News in October 2020 you may have missed

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Europe

02.10.20: UK. The EU has set in motion legal proceedings against the UK after it reneged on sections of its Brexit “divorce” deal. Talks, however, are set to continue. The UK was given until November to respond to EU concerns.

07.10.20: Greece: The neofascist party Golden Dawn was declared a criminal organization for its role in a series of attacks on migrants and left-wing activists. The Guardian called it the “biggest trial of fascists since Nuremberg.”

13.10.20: Cyprus. As of November, a scheme that sold EU citizenship to anyone willing to invest at least €2m in the country will no longer be available. The arrangement was ditched after an undercover operation by the Al Jazeera news network exposed corruption at the highest levels linked to the transactions.

16.10.20: France. Former president Nicolas Sarkozy has been charged with “criminal association” for his alleged part in accepting campaign funding from toppled Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi, who is believed to have given Sarkozy €50 million for his presidential campaign in 2007.

21.10.20: The Vatican. The Pope has thrown his support behind same-sex civil unions during an interview in a documentary film called Francesco. He said: “Homosexual people have a right to be in a family. They are children of God and have a right to a family. Nobody should be thrown out or be made miserable over it. What we have to create is a civil union law. That way they are legally covered. I stood up for that.”

29.10.20: UK. The previous leader of the Labour Party, Jeremy Corbyn, was suspended from the Party after he made dismissive comments relating to a report by the Equalities and Human Rights Commission on how complaints of antisemitism were handled by the Labour Party.  

ASIA

01.10.20: Armenia: As the conflict in Nagorno-Karabakh intensifies, the Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan accused Turkey, who is firmly on the side of Azerbaijan, of “once again advancing on a genocidal path.”

02.10.20: China. The government in Beijing accused the United States of “fabricating lies” and trying to take the world back to the “jungle age” after Washington alleged China was responsible for “the murder of millions of baby girls.” The Secretary of Education Elisabeth DeVos and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, also implicated the U.N in their scathing report, which stated that China was forcing sterilizations, abortions, and implantation of birth control devices on minorities.

06.10.20: Kyrgyzstan. The results of the parliamentary elections were declared invalid by the Central Electoral Commission after mass protests in major cities around the country, which also involved the seizure of government buildings and the freeing of the previous president from prison. Many people were hurt during the riots and at least one person was killed. President Jeenbekov appealed for calm, while at the same time blaming protestors for trying to orchestrate a coup.

10.10.20: North Korea: Leader Kim Jong Un uncharacteristically wept at a military parade as he thanked citizens for their sacrifices and apologised for failing to improve their living standards.

12.10.20: Bangladesh. The Cabinet approved changing the maximum punishment for rapists from life imprisonment to death. The law will have to be approved by President Abdul Hamid before it goes into effect.

13.10.20: Afghanistan. The latest Taliban offensive in southern Helmand province has caused hundreds of casualties and led to thousands fleeing their homes.

13.10.20: Turkey. State media reported that at least 44 people died from bootleg alcohol poisoning as more Turks opt for cheaper options after sharp rises in taxes on alcohol.  As well as raising revenue, the rise fits in with President Erdogan’s Islamist agenda.

14.10.20: Vietnam. Torrential rains have caused floods and landslides that have killed dozens of people and left hundreds homeless. The hardest hit areas were in Quang Tri, Thua Thien Hue and Quang Nam provinces.

15.10.20: Palestine: According to Israeli government sources, authorities there have decided to bar the popular Palestinian singer Mohammed Assaf from visiting the occupied Palestinian territories.

20.10.20: Vietnam. As the floods continue to ravage the country, at least 105 people have now been confirmed dead and about 5 million adversely affected as the deluge carries away crops, livestock and homes.

21.10.20: Afghanistan. About a dozen women were crushed to death and many others injured in a stampede in a stadium that was being used to issue visas to Pakistan. Owing to a seven-month suspension of visa applications due to the coronavirus pandemic, “thousands of people” had gathered at the site and many were anxious they would not be seen.

22.10.20: Lebanon. President Michel Aoun renamed Saad Hariri as new Prime Minister a year after he resigned from the same post.

24.10.20: Turkey. President Tayyip Erdogan launched a fresh attack on French President Emmanuel Macron declaring he needed psychiatric help because of his attitude towards Muslims and Islam. The scathing attack follows Macron’s pledge not to surrender to extremism in the wake of the beheading of Samuel Paty, a 47-year-old history and geography teacher at College du Bois d’Aulne on 16 October.

24.10.20: Brunei. Prince Azim, the son of Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah, died aged 38. He was a film producer and fourth in line to succeed to the throne of Brunei.  The government declared a week of national mourning, although the cause of death was not disclosed.  The prince was outed by Perez Hilton in 2019 after his father made gay sex a crime punishable by death.

Africa

03.10.20: Sudan. Government and rebel groups signed a landmark peace agreement that aims to bring an end to decades of violence that cost the lives of thousands of people.

06.10.20: Mali. Authorities have released 180 Islamic extremists from a prison in Bamako and flown them to the country’s north, in what appears to be a prisoner swap that will guarantee the freeing of a number of prisoners, including Soumaila Cisse, a prominent opposition politician and French national Sophie Petronin, who was held hostage for four years.

20.10.20: Nigeria. At Least 15 People were killed according to Amnesty International as protests and riots against police violence intensified. Anger is particularly directed against the Special Anti-Robbery Squad, which is accused of kidnapping, harassment, and extortion.

23.10.20: Sudan. The government in Khartoum is the latest to agree to normalise relations with Israel according to US President Donald Trump. The US president also claimed that “at least five more” Arab states were planning to follow suit. He also removed Sudan from his list of state sponsors of terrorism.

23.10.20: Libya.  The UN recognised Government of National Accord, based in Tripoli, and Khalifa Hifter’s Libyan National Army agreed to a cease-fire which was signed in Geneva.

23.10.20: Namibia. Over 7,000 dead seals, many of them pups, were washed ashore on the Namibian coast over a number of days. The cause of the disaster has not yet been ascertained.

24.10.20: Cameroon. Suspected separatists stormed a school in the city of Kumba in the South West Region. The attackers shot indiscriminately and killed and wounded several children, some of whom were injured after jumping from second storey windows as they tried to save themselves.

25.10.20: Guinea. The electoral commission announced that President Alpha Condé won a controversial third term in office with 59.5% of the vote. The alleged victory, which still requires confirmation by the Constitutional Court, sparked violent riots which already cost the lives of over 30 people. Opposition leader Cellou Dalein Diallo said he would contest the result.

25.10.20: Seychelles. Wavel Ramkalawan, an Anglican priest, won the presidential election, marking the first opposition victory since independence from Britain in 1976. President Danny Faure conceded defeat.

Americas

09.10.20: The Caribbean Community (CARICOM).  A communique by CARICOM condemned the EU for continuing to blacklist countries as tax havens, the most recent being Anguilla and Barbados. In the statement, CARCOM accused the EU of an “ongoing unilateral, arbitrary and non-transparent blacklisting strategy” and called on it to “desist from this harmful practice.”

14.10.20: Brazil. Jair Bolsonaro’s deputy leader, Chico Rodrigues, was caught with a wad of banknotes worth up to 30,000 reais (more than £4,100) clenched in his buttocks, in another blow to the president’s efforts to portray himself as the anti-corruption champion.  The bundle was discovered while police were searching his home while investigating misappropriation of public funds.

15.10.20: Mexico. General Salvador Cienfuegos Zepeda, a former defence minister, was charged with drug trafficking and money laundering while holding public office. He was arrested at Los Angeles airport and is due to make a court appearance on four charges in California on Friday.

19.10.20: USA. As the U.S. death toll from COVID-19 surpasses the rest of the world with over 220,000 fatalities, President Trump launched a scathing attack on Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease expert, referring to him as an idiot and a disaster.

19.10.20: Bolivia: Exit polls suggest that Luis Arce, had secured more than 50% of the vote while his main rival, former president Carlos Mesa, received only 30% or so. Acre was representing the Movimiento al Socialismo (Mas), which is the party of Evo Morales, who had to resort to exile after having been accused of electoral fraud after the 2019 general election.

20.10.20: USA. Hundreds of immigrant children seized at the border between the US and Mexico are still unable to join their parents according to legal sources.  Attempts to reunite about 545 children, who were separated from their families between 2017 to 2018, have so far failed because of difficulties in tracing their families. Many of the children were put in cages as part of Trump’s no tolerance policy.

21.10.20: USA. As the U.S. death toll from COVID-19 reached 222,000, a report by Columbia University blamed Trump for monumental failures: “We estimate that at least 130,000 deaths and perhaps as many as 210,000 could have been avoided with earlier policy interventions and more robust federal coordination and leadership. Even with the dramatic recent appearance of new COVID-19 waves globally, the abject failures of U.S. government policies and crisis messaging persist.”

21.10.20: USA. The NASA Osiris-Rex spacecraft successfully landed on asteroid Bennu about 300 million kilometres from earth, to collect samples for analysis back on Earth. The spacecraft is expected to return to earth in 2023.

26.10.20: Chile. At least 78% of people voted in support of rewriting Chile’s constitution, which was drafted during the dictatorship of Gen Augusto Pinochet. Jubilant crowds took to the streets to celebrate the outcome of the referendum. 

Oceania

04.10.20: New Caledonia/France. People in the French overseas territory, which had been annexed by France in 1853, rejected independence from France in a referendum, with 53.26% of voting to stay. The result was not as high as that of a similar referendum that was held two years ago.

17.10.20: New Zealand. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern won a landslide victory in the general election securing an outright parliamentary majority.

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