This Week Around the World June 17-24

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June 17 Jalalabad, Afghanistan: Only days after the Eid-al-Fitr, the Muslim holiday marking the close of Ramadan, an explosion outside the regional governor’s office killed 18 people and left 49 wounded. Only a day prior, the ISK—Afghanistan’s local affiliate of the Islamic State group—claimed responsibility for a suicide bombing that killed 36 and wounded 65; however, as of June 30, no group or individual claimed responsibility for the June 17 attack.

June 17–18 Israel: A ministerial committee voted June 17 to approve a bill that would make it illegal to film and document Israeli soldiers with a punishment of up to five years in prison—10 years if the intent was to damage national security.

On June 18, the Central District Court in Lod ruled whether confessions surrounding an arson attack by Jewish extremists, which left 18-month-old Palestinian Ali Sa’ed Dawabsheh dead in 2015, would be admissible in court. Around two dozen far-right youth gathered outside the courthouse, chanting slogans such as “Ali’s on the grill” at family members of the slain child as they left.

June 17–19 Kashmir: Following a ceasefire between Pakistani and Indian forces for the month of Ramadan, the Indian government resumed its military operations in the disputed territory, however the situation quickly devolved. As of June 19, India’s Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti resigned from her post, stating hard line policies will not work in Kashmir.

June 17–23 Macedonia: According to Reuters, over 1,000 people came out on June 23 to protest the renaming of the Macedonian state, a decision that was reached between the foreign ministers of Greece and Macedonia on June 17 following decades of disputes. The name, which was changed to “Republic of North Macedonia”, sparked outrage amongst Macedonians who held a rally with the slogan “Never north, always Macedonia.” Conversely, Greece has rejected the name Macedonia as the official name due to feelings of its implied territorial claims on the Greek province of Macedonia, and an appropriation of the ancient civilization. The ancient kingdom of Macedonia resided where modern-day Macedonia and parts of Greece are today.

June 17–23 Spain: On June 17, over 600 migrants and refugees finally disembarked two Italian coast guard ships—the Datillo and the Orione—and the MV Aquarius charity rescue ship at the port of Valencia. The migrants and refugees had been rescued in the Mediterranean, only to be stranded at sea when Italy and Malta barred entry to their ports. Over 2,300 people waited at the Spanish ports in order assist the new arrivals, “including 1,000 Red Cross volunteers, 400 translators, and around 450 national police and civil guards,” according to Al Jazeera. Another 769 refugees were rescued by the Spanish coast guard from the Mediterranean on June 23.

June 18 Japan: A 6.1 magnitude earthquake hit northern Osaka Prefecture, killing three people, RT reported. Around 170,000 houses were left without power and, according to Al Jazeera, at least 230 people were injured as well.

June 18 Brussels, Belgium: The European Union announced it will fund a project which will prosecute Israeli Defense Forces soldiers for violations against Palestinians in an effort to collect testimonies and video recordings. The project, which a large part is from the work of Yesh Din, Breaking the Silence and Doctors for Human Rights, will allocate €250,000 (approximately $292,500) until November 2019.

June 18-20 Amman, Jordan: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and the Jordanian King Abdullah II met in Amman on June 18 to discuss regional issues relating to Palestine and the status of Jerusalem. Abdullah stressed the advancement of the two-state solution and the importance of Jerusalem to Christians and Muslims as well as for Jews.

June 18 Yemen: Saudi-led airstrikes resumed in neighboring Yemen as a battle for the port city of Hudaida ensued between the Iranian-backed Houthis and Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates–backed Yemeni forces. According to Al Jazeera, Hudaida, which is currently controlled by Houthi forces, has a population of around 600,000 and receives 70 percent of all imports into the country via the Red Sea.

June 19 Geneva, Switzerland: A day prior to World Refugee Day, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees released its annual report, which stated more than 16 million people were forcibly displaced last year alone due to war, violence and persecution. This raises the total number of those displaced in the world to almost 69 million, over half of which are children.

Additionally, the Trump administration announced its withdrawal from the UN Human Rights Council, owing in large part to the council’s “chronic bias against Israel,” as Ambassador Nikki Haley was quoted via NPR. The decision comes amid nationwide outrage to asylum seekers denied entry into the country and children separated from their families at the border.

June 24 Saudi Arabia: The Saudi ban on women driving officially ended at midnight on June 24 as many women experienced their first time on the road. Celebrations took place mostly in Riyadh and Jeddah, where the majority of licenses had been issued earlier in the month. However, as Al Jazeera reported, lesson fees are six times higher for women as they are for men, and activists still face up to 20 years in prison.

June 19 Italy: Far-right Interior Minister Matteo Salvini announced plans to create a dossier for its Roma community for the purpose of expelling those without Italian citizenship, stating “unfortunately we have to keep Italian Roma people in Italy because you can’t expel them.” Human rights groups, opposition leaders, the EU and minority communities have all lambasted the decision as racist, fascist and unconstitutional.

June 19 Canada: The Canadian Senate passed the Cannabis Act, which legalizes recreational cannabis on the federal level. The minimum age is set at 18 years; however, each province may design their own laws and instill their own restrictions. The law makes Canada the second nation in the world after Uruguay to legalize cannabis and will go into effect on October 17.

June 22 Washington, D.C.: President Donald Trump has extended sanctions against North Korea for an additional year, despite Trump’s recognition that the country was no longer a threat following his June 12 summit in Singapore with Leader Kim Jong-un.

June 22 Iowa: A 98-car freight train carrying crude oil derailed near the Sioux-Lyon County of Iowa, sending 32 cars into the floodwaters of the Rock River. Homes in the area were evacuated, and an estimated 230,000 gallons of oil were spilled. The train had been en route from Canada to Oklahoma at the time, and while railroad company BNSF has not claimed what caused the derailment, there has been recent flooding in the area.

June 22-24 Nicaragua: Amid ongoing unrest in the Central American country that has seen 200 people die in the past two months, President Daniel Ortega’s government has been blamed for five people who were left dead during weekend protests, including two students and a baby.

June 23 Ethiopia: At least two have been killed and more than 150 injured after an explosion went off during a rally for Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed. Thousands to tens of thousands attended to celebrate and show support for the newly elected prime minister, whose message of unity has brought hope to the country. No groups or individuals have claimed responsibility, though investigations are underway.

June 23 Iraq: Following the May parliamentary vote and a three-hour meeting on June 23, Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi and the Sairoon Alliance’s Shia leader Muqtada al-Sadr announced in a joint statement the creation of a coalition between them. Crossing sectarian and ethnic lines in order to form the new government and serve the people was a highlighted sentiment in their statement.

June 24 Turkey: Turkey held both its presidential and parliamentary elections, with voter turnout recorded at 86.82 percent by Al Jazeera. Over 94 percent of the votes have been counted in both elections, with incumbent President Recep Tayyip Erdo‏ğan winning 52.83 percent and first runner up Muharrem Ince winning 30.68 percent. Additionally, the Justice and Development Party won 53.84 percent, the Republican People’s Party won 34.03 percent and the

Peoples’ Democratic Party won 11.05 percent.

Ongoing, United States: Dozens of cities across the U.S. have seen demonstrations against the Trump administration’s border policies as the number of children separated from their families and held in dismal conditions comes to light. The New York Times reported more than 2,300 children were separated from their families in recent weeks and subsequently held in shelters run by the Department of Health and Human Services. Washington and Oregon are among 17 states with around 100 total designated shelters.

 

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