tuesday. Barack Obama’s vice-president racked up big victories in southern states, where black voters are a large part of the Democratic electorate. Mr Biden earlier scored a huge win in the South Carolina primary. The race for the party’s presidential nomination is now between him and Bernie Sanders, who won California, the biggest prize on Super Tuesday. Despite a costly media blitz, Mike Bloomberg did poorly and ended his campaign; he endorsed Mr Biden. Elizabeth Warren came in a miserable third in her home state of Massachusetts. See article.

In a boost to the power of the presidency, a federal appeals court sided with the White House when it ruled that Congress had no powers to sue a witness to force him to testify at hearings. The case centred on Donald McGahn, a former White House counsel who refused to appear before a committee investigating Russian influence in elections.

The genie’s out of the bottle

The IMF announced a $50bn financing package to help emerging markets cope with the outbreak of covid-19, after warning that the disease posed a “serious threat” to global growth. The World Bank pledged $12bn. Meanwhile, the novel coronavirus continued its advance outside China. Italy closed all schools until mid-March following a spike in fatal cases. The number of infections soared in South Korea, which overtook China in reporting new cases. South Korea is testing extensively for the virus, unlike other countries, where its spread may be underreported. See article.

America carried out an air raid against Taliban fighters in Afghanistan who were attacking a security checkpoint. This came just days after both sides signed a peace deal, which Mike Pompeo, America’s secretary of state, had hailed as “a momentous day”. The Taliban has carried out dozens of attacks since signing the deal. America urged it to stick to its commitments. See article.

After a week of uncertainty, Malaysia has a new government. The incoming coalition, Perikatan Nasional, is composed of politicians from the United Malays National Organisation, which was booted out at an election in 2018 after 61 years in power, and various allies. The new prime minister is Muhyiddin Yassin, a former UMNO leader who later founded a different party. See article.

North Korea fired what are thought to be two short-range ballistic missiles into the Sea of Japan. It was its first weapons test this year.

A parliamentary election was called in Sri Lanka for April 25th. The strongman president, Gotabaya Rajapaksa, hopes his party will win enough seats to overturn recent constitutional amendments that have reduced the power of his office. See article.

Rules v pills

Colombia’s Constitutional Court decided not to legalise abortions during the first 16 weeks of pregnancy. Its ruling leaves in place a decision from 2006, which restricts abortions to cases where the mother has been raped, her life is in danger or the fetus has health problems. Globally, mail-order abortion pills are rendering bans increasingly ineffective. See article.

Spain agreed to an extradition request from the United States for Hugo Carvajal, a former head of Venezuelan intelligence, whom the Americans suspect of drug-trafficking. Mr Carvajal fled Venezuela and was arrested in Madrid last year. In Venezuela, Nicolás Maduro, the dictator, urged women to have six children “for the good of the country”. Food shortages under the socialist regime have led to widespread malnutrition among children.

Divide and rule

Real Life. Real News. Real Voices

Help us tell more of the stories that matter

Become a founding member

Binyamin Netanyahu, the prime minister of Israel, claimed victory in the country’s third parliamentary election in a year. His party, Likud, won 36 seats, compared with 33 for its main rival, Blue and White. But Mr Netanyahu’s alliance of nationalist and religious parties did not win a majority of seats, so he will struggle to form a government. See article.

Iran has stockpiled enough enriched uranium to build an atomic bomb and has blocked inspectors from visiting three nuclear sites, said the International Atomic Energy Agency. It would still take Iran months or years to manufacture a nuclear warhead.

The Democratic Republic of Congo discharged the last patient confirmed to have Ebola, raising hopes that it has contained an outbreak that has killed 2,264 people (two-thirds of those infected).

The constitutional court in Togo rejected claims that a presidential election won by the incumbent, Faure Gnassingbé, had been rigged. The vote and count were marred by irregularities and only a small number of observers were allowed to monitor them.

An attack by Syrian (and perhaps Russian) forces killed at least 36 Turkish troops in Idlib province, the last big pocket of rebel-held territory in Syria. Turkey responded with drone strikes and artillery attacks that dealt the regime of Bashar al-Assad a terrible blow. Turkish troops are in Syria to stop Mr Assad’s offensive on Idlib and prevent a new wave of refugees. See article.

A new migrant crisis?

Meanwhile, Turkey declared that it would end a deal under which it stopped migrants from moving to the EU. Thousands of would-be asylum-seekers immediately headed to the border with Greece. Turkish officials said a number of people were killed in incidents involving Greek security forces opening fire on some of the migrants, but Greece has strongly denied this. See article.

The European Commission in Brussels published plans to halve carbon emissions within a decade, and backed it by proposing to “mobilise” €1trn ($1.1trn) in spending. Critics said little of this money was new. Greta Thunberg, a young climate-change activist, denounced the exercise as insufficiently ambitious.

Priti Patel, Britain’s home secretary, came under fire following the resignation of the most senior civil servant in her department. Sir Philip Rutnam left while issuing a claim for constructive dismissal against the Home Office, an unprecedented move. He claims she was involved in a briefing against him because she wanted to replace him. Allegations emerged that Ms Patel bullied officials in other departments. She denies any wrongdoing. See article.

In Slovakia, a new party created by an anti-corruption campaigner was the unexpected winner in a parliamentary election. The ruling party was ousted by a group called the Ordinary People and Independent Personalities party. See article.

This article appeared in the The world this week section of the print edition under the headline “Politics this week”

Subscribe to the newsletter news

We hate SPAM and promise to keep your email address safe


Uncategorized

Politics this week

The WHO said that most new cases of covid-19, a novel type of coronavirus, are now being reported outside China. The number of cases surged in South Korea; Italy recorded hundreds of infections, more than in any country outside Asia; and there were worries that Iran was underreporting the spread of the epidemic within its…

Politics this week thumbnail

The WHO said that most new cases of covid-19, a novel type of coronavirus, are now being reported outside China. The number of cases surged in South Korea; Italy recorded hundreds of infections, more than in any country outside Asia; and there were worries that Iran was underreporting the spread of the epidemic within its borders. Iran’s deputy health minister tested positive for the disease. See article.

China postponed the annual sessions of its rubber-stamp parliament because of concerns about the outbreak of covid-19. The meetings had been due to start in Beijing in March and involve thousands of delegates. Despite a fall in the daily numbers of new cases in China, Xi Jinping, the president, said the epidemic was “still grim and complex”.

A Chinese court sentenced Gui Minhai, the co-owner of a bookshop in Hong Kong that sold gossipy works about China’s leaders, to ten years in prison for “illegally providing intelligence overseas”. Mr Gui is a Swedish citizen who is also claimed by China as its national. His detention has fuelled widespread alarm in Hong Kong about the erosion of political freedoms.

Mahathir Mohamad resigned as prime minister of Malaysia, after his own party, Bersatu, decided to leave the ruling coalition. He remains in office as a caretaker. Anwar Ibrahim, his long-time rival and leader of Parti Keadilan Rakyat, the biggest party in the coalition, has put himself forward as a replacement. It is unclear whether either man has the support of most MPs. See article.

The Afghan army, the insurgents of the Taliban and NATO forces all pledged to observe a week-long “reduction in violence” in Afghanistan’s civil war. If it holds until February 28th, America and the Taliban will sign a peace deal in Qatar on February 29th. See article.

Thailand’s constitutional court disbanded Future Forward, the country’s third-biggest political party, and banned its leaders from politics. It is the eighth party the court has dissolved since 2006. See article.

Narendra Modi, the prime minister of India, summoned a crowd of hundreds of thousands to cheer for Donald Trump. But the American president’s visit was marred by communal riots in Delhi, which claimed 33 lives. See article.

Taur Matan Ruak, the prime minister of East Timor, resigned after parliament voted down his budget. The president must now decide whether to name another prime minister or call elections.

Foreign policymaking

Boris Johnson, Britain’s prime minister, announced a wide-ranging review of the country’s place in the world post-Brexit that seeks “innovative ways” to push overseas interests. Outside experts will be used to challenge “traditional Whitehall assumptions”, a nod to Dominic Cummings, Mr Johnson’s powerful special adviser, who has clashed with civil servants. Mr Cummings has criticised waste in the Ministry of Defence.

Sajid Javid, who resigned as Britain’s chancellor of the exchequer after a skirmish with Mr Cummings, attacked a move to align the Treasury more closely with thinking in the prime minister’s office. Mr Javid said that this was not in the national interest.

The race to be the next leader of Germany’s ruling Christian Democrats, and probable chancellor after Angela Merkel quits next year, now has only three runners. Armin Laschet, the premier of North Rhine-Westphalia, got a big boost when Jens Spahn, the up-and-coming federal health minister, said he would not contest the race, but would support him instead.

Real Life. Real News. Real Voices

Help us tell more of the stories that matter

Become a founding member

Residents of the Greek islands of Lesbos and Chios fought with riot police in an attempt to stop an expansion of detention camps to house more migrants arriving mostly from the Middle East via Turkey.

Degrees of brutality

Hosni Mubarak, who ruled Egypt for three decades, died. The former despot was toppled during the Arab spring of 2011, amid protests over poverty and his repressive rule. He faced trial for corruption and murder, but mostly avoided punishment. Many Egyptians expressed nostalgia for Mr Mubarak, who ruled with a lighter touch than the current dictator, Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi. See article.

Hardliners won parliamentary elections in Iran, scooping three-quarters of the seats. The regime claimed a mandate for its confrontational stance towards America. But thousands of moderates and reformers were barred from running and, as a result, turnout was the lowest in a parliamentary election since the Islamic revolution in 1979. See article.

Faure Gnassingbé, the president of Togo, won another term in an election marred by irregularities. Mr Gnassingbé has been in office since 2005, when he took over from his father, who had first seized power in 1967.

The police in a state

A strike by police in Ceará, in north-eastern Brazil, led to a sharp rise in the number of murders in the state. At least 170 people have died since police stopped work on February 19th in a row over pay. A senator, Cid Gomes, was shot as he drove a digger towards striking police. The government has sent in the army.

Protests by police in Haiti against poor working conditions led to battles between them and the army. At least one soldier died. The country’s Carnival celebration was cancelled.

Bolivia’s Supreme Electoral Tribunal barred Evo Morales, a former president, from running for a seat in the Senate in elections due in May. Mr Morales left office in November after Bolivians protested against his re-election.

Her day in court

Harvey Weinstein was found guilty of two of the charges brought against him in New York: of rape (by having sex with a woman against her will) and of forcing oral sex on a woman. He was acquitted of three charges, including the most serious. Scores of other women have accused him of sexual misconduct. See article.

The latest Democratic debate produced the usual fireworks. It was the last to be held before the South Carolina primary and Super Tuesday, when Democrats in 14 states will vote on who they want to be their presidential candidate. Bernie Sanders remains the firm favourite following his decisive win in Nevada. See article.

Meanwhile, it was reported that Russia is meddling in the primaries to get Mr Sanders elected, and is also stepping up plans to interfere in the general election to re-elect Donald Trump. So it is a win-win situation for the Kremlin if either Mr Sanders or Mr Trump is victorious in November. See article.

This article appeared in the The world this week section of the print edition under the headline “Politics this week”

Subscribe to the newsletter news

We hate SPAM and promise to keep your email address safe


Uncategorized

Politics this week

Mike Bloomberg took part in a Democratic presidential debate for the first time, after a surge in his opinion-poll standing qualified him for inclusion. The other candidates attacked him over lewd comments he has made in the past and his billionaire status. Mr Bloomberg will reportedly sell his media company if he is elected president.…

Politics this week thumbnail

Mike Bloomberg took part in a Democratic presidential debate for the first time, after a surge in his opinion-poll standing qualified him for inclusion. The other candidates attacked him over lewd comments he has made in the past and his billionaire status. Mr Bloomberg will reportedly sell his media company if he is elected president. See article.

More than 2,600 former lawyers and officials from the Justice Department signed a letter calling on William Barr to resign as attorney-general. Mr Barr recently intervened to reduce the recommended sentence in the case of Roger Stone, a disgraced confidant of the president.

Using the power of the presidency Mr Trump pardoned a Who’s Who of business and political felons. These included Michael Milken, the “junk-bond king”, who was imprisoned in the 1990s, and Rod Blagojevich, a former governor of Illinois, whose prison sentence for trying to sell a Senate seat was commuted.

Opening a new front

The UN-backed government of Libya pulled out of peace talks with representatives of Khalifa Haftar, a rebellious general, after his forces attacked the port of Tripoli. The government is based in the capital, which has been under siege by General Haftar’s forces for a year. Turkey has intervened on the side of the government. Egypt, Russia and the United Arab Emirates back General Haftar. The EU said it would patrol the eastern Mediterranean, enforcing a long-ignored UN arms embargo on Libya.

Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Turkey’s president, said it is “only a matter of time” before he launches an operation to stop the Syrian army’s offensive on Idlib, the last rebel-held province in Syria. The regime of Bashar al-Assad, which is backed by Russia, has rejected Turkey’s demands to pull back. Turkey, which has troops in the area and supports some of the rebels, fears a new influx of refugees. The UN says its aid operation is “overwhelmed”.

Dozens of people were killed in Burkina Faso and Mali in ethnic or jihadist violence. They include 24 people gunned down in a church in northwestern Burkina Faso; jihadists were blamed for that attack. The deterioration in security comes after France promised to send another 600 troops to help stabilise the region.

Government forces in Cameroon were blamed for an attack that killed 22 civilians including 14 children in an English-speaking region. The government said the incident was an “unfortunate accident” during a firefight with rebels.

Terror on the streets

A gunman went on a shooting spree in the German city of Hanau, killing at least ten people and himself. The suspect was reported to have published racist videos and manifestos before the attack. Xenophobic terrorism in Germany appears to be growing; earlier this month police arrested 12 men suspected of planning attacks on mosques.

The British government set out plans to overhaul the immigration system. Workers from EU countries would be treated the same as non-EU workers if the plan becomes law. Fewer low-skilled migrants would be admitted, though the definition of “skilled” would expand. See article.

A Dutch appeals court reinstated an international court’s ruling that Russia owes $50bn to the shareholders of Yukos, an oil company it bankrupted and dismantled in 2003-07. The firm’s seizure was a battle between President Vladimir Putin and Mikhail Khodorkovsky, the CEO of Yukos, who had political ambitions. Russia will appeal against the verdict to the Dutch supreme court. See article.

A Turkish court acquitted a group of civic activists who took part in protests to save a park in Istanbul from development in 2013 of conspiring to overthrow the government. President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s repression of civil society worsened after the Gezi Park demonstrations. Prosecutors immediately re-arrested one of the activists on charges of taking part in an attempted coup in 2016. See article.

Real Life. Real News. Real Voices

Help us tell more of the stories that matter

Become a founding member

No hiding place

Despite a fall in daily numbers of newly confirmed infections, many places in China maintained tight controls to curb the spread of covid-19. In Wuhan, where the new coronavirus was first discovered, officials banned outdoor activities. Beijing required anyone entering from another province to undergo 14 days of quarantine. In Japan, the quarantine of a cruise ship, the Diamond Princess, wound down, with hundreds of passengers allowed to leave. Over 600 others had been infected with the virus; two people died. Russia all but barred visits by Chinese citizens. See article.

China announced the expulsion of three China-based correspondents of the Wall Street Journal. It said this was in response to the newspaper’s publication of an opinion piece under the headline “China is the real sick man of Asia”. A day earlier, America designated five Chinese state-linked news organisations as “foreign missions”.

Afghanistan’s electoral commission announced the results of the presidential election, five months after the vote was held. It said the incumbent, Ashraf Ghani, had won with 50.6% of the vote, narrowly avoiding a run-off. His closest rival, Abdullah Abdullah, dismissed the results as fraudulent and declared himself the winner. See article.

Time for a haircut

IMF officials held a round of talks with Argentina. The IMF said the country’s debt position was now “unsustainable”, meaning that private creditors must make a “meaningful contribution”. The IMF expects Argentina to repay the money it lent the government in full.

In Canada a protest by indigenous groups and environmentalists against a proposed pipeline to transport gas to the Pacific coast shut one of the country’s busiest rail routes, disrupting passenger and freight trains. See article.

Jair Bolsonaro, Brazil’s president, appointed General Walter Braga as his new chief of staff, bringing to nine the number of men in the 22-member cabinet who come from the armed forces. Mr Bolsonaro is a former army captain. He has remarked that the third floor of his presidential office “is now completely militarised”.

All those military minds in the presidential palace are trained on the biggest threat to Brazil in the next 20 years: France. A leaked document from the defence ministry suggested that although China, Russia and even Venezuela could be considered bigger menaces, the top brass is worried that France might try to interfere in the Amazon, possibly launching an invasion from next door French Guiana. France is Brazil’s main military partner.

This article appeared in the The world this week section of the print edition under the headline “Politics this week”

Subscribe to the newsletter news

We hate SPAM and promise to keep your email address safe


Uncategorized

Politics this week

The WHO said that most new cases of covid-19, a novel type of coronavirus, are now being reported outside China. The number of cases surged in South Korea; Italy recorded hundreds of infections, more than in any country outside Asia; and there were worries that Iran was underreporting the spread of the epidemic within its…

Politics this week thumbnail

The WHO said that most new cases of covid-19, a novel type of coronavirus, are now being reported outside China. The number of cases surged in South Korea; Italy recorded hundreds of infections, more than in any country outside Asia; and there were worries that Iran was underreporting the spread of the epidemic within its borders. Iran’s deputy health minister tested positive for the disease. See article.

China postponed the annual sessions of its rubber-stamp parliament because of concerns about the outbreak of covid-19. The meetings had been due to start in Beijing in March and involve thousands of delegates. Despite a fall in the daily numbers of new cases in China, Xi Jinping, the president, said the epidemic was “still grim and complex”.

A Chinese court sentenced Gui Minhai, the co-owner of a bookshop in Hong Kong that sold gossipy works about China’s leaders, to ten years in prison for “illegally providing intelligence overseas”. Mr Gui is a Swedish citizen who is also claimed by China as its national. His detention has fuelled widespread alarm in Hong Kong about the erosion of political freedoms.

Mahathir Mohamad resigned as prime minister of Malaysia, after his own party, Bersatu, decided to leave the ruling coalition. He remains in office as a caretaker. Anwar Ibrahim, his long-time rival and leader of Parti Keadilan Rakyat, the biggest party in the coalition, has put himself forward as a replacement. It is unclear whether either man has the support of most MPs. See article.

The Afghan army, the insurgents of the Taliban and NATO forces all pledged to observe a week-long “reduction in violence” in Afghanistan’s civil war. If it holds until February 28th, America and the Taliban will sign a peace deal in Qatar on February 29th. See article.

Thailand’s constitutional court disbanded Future Forward, the country’s third-biggest political party, and banned its leaders from politics. It is the eighth party the court has dissolved since 2006. See article.

Narendra Modi, the prime minister of India, summoned a crowd of hundreds of thousands to cheer for Donald Trump. But the American president’s visit was marred by communal riots in Delhi, which claimed 33 lives. See article.

Taur Matan Ruak, the prime minister of East Timor, resigned after parliament voted down his budget. The president must now decide whether to name another prime minister or call elections.

Foreign policymaking

Boris Johnson, Britain’s prime minister, announced a wide-ranging review of the country’s place in the world post-Brexit that seeks “innovative ways” to push overseas interests. Outside experts will be used to challenge “traditional Whitehall assumptions”, a nod to Dominic Cummings, Mr Johnson’s powerful special adviser, who has clashed with civil servants. Mr Cummings has criticised waste in the Ministry of Defence.

Sajid Javid, who resigned as Britain’s chancellor of the exchequer after a skirmish with Mr Cummings, attacked a move to align the Treasury more closely with thinking in the prime minister’s office. Mr Javid said that this was not in the national interest.

The race to be the next leader of Germany’s ruling Christian Democrats, and probable chancellor after Angela Merkel quits next year, now has only three runners. Armin Laschet, the premier of North Rhine-Westphalia, got a big boost when Jens Spahn, the up-and-coming federal health minister, said he would not contest the race, but would support him instead.

Real Life. Real News. Real Voices

Help us tell more of the stories that matter

Become a founding member

Residents of the Greek islands of Lesbos and Chios fought with riot police in an attempt to stop an expansion of detention camps to house more migrants arriving mostly from the Middle East via Turkey.

Degrees of brutality

Hosni Mubarak, who ruled Egypt for three decades, died. The former despot was toppled during the Arab spring of 2011, amid protests over poverty and his repressive rule. He faced trial for corruption and murder, but mostly avoided punishment. Many Egyptians expressed nostalgia for Mr Mubarak, who ruled with a lighter touch than the current dictator, Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi. See article.

Hardliners won parliamentary elections in Iran, scooping three-quarters of the seats. The regime claimed a mandate for its confrontational stance towards America. But thousands of moderates and reformers were barred from running and, as a result, turnout was the lowest in a parliamentary election since the Islamic revolution in 1979. See article.

Faure Gnassingbé, the president of Togo, won another term in an election marred by irregularities. Mr Gnassingbé has been in office since 2005, when he took over from his father, who had first seized power in 1967.

The police in a state

A strike by police in Ceará, in north-eastern Brazil, led to a sharp rise in the number of murders in the state. At least 170 people have died since police stopped work on February 19th in a row over pay. A senator, Cid Gomes, was shot as he drove a digger towards striking police. The government has sent in the army.

Protests by police in Haiti against poor working conditions led to battles between them and the army. At least one soldier died. The country’s Carnival celebration was cancelled.

Bolivia’s Supreme Electoral Tribunal barred Evo Morales, a former president, from running for a seat in the Senate in elections due in May. Mr Morales left office in November after Bolivians protested against his re-election.

Her day in court

Harvey Weinstein was found guilty of two of the charges brought against him in New York: of rape (by having sex with a woman against her will) and of forcing oral sex on a woman. He was acquitted of three charges, including the most serious. Scores of other women have accused him of sexual misconduct. See article.

The latest Democratic debate produced the usual fireworks. It was the last to be held before the South Carolina primary and Super Tuesday, when Democrats in 14 states will vote on who they want to be their presidential candidate. Bernie Sanders remains the firm favourite following his decisive win in Nevada. See article.

Meanwhile, it was reported that Russia is meddling in the primaries to get Mr Sanders elected, and is also stepping up plans to interfere in the general election to re-elect Donald Trump. So it is a win-win situation for the Kremlin if either Mr Sanders or Mr Trump is victorious in November. See article.

This article appeared in the The world this week section of the print edition under the headline “Politics this week”

Subscribe to the newsletter news

We hate SPAM and promise to keep your email address safe


Uncategorized

Politics this week

A general election in Ireland produced a shock win for Sinn Fein, formerly the political wing of the IRA, a terrorist group. The party took the most first-choice votes, but ended up coming second in terms of seats in the Dail (parliament). Ireland now faces weeks or months of negotiations to produce a new government,…

Politics this week thumbnail

A general election in Ireland produced a shock win for Sinn Fein, formerly the political wing of the IRA, a terrorist group. The party took the most first-choice votes, but ended up coming second in terms of seats in the Dail (parliament). Ireland now faces weeks or months of negotiations to produce a new government, which might bring Sinn Fein to power for the first time, as part of a coalition. See article.

Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer abruptly resigned as leader of Germany’s ruling Christian Democrats, and said she will not be a candidate to succeed Angela Merkel as the country’s chancellor. This followed a damaging row over the party’s conduct in the eastern state of Thuringia, where it in effect ended up working with the xenophobic Alternative for Germany. See article.

Boris Johnson, Britain’s prime minister, gave the final approval to continue HS2, a high-speed rail link between London and northern cities. The project was on hold after the costs rose above £100bn ($130bn). Mr Johnson also announced other ambitious transport plans outside London, such as road improvements, 4,000 zero-emission buses and “Mini Holland” schemes to promote bike lanes in town centres.

The military option

El Salvador’s president, Nayib Bukele, brought rifle-toting troops into the country’s National Assembly to force it to approve a $109m loan to finance his crime-fighting programme. Lawmakers decried an “attempted coup”. He eventually left the building. See article.

Adriano da Nóbrega, the reputed head of a paramilitary group accused of killing Marielle Franco, a left-wing city councillor in Rio de Janeiro in 2018, was himself killed. Police in the north-eastern Brazilian state of Bahia say Mr da Nóbrega opened fire when they tried to arrest him and was shot dead. Opposition politicians speculated that he was killed to keep him quiet.

Pope Francis decided against ordaining married men in the Amazon, a region that has a shortage of Catholic priests. Rather than weakening the church’s commitment to priestly celibacy, he used an “Apostolic Exhortation” to urge bishops to “be more generous in encouraging those who display a missionary vocation to opt for the Amazon region”.

Former front-runners fall foul

Bernie Sanders won the New Hampshire primary, but not by much. Pete Buttigieg was a close second and Amy Klobuchar, another moderate, came third. Elizabeth Warren and Joe Biden trailed far behind. The next contest in the race for the Democratic presidential nomination is in Nevada on February 22nd. See article.

With the ink barely dry on his impeachment acquittal in the Senate, Donald Trump took his revenge on witnesses who had testified to the House. Lieutenant-Colonel Alexander Vindman, a point man on Ukraine, was booted off the National Security Council and marched out of the White House. Gordon Sondland was dismissed as America’s ambassador to the European Union.

Four prosecutors who recommended a stiff prison term for Roger Stone, a confidant of Mr Trump who has been convicted on charges relating to the Mueller probe, resigned from the case after the Justice Department pushed for a lighter punishment. Mr Trump had earlier tweeted that he thought the prosecutors’ recommendation was “horrible and unfair”.

See you in court (maybe)

The new Sudanese government said it would hand over Omar al-Bashir to face war-crime charges before the International Criminal Court. Mr Bashir was deposed as Sudan’s president in April last year amid huge street protests against his bloody regime, which was behind the genocide in Darfur. When or where he will appear before ICC judges is unclear. See article.

The White House confirmed that the leader of al-Qaeda’s offshoot in the Arabian peninsula had been killed. Qasim al-Raymi was hit by a missile in Yemen, where his group carried out most of its attacks. It was also behind the massacre at the Charlie Hebdo magazine in Paris in 2015.

Five more Turkish troops were killed by the Syrian army as it continued its offensive against rebels in Idlib province, the last opposition holdout. Turkish troops are in the area under an agreement trying to de-escalate the conflict. Turkey struck back at Syrian positions.

Real Life. Real News. Real Voices

Help us tell more of the stories that matter

Become a founding member

The new normal

The lunar new-year holiday, extended in many Chinese provinces because of the spread of a new coronavirus, officially ended. But many businesses remained closed because of quarantine and travel restrictions. Among the fatalities was a doctor, Li Wenliang, who had been reprimanded in January by police in Wuhan, the centre of the epidemic, for revealing the threat. Many people mourned for him online, calling for freedom of speech. The Communist Party reshuffled the leadership of Hubei province, which contains Wuhan. It also demoted the top official responsible for Hong Kong affairs.

Rodrigo Duterte, the president of the Philippines, ended an agreement making it easy for American soldiers to visit the country for joint exercises. Without evidence, he accused American forces of bringing nuclear weapons to the country. He also denounced America’s decision to cancel the visa of Ronald dela Rosa, an ally who led his bloodthirsty war on drugs.

India’s ruling Bharatiya Janata Party was thrashed in elections in Delhi. The opposition retained its lopsided majority in the local assembly, following months of protests against the BJP’s anti-Muslim amendments to citizenship laws. See article.

The EU suspended preferential tariffs for $1bn-worth of Cambodian exports because of Cambodia’s suppression of democracy. Hun Sen, its strongman prime minister, said his country would not “bow down” to foreigners.

An off-duty soldier killed 29 people in a shooting spree in the city of Nakhon Ratchasima in Thailand. He was apparently enraged by a financial dispute with the family of his commanding officer.

Mobs attacked villages in Kazakhstan inhabited by Dungans, a tiny ethnic group with origins in China, after rumours spread that Dungans had attacked an elderly Kazakh man. Eight people died, scores were injured and thousands fled to nearby Kyrgyzstan. See article.

“Parasite”, a South Korean comedy thriller,was the surprise winner at the Oscars. It beat the bookies’ favourite, “1917”, to scoop best picture, the first foreign film to do so, and best director. Hollywood stars spouted platitudes about diversity and stealing baby cows. The ceremony had its worst-ever viewing figures. See article.

This article appeared in the The world this week section of the print edition under the headline “Politics this week”

Subscribe to the newsletter news

We hate SPAM and promise to keep your email address safe


Uncategorized

Politics this week

The American Senate acquitted Donald Trump of the impeachment charges laid against him, bringing a swift end to the trial of the president after the Republican leadership decided that no witnesses should be called. Mitt Romney was the only Republican to vote for conviction, denouncing Mr Trump for “an appalling abuse of public trust”. See…

Politics this week thumbnail

The American Senate acquitted Donald Trump of the impeachment charges laid against him, bringing a swift end to the trial of the president after the Republican leadership decided that no witnesses should be called. Mitt Romney was the only Republican to vote for conviction, denouncing Mr Trump for “an appalling abuse of public trust”. See article.

The day before the verdict Mr Trump used his state-of-the-union speech to laud a “great American comeback” under his administration. Congress was in a poisonous mood. Mr Trump refused to shake the hand of Nancy Pelosi, the Democratic Speaker. She ripped up a copy of his speech after he finished speaking.

The Iowa caucuses, the first stage in the race to nominate presidential candidates, were a mess. The state’s Democrats cast their votes for a champion to take on Donald Trump. But owing to a dodgy app and an insanely complex voting system, they struggled to count the results. Both Pete Buttigieg, a bright young moderate, and Bernie Sanders, an ageing socialist, claimed victory. The race now moves on to New Hampshire. See article.

The Trump administration added Eritrea, Kyrgyzstan, Myanmar, Nigeria, Sudan and Tanzania to a list of countries from which immigration to the United States is severely curtailed. The restrictions were imposed for failing to meet security criteria. The government said it was confident the countries would make “meaningful improvements” so that the curbs could be lifted.

Invading the sanctuary

A tour guide at a Mexican reserve for Monarch butterflies was found dead. Last month the sanctuary’s manager, Homero Gómez, disappeared (see Obituary). His body was later found in a well. Environmentalists suspect that the two men were murdered by loggers, who operate illegally near the sanctuary in the western state of Michoacán. In a separate incident in the state, nine people were shot dead at an amusement arcade, probably by a drug gang.

A Canadian court rejected a challenge by indigenous groups to the government’s plan to expand the capacity of the Trans Mountain oil pipeline, which stretches from Alberta to the west coast. The court ruled that the government, which owns the existing pipeline, had carried out reasonable consultations with indigenous peoples.

The Wuhan ban

The number of infections and deaths from the Wuhan virus continued to rise. More than 99% of the cases are in China. Several countries, including America and Australia, banned the entry of non-citizens who have recently visited China. Hong Kong announced that visitors from the Chinese mainland would have to undergo quarantine for 14 days; medical workers went on strike, calling for a complete closure of the Hong Kong-mainland border. A Chinese diplomat accused other countries of over-reacting by barring travellers from China. See here, here and here.

India’s government unveiled a budget without any big increase in spending or cut in taxes, dashing investors’ hopes that it might try to stimulate the flagging economy. GDP grew by 4.8% last year, a big drop from 6.8% in 2018.

The vice-president-elect of Taiwan, William Lai Ching-te, said he would attend the National Prayer Breakfast in Washington, DC. He would be the most senior Taiwanese official to visit Washington since America established formal diplomatic relations with China in 1979.

Movement for democracy

Malawi’s constitutional court nullified last year’s election, saying there had been “systematic and grave” flaws in the process. It is only the second time in African history that judges have overturned an iffy general election. The court ordered that a re-run be held within 150 days. President Peter Mutharika said he would appeal against the ruling. See here and here.

The wife of Lesotho’s prime minister was charged with murdering his previous wife. Maesaiah Thabane surrendered to police. The prime minister, Thomas Thabane, has also been questioned over the killing, which occurred during a heated divorce.

Real Life. Real News. Real Voices

Help us tell more of the stories that matter

Become a founding member

Daniel arap Moi, Kenya’s former strongman, died at the age of 95. Mr Moi led Kenya from 1978 to 2002, a period of relative stability. But he was also responsible for repression, corruption and ethnic division. See article.

Eight Turkish soldiers were killed in the Syrian province of Idlib during shelling by the Syrian army. In response, Turkey claimed to have “neutralised” 76 Syrian troops. Idlib is the last stronghold of the Syrian opposition. Turkey fears that if it falls people will flee over the Turkish border.

Muhammad Tawfiq Allawi, a former communications minister, was named Iraq’s prime minister. Mr Allawi’s predecessor, Adel Abdul-Mahdi, resigned in November amid large anti-government protests during which hundreds of people have been killed.

Iran stopped co-operating with Ukraine’s inquiry into the downing of a Ukrainian passenger jet by an Iranian missile over Tehran last month. The decision was made after Ukrainian TV aired an exchange between Iranian air-traffic control and a stunned pilot who saw the explosion. Iran at first tried to cover up the incident.

They think it’s all over

Boris Johnson’s government finally pushed Brexit over the line, but events to mark the occasion only underlined the lingering divisions between Leave and Remain supporters. The prime minister’s hope for a Canada-style trade deal was given short shrift, as the European Union signalled that any ambitious agreement would require Britain to commit itself to social and labour protections similar to the EU’s. The pound wobbled. See article.

The British government set a deadline for the end of February to pass emergency legislation removing the default that convicted terrorists are released after serving half their sentence. This follows the stabbing of two people in London by a jihadist who had just been released. A similar fatal attack last November raised questions about the effectiveness of rehabilitation for violent radicals. Six inmates are due for release in the coming weeks.

A minority administration under the Free Democrats was voted in by the German state of Thuringia, in eastern Germany. For the first time, a state premier took office thanks to support from the xenophobic Alternative for Germany. The vice-chancellor of the federal government said this distasteful alliance threatened to break up the ruling “grand coalition”. See article.

This article appeared in the The world this week section of the print edition under the headline “Politics this week”

Subscribe to the newsletter news

We hate SPAM and promise to keep your email address safe


Uncategorized

Politics this week

The American Senate acquitted Donald Trump of the impeachment charges laid against him, bringing a swift end to the trial of the president after the Republican leadership decided that no witnesses should be called. Mitt Romney was the only Republican to vote for conviction, denouncing Mr Trump for “an appalling abuse of public trust”. See…

Politics this week thumbnail

The American Senate acquitted Donald Trump of the impeachment charges laid against him, bringing a swift end to the trial of the president after the Republican leadership decided that no witnesses should be called. Mitt Romney was the only Republican to vote for conviction, denouncing Mr Trump for “an appalling abuse of public trust”. See article.

The day before the verdict Mr Trump used his state-of-the-union speech to laud a “great American comeback” under his administration. Congress was in a poisonous mood. Mr Trump refused to shake the hand of Nancy Pelosi, the Democratic Speaker. She ripped up a copy of his speech after he finished speaking.

The Iowa caucuses, the first stage in the race to nominate presidential candidates, were a mess. The state’s Democrats cast their votes for a champion to take on Donald Trump. But owing to a dodgy app and an insanely complex voting system, they struggled to count the results. Both Pete Buttigieg, a bright young moderate, and Bernie Sanders, an ageing socialist, claimed victory. The race now moves on to New Hampshire. See article.

The Trump administration added Eritrea, Kyrgyzstan, Myanmar, Nigeria, Sudan and Tanzania to a list of countries from which immigration to the United States is severely curtailed. The restrictions were imposed for failing to meet security criteria. The government said it was confident the countries would make “meaningful improvements” so that the curbs could be lifted.

Invading the sanctuary

A tour guide at a Mexican reserve for Monarch butterflies was found dead. Last month the sanctuary’s manager, Homero Gómez, disappeared (see Obituary). His body was later found in a well. Environmentalists suspect that the two men were murdered by loggers, who operate illegally near the sanctuary in the western state of Michoacán. In a separate incident in the state, nine people were shot dead at an amusement arcade, probably by a drug gang.

A Canadian court rejected a challenge by indigenous groups to the government’s plan to expand the capacity of the Trans Mountain oil pipeline, which stretches from Alberta to the west coast. The court ruled that the government, which owns the existing pipeline, had carried out reasonable consultations with indigenous peoples.

The Wuhan ban

The number of infections and deaths from the Wuhan virus continued to rise. More than 99% of the cases are in China. Several countries, including America and Australia, banned the entry of non-citizens who have recently visited China. Hong Kong announced that visitors from the Chinese mainland would have to undergo quarantine for 14 days; medical workers went on strike, calling for a complete closure of the Hong Kong-mainland border. A Chinese diplomat accused other countries of over-reacting by barring travellers from China. See here, here and here.

India’s government unveiled a budget without any big increase in spending or cut in taxes, dashing investors’ hopes that it might try to stimulate the flagging economy. GDP grew by 4.8% last year, a big drop from 6.8% in 2018.

The vice-president-elect of Taiwan, William Lai Ching-te, said he would attend the National Prayer Breakfast in Washington, DC. He would be the most senior Taiwanese official to visit Washington since America established formal diplomatic relations with China in 1979.

Movement for democracy

Malawi’s constitutional court nullified last year’s election, saying there had been “systematic and grave” flaws in the process. It is only the second time in African history that judges have overturned an iffy general election. The court ordered that a re-run be held within 150 days. President Peter Mutharika said he would appeal against the ruling. See here and here.

The wife of Lesotho’s prime minister was charged with murdering his previous wife. Maesaiah Thabane surrendered to police. The prime minister, Thomas Thabane, has also been questioned over the killing, which occurred during a heated divorce.

Real Life. Real News. Real Voices

Help us tell more of the stories that matter

Become a founding member

Daniel arap Moi, Kenya’s former strongman, died at the age of 95. Mr Moi led Kenya from 1978 to 2002, a period of relative stability. But he was also responsible for repression, corruption and ethnic division. See article.

Eight Turkish soldiers were killed in the Syrian province of Idlib during shelling by the Syrian army. In response, Turkey claimed to have “neutralised” 76 Syrian troops. Idlib is the last stronghold of the Syrian opposition. Turkey fears that if it falls people will flee over the Turkish border.

Muhammad Tawfiq Allawi, a former communications minister, was named Iraq’s prime minister. Mr Allawi’s predecessor, Adel Abdul-Mahdi, resigned in November amid large anti-government protests during which hundreds of people have been killed.

Iran stopped co-operating with Ukraine’s inquiry into the downing of a Ukrainian passenger jet by an Iranian missile over Tehran last month. The decision was made after Ukrainian TV aired an exchange between Iranian air-traffic control and a stunned pilot who saw the explosion. Iran at first tried to cover up the incident.

They think it’s all over

Boris Johnson’s government finally pushed Brexit over the line, but events to mark the occasion only underlined the lingering divisions between Leave and Remain supporters. The prime minister’s hope for a Canada-style trade deal was given short shrift, as the European Union signalled that any ambitious agreement would require Britain to commit itself to social and labour protections similar to the EU’s. The pound wobbled. See article.

The British government set a deadline for the end of February to pass emergency legislation removing the default that convicted terrorists are released after serving half their sentence. This follows the stabbing of two people in London by a jihadist who had just been released. A similar fatal attack last November raised questions about the effectiveness of rehabilitation for violent radicals. Six inmates are due for release in the coming weeks.

A minority administration under the Free Democrats was voted in by the German state of Thuringia, in eastern Germany. For the first time, a state premier took office thanks to support from the xenophobic Alternative for Germany. The vice-chancellor of the federal government said this distasteful alliance threatened to break up the ruling “grand coalition”. See article.

This article appeared in the The world this week section of the print edition under the headline “Politics this week”

Subscribe to the newsletter news

We hate SPAM and promise to keep your email address safe


Uncategorized

Politics this week

The opening arguments were heard in the Senate trial that will decide whether to remove Donald Trump from power following his impeachment by the House of Representatives. The president faces two charges: abuse of power, for pressing the Ukrainian government to investigate a political rival, and obstruction of Congress, for directing officials to ignore subpoenas.…

Politics this week thumbnail

The opening arguments were heard in the Senate trial that will decide whether to remove Donald Trump from power following his impeachment by the House of Representatives. The president faces two charges: abuse of power, for pressing the Ukrainian government to investigate a political rival, and obstruction of Congress, for directing officials to ignore subpoenas. Mr Trump’s defence team includes Ken Starr, whose investigations led to Bill Clinton’s impeachment, and Alan Dershowitz, who helped defend O.J. Simpson. They argue the charges “do not remotely approach the constitutional threshold for removing a president from office”. See article.

Investigating the investigator

Brazilian prosecutors asked a judge to indict Glenn Greenwald, an American journalist, for helping a group that had hacked the phones of judges and lawyers. Mr Greenwald used messages between judicial officials, including Sergio Moro, who is now Brazil’s justice minister, in stories that revealed inappropriate collaboration in pursuing corruption cases. Mr Greenwald says he obeyed the law and has called the investigation an attack on press freedom. See article.

Roberto Alvim was sacked as Brazil’s “special secretary of culture”, after he appeared in a video outlining the mission of his office in terms that seemed to echo language used by Joseph Goebbels, Hitler’s propaganda chief. Mr Alvim said any similarity with Goebbels’s words was a “rhetorical coincidence”. Jair Bolsonaro, Brazil’s president, said the speech was “unfortunate”.

Honduras ended the mandate of the Mission to Support the Fight Against Corruption and Impunity, which is backed by the Organisation of American States. The mission helped the attorney-general’s office prosecute 133 people for graft. The government said it had committed “excesses”.

Prosecutors in Mexico questioned 53 policemen in connection with the disappearance of Homero Gómez, who manages a habitat for monarch butterflies. Environmentalists fear that Mr Gómez has been harmed by loggers.

Social-media influencer

UN experts called for an investigation into allegations that the crown prince of Saudi Arabia, Muhammad bin Salman, hacked the phone of Jeff Bezos, the boss of Amazon. A WhatsApp account belonging to Prince Muhammad has been implicated in the breach. It may have been an effort to “influence, if not silence” the Washington Post’s reporting on Saudi Arabia, said the experts. Mr Bezos owns the Post. See article.

At a summit in Berlin foreign powers promised to stop interfering in Libya’s civil war. But forces aligned with the government in Tripoli, which is supported by Turkey, and those of Khalifa Haftar, who is backed by Egypt, Russia and the United Arab Emirates, continued fighting. General Haftar’s men also shut down key ports and oil facilities. See article.

Iran threatened to quit the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty if Britain, France and Germany refer it to the UN Security Council over breaches to the nuclear deal they signed in 2015. The only country ever to withdraw from the NPT was North Korea, which then tested nuclear weapons.

A missile attack on a military training camp in Yemen killed 100 soldiers. The government blamed the Houthi rebels, who control the north. The Houthis did not claim responsibility.

Lebanon formed a new government, ending a months-long political deadlock. But protests continued in Beirut over corruption and an economy in crisis. In Iraq anti-government protests resumed after weeks of relative calm. Several people were reportedly killed and scores wounded in the unrest in Baghdad and other cities.

Some 700,000 leaked documents gave clues as to how Isabel dos Santos became Africa’s richest woman. She is the daughter of Angola’s former president. Angolan prosecutors accused her of embezzlement and moneylaundering. Ms dos Santos, who now splits her time between London and Dubai, denied the allegations.

Real Life. Real News. Real Voices

Help us tell more of the stories that matter

Become a founding member

No halfway house, just out

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle finalised a deal about their independent future away from duties for the British royal family. In a statement the palace said that Harry and his wife will not use their HRH titles and will not represent the monarchy in any official capacity. The couple also confirmed “their wish” to repay the taxpayers’ money spent on refurbishing their home in Britain. The couple now also live in Canada.

Vladimir Putin appointed a new cabinet in Russia, following his declaration of sweeping political reforms that could let him stay in power after his term as president expires in 2024. Most of the cabinet retained their jobs, including Sergei Lavrov as foreign minister. The new prime minister is Mikhail Mishustin, a more pliable technocrat than Dmitry Medvedev, who has resigned.

Luigi Di Maio resigned as head of Italy’s Five Star Movement, while remaining foreign minister. The quixotic populist party finished first in an election in 2018 but has since lost half its support. It now ranks behind the nationalist Lega and centre-left Democrats.

Spreading rapidly

Hundreds of people in China were confirmed to have been infected by a newly identified form of coronavirus, a type that includes the one responsible for a deadly outbreak of SARS in 2003. Most of the cases have been found in the city of Wuhan, where the outbreak began. Seventeen people with the virus, which can cause pneumonia, have died. Travel restrictions were imposed on Wuhan and two nearby cities. See article.

A Chinese court sentenced a former head of Interpol, Meng Hongwei, to 13-and-a-half years in prison. Mr Meng was convicted of taking more than $2m in bribes. He was arrested in 2018 while on a trip back to China from France.

The newly appointed head of the Chinese government’s office in Hong Kong, Luo Huining, strongly hinted that the territory should pass legislation relating to national security. He said current loopholes in the “national-security mechanism” could allow “external forces” to engage in infiltration and sabotage.

The International Court of Justice in The Hague issued an interim ruling in the Gambia’s complaint against Myanmar for genocide. It ordered Myanmar to take measures to prevent further harm to Rohingyas, a Muslim minority that were victims of an army-led pogrom in 2017. The decision comes despite the personal appearance of Aung San Suu Kyi, Myanmar’s leader, before the court in December to argue against any such order. The court has no power to enforce its ruling.

This article appeared in the The world this week section of the print edition under the headline “Politics this week”

Subscribe to the newsletter news

We hate SPAM and promise to keep your email address safe


Uncategorized

Politics this week

A new coronavirus continued to spread rapidly in China. Several large cities were locked down in Hubei province, whose capital, Wuhan, is where the virus broke out. Streets emptied; people stayed at home. However, Wuhan’s mayor said that 5m people had left the city before the quarantine was imposed: some for their usual Chinese New…

Politics this week thumbnail

A new coronavirus continued to spread rapidly in China. Several large cities were locked down in Hubei province, whose capital, Wuhan, is where the virus broke out. Streets emptied; people stayed at home. However, Wuhan’s mayor said that 5m people had left the city before the quarantine was imposed: some for their usual Chinese New Year trips, others to escape the virus. Some airlines cancelled flights to and from China. See article.

Many countries, including America, Britain and Japan, took steps to evacuate their citizens from China. Some businesses scaled back or closed their operations in the country. Cases of Wuhan virus have been detected outside China. Human-to-human transmissions were reported in Germany, Japan, Vietnam and Taiwan. Stockmarkets shivered when it became clear that the disease is spreading rapidly; the S&P 500 had its worst day since October.

India partially restored internet access in the Kashmir valley, where it has been blocked since August. But the authorities are only allowing Kashmiris to visit 301 “whitelisted” websites. Social-media services remain banned and mobile-data speeds have deliberately been reduced. The government says the measures are needed to impede terrorism.

Authorities in Pakistan arrested Manzoor Pashteen, the head of the Pushtun Protection Movement, which has campaigned for justice for victims of military abuses. He has been charged with sedition, among other crimes. Several supporters protesting against his detention were also arrested. See article.

Bolton wonderers

Democrats pushed their case for witnesses to give evidence in the impeachment trial of Donald Trump. They hoped to call John Bolton, the president’s former national security adviser, who has claimed in a forthcoming book that Mr Trump explicitly withheld military aid from Ukraine to press its government to investigate Joe Biden and his son. This claim is a central plank of the case against Mr Trump, which he denies. See article.

Possibly to take his mind off the impeachment trial, and shore up his support among ardent pro-lifers, Mr Trump gave a speech at the annual March for Life anti-abortion rally in Washington, the first president to do so.

In a 5-4 vote, the Supreme Court let stand a new immigration rule that could stop legal migrants from becoming permanent residents if they use public-welfare programmes, such as food stamps. See article.

Up the garden path

Donald Trump’s peace plan for Israel and the Palestinians gave Israel most of what it wanted, such as a green light to annex occupied lands in the West Bank straight away. The Palestinians got conditional promises of something like a state and billions of dollars in investment at some point in the future. They instantly rejected the deal. See article.

The American embassy in Baghdad was struck by three rockets, wounding three people. America has blamed Iran and its proxies for an increase in attacks on American forces and facilities in Iraq.

Heavy fighting broke out in Libya between forces loyal to the UN-backed government, which is supported by Turkey, and soldiers under the command of Khalifa Haftar, who is supported by Russia, Egypt and the United Arab Emirates. Despite an arms embargo, weapons are pouring in.

The biggest infestation of locusts for at least 25 years wrought havoc on east Africa. Heavy rains last year created ideal conditions for the pests. An adult locust can eat its own weight each day. See article.

Never forget

Real Life. Real News. Real Voices

Help us tell more of the stories that matter

Become a founding member

Holocaust survivors and international leaders gathered at the former Auschwitz death camp in Poland to mark the 75th anniversary of its liberation by Allied troops, amid calls to fight resurgent anti-Semitism. The presidents of Israel and Poland led the commemoration. About 1.1m people, mostly Jews, were murdered at Auschwitz-Birkenau, the Nazis’ biggest death camp. See article.

Regional elections in Italy were a setback for Matteo Salvini, leader of the populist Northern League. He had hoped to win a big victory in Emilia-Romagna, but did not. See article.

The German cabinet agreed to cut the country’s greenhouse-gas emissions to 55% of their level in 1990 by 2030. The plan aims to end reliance on coal by 2038. However, it undermines its own objectives by also shutting all nuclear plants by 2022. Coalmining regions are to get some €40bn ($44bn) in compensation. The nationalist Alternative for Germany party (AfD) had been making electoral gains in such places.

Britain prepared to leave the European Union on January 31st, after the European Parliament signed off Boris Johnson’s Brexit deal. It has taken three years of political instability (and three prime ministers) to move Britain into a transition period with the EU so that the details of separation can be finalised. The focus now shifts to a trade deal, but there are clear disagreements, over regulation for example, that are unlikely to be resolved within just 11 months. See article.

The Labour Party in Britain has learned little from its drubbing in December’s election, its worst result since 1935. The party’s ruling committee absolved Jeremy Corbyn, its leader, of any blame. Labour MPs on the campaign trail, and post-election polls, found that Mr Corbyn was by far the main reason voters were turned off by the party.

Not such a popular force

The largest party in Peru’s congress lost most of its seats in an election. Popular Force, a centre-right party led by Keiko Fujimori, the daughter of a jailed former president, won just 7% of the vote. This boosted the current president, Martín Vizcarra, who dissolved congress in September because it failed to enact anti-corruption reforms. Ms Fujimori returned to jail amid an investigation into allegations of illegal campaign funding. See article.

Jeanine Áñez, Bolivia’s interim president, announced that she would run for the presidency in May. A conservative former senator, she became president after Evo Morales quit in November. Critics of Ms Áñez say she should not run for office while also, as interim president, overseeing the election.

Conservationists spotted three Bolivian Cochran frogs, the first time they have been seen in 18 years. The internal organs of the vividly green frogs are visible through their abdomens and they weigh less than 100 grams (3.5 ounces). They were spotted in Carrasco National Park near Cochabamba, the site of a hydroelectric dam that is under construction.

This article appeared in the The world this week section of the print edition under the headline “Politics this week”

Subscribe to the newsletter news

We hate SPAM and promise to keep your email address safe


Uncategorized

Politics this week

The opening arguments were heard in the Senate trial that will decide whether to remove Donald Trump from power following his impeachment by the House of Representatives. The president faces two charges: abuse of power, for pressing the Ukrainian government to investigate a political rival, and obstruction of Congress, for directing officials to ignore subpoenas.…

Politics this week thumbnail

The opening arguments were heard in the Senate trial that will decide whether to remove Donald Trump from power following his impeachment by the House of Representatives. The president faces two charges: abuse of power, for pressing the Ukrainian government to investigate a political rival, and obstruction of Congress, for directing officials to ignore subpoenas. Mr Trump’s defence team includes Ken Starr, whose investigations led to Bill Clinton’s impeachment, and Alan Dershowitz, who helped defend O.J. Simpson. They argue the charges “do not remotely approach the constitutional threshold for removing a president from office”. See article.

Investigating the investigator

Brazilian prosecutors asked a judge to indict Glenn Greenwald, an American journalist, for helping a group that had hacked the phones of judges and lawyers. Mr Greenwald used messages between judicial officials, including Sergio Moro, who is now Brazil’s justice minister, in stories that revealed inappropriate collaboration in pursuing corruption cases. Mr Greenwald says he obeyed the law and has called the investigation an attack on press freedom. See article.

Roberto Alvim was sacked as Brazil’s “special secretary of culture”, after he appeared in a video outlining the mission of his office in terms that seemed to echo language used by Joseph Goebbels, Hitler’s propaganda chief. Mr Alvim said any similarity with Goebbels’s words was a “rhetorical coincidence”. Jair Bolsonaro, Brazil’s president, said the speech was “unfortunate”.

Honduras ended the mandate of the Mission to Support the Fight Against Corruption and Impunity, which is backed by the Organisation of American States. The mission helped the attorney-general’s office prosecute 133 people for graft. The government said it had committed “excesses”.

Prosecutors in Mexico questioned 53 policemen in connection with the disappearance of Homero Gómez, who manages a habitat for monarch butterflies. Environmentalists fear that Mr Gómez has been harmed by loggers.

Social-media influencer

UN experts called for an investigation into allegations that the crown prince of Saudi Arabia, Muhammad bin Salman, hacked the phone of Jeff Bezos, the boss of Amazon. A WhatsApp account belonging to Prince Muhammad has been implicated in the breach. It may have been an effort to “influence, if not silence” the Washington Post’s reporting on Saudi Arabia, said the experts. Mr Bezos owns the Post. See article.

At a summit in Berlin foreign powers promised to stop interfering in Libya’s civil war. But forces aligned with the government in Tripoli, which is supported by Turkey, and those of Khalifa Haftar, who is backed by Egypt, Russia and the United Arab Emirates, continued fighting. General Haftar’s men also shut down key ports and oil facilities. See article.

Iran threatened to quit the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty if Britain, France and Germany refer it to the UN Security Council over breaches to the nuclear deal they signed in 2015. The only country ever to withdraw from the NPT was North Korea, which then tested nuclear weapons.

A missile attack on a military training camp in Yemen killed 100 soldiers. The government blamed the Houthi rebels, who control the north. The Houthis did not claim responsibility.

Lebanon formed a new government, ending a months-long political deadlock. But protests continued in Beirut over corruption and an economy in crisis. In Iraq anti-government protests resumed after weeks of relative calm. Several people were reportedly killed and scores wounded in the unrest in Baghdad and other cities.

Some 700,000 leaked documents gave clues as to how Isabel dos Santos became Africa’s richest woman. She is the daughter of Angola’s former president. Angolan prosecutors accused her of embezzlement and moneylaundering. Ms dos Santos, who now splits her time between London and Dubai, denied the allegations.

Real Life. Real News. Real Voices

Help us tell more of the stories that matter

Become a founding member

No halfway house, just out

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle finalised a deal about their independent future away from duties for the British royal family. In a statement the palace said that Harry and his wife will not use their HRH titles and will not represent the monarchy in any official capacity. The couple also confirmed “their wish��� to repay the taxpayers’ money spent on refurbishing their home in Britain. The couple now also live in Canada.

Vladimir Putin appointed a new cabinet in Russia, following his declaration of sweeping political reforms that could let him stay in power after his term as president expires in 2024. Most of the cabinet retained their jobs, including Sergei Lavrov as foreign minister. The new prime minister is Mikhail Mishustin, a more pliable technocrat than Dmitry Medvedev, who has resigned.

Luigi Di Maio resigned as head of Italy’s Five Star Movement, while remaining foreign minister. The quixotic populist party finished first in an election in 2018 but has since lost half its support. It now ranks behind the nationalist Lega and centre-left Democrats.

Spreading rapidly

Hundreds of people in China were confirmed to have been infected by a newly identified form of coronavirus, a type that includes the one responsible for a deadly outbreak of SARS in 2003. Most of the cases have been found in the city of Wuhan, where the outbreak began. Seventeen people with the virus, which can cause pneumonia, have died. Travel restrictions were imposed on Wuhan and two nearby cities. See article.

A Chinese court sentenced a former head of Interpol, Meng Hongwei, to 13-and-a-half years in prison. Mr Meng was convicted of taking more than $2m in bribes. He was arrested in 2018 while on a trip back to China from France.

The newly appointed head of the Chinese government’s office in Hong Kong, Luo Huining, strongly hinted that the territory should pass legislation relating to national security. He said current loopholes in the “national-security mechanism” could allow “external forces” to engage in infiltration and sabotage.

The International Court of Justice in The Hague issued an interim ruling in the Gambia’s complaint against Myanmar for genocide. It ordered Myanmar to take measures to prevent further harm to Rohingyas, a Muslim minority that were victims of an army-led pogrom in 2017. The decision comes despite the personal appearance of Aung San Suu Kyi, Myanmar’s leader, before the court in December to argue against any such order. The court has no power to enforce its ruling.

This article appeared in the The world this week section of the print edition under the headline “Politics this week”

Subscribe to the newsletter news

We hate SPAM and promise to keep your email address safe


Uncategorized

Politics this week

America’s assassination of Qassem Suleimani, Iran’s most prominent general, in a drone strike at Baghdad’s international airport threw the Middle East into crisis. Iran responded by firing more than 20 ballistic missiles at Iraqi military bases housing American troops. No deaths were reported. “Iran took and concluded proportionate measures in self-defence,” tweeted Muhammad Javad Zarif,…

Politics this week thumbnail

America’s assassination of Qassem Suleimani, Iran’s most prominent general, in a drone strike at Baghdad’s international airport threw the Middle East into crisis. Iran responded by firing more than 20 ballistic missiles at Iraqi military bases housing American troops. No deaths were reported. “Iran took and concluded proportionate measures in self-defence,” tweeted Muhammad Javad Zarif, Iran’s foreign minister. “We do not seek escalation or war.” But analysts think Iran might covertly retaliate against America in the future. See article.

Millions of mourners took to the streets across Iran to mark General Suleimani’s funeral. Before the burial in his home town of Kerman 50 people were killed in a stampede. See article.

Minutes after taking off from Tehran airport, and shortly after Iran fired its missiles, a Ukrainian airliner crashed killing all 176 people on board. It was not immediately clear what had brought down the plane, a Boeing 737.

Turkey’s parliament voted to send troops to Libya to protect the UN-backed Government of National Accord, which has been fighting an insurgency led by Khalifa Haftar. General Haftar is backed by Egypt, Russia and the United Arab Emirates. The Turkish and Russian presidents, Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Vladimir Putin, called for a ceasefire. See article.

Al-Shabab, a Somali jihadist group, attacked an air base in Kenya, killing three Americans. It was the first time al-Shabab had attacked a facility housing American troops outside Somalia. See article.

Facing justice

Jury selection began for the criminal trial of Harvey Weinstein in Manhattan. The former movie mogul is pleading not guilty to charges, including rape, brought by two women, one of whom is unnamed. Mr Weinstein has reached a settlement with around 30 women that ends their civil lawsuits.

John Bolton, a former national security adviser to Donald Trump, said he would be willing to testify at the impeachment trial of the president. The House has delayed presenting the formal articles of impeachment to the Senate amid a dispute over procedure, including whether to call any witnesses at all. See article.

Most of Puerto Rico was left without power after an earthquake of magnitude 6.4 hit the American territory.

Protests, protests, protests

In India a 24-hour general strike to highlight stagnating living conditions disrupted much of the country. This came amid demonstrations against the government’s new citizenship law for persecuted minorities, which excludes Muslims. Students across India also took to the streets in protest at the attack by a mob of masked men, said to be Hindu nationalists, on Jawaharlal Nehru University in Delhi. See article.

China’s central government replaced its most senior representative in Hong Kong, Wang Zhimin. His successor is Luo Huining, a senior but little known official with no direct experience of the territory. It is believed that Mr Wang was blamed for filing overly optimistic reports that downplayed anti-Communist Party sentiment among Hong Kongers.

Almost 60 cases of pneumonia in the Chinese city of Wuhan were thought to be linked to a new strain of the virus that caused the sars epidemic in 2002-03. Unlike then, no one has yet died from the disease. The World Health Organisation is investigating.

Indonesia’s president, Joko Widodo, visited Natuna Besar, an Indonesian island in the South China Sea. Last month Chinese fishing vessels supported by coast guard ships entered waters near the island, which are within Indonesia’s exclusive economic zone but where China also claims rights. In the ensuing diplomatic spat Indonesia sent boats to patrol the area.

The death toll from flooding in Jakarta rose to 67. The Indonesian capital has been hit by the most powerful monsoon rains in years. See article.

Real Life. Real News. Real Voices

Help us tell more of the stories that matter

Become a founding member

The one and only

Juan Guaidó, the president of Venezuela’s national assembly, was barred from entering parliament by security forces at the time it was due to decide whether to re-elect him to that post. Mr Guaidó is recognised as Venezuela’s interim president by nearly 60 countries. The few parliamentarians whom the regime allowed to enter the building chose Luis Parra as the assembly’s new president, but a larger group convened elsewhere and re-elected Mr Guaidó. See article.

More than 61,000 Mexicans have been “disappeared” since 2006, when the country began a war on drug gangs, according to a report by the government.

A Brazilian judge issued a provisional ruling for Netflix to take down a satirical film, called “The First Temptation of Christ”, that portrays Jesus as gay. A group angered by the film had firebombed the offices of the YouTube comedy channel that created it.

Fertile ground

In Austria the Green party entered national government for the first time, as the junior partner in a new coalition headed by Sebastian Kurz, the leader of the right-of-centre Austrian People’s Party. The Greens won 14% of the vote at a general election in September. See article.

There was a new government in Spain, too, as Pedro Sánchez, who has been leading an interim administration since the first of two inconclusive elections last year, at last won a vote of confidence. But the new coalition, between his Socialists and the left-wing Podemos party, is short of a majority. See article.

In Croatia Zoran Milanovic, a centre-left politician, unseated the incumbent conservative president in a second-round election run-off, a few days after the country assumed the rotating presidency of the EU.

Boris Johnson, Britain’s prime minister, held his first meeting with Ursula von der Leyen, the new president of the European Commission, on Brexit. Mr Johnson’s hopes of a positive start to talks were dashed when Ms von der Leyen said it would not be possible to deliver the trade deal Britain wanted without extending the transition period. Mr Johnson won a recent election on a manifesto that pledged (in bold) not to extend talks beyond December 2020, and amended the Brexit bill to make this pledge law. See article.

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle stunned Buckingham Palace when they announced that they would step back from royal duties and divide their time between Britain and North America while seeking to become financially independent. Married couples often break away to set up their own nest, but the queen was not consulted and said to be “hurt” (translate: furious). See article.

Correction (January 12th 2020): A previous version of this article said that both of Harvey Weinstein’s accusers in court were unnamed. Only one was.

This article appeared in the The world this week section of the print edition under the headline “Politics this week”

Subscribe to the newsletter news

We hate SPAM and promise to keep your email address safe


Uncategorized

Politics this week

After three days of covering up the cause of the crash of a Ukrainian airliner near Tehran, the Iranian armed forces admitted that they mistook the plane for an incoming missile and shot it down, killing all 176 people on board. Thousands of Iranians demonstrated against the government’s handling of the accident. President Hassan Rouhani,…

Politics this week thumbnail

After three days of covering up the cause of the crash of a Ukrainian airliner near Tehran, the Iranian armed forces admitted that they mistook the plane for an incoming missile and shot it down, killing all 176 people on board. Thousands of Iranians demonstrated against the government’s handling of the accident. President Hassan Rouhani, who said he was also lied to, called for a full investigation. See article.

Britain, France and Germany triggered the dispute mechanism in a deal that is meant to curb Iran’s nuclear programme. The move was prompted by Iran’s gradual lifting of limits on its production of enriched uranium, which can be used to make energy or a bomb. Britain’s prime minister, Boris Johnson, called for a new “Trump deal” to replace the old agreement. Mr Rouhani dismissed this. See article.

Talks in Moscow over Libya broke down when Khalifa Haftar left without signing a ceasefire agreement. His forces are at the gates of Tripoli, seat of the internationally recognised government.

In Sudan former intelligence officers clashed with troops on the streets of Khartoum, briefly shutting the airport. It was the biggest display of force from those still loyal to Omar al-Bashir since his ousting as president last year.

Emmanuel Macron, the president of France, hosted a summit attended by five African leaders on the threat of Islamic militancy in the Sahel. Mr Macron pledged to send an extra 220 French troops to the contingent of 4,500 that are already there. Despite rising regional violence, some locals want them to leave

Ethiopia’s electoral commission set August 16th as the tentative date for an election, the first to be contested by the country’s reformist prime minister, Abiy Ahmed, who is leading a new party.

Just impeachy

The House of Representatives at last sent the articles of impeachment for Donald Trump to the Senate, which will allow his trial to start. Democrats released new evidence against the president, based on the dealings of Rudy Giuliani, one of Mr Trump’s personal lawyers, with Ukrainian officials. See article.

The Democratic candidates for president held their last debate before the real contest kicks off in Iowa on February 3rd. Bernie Sanders denied that he had told Elizabeth Warren in 2018 that a woman could not be elected president. See article.

A poke in the eye for Beijing

Voters in Taiwan re-elected Tsai Ing-wen as president by a margin of almost 20 percentage points. Ms Tsai’s Democratic Progressive Party also retained control of the legislature. The landslide victory was seen as a rebuff to China’s intensifying efforts to isolate and intimidate Taiwan. See article.

China reported the first death resulting from a virus that has infected more than 40 people, most of whom had visited or worked in a fish-market in the Chinese city of Wuhan. The WHO said it was possible that “limited” human-to-human transmission was occurring. See article.

The first of a new class of destroyer, the Type 055, formally entered service in China’s navy. It is regarded as one of the most advanced of its kind in the world. China hailed the official launch of the vessel, the Nanchang, as a “great leap” in its naval modernisation.

Taal volcano, one of the most active in the Philippines, erupted. The huge plume of ash disrupted flights at Manila’s main airport, some 50km away. Volcanologists fear a bigger eruption is imminent.

A court in Pakistan overturned the death sentence issued by a special tribunal last month against Pervez Musharraf, a former army chief who led a coup against the civilian government in 1999. Mr Musharraf had been found guilty of treason and subverting the constitution in relation to a separate incident in 2007.

Real Life. Real News. Real Voices

Help us tell more of the stories that matter

Become a founding member

A new sherriff in town

Alejandro Giammattei, a pro-business conservative, was sworn in as Guatemala’s president. Although he has promised to fight corruption, Mr Giammattei has no plans to bring back a UN-backed anti-corruption body that was expelled from the country by his predecessor, Jimmy Morales. Mr Morales was sworn in as a member of a regional parliament, which may give him immunity from charges that he violated campaign-finance laws, which he denies.

Haiti’s parliament was supposed to start sitting on January 13th. But the country is now being governed without a functioning legislature because an election due last October was never held. President Jovenel Moïse can now rule by decree. See article.

Power grab

Vladimir Putin took Kremlin-watchers by surprise when he proposed an overhaul of Russia’s political institutions that could expand the power of the Duma and the state council, a body that currently has little weight but which he heads. Mr Putin must step down as president in 2024, according to the constitution. The opposition says he is manoeuvring to hold on to power. Dmitry Medvedev, an ally of Mr Putin, stood aside as prime minister. See article.

Robert Abela became Malta’s prime minister when the governing Labour Party elected him as leader to replace Joseph Muscat. Mr Muscat resigned amid an outcry over claims he protected friends linked to those accused of involvement in the murder in 2017 of a journalist who was investigating corruption.

Leo Varadkar, the Irish prime minister, called an election for February 8th. It will be the first ballot in Ireland held on a Saturday, which Mr Varadkar hopes will increase turnout.

A new power-sharing deal was agreed to in Northern Ireland, ending three years of stalemate for the devolved government. Pressure from Westminster and voter dissatisfaction forced the Democratic Unionists and Sinn Fein to compromise. The parties agree on one thing: they say that the extra spending promised as part of the deal is inadequate. See article.

Boris Johnson, Britain’s prime minister, gave his first TV interview since his election victory in December. Mr Johnson claimed it was “epically likely” that he would secure a trade deal with the EU by the end of this year, but conceded that “you always have to budget for a complete failure of common sense”. Mr Johnson was clearer about the cost of getting Britain bonging on Brexit day: £500,000. That is how much is needed to get the clapper ringing again on Big Ben, which has fallen silent during lengthy repairs.

Correction: Last week we said that both of Harvey Weinstein’s accusers in a court in New York were unnamed. In fact, only one of the women is unnamed. Sorry.

This article appeared in the The world this week section of the print edition under the headline “Politics this week”

Subscribe to the newsletter news

We hate SPAM and promise to keep your email address safe


Uncategorized

Politics this week

The political leaders of NATO countries gathered in London for a meeting. Donald Trump sparred with both Emmanuel Macron, the president of France, who recently described the military alliance as being in a state of “brain-death”, and with Justin Trudeau, Canada’s prime minister, who was caught on camera mocking the American president. Despite these mini-rows,…

Politics this week thumbnail

The political leaders of NATO countries gathered in London for a meeting. Donald Trump sparred with both Emmanuel Macron, the president of France, who recently described the military alliance as being in a state of “brain-death”, and with Justin Trudeau, Canada’s prime minister, who was caught on camera mocking the American president. Despite these mini-rows, NATO, at 70 years old, is in better shape than it sometimes looks. See article.

Germany expelled two Russian diplomats in retaliation for the killing of a Chechen separatist in Berlin in August. The government has been slow to act over the case.

Get our daily newsletter

Upgrade your inbox and get our Daily Dispatch and Editor’s Picks.

Finland’s prime minister, Antti Rinne, resigned after a key political ally withdrew support. He had been in office for just six months.

The prime minister of Malta, Joseph Muscat, said he would stand down, though not until January, as allegations over the murder of an investigative journalist who had been looking into official corruption threatened some of his closest associates. See article.

With a week to go before an election, Britain’s political parties tried to limit last-minute blunders. Boris Johnson, the Conservative leader, continued to dodge scrutiny from the BBC’s fiercest interviewer, who has already mauled other candidates. The Tories enjoy a ten percentage-point lead, but are worried they may again fail to get a majority. See article.

Two people were murdered in London by a convicted terrorist at a conference on prison education. He had been released on temporary licence. Questions were raised about the effectiveness of a rehabilitation programme for jihadists, which the killer, who was tackled by the public and shot dead by police, had completed. See article.

In the dock

A military court in Suriname convicted the country’s president, Desi Bouterse, of murder and sentenced him to 20 years in prison. In 1982 soldiers killed 15 opponents of the military regime then led by Mr Bouterse. He will not begin his sentence until a decision is made on his appeal. He may be re-elected president next year. See article.

A court in Honduras sentenced the killers of Berta Cáceres, an environmental activist, to 50 years in prison. She was murdered in 2016 after campaigning to prevent the building of a dam that would have flooded land inhabited by the Lenca people, an indigenous group to which she belonged.

Regime change

Adel Abdul-Mahdi, the prime minister of Iraq, said he would step down amid large protests over corruption, poor governance and unemployment. His resignation is unlikely to satisfy the demonstrators, who want other changes too. The authorities have killed over 400 people since October, when the unrest began. See article.

Human-rights groups said up to 450 Iranians were killed during protests over a rise in the state-controlled price of fuel last month. The regime was accused of trying to hide the scale of its crackdown by shutting down the internet. See article.

Hage Geingob won a second term as president of Namibia in an election overshadowed by claims of corruption against senior members of SWAPO, which has ruled since the country’s independence in 1990. Two former ministers have been arrested on allegations of bribery in connection with the allocation of fishing rights to Iceland’s biggest fishing firm.

The UN’S World Food Programme said it will double the number of people it is feeding in Zimbabwe to 4.1m, as rising inflation and a collapsing economy push nearly 8m people into hunger.

Watching the news

The government of Singapore used its new “fake-news” law for the first time, ordering Facebook, among others, to publish a notice next to a post explaining that the authorities deemed it to contain falsehoods. See article.

Australia’s government repealed a law allowing asylum-seekers held in offshore detention centres to be brought to Australia for medical treatment under exceptional circumstances. It argues that the measure encouraged unauthorised immigrants to try to reach the country by boat.

During a surprise visit to Afghanistan, Donald Trump said that America would resume peace talks with the Taliban. He also implied that a ceasefire would be part of any deal—an idea the Taliban have long resisted. See article.

China said it had suspended port calls in Hong Kong by American navy vessels in response to America’s new law in support of democracy in the territory. China also reacted angrily to the passage by America’s House of Representatives of a draft law that would require sanctions to be imposed on Chinese officials for violations of human rights in the far-western region of Xinjiang.

Riot police clashed with hundreds of people protesting in Wenlou, a town in southern China about 100km from Hong Kong, over the building of a crematorium. The police fired tear-gas and reportedly beat and detained dozens of protesters.

Russia activated a 3,000km natural-gas pipeline to supply the Chinese market. The pipeline cost $55bn and will provide 38bn cubic metres of gas a year to China by 2024.

Just in time for Christmas

The impeachment proceedings against Donald Trump moved to the House Judiciary Committee, after the Intelligence Committee released its report, finding that the president “subverted US foreign policy towards Ukraine…in favour of two politically motivated investigations”. The Judiciary Committee will now consider whether to bring formal charges. See article.

The Senate confirmed Dan Brouillette as America’s energy secretary. He replaces Rick Perry, one of the “three amigos” who managed Mr Trump’s contacts with Ukraine. 

Kamala Harris withdrew from the Democratic race for president. A year ago Ms Harris was seen as a possible front-runner for the nomination, but she never hit her stride, squeezed between her party’s progressive and moderate wings. Joe Biden said he would consider her as a possible running-mate, should he win. See article.

Lori Lightfoot, the mayor of Chicago, sacked Eddie Johnson as chief of police. Mr Johnson led America’s second-biggest police force through a tumultuous three years. But Ms Lightfoot said she fired him for lying to her about an incident where he was found asleep at the wheel of his car. Mr Johnson said he didn’t “intentionally mislead or deceive” anyone.

Real Life. Real News. Real Voices

Help us tell more of the stories that matter

Become a founding member

Subscribe to the newsletter news

We hate SPAM and promise to keep your email address safe


Uncategorized

Politics this week

The political leaders of NATO countries gathered in London for a meeting. Donald Trump sparred with both Emmanuel Macron, the president of France, who recently described the military alliance as being in a state of “brain-death”, and with Justin Trudeau, Canada’s prime minister, who was caught on camera mocking the American president. Despite these mini-rows,…

Politics this week thumbnail

The political leaders of NATO countries gathered in London for a meeting. Donald Trump sparred with both Emmanuel Macron, the president of France, who recently described the military alliance as being in a state of “brain-death”, and with Justin Trudeau, Canada’s prime minister, who was caught on camera mocking the American president. Despite these mini-rows, NATO, at 70 years old, is in better shape than it sometimes looks. See article.

Germany expelled two Russian diplomats in retaliation for the killing of a Chechen separatist in Berlin in August. The government has been slow to act over the case.

Get our daily newsletter

Upgrade your inbox and get our Daily Dispatch and Editor’s Picks.

Finland’s prime minister, Antti Rinne, resigned after a key political ally withdrew support. He had been in office for just six months.

The prime minister of Malta, Joseph Muscat, said he would stand down, though not until January, as allegations over the murder of an investigative journalist who had been looking into official corruption threatened some of his closest associates. See article.

With a week to go before an election, Britain’s political parties tried to limit last-minute blunders. Boris Johnson, the Conservative leader, continued to dodge scrutiny from the BBC’s fiercest interviewer, who has already mauled other candidates. The Tories enjoy a ten percentage-point lead, but are worried they may again fail to get a majority. See article.

Two people were murdered in London by a convicted terrorist at a conference on prison education. He had been released on temporary licence. Questions were raised about the effectiveness of a rehabilitation programme for jihadists, which the killer, who was tackled by the public and shot dead by police, had completed. See article.

In the dock

A military court in Suriname convicted the country’s president, Desi Bouterse, of murder and sentenced him to 20 years in prison. In 1982 soldiers killed 15 opponents of the military regime then led by Mr Bouterse. He will not begin his sentence until a decision is made on his appeal. He may be re-elected president next year. See article.

A court in Honduras sentenced the killers of Berta Cáceres, an environmental activist, to 50 years in prison. She was murdered in 2016 after campaigning to prevent the building of a dam that would have flooded land inhabited by the Lenca people, an indigenous group to which she belonged.

Regime change

Adel Abdul-Mahdi, the prime minister of Iraq, said he would step down amid large protests over corruption, poor governance and unemployment. His resignation is unlikely to satisfy the demonstrators, who want other changes too. The authorities have killed over 400 people since October, when the unrest began. See article.

Human-rights groups said up to 450 Iranians were killed during protests over a rise in the state-controlled price of fuel last month. The regime was accused of trying to hide the scale of its crackdown by shutting down the internet. See article.

Hage Geingob won a second term as president of Namibia in an election overshadowed by claims of corruption against senior members of SWAPO, which has ruled since the country’s independence in 1990. Two former ministers have been arrested on allegations of bribery in connection with the allocation of fishing rights to Iceland’s biggest fishing firm.

The UN’S World Food Programme said it will double the number of people it is feeding in Zimbabwe to 4.1m, as rising inflation and a collapsing economy push nearly 8m people into hunger.

Watching the news

The government of Singapore used its new “fake-news” law for the first time, ordering Facebook, among others, to publish a notice next to a post explaining that the authorities deemed it to contain falsehoods. See article.

Australia’s government repealed a law allowing asylum-seekers held in offshore detention centres to be brought to Australia for medical treatment under exceptional circumstances. It argues that the measure encouraged unauthorised immigrants to try to reach the country by boat.

During a surprise visit to Afghanistan, Donald Trump said that America would resume peace talks with the Taliban. He also implied that a ceasefire would be part of any deal—an idea the Taliban have long resisted. See article.

China said it had suspended port calls in Hong Kong by American navy vessels in response to America’s new law in support of democracy in the territory. China also reacted angrily to the passage by America’s House of Representatives of a draft law that would require sanctions to be imposed on Chinese officials for violations of human rights in the far-western region of Xinjiang.

Riot police clashed with hundreds of people protesting in Wenlou, a town in southern China about 100km from Hong Kong, over the building of a crematorium. The police fired tear-gas and reportedly beat and detained dozens of protesters.

Russia activated a 3,000km natural-gas pipeline to supply the Chinese market. The pipeline cost $55bn and will provide 38bn cubic metres of gas a year to China by 2024.

Just in time for Christmas

The impeachment proceedings against Donald Trump moved to the House Judiciary Committee, after the Intelligence Committee released its report, finding that the president “subverted US foreign policy towards Ukraine…in favour of two politically motivated investigations”. The Judiciary Committee will now consider whether to bring formal charges. See article.

The Senate confirmed Dan Brouillette as America’s energy secretary. He replaces Rick Perry, one of the “three amigos” who managed Mr Trump’s contacts with Ukraine. 

Kamala Harris withdrew from the Democratic race for president. A year ago Ms Harris was seen as a possible front-runner for the nomination, but she never hit her stride, squeezed between her party’s progressive and moderate wings. Joe Biden said he would consider her as a possible running-mate, should he win. See article.

Lori Lightfoot, the mayor of Chicago, sacked Eddie Johnson as chief of police. Mr Johnson led America’s second-biggest police force through a tumultuous three years. But Ms Lightfoot said she fired him for lying to her about an incident where he was found asleep at the wheel of his car. Mr Johnson said he didn’t “intentionally mislead or deceive” anyone.

Real Life. Real News. Real Voices

Help us tell more of the stories that matter

Become a founding member

Subscribe to the newsletter news

We hate SPAM and promise to keep your email address safe


Uncategorized

Politics this week

The Conservative Party won an emphatic victory in Britain’s general election. With most of the seats counted, the Tories were set to have a majority of well over 70. It was a personal triumph for the prime minister, Boris Johnson, who can now “get Brexit done”–and a lot more besides. Labour had its worst result…

Politics this week thumbnail

The Conservative Party won an emphatic victory in Britain‘s general election. With most of the seats counted, the Tories were set to have a majority of well over 70. It was a personal triumph for the prime minister, Boris Johnson, who can now “get Brexit done”–and a lot more besides. Labour had its worst result since 1935.

The House of Representatives presented two articles of impeachment against Donald Trump: that the president abused his power by pressing Ukraine to dig up dirt on Joe Biden, and that he obstructed Congress by insisting that key witnesses cannot testify. The votes on those charges are expected to be swift and along party lines in the House. Mr Trump could be impeached before Christmas, setting up a trial early next year in the Senate, which will in all likelihood acquit him. See article.

Officials in Jersey City, which lies across the Hudson river from Manhattan, said three people murdered in a kosher market may have been targeted for anti-Semitic reasons. The two shooters, linked to a black hate group that considers itself the true Israelites, also killed a policeman before entering the store. The suspects were killed during an hours-long gun battle with police.

A trainee in the Saudi air force murdered three sailors at a navy training base in Pensacola, Florida, before being shot dead by police. The motive was unclear but terrorism is one line of inquiry. See article.

First-day priorities

Alberto Fernández, a Peronist, took office as Argentina’s president. The economy he inherits from his centre-right predecessor, Mauricio Macri, is in recession and has an inflation rate of more than 50%. In his inauguration address Mr Fernández promised to end the “social catastrophe” of hunger and said Argentina could not pay its foreign creditors unless its economy grows. See article.

Genaro García Luna, who was Mexico’s secretary of public security during the presidency of Felipe Calderón, was arrested in Texas. Prosecutors say he took millions of dollars in cash from the Sinaloa drug gang in exchange for protecting its activities and providing intelligence to it. Mr Calderón, who was president from 2006 to 2012, waged a bloody war against Mexico’s drug gangs.

Honduras’s congress voted to recommend that the president not renew the mandate of MACCIH, a corruption-fighting mission backed by the Organisation of American States. Lawmakers complained that it disclosed names of people under investigation, but most Hondurans back MACCIH, which helped to jail a former first lady.

Regular polling

None of Israel’s political parties was able to form a government before the December 12th deadline, so the country will hold another election, its third in less than a year, on March 2nd. Polls show little change in voter preferences.

America and Iran exchanged prisoners in a rare bit of diplomacy between the two countries. The swap involved a Chinese-American researcher who had been convicted of spying in Iran, and an Iranian stem-cell scientist who was held by America for trying to export biological material.

Opposition activists claimed that up to 1m people took to the streets in Conakry, the capital of Guinea, to protest against the rule of President Alpha Condé. Mr Condé is meant to step down at the end of his second term next year, but he may try to change the constitution so that he can run for a third term.

Militants killed 73 soldiers in an army base in western Niger. The attack, the deadliest in years, highlights the rapidly deteriorating security situation across the Sahel.

Security forces in Nigeria seized Omoyele Sowore, a journalist and activist, while he was appearing in court the day after judges had forced the state to release him. Mr Sowore, who had been held since August, has been charged with treason after criticising President Muhammadu Buhari and calling for civil unrest.

What about Shia Muslims?

India’s parliament passed a law offering a fast track to citizenship to minorities who face persecution in Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan, as long as they aren’t Muslim. The new law applies to Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Christians and others. Muslims condemned it as an attempt by India’s Hindu-nationalist government to marginalise them. The law has been appealed to the Supreme Court. See article

Aung San Suu Kyi defended Myanmar against charges of genocide at the International Court of Justice in The Hague. The Nobel peace-prize winner described the Myanmarese army’s bloody crackdown on Rohingya Muslims in 2017, in which thousands were killed or raped and 700,000 fled to Bangladesh, as an internal conflict started by Rohingya militants. See article.

Police in Malaysia said they would interview Anwar Ibrahim, the country’s prime-minister-in-waiting, about an allegation that he sexually assaulted a male aide. As leader of the opposition in 1999 Mr Anwar was imprisoned on trumped-up charges of sodomy, which is illegal in Malaysia. He dismissed the allegation as political.

Voters in Bougainville, an autonomous region of Papua New Guinea, voted by 98% to 2% for independence. Bougainville has long had a distinct identity; 15,000-20,000 people were killed in a civil war that was fuelled by separatist grievances and ended in 1998. The referendum, however, is non-binding.

Hundreds of thousands of people marched through Hong Kong in the city’s first authorised protest since August and the largest in weeks. The demonstration, organised to mark the UN’s human-rights day, was mostly peaceful. Afterwards, however, some protesters threw firebombs at official buildings.

A Chinese official, Shohrat Zakir, said everyone had “graduated” from “vocational education and training” camps in Xinjiang. An estimated 1m people, most of them ethnic-Uighurs, have been detained in what are in fact prison camps, often just for being devout Muslims. Mr Zakir said training would continue at the camps, with “the freedom to come and go”. Independent witnesses were not allowed in to verify his claims. See article.

Plus ça change

France’s prime minister unveiled details of the government’s plan for pension reforms, which put some of the toughest changes off into the future. But this may not be enough to halt a wave of strikes that have shut down most of the rail network, many schools and the Paris Métro. See article.

A new government was sworn in in Finland. All five of the parties in the new ruling coalition are led by women. See article.

Russia was banned from major sporting competitions for a period of four years, which will cover next year’s Olympics, after revelations that it had hacked and faked medical records dealing with doping. The ban contains significant loopholes, however. See article.

This article appeared in the The world this week section of the print edition under the headline “Politics this week”

Real Life. Real News. Real Voices

Help us tell more of the stories that matter

Become a founding member

Subscribe to the newsletter news

We hate SPAM and promise to keep your email address safe


Uncategorized

Politics this week

The Conservative Party won an emphatic victory in Britain’s general election. With most of the seats counted, the Tories were set to have a majority of well over 70. It was a personal triumph for the prime minister, Boris Johnson, who can now “get Brexit done”–and a lot more besides. Labour had its worst result…

The Conservative Party won an emphatic victory in Britain‘s general election. With most of the seats counted, the Tories were set to have a majority of well over 70. It was a personal triumph for the prime minister, Boris Johnson, who can now “get Brexit done”–and a lot more besides. Labour had its worst result since 1935.

The House of Representatives presented two articles of impeachment against Donald Trump: that the president abused his power by pressing Ukraine to dig up dirt on Joe Biden, and that he obstructed Congress by insisting that key witnesses cannot testify. The votes on those charges are expected to be swift and along party lines in the House. Mr Trump could be impeached before Christmas, setting up a trial early next year in the Senate, which will in all likelihood acquit him. See article.

Officials in Jersey City, which lies across the Hudson river from Manhattan, said three people murdered in a kosher market may have been targeted for anti-Semitic reasons. The two shooters, linked to a black hate group that considers itself the true Israelites, also killed a policeman before entering the store. The suspects were killed during an hours-long gun battle with police.

A trainee in the Saudi air force murdered three sailors at a navy training base in Pensacola, Florida, before being shot dead by police. The motive was unclear but terrorism is one line of inquiry. See article.

First-day priorities

Alberto Fernández, a Peronist, took office as Argentina’s president. The economy he inherits from his centre-right predecessor, Mauricio Macri, is in recession and has an inflation rate of more than 50%. In his inauguration address Mr Fernández promised to end the “social catastrophe” of hunger and said Argentina could not pay its foreign creditors unless its economy grows. See article.

Genaro García Luna, who was Mexico’s secretary of public security during the presidency of Felipe Calderón, was arrested in Texas. Prosecutors say he took millions of dollars in cash from the Sinaloa drug gang in exchange for protecting its activities and providing intelligence to it. Mr Calderón, who was president from 2006 to 2012, waged a bloody war against Mexico’s drug gangs.

Honduras’s congress voted to recommend that the president not renew the mandate of MACCIH, a corruption-fighting mission backed by the Organisation of American States. Lawmakers complained that it disclosed names of people under investigation, but most Hondurans back MACCIH, which helped to jail a former first lady.

Regular polling

None of Israel’s political parties was able to form a government before the December 12th deadline, so the country will hold another election, its third in less than a year, on March 2nd. Polls show little change in voter preferences.

America and Iran exchanged prisoners in a rare bit of diplomacy between the two countries. The swap involved a Chinese-American researcher who had been convicted of spying in Iran, and an Iranian stem-cell scientist who was held by America for trying to export biological material.

Opposition activists claimed that up to 1m people took to the streets in Conakry, the capital of Guinea, to protest against the rule of President Alpha Condé. Mr Condé is meant to step down at the end of his second term next year, but he may try to change the constitution so that he can run for a third term.

Militants killed 73 soldiers in an army base in western Niger. The attack, the deadliest in years, highlights the rapidly deteriorating security situation across the Sahel.

Security forces in Nigeria seized Omoyele Sowore, a journalist and activist, while he was appearing in court the day after judges had forced the state to release him. Mr Sowore, who had been held since August, has been charged with treason after criticising President Muhammadu Buhari and calling for civil unrest.

What about Shia Muslims?

India’s parliament passed a law offering a fast track to citizenship to minorities who face persecution in Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan, as long as they aren’t Muslim. The new law applies to Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Christians and others. Muslims condemned it as an attempt by India’s Hindu-nationalist government to marginalise them. The law has been appealed to the Supreme Court. See article

Aung San Suu Kyi defended Myanmar against charges of genocide at the International Court of Justice in The Hague. The Nobel peace-prize winner described the Myanmarese army’s bloody crackdown on Rohingya Muslims in 2017, in which thousands were killed or raped and 700,000 fled to Bangladesh, as an internal conflict started by Rohingya militants. See article.

Police in Malaysia said they would interview Anwar Ibrahim, the country’s prime-minister-in-waiting, about an allegation that he sexually assaulted a male aide. As leader of the opposition in 1999 Mr Anwar was imprisoned on trumped-up charges of sodomy, which is illegal in Malaysia. He dismissed the allegation as political.

Voters in Bougainville, an autonomous region of Papua New Guinea, voted by 98% to 2% for independence. Bougainville has long had a distinct identity; 15,000-20,000 people were killed in a civil war that was fuelled by separatist grievances and ended in 1998. The referendum, however, is non-binding.

Hundreds of thousands of people marched through Hong Kong in the city’s first authorised protest since August and the largest in weeks. The demonstration, organised to mark the UN’s human-rights day, was mostly peaceful. Afterwards, however, some protesters threw firebombs at official buildings.

A Chinese official, Shohrat Zakir, said everyone had “graduated” from “vocational education and training” camps in Xinjiang. An estimated 1m people, most of them ethnic-Uighurs, have been detained in what are in fact prison camps, often just for being devout Muslims. Mr Zakir said training would continue at the camps, with “the freedom to come and go”. Independent witnesses were not allowed in to verify his claims. See article.

Plus ça change

France’s prime minister unveiled details of the government’s plan for pension reforms, which put some of the toughest changes off into the future. But this may not be enough to halt a wave of strikes that have shut down most of the rail network, many schools and the Paris Métro. See article.

A new government was sworn in in Finland. All five of the parties in the new ruling coalition are led by women. See article.

Russia was banned from major sporting competitions for a period of four years, which will cover next year’s Olympics, after revelations that it had hacked and faked medical records dealing with doping. The ban contains significant loopholes, however. See article.

This article appeared in the The world this week section of the print edition under the headline “Politics this week”

Real Life. Real News. Real Voices

Help us tell more of the stories that matter

Become a founding member

Subscribe to the newsletter news

We hate SPAM and promise to keep your email address safe


Uncategorized

Politics this week

Sri Lanka’s presidential election was won by Gotabaya Rajapaksa, the younger brother of Mahinda Rajapaksa, a former president who oversaw the bloody end to an insurrection by Tamil separatists. Gotabaya Rajapaksa was defence secretary during the fighting. His Sinhala-Buddhist nationalist campaign pledged to wipe out terrorism, following attacks at Easter by jihadists, in which 268…

Politics this week thumbnail

Sri Lanka’s presidential election was won by Gotabaya Rajapaksa, the younger brother of Mahinda Rajapaksa, a former president who oversaw the bloody end to an insurrection by Tamil separatists. Gotabaya Rajapaksa was defence secretary during the fighting. His Sinhala-Buddhist nationalist campaign pledged to wipe out terrorism, following attacks at Easter by jihadists, in which 268 people died. The elder Mr Rajapaska will be prime minister. See article.

Police shot rubber bullets at the protesters occupying Hong Kong Polytechnic University. Most of the students eventually left the campus. Meanwhile, a court in Hong Kong overturned a ban on wearing masks in the protests, finding it contravened the territory’s Basic Law. The decision was denounced by China’s National People’s Congress, which suggested that only it had the power to rule on constitutional issues in Hong Kong. See article.

Get our daily newsletter

Upgrade your inbox and get our Daily Dispatch and Editor’s Picks.

The American Congress passed the Hong Kong Freedom and Democracy bill, a largely symbolic act that will anger China and encourage the protesters. Donald Trump is expected to sign it.

America walked out of talks in Seoul with South Korea in a dispute about paying for American troops stationed in the country. South Korean politicians say America wants $5bn a year, five times what it is getting now from the South Korean government. See article.

The Taliban released two academics, one American and one Australian, whom it had held captive since 2016, in exchange for three militants. Afghanistan’s president, Ashraf Ghani, said the swap of hostages for prisoners was necessary to kick-start peace talks with the jihadists.

Singing like a canary

Gordon Sondland, America’s ambassador to the EU and the star witness in the impeachment inquiry into Donald Trump, gave his public testimony to the House. Mr Sondland said he and others had followed orders from the president to put pressure on Ukraine to dig up dirt on Joe Biden and that the Ukrainians knew there would be a clear “quid pro quo” if they co-operated. He also said “everyone was in the loop”, including Mike Pompeo, the secretary of state, and Mike Pence, the vice-president. See article.

A jury found Roger Stone guilty on all charges related to obstruction of the Mueller investigation into Russian interference in American politics. Mr Stone is a Republican operative who earned his stripes on Richard Nixon’s campaign. He once claimed to have “launched the idea” of Mr Trump for president.

A show of defiance

Large protests erupted in Iran after the government increased the price of heavily subsidised fuel. Demonstrators blocked traffic, torched banks and burnt petrol stations. Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, the supreme leader, called the protesters “thugs” and blamed foreign powers for the unrest. Dozens of people have been killed by the authorities, say human-rights groups. See article.

Mike Pompeo, America’s secretary of state, announced that Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank are consistent with international law. Most of Israel’s other allies disagree. Past American administrations largely dodged the question. The decision will have no immediate effect on the ground, but it may embolden Israeli politicians who want to annex the settlements. Meanwhile, Benny Gantz missed the deadline to form a government in Israel, raising the possibility of another election, as Binyamin Netanyahu faced mounting legal woes. See article.

Israel carried out air strikes in Syria, hitting targets belonging to the government and its Iranian allies. The attacks were in response to rockets fired at Israel by Iranian forces.

Escalating conflicts in Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger have created a humanitarian crisis in which 2.4m people need urgent food aid, said the UN’s World Food Programme. The worst affected is Burkina Faso, where more than half a million people have fled their homes.

Rumble about the jungle

The pace of deforestation of the Brazilian Amazon in the year to July reached its highest level in a decade, said the country’s space agency. It was nearly 30% faster than in the previous year. Environmentalists blame Brazil’s populist president, Jair Bolsonaro, who wants to open the region to miners and ranchers. See article.

Following a wave of political protests, Chile’s government agreed to hold a referendum in April on whether the country should write a new constitution. Chileans will be able to decide what sort of body should draft it and will also be able to vote on the final text of a constitution. See article.

The death toll in the unrest leading up to and after Evo Morales’s resignation as Bolivia’s president rose to at least 32 people. Security forces fired on pro-Morales demonstrators who had blocked a fuel plant near the capital, La Paz. The protesters want the interim president, Jeanine Áñez, to resign. They also want new elections. A decree by the interim government appeared to encourage the police to be overzealous in their efforts to quell protests.

Conservative v Labour

Britain’s two main party leaders clashed in the first televised election debate. The courts rejected demands from the Liberal Democrats and the Scottish National Party that they should be included. Boris Johnson, the Conservative prime minister, did slightly better than Jeremy Corbyn, the far-left leader of the Labour Party. The Conservatives’ press office altered its Twitter account to look like a fact-checking service. See article.

Prosecutors in Sweden formally ended an investigation into rape allegations made against Julian Assange, the founder of WikiLeaks, a website that publishes official secrets. Mr Assange remains in custody in London while a case for his extradition to America is considered.

Parliamentary elections were held in Belarus, the former Soviet republic whose president, Alexander Lukashenko, has been in uncontested power for the past 25 years. The opposition won no seats at all.

Real Life. Real News. Real Voices

Help us tell more of the stories that matter

Become a founding member

Subscribe to the newsletter news

We hate SPAM and promise to keep your email address safe


Uncategorized

Politics this week

Unrest flared again in Hong Kong after a protester died. Another was shot at close range by a police officer, allegedly while trying to grab his gun. A man was set on fire by demonstrators after remonstrating with them. One senior officer said society was on the “brink of a total breakdown”. The Chinese government…

Politics this week thumbnail

Unrest flared again in Hong Kong after a protester died. Another was shot at close range by a police officer, allegedly while trying to grab his gun. A man was set on fire by demonstrators after remonstrating with them. One senior officer said society was on the “brink of a total breakdown”. The Chinese government said Hong Kong was “sliding into the abyss of terrorism”. See article.

China’s president, Xi Jinping, paid a visit to Greece, an important partner in the Chinese Belt and Road Initiative, which aims to improve global infrastructure. The two countries said they would work to “overcome any obstacles” facing a Chinese state-owned company’s plan to upgrade the port of Piraeus. Mr Xi promised support for Greece’s campaign to secure the return of the Elgin marbles from Britain.

Get our daily newsletter

Upgrade your inbox and get our Daily Dispatch and Editor’s Picks.

India’s Supreme Court awarded the site of a mosque in the city of Ayodhya that was demolished by Hindu zealots in 1992 to Hindus planning to build a temple to the god Rama. It also criticised the destruction. The government was ordered to provide land nearby for the construction of a new mosque. The decision prompted grumbles from disappointed Muslims, but not the violence many had feared. See article.

Gambia lodged a complaint against Myanmar at the International Court of Justice on behalf of the OIC, a group of predominantly Muslim countries. They accuse Myanmar of violating the UN convention on genocide in its treatment of Rohingya Muslims.

Cambodia’s prime minister, Hun Sen, said he would release 70 opposition activists arrested in recent weeks. Under pressure from international donors the government had earlier released Kem Sokha, a prominent opposition leader, from house arrest. See article.

All about Evo

Evo Morales quit as Bolivia’s president after nearly 14 years in office. The chief of the armed forces had suggested he leave following widespread protests, which broke out after Mr Morales’s victory in a dubious election on October 20th. Mr Morales accepted Mexico’s offer of political asylum. Jeanine Áñez, a political foe of Mr Morales, took office as Bolivia’s interim president. She has said she will hold fresh elections. See article.

Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, Brazil’s president from 2003 to 2010, was freed from prison, where he was serving a sentence for corruption, after the country’s highest court decided that people convicted of crimes could not be jailed until they had used up all their appeals. Upon his release Lula attacked the right-wing government of Jair Bolsonaro.

Chile’s president, Sebastián Piñera, agreed to begin the process of writing a new constitution. But protesters who are demanding reforms rejected his offer. They want an assembly of citizens, rather than congress, to draft the new document.

Dangerous days

Israel killed a senior commander of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad group in Gaza, setting off a wave of violence. Palestinian militants fired more than 150 rockets into Israel, which responded with air strikes. The fighting may increase the likelihood that the two main political parties in Israel will form a unity government, breaking two months of political deadlock. See article.

Hassan Rouhani, Iran’s president, claimed that a new oilfield containing 53bn barrels of crude had been discovered. If true, this would increase Iran’s proven reserves, already one of the world’s largest, by about a third. Iran has struggled to export oil since sanctions were reimposed by America last year.

The central bank of Zimbabwe began reissuing Zimbabwean dollars after a decade-long hiatus. The new notes are in effect the country’s third currency in the past three years. The government has tried to stay a step ahead of a shortage of cash caused by high inflation and economic mismanagement.

Minority rapport

Spain’s general election, the fourth in four years, gave no party a majority. The Socialists, who had been hoping to move closer to one, actually lost three seats. They swiftly struck a deal with the far-left Podemos party to attempt to form a coalition. Even together, the two parties will need to find support among several regional parties to get over the line. See article.

Venice was hit by its worst floods for half a century. Water entered St Mark’s Basilica, causing “grave damage”, according to the city’s mayor.

The Dutch government backtracked on previous pledges and reduced road speed limits to 100kph (62mph) during the day to help meet a court-ordered reduction in emissions. Farmers have also been asked to cut back on livestock in order to reduce nitrogen.

In the British election campaign, Boris Johnson’s Conservative Party got a boost when Nigel Farage, leader of the Brexit Party, said he would not field candidates in the 317 seats the Tories won in 2017. The pressure was on Mr Farage to go further and withdraw from all constituencies where his party threatens to split the Leave vote. See article.

Pass the popcorn

The first public hearings were held in the inquiry that will determine whether Donald Trump should be impeached for asking the Ukrainian government to dig up political dirt on Joe Biden. The first witnesses in the Democratic-led process were diplomats with responsibility for Ukraine. See article.

America’s Supreme Court rejected an appeal by Remington, a gunmaker, to block a lawsuit from relatives of the victims in the Sandy Hook school massacre of 2012, in which 20 children and six adults were killed. The lawsuit accuses Remington of illegally marketing combat weapons.

An appeal by a murderer against his life sentence on the ground that he had already “died” in hospital was rejected by a court in Iowa. Benjamin Schreiber argued that his heart had stopped during an emergency procedure in 2015. But the judges concluded that the convict “is either still alive…or he is actually dead, in which case this appeal is moot”.

Real Life. Real News. Real Voices

Help us tell more of the stories that matter

Become a founding member

Subscribe to the newsletter news

We hate SPAM and promise to keep your email address safe


Uncategorized

Politics this week

Sri Lanka’s presidential election was won by Gotabaya Rajapaksa, the younger brother of Mahinda Rajapaksa, a former president who oversaw the bloody end to an insurrection by Tamil separatists. Gotabaya Rajapaksa was defence secretary during the fighting. His Sinhala-Buddhist nationalist campaign pledged to wipe out terrorism, following attacks at Easter by jihadists, in which 268…

Politics this week thumbnail

Sri Lanka’s presidential election was won by Gotabaya Rajapaksa, the younger brother of Mahinda Rajapaksa, a former president who oversaw the bloody end to an insurrection by Tamil separatists. Gotabaya Rajapaksa was defence secretary during the fighting. His Sinhala-Buddhist nationalist campaign pledged to wipe out terrorism, following attacks at Easter by jihadists, in which 268 people died. The elder Mr Rajapaska will be prime minister. See article.

Police shot rubber bullets at the protesters occupying Hong Kong Polytechnic University. Most of the students eventually left the campus. Meanwhile, a court in Hong Kong overturned a ban on wearing masks in the protests, finding it contravened the territory’s Basic Law. The decision was denounced by China’s National People’s Congress, which suggested that only it had the power to rule on constitutional issues in Hong Kong. See article.

The American Congress passed the Hong Kong Freedom and Democracy bill, a largely symbolic act that will anger China and encourage the protesters. Donald Trump is expected to sign it.

America walked out of talks in Seoul with South Korea in a dispute about paying for American troops stationed in the country. South Korean politicians say America wants $5bn a year, five times what it is getting now from the South Korean government. See article.

The Taliban released two academics, one American and one Australian, whom it had held captive since 2016, in exchange for three militants. Afghanistan’s president, Ashraf Ghani, said the swap of hostages for prisoners was necessary to kick-start peace talks with the jihadists.

Singing like a canary

Gordon Sondland, America’s ambassador to the EU and the star witness in the impeachment inquiry into Donald Trump, gave his public testimony to the House. Mr Sondland said he and others had followed orders from the president to put pressure on Ukraine to dig up dirt on Joe Biden and that the Ukrainians knew there would be a clear “quid pro quo” if they co-operated. He also said “everyone was in the loop”, including Mike Pompeo, the secretary of state, and Mike Pence, the vice-president. See article.

A jury found Roger Stone guilty on all charges related to obstruction of the Mueller investigation into Russian interference in American politics. Mr Stone is a Republican operative who earned his stripes on Richard Nixon’s campaign. He once claimed to have “launched the idea” of Mr Trump for president.

A show of defiance

Large protests erupted in Iran after the government increased the price of heavily subsidised fuel. Demonstrators blocked traffic, torched banks and burnt petrol stations. Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, the supreme leader, called the protesters “thugs” and blamed foreign powers for the unrest. Dozens of people have been killed by the authorities, say human-rights groups. See article.

Mike Pompeo, America’s secretary of state, announced that Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank are consistent with international law. Most of Israel’s other allies disagree. Past American administrations largely dodged the question. The decision will have no immediate effect on the ground, but it may embolden Israeli politicians who want to annex the settlements. Meanwhile, Benny Gantz missed the deadline to form a government in Israel, raising the possibility of another election, as Binyamin Netanyahu faced mounting legal woes. See article.

Israel carried out air strikes in Syria, hitting targets belonging to the government and its Iranian allies. The attacks were in response to rockets fired at Israel by Iranian forces.

Escalating conflicts in Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger have created a humanitarian crisis in which 2.4m people need urgent food aid, said the UN’s World Food Programme. The worst affected is Burkina Faso, where more than half a million people have fled their homes.

Real Life. Real News. Real Voices

Help us tell more of the stories that matter

Become a founding member

Rumble about the jungle

The pace of deforestation of the Brazilian Amazon in the year to July reached its highest level in a decade, said the country’s space agency. It was nearly 30% faster than in the previous year. Environmentalists blame Brazil’s populist president, Jair Bolsonaro, who wants to open the region to miners and ranchers. See article.

Following a wave of political protests, Chile’s government agreed to hold a referendum in April on whether the country should write a new constitution. Chileans will be able to decide what sort of body should draft it and will also be able to vote on the final text of a constitution. See article.

The death toll in the unrest leading up to and after Evo Morales’s resignation as Bolivia’s president rose to at least 32 people. Security forces fired on pro-Morales demonstrators who had blocked a fuel plant near the capital, La Paz. The protesters want the interim president, Jeanine Áñez, to resign. They also want new elections. A decree by the interim government appeared to encourage the police to be overzealous in their efforts to quell protests.

Conservative v Labour

Britain’s two main party leaders clashed in the first televised election debate. The courts rejected demands from the Liberal Democrats and the Scottish National Party that they should be included. Boris Johnson, the Conservative prime minister, did slightly better than Jeremy Corbyn, the far-left leader of the Labour Party. The Conservatives’ press office altered its Twitter account to look like a fact-checking service. See article.

Prosecutors in Sweden formally ended an investigation into rape allegations made against Julian Assange, the founder of WikiLeaks, a website that publishes official secrets. Mr Assange remains in custody in London while a case for his extradition to America is considered.

Parliamentary elections were held in Belarus, the former Soviet republic whose president, Alexander Lukashenko, has been in uncontested power for the past 25 years. The opposition won no seats at all.

This article appeared in the The world this week section of the print edition under the headline “Politics this week”

Subscribe to the newsletter news

We hate SPAM and promise to keep your email address safe


Uncategorized

Politics this week

Opposition candidates won a stunning victory in Hong Kong’s local elections, a result that activists claimed as an endorsement of protesters’ demands for full democracy. A record turnout saw 3m voters go to the polls. Carrie Lam, the territory’s beleaguered leader, promised to “seriously reflect” on the outcome. China warned America of “firm counter-measures” in…

Politics this week thumbnail

Opposition candidates won a stunning victory in Hong Kong’s local elections, a result that activists claimed as an endorsement of protesters’ demands for full democracy. A record turnout saw 3m voters go to the polls. Carrie Lam, the territory’s beleaguered leader, promised to “seriously reflect” on the outcome. China warned America of “firm counter-measures” in response to Donald Trump’s signing of two bills showing support for democracy in Hong Kong. See article.

China has 276 embassies and other diplomatic offices, more than any other country, according to the Lowy Institute, a think-tank. It passed America, which has 273, this year. France, Japan and Russia took the next three spots on the list.

Get our daily newsletter

Upgrade your inbox and get our Daily Dispatch and Editor’s Picks.

The BJP chief minister of Maharashtra, India’s second- most-populous state, resigned after holding office for just three days, when the supreme court said he must face a vote of confidence. He had, in effect, been installed in the job by the national BJP-led government in Delhi following a contentious election in October and political shenanigans to form a coalition. See article.

Next in line

Trade unions and student groups have led large protests and two national strikes in Colombia. Their complaints include proposals by the government to raise the pension age and the slow implementation of a peace deal with the FARC guerrilla group. A student was killed by a tear-gas canister, increasing the anger.

Luis Lacalle Pou, a candidate of the centre-right, apparently won Uruguay’s presidential election. His narrow victory, if confirmed by the country’s electoral court, will end 15 years of rule by the centre-left Broad Front coalition. Mr Lacalle Pou has promised to fight crime and slash the government’s large deficit.

Oh dear, Jeremy Corbyn

Britain’s chief rabbi, Ephraim Mirvis, expressed concerns about what a Labour government led by Jeremy Corbyn might mean for Jewish people. He said the party’s claim that it had investigated every allegation of anti-Semitism among its members was a “mendacious fiction”. In a TV interview Mr Corbyn repeatedly failed to apologise for his failure to deal with the problem. See article.

Britain’s political parties published their manifestos for the forthcoming election. Labour promised an additional £83bn ($107bn) of day-to-day spending by 2024 (around 4% of GDP). The Liberal Democrats would have a surplus, despite splashing out more than £50bn a year. The Tories were the stingiest, promising just an additional £3bn. All parties would take government spending to over 40% of GDP, reversing a decade-long trend of shrinking the state. See article.

Malta was rocked by a spate of high-level resignations, two years after the murder of a journalist who had been investigating corruption on the island. The tourism and economy ministers stood down. The prime minister’s chief of staff was arrested. See article.

The European Parliament voted to confirm the new European Commission, which will now take office under its president, Ursula von der Leyen. Britain declined to nominate a commissioner, but the process moved ahead anyway. See article.

Clinging on

Israel’s prime minister, Binyamin Netanyahu, faced a challenge to his leadership after being charged with bribery, fraud and breach of trust in three corruption cases. Mr Netanyahu called the indictment an “attempted coup”. But Gideon Saar, a high-ranking member of Mr Netanyahu’s own Likud party, said the prime minister should go. See article.

The authorities in Egypt raided the offices of Mada Masr, the last big independent media voice in the country. Since taking power in a coup in 2013, President Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi has cracked down on dissent and free speech. Mada Masr, an online publication, had recently published an article criticising Mr Sisi’s son, who is a senior intelligence official. See article.

Several people, including health workers combating the Ebola virus, were killed in protests in the Democratic Republic of Congo amid rising public anger directed at the UN’S peacekeeping mission over its inability to protect civilians from Islamist rebels. Their latest attack killed at least 19 people.

Tanzania’s ruling party won 99% of the seats it contested in local elections that were boycotted by the opposition, which accused the government of manipulation. The local poll is a worrying prelude to national elections next year. The government has locked up members of the opposition and journalists.

A collision between two helicopters in Mali killed 13 French troops fighting jihadists in the Sahel. The incident was the single biggest loss of life suffered by the French armed forces since the 1980s.

Money can’t buy you love

Michael Bloomberg belatedly entered the race to be the Democrats’ presidential candidate, joining a contest that has been hostile to billionaires. He spent $31m on TV ads in just one week, a record. Although Mr Bloomberg has toyed with running for president before, this is his first official campaign. He is pursuing a risky strategy, not campaigning in the early primary states in order to focus on delegate-rich Super Tuesday in March. See article.

The Trump administration ousted the secretary of the navy, Richard Spencer, in a row over a navy SEAL who had been convicted of taking a picture next to a dead jihadist in Iraq and threatened with expulsion from the service. Ostensibly, Mr Spencer was fired for not telling Mark Esper, the defence secretary, about his dealings with the White House. But the top brass are furious with Donald Trump for reinstating the disgraced SEAL’s rank. See article.

A federal judge ruled that senior advisers to Mr Trump must comply with subpoenas issued by committees conducting an impeachment inquiry into the president, and ordered Don McGahn, a former White House counsel, to testify to Congress. “Presidents are not kings,” said the judge. The administration is to appeal against the ruling. See article.

Real Life. Real News. Real Voices

Help us tell more of the stories that matter

Become a founding member

Subscribe to the newsletter news

We hate SPAM and promise to keep your email address safe


Uncategorized

Politics this week

As the British general election campaign officially got under way a stream of MPs announced they would not stand again. So far over 70 have stepped down, more than twice the number who chose not to face the electorate in 2017. More than 60 of those supported Remain, and most represented constituencies that voted for…

Politics this week thumbnail

As the British general election campaign officially got under way a stream of MPs announced they would not stand again. So far over 70 have stepped down, more than twice the number who chose not to face the electorate in 2017. More than 60 of those supported Remain, and most represented constituencies that voted for Brexit. The Conservatives’ campaign got off to a bad start, with the resignation of a cabinet minister. Polls still give them a double-digit lead over Labour. See article.

John Bercow stood down as Speaker of Britain’s House of Commons after ten years in the chair. Mr Bercow was known for crying “orderrrr!” and breaking parliamentary conventions. His replacement, Sir Lindsay Hoyle, has hinted at a return to convention and decorum, promising that he will wear the Speaker’s wig “on traditional days”. See article.

Get our daily newsletter

Upgrade your inbox and get our Daily Dispatch and Editor’s Picks.

In an attempt to show voters that the government is prepared to toughen up immigration policy, France’s prime minister, Édouard Philippe, announced plans to clear out some migrant tent-camps, as well as to impose quotas for migrant workers and limit migrant access to non-urgent health care.

Over a barrel

A much-hyped Brazilian auction of rights to drill for offshore oil was a disappointment. Two of the four deepwater deposits got no bids at all. Observers blamed the high fees set by the government, and uncertainty about the future of both Brazil’s policies and global oil demand.

Colombia’s defence minister said he would resign amid accusations that the army has committed atrocities. One senator accused the minister of covering up the alleged bombing of a guerrilla camp in which children were killed.

A drug gang murdered nine members of a Mormon family in Sonora, a state in northern Mexico. Six children and three women died, perhaps because the killers mistook them for rivals. The LeBaron family broke away from the mainstream Mormon church and settled in Mexico in the early 20th century. The victims were American citizens.

Not co-operating

Iran took another step away from the nuclear deal it signed in 2015 by injecting gas into centrifuges at its Fordow facility. The devices could produce enriched uranium to be used for nuclear energy or, if highly enriched, a bomb. Iran said it would reverse the move if the deal’s other signatories—Britain, China, France, Germany and Russia—provide economic relief. See article.

Anti-government protests continued in Iraq and Lebanon. Demonstrators in both countries are seeking big changes to political systems dominated by an old elite and riddled with corruption. In Iraq the authorities have responded with violence. More than 260 people have been killed since the unrest began last month. Adel Abdul-Mahdi, the prime minister, has said he is willing to resign if a replacement is found.

The government of Yemen reached a power-sharing deal with southern separatists. The two are meant to be on the same side in a civil war that pits the Saudi-backed government against Houthi rebels, but they have been fighting each other recently. Saudi Arabia, which hosted the talks, said it hoped the deal would lead to a broader agreement ending the war.

America’s Justice Department charged two former employees of Twitter with supplying personal information on dissidents to Saudi Arabia.

Jihadists linked to Islamic State killed more than 50 soldiers in Mali in an attack on an army base, a month after a similar assault in which more than 40 soldiers were killed. The two attacks are among the worst since 2013, when French forces pushed jihadists out of the towns in the north of Mali.

The International Criminal Court sentenced a former rebel chief in the Democratic Republic of Congo to 30 years in prison for war crimes. Bosco Ntaganda was known as “The Terminator”. His army forcibly recruited children and committed mass rape. His sentence was the longest yet imposed by the court.

Follow the leader

In the 22nd consecutive weekend of unrest in Hong Kong, protesters attacked the office building of Xinhua, a news agency owned by the Chinese government. A Chinese newspaper, Global Times, accused them of deliberately provoking the mainland’s authorities. Xi Jinping met Hong Kong’s embattled chief executive, Carrie Lam, in Shanghai and reiterated his support for her. See article.

Deadly smog engulfed much of northern India, thanks in part to farmers burning stubble and to revellers letting off firecrackers to celebrate Diwali, a Hindu holiday. The government of Delhi closed all the city’s schools and instituted sweeping measures to limit traffic, to little avail.

An attack on a checkpoint in southern Thailand killed 15 people; it was the worst in the region for years. The attackers were militants fighting what they see as the oppression of ethnic Malays in Thailand.

Rodrigo Duterte, the president of the Philippines, put the vice-president, Leni Robredo, in charge of his campaign against drug dealers, during which thousands of suspects have been summarily shot dead. The president and vice-president are elected separately in the Philippines, and Ms Robredo is a staunch critic of Mr Duterte.

Classic Don

America formally notified the UN of its intention to withdraw from the Paris agreement to combat climate change, through which countries have pledged (with varying degrees of sincerity) to cut greenhouse-gas emissions. The Trump administration argues that the accord would hurt American businesses. The decision can be undone if a Democrat wins the presidential election.

Elizabeth Warren, one of the leading candidates to be the Democratic presidential candidate, unveiled details of her ambitious health-care plan. Ms Warren wants to spend $20.5trn over a decade to transform America’s private market for health insurance into a government-run programme. To raise this extraordinary sum, she would hike taxes, especially on companies and the rich. See article.

Beto O’Rourke dropped out of the Democratic race. Once the darling of the left, Mr O’Rourke struggled to make an impact in a crowded field.

The Democrats did well in a smattering of elections, winning the governor’s race in Kentucky and taking control of the state legislature in Virginia for the first time in 20 years. The Republicans held on to the governor’s mansion in deep-red Mississippi. See article.

Real Life. Real News. Real Voices

Help us tell more of the stories that matter

Become a founding member

Subscribe to the newsletter news

We hate SPAM and promise to keep your email address safe


Uncategorized

Politics this week

As the British general election campaign officially got under way a stream of MPs announced they would not stand again. So far over 70 have stepped down, more than twice the number who chose not to face the electorate in 2017. More than 60 of those supported Remain, and most represented constituencies that voted for…

Politics this week thumbnail