Issue 107: 2017 06 01: Week In Brief International

01 June 2017


UN Flag to denote International news Week In Brief


BELGIUM:  NATO leaders meet in Brussels.  President Trump reminded a number of European leaders that they have proved unreliable in that they have not been paying the agreed 2% on defence.  Chancellor Merkel later announced that Europe’s Atlantic allies were no longer ‘completely reliable’.

FRANCE:  President Macron met President Putin of Russia in Versailles, to open dialogue with Russia on the occasion of the three-hundredth anniversary of Peter the Great’s visit to France in 1717.

Scrutiny of President Macron’s ministers and parliamentary candidates has resulted in some embarrassment for the President, who promised, in his campaign, to clean up French politics.  The minister for public cohesion has been accused by Le Canard Enchaîné of employing his son as a parliamentary assistant and of misusing his position as head of a charity to benefit his partner. One of the parliamentary candidates has been revealed as spending his MP’s allowance on golf, holidays and other leisure activities. The European minister is being investigated following allegations that, as an MEP, she used EU public money to pay for political activity in France, illegal under French law.

GREECE:  A parcel bomb seriously injured the former Prime Minister Lucas Papademos.  His driver was also injured.

ITALY:  The seven elected leaders representing the G7 nations (plus representatives of the EU) met in Sicily.

RUSSIA:  A ten-year old boy was detained by police for reciting from Shakespeare’s ‘Hamlet’ in public.  His father was charged with failing in his parental duties.

New legislation to monitor and control instant messaging services has been introduced to the State Duma.  It proposes that the authorities should be allowed to identify users, monitor content and send messages.  Five messenger services have recently been blocked for not registering with the authorities.

Middle East and Africa

BAHRAIN:  Five people were killed and 286 arrested when police raided the village of Duraz, home of a prominent Shia cleric.

EGYPT:  Gunmen attacked vehicles carrying Coptic Christian pilgrims in Minya.  They opened fire on the pilgrims and killed at least 28 of them, including a number of children.  Egypt retaliated with airstrikes on an al-Qaeda linked base near Derna in eastern Libya where it is thought the murderers were trained.

IRAQ:  Iranian-backed Shia militias have driven Isis from the last village they held in Yazidi territory, in the north west of Iraq near the border with Syria, and are encouraging Yazidis to return to their homes.

ISRAEL:  Palestinian prisoners called off their mass hunger-strike, after they were granted the concession of a second family visit each month.

PAKISTAN:  Two people were shot dead during protests about frequent and lengthy power-cuts in Karachi.

SOUTH AFRICA:  President Zuma survived calls for him to stand down as party leader at a meeting of ANC leaders.  His opponents claim that leaked e-mails show that he was planning to seek exile in Dubai in order to escape prosecution for alleged corruption.

ZAMBIA:  The government of President Edgar Lungu proposes moving the capital from over-crowded Lusaka to Ngabwe, a village 100 miles further north in Central province.

Far East, Asia and Pacific

AUSTRALIA:  The government announced a measure to confiscate passports from convicted paedophiles, to remove the danger of them travelling to south East Asian countries to commit child abuse as ‘sex tourists’.

CHINA:  Beijing announced that it is building an underwater surveillance network of cameras, sensors and radars in the East China Sea and South China Sea.

INDIA:  The government imposed a ban on the sale of cows for slaughter.  Regional governments have objected.

The World Health Organisation announced an outbreak of the zika virus in Ahmedabad, Gujarat state. Three cases were confirmed.

KOREA, NORTH:  Another ballistic missile was test-fired; it came down in Sea of Japan.  A new anti-aircraft weapon system also tested.

PHILIPPINES:  President Duterte declared martial law in the island of Mindanao, where troops are fighting against the Abu Sayyaf militant group.  Government forces are trying to drive Maute rebel group from city of Marawi, where rebels have raised the Isis flag, set fire to buildings, freed prisoners, taken hostages and killed at least 8 civilians.  92 people have been killed, including 11 soldiers, 4 policeman and 61 militants.

SRI LANKA:  Record rainfall, floods and landslides have driven more than 100,000 people from their homes in the south and west of Sri Lanka.  At least 146 people have died and over 112 are missing.

TAIWAN:  The constitutional court, judging a test case, ruled in favour of same-sex marriage.


BRAZIL:  Rioters attacked government buildings in Brasilia during a demonstration against the government’s austerity measures.   President Temer ordered troops onto the streets.

USA:  President Trump attended a meeting of NATO leaders in Brussels and a meeting of G7 leaders in Sicily.

President Trump’s son in law, Jared Kushner, was named as a ‘focus’ of the FBI investigation into alleged links between the Kremlin and Trump’s campaign team.  It was alleged that he tried to set up a secret channel of communication with the Kremlin before the inauguration.

White House director of communications Mike Dubke resigned.

The White House is planning to set up a ‘war room’ to deal with consequences of enquiries into alleged campaign links with the Kremlin.

The Ground Based Midcourse Defense System (GMD) underwent its first tests, with a test missile fired from the Pacific’s Marshall Islands being shot down by an interceptor launched from an air force base in California.  The shield is intended to defend the USA from intercontinental ballistic missiles from North Korea or other rogue states.  The interceptors will be based in California and Alaska.

A man shot dead 8 people in a house-to-house rampage in Mississippi.

A man, who was verbally abusing two teenage girls (one of whom was a Muslim) on a train in Portland, stabbed three people when they tried to intervene.  Two of them were killed and the third is in hospital.  The attacker has a history of extreme right-wing views.

VENEZUELA:  President Maduro’s hand has been strengthened by $2.8 billion from Goldman Sachs, as protests against corruption, shortages, a collapsing economy and the President’s refusal to meet his constitutional duties following last year’s petition of opposition continue.  The investment bank bought heavily-discounted national oil company bonds.  The opposition and parliament has criticised the purchase of what they call ‘hunger bonds’ as an attempt ‘to make a quick buck off the suffering of the Venezuelan people’.

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