A gunman killed 50 worshippers at two mosques in Christchurch, streaming part of the atrocity live on Facebook. The attacker, an Australian who had been living in New Zealand for two years, was motivated by fears that immigration was threatening “white” culture. The government vowed to tighten gun-control laws and monitor right-wing extremists more carefully. See article.
Nursultan Nazarbayev, Kazakhstan’s strongman president of 30 years, resigned abruptly. He retains considerable influence; his daughter is the new chairman of the Senate and the constitution gives him lifetime immunity from prosecution. The capital, Astana, is to be renamed Nursultan after him. See article.
Tsai Ing-wen, Taiwan’s president, was challenged for her party’s nomination in next year’s presidential election by Lai Ching-te, a former prime minister. No sitting Taiwanese president has faced a primary before. See article.
The Philippines withdrew from the International Criminal Court. Rodrigo Duterte, the country’s president, initiated the move a year ago after the court began probing his campaign to encourage police to shoot suspected drug dealers.
China’s president, Xi Jinping, told a meeting of educators that training people to support the Communist Party should begin when they are toddlers. He said teachers must “confront all kinds of wrong opinions”—an apparent reference to Western ideas.
In a “white paper”, the Chinese government said that since 2014 it had destroyed 1,588 terrorist gangs, arrested 12,995 terrorists and punished 30,645 people for “illegal religious activities” in the far western region of Xinjiang. Human-rights groups say about 1m people in Xinjiang, mostly Muslim Uighurs, have been locked up for signs of extremism, such as having big beards or praying too much.
The protection racket
Benny Gantz, the main challenger to Binyamin Netanyahu, the prime minister, in Israel’s forthcoming election, dismissed reports that his phone had been hacked by Iran and that he was vulnerable to blackmail. Some in Mr Gantz’s party blamed Mr Netanyahu for leaking the story. He denied this and asked: “If Gantz can’t protect his phone, how will he protect the country?” See article.
For the third week in a row Algeria was rocked by mass protests against Abdelaziz Bouteflika, the ailing president. Mr Bouteflika insists on staging a national conference and approving a new constitution before holding an election, in which he would not run. But a new group led by politicians and opposition figures called on him to step down immediately. The army appeared to be distancing itself from the president. See article.
More than 1,000 people may have been killed when a cyclone hit Mozambique, causing floods around the city of Beira. The storm also battered Malawi and Zimbabwe. See article.
Amnesty International said that 14 civilians were killed during five air strikes by American military forces in Somalia. AFRICOM, America’s military command for Africa, said no civilians had been killed in the strikes.
A special relationship
Jair Bolsonaro, Brazil’s populist president, visited Donald Trump at the White House. Mr Bolsonaro has been described as the “Trump of the Tropics” for his delight in offending people. The pair got on well. Mr Trump said he wanted to make Brazil an official ally, which would grant it preferential access to American military technology.
Supporters of Juan Guaidó, the man recognised as the rightful president of Venezuela by over 50 countries, said they now controlled three of the country’s diplomatic buildings in the United States, including the consulate in New York.
A judge in Guatemala ordered the arrest of Thelma Aldana, a candidate in the forthcoming presidential election, on charges of fraud, which she denies. Ms Aldana, a former attorney-general, worked closely with a UN-backed commission investigating corruption. Guatemala withdrew its support from that body after it turned its sights on the president, Jimmy Morales.
Canada’s top civil servant resigned over his entanglement in a scandal in which political pressure was allegedly exerted on the then attorney-general to drop the prosecution of an engineering firm accused of bribery in Libya. He is the fourth person to resign over the matter, which has tarnished Justin Trudeau, the Liberal prime minister. See article.
Speaker’s truth to power
Citing a convention dating back to 1604, John Bercow, the Speaker of Britain’s House of Commons, intervened in the Brexit process, again, ruling out a third vote on the withdrawal deal unless there was a change in substance to its terms. Parliament therefore could not have another “meaningful vote” on leaving the European Union before this week’s European Council meeting, where Brexit is on the agenda. Theresa May asked the council for a three-month extension of the Brexit deadline, to June 30th. See article.
The European People’s Party, a grouping of centre-right parties at the European Parliament, voted to suspend Fidesz, Hungary’s ruling party, as a protest against what many in the parliament believe are repeated attempts by the government to undermine the rule of law.
Zuzana Caputova, a political novice, came top in the first round of Slovakia’s presidential election. Disgust at official corruption, and the murder last year of a young journalist who was investigating it, fuelled her victory. See article.
He could get used to this
Donald Trump vetoed the first bill of his presidency, a resolution from Congress to overturn his declaration of a national emergency on the border with Mexico. The resolution had passed with some support from Republicans, worried about the precedent Mr Trump is setting for future presidents, who might also declare an emergency to obtain funding for a project that Congress has denied them.
This article appeared in the The world this week section of the print edition under the headline “Politics this week”