What You May Have Missed: July 2020

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AFRICA

01.07.20: Mali. Over 30 farmers were slaughtered by armed jihadists on motorcycles while they were returning home from their fields in villages in the Mopti region.

05.07.20: Ethiopia. The number of people killed in protests over the murder of popular political singer, Hachalu Hundessa, on June 29 rose to 156 according to a senior official.

08.07.20: Ivory Coast. Prime Minister Amadou Gon Coulibaly died aged 61 a few days after returning from France where he had undergone a medical check-up relating to a heart condition. He fell ill at a ministerial meeting and was rushed to hospital where he died shortly afterwards. He was the ruling party’s candidate for the October presidential election and was expected to replace the outgoing President Alassane Ouattara.

10.07.20: Ethiopia. Two suspects were arrested over the killing of a popular political singer, Hachalu Hundessa, whose murder lead to protests that resulted in 166 deaths.

15.07.20: Tunisia. Prime Minister Elyes Fakhfakh resigned after President Kais Saied cited a conflict of interest that left his government in an untenable position. The government had only been set up five months earlier. This leaves the country in a difficult position, especially because of the deepening financial crisis that is related to the coronavirus pandemic.

19.07.20: Sudan. The death penalty and flogging, which were standard penalties for gay sex, have been abolished. The Sodomy Law had stipulated 100 lashes for the first offence, a jail sentence of five years for the second and execution for the third. Although the penalties have been reduced, gay sex, still remains illegal in Sudan.

21.07.20: Ethiopia. Egypt and Sudan agreed to continue talks in order to reach an agreement on the issues regarding the use of water from the Blue Nile for the Grand Renaissance Dam that Ethiopia is completing across the river.

30.07.20: Ivory Coast. Defence Minister Hamed Bakayoko has been appointed interim Prime Minister by President Ouattara following the sudden death of Amadou Gon Coulibaly earlier this month.

AMERICAS

01.07.20: Mexico. Police confirmed that gunmen had killed 24 people at a drug rehabilitation centre in Irapuato.

06.07.20: USA. A federal judge ruled that the controversial Dakota Access Pipeline must cease operations pending an environmental review.

18.07.20: Mexico. 20 men were kidnapped in Puerto Vallarta, Jalisco. The men from Guanajuato had just arrived at the resort city for a holiday.

25.0720. Honduras. Police were accused of shooting at protesters demanding the release of five Garífuna land defenders who had been kidnapped days earlier in the coastal town of Triunfo de la Cruz.

27.07.20: Barbados. Owen Arthur, died of heart failure in the capital Bridgetown aged 70. Owen was the longest serving Prime Minister of the West Indian island country, serving from 6 September 1994 to 15 January 2008.

ASIA

02.07.20: Myanmar. About 160 people were buried alive following a landslide at a jade mine in the north of the country. The “wave of mud” was caused by a bout of torrential rains.

02.07.20: Russia. A referendum allowing President Vladimir Putin to remain in office until 2036 was passed by 78% of voters, with only 21% voting against. Polling stations were opened from 25 June to July 1 and the turnout was 65%. The referendum included about 200 constitutional amendments which ranged from guaranteed minimum pensions to banning same-sex marriage and an affirmation in the Russian people’s belief in God.

05.07.20: Japan. Floods and landslides unleashed by torrential rains on Japan’s southern island of Kyushu have been causing havoc around the island and claiming the lives of scores of victims. In 2018, floods were responsible for over 200 fatalities.

10.07.20: South Korea. Seoul City Mayor Park Won-soon was found dead at Mt Bugak after his daughter reported him missing, adding that he had left a message that read “like a will”. A complaint regarding sexual harassment had recently been filed by one of Park’s former employees.

10.07.20: Turkey. In a retrograde move typical of the President, Erdogan announced that the iconic Istanbul landmark, the Hagia Sophia, which has been a museum since 1934, would be converted into a mosque. The Cathedral, completed in the 6th century, had been turned into a mosque in 1453 following the fall of the Byzantine Empire to the Ottomans. Erdogan said that the building would be open for prayers on July 24.

14.07.20: Armenia/Azerbaijan. Tensions between Armenia and Azerbaijan reached boiling point over the disputed Nagorno-Karabakh region, as both sides blamed the other for ceasefire violations. The clashes started on Sunday and by Tuesday seven soldiers and a civilian were killed on the Azeri side as well as four Armenian border guards on the opposite side of the border.   

21.07.20: Iran. Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei announced that Iran would retaliate with an equivalent blow for the killing of Qassem Soleimani. The commander of the Revolutionary Guards was assassinated by American forces during a diplomatic visit to Iraq on January 3, 2020.

22. 07.20: Russia. Yuri Dmitriev, the head of Memorial, a human rights NGO was sentenced to three and a half years in prison for allegedly abusing his adopted daughter. Dmitriev was compiling a list of names of people from Karelia, a region bordering Finland, who were exterminated or deported during the Stalin regime. His supporters are convinced the trial was politically motivated.

30.07.20: Taiwan. Lee Teng-hui, the former president, died aged 97 in Taipei Veterans’ General Hospital. He was the nation’s fourth president and the first to be democratically elected. He was a strong advocate of Taiwanese independence from China.

31.07.20: Hong Kong, China. In the wake of a number of arrests of pro-democracy activists, leader Carrie Lam postponed the city’s legislative elections for a whole year citing the rise in Covid-19 cases as the reason for the move.

31.07.20: South Korea. The Central Bank reported a surge in damaged banknotes as coronavirus-worried citizens are microwaving their cash in an attempt to minimise the risk of infection. Apart from microwaves and ovens, people are also putting their cash through wash cycles in their washing machines!

EUROPE

01.07.20: Montenegro. The government has voted to legalise same-sex civil partnerships. President Milo Djukanovic said it was a confirmation that Montenegrin society “is maturing.”

03.07.20: France. President Macron has chosen a relatively unknown politician, Jean Castex, as the country’s new prime minister. He will replace Édouard Philippe, who resigned earlier in order to run for the Le Havre mayoral elections.

12.07.20: UK. Two protesters from Animal Rebellion were arrested “on suspicion of causing criminal damage” after dying the water of two fountains in London’s Trafalgar Square, red. The activists were demanding an end to animal farming and claimed that the red symbolised “blood that is on the hands of the UK government.”

13.07.20: Poland. President Duda has narrowly won the presidential elections and secured another five years in office.  He campaigned on nationalistic, homophobic and religious platform that will spell further confrontation with the European Union.

18.07.20: Spain. Novelist, journalist and screenwriter, Juan Marsé Carbó, died aged 87. He was awarded the Cervantes Prize in 2008, which is the highest literary award in Spain. His works often revolve around post-war Barcellona.

21.07.20: European Union. After months of discussions, EU leaders finally reached an agreement on a massive stimulus plan for their coronavirus-stricken economies.

24.07.20: Hungary. Freedom of the press took another significant blow following the sacking of the editor-in-chief of Index, Hungary’s largest independent online news broadcaster. A few months ago, one of Prime Minister Orban’s supporters bought a 50% stake in the agency, which explains the sacking. As a result, over 70 journalists, almost the whole of the editorial team, resigned en masse in protest.

26.07.20: France. British-American actress, Dame Olivia Mary de Havilland died aged 104. She was one of the last remaining stars of the golden age of Hollywood and starred in almost 50 feature films, including the classic Gone with The Wind.

27.07.20: Ukraine. A new ceasefire in eastern Ukraine was supposed to commence today, but the government in Kiev expressed concerns that it was already being broken by Russian-backed separatists.

30.07.20: UK. Alan Parker, the acclaimed British director of such films as Fame, Evita and Bugsy Malone, died aged 76.

OCEANIA

24.07.20: Australia. A report by the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) revealed data highlighting the catastrophic impact of the recent bushfires. The devastation is almost three times the January estimates.  Nearly 3 billion animals were killed or displaced: about 143 million mammals, 180 million birds, 51 million frogs and 2.5 billion reptiles.

UNITED NATIONS

01.07.20: UN. Resolution 2532 (2020) was adopted by the Security Council calling upon “all parties to armed conflicts to engage immediately in a durable humanitarian pause for at least 90 consecutive days, in order to enable the safe, unhindered and sustained delivery of humanitarian assistance, provisions of related services by impartial humanitarian actors…”

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