Boris Johnson, Britain’s prime minister, asked the queen to suspend Parliament soon after it returns on September 3rd. The move caught opposition parties, and many of Mr Johnson’s own Conservative MPs, off guard. The timing of the move, though perfectly legal, was designed to squeeze the already-tight timetable for MPs who want to block a no-deal Brexit. Parliament will not reassemble until October 14th, with votes on the Queen’s Speech in the following week. With Britain due to leave the EU on October 31st, Mr Johnson’s claim that any new deal can be passed in the remaining time is unrealistic. See article.
Reaction to the suspension of Parliament was split along Brexit lines. John Bercow, the Speaker of the Commons and a Remainer, called it a “constitutional outrage”. Jacob Rees-Mogg, the Leader of the House and an ardent Leaver, said it was a “completely proper constitutional procedure”. See article.
Italy’s centre-left Democratic Party and the populist Five Star Movement reached an agreement to form a new coalition government that would see Giuseppe Conte remain prime minister. Mr Conte recently quit his job after Matteo Salvini, the hard-right leader of the Northern League, withdrew his support from the government. The deal keeps Mr Salvini out of power. He had served as interior minister, overseeing a crackdown on migrants. See article.
A Russian man was arrested in Berlin on suspicion of assassinating a Chechen exile in one of the city’s parks. The victim, Zelimkhan Khangoshvili, had fought Russian troops during the Chechen insurgency and was considered a terrorist by the Kremlin, which denied any involvement in the killing.
Iran’s foreign minister, Muhammad Javad Zarif, met President Emmanuel Macron of France on the sidelines of the G7 summit in Biarritz. Mr Macron tried to arrange talks between Donald Trump and Iran’s president, Hassan Rouhani. Mr Trump appeared tempted, but Mr Rouhani said there would be no negotiations until American sanctions on Iran are lifted. See article.
Hizbullah threatened to launch a “surprise” attack on Israel. The Lebanese militia-cum-political party blamed Israel for two drones that crashed in the southern suburbs of Beirut, one of which damaged a Hizbullah office. Separately, Israel said it thwarted an Iranian drone attack with air strikes in Syria. See article.
Sudan’s new prime minister, Abdalla Hamdok, said his country needs $8bn in foreign aid over the next two years to fix the crippled economy. Meanwhile, Sudan’s newly created sovereign council declared a state of emergency in Port Sudan. Clashes between tribes in the city have killed at least 16 people.
The Indonesian government announced that it would relocate the country’s capital from Jakarta to the Indonesian part of Borneo. It has selected a site in the province of East Kalimantan and hopes to begin construction next year.
South Korea’s supreme court overturned part of an appeals-court verdict in the bribery case of Lee Jae-yong, the de facto boss of Samsung, who had been given a suspended sentence for seeking favours from Park Geun-hye, a former president. It said that the lower court’s definition of what constituted bribery was too narrow, and that three expensive horses which Samsung gave to the daughter of the president’s confidante were bribes. The ruling is a blow for Mr Lee. The court also ordered a retrial of Ms Park’s case. She had been given a 25-year sentence for abusing her power.
A row between Japan and South Korea over compensation for South Koreans forced to work in Japanese factories during the second world war intensified. South Korea pulled out of an intelligence-sharing pact with Japan over its refusal to honour South Korean court rulings. It also conducted military exercises near islands that it controls but Japan claims. See article.
In India, a crackdown on corruption was criticised by some for unfairly targeting political enemies of the ruling BJP party. Police recently arrested a former finance minister under the previous government for influence peddling. See article.
Australia’s opposition Labor Party came under pressure to answer allegations that it tried to hide a donation in 2015 from a Chinese property developer, who has since been stripped of permanent residency on suspicion of working for the Chinese Communist Party.
The first Catholic bishop was ordained in China under a new arrangement between the state and the Vatican which gives both a say in appointing prelates. Around half of China’s 12m Catholics belong to a body supervised by the government, while the other half swear allegiance only to Rome. Bishops must register with the official church, but Antonio Yao Shun’s ordination in Inner Mongolia also received the pope’s blessing.
The courts have their say
A federal judge blocked Missouri’s recently enacted ban on abortions after eight weeks of pregnancy from coming into effect. Similar attempts to restrict abortion were recently obstructed by the courts in Arkansas and Ohio.
Kirsten Gillibrand dropped out of the race to become the Democratic candidate for president, the biggest name to do so, so far. Ms Gillibrand, a senator from New York, had struggled to gain much traction in a crowded field.
Fanning the flames
As fires raged in the Brazilian Amazon, the presidents of Brazil and France directed insults at each other. Emmanuel Macron, the French leader, accused Jair Bolsonaro, his Brazilian counterpart, of lying when he promised to help protect the climate and biodiversity. Mr Bolsonaro decried Mr Macron’s “colonialist stance”. G7 countries offered Brazil $22m to fight the fires. Mr Bolsonaro said he would reject it unless Mr Macron apologised, though he accepted $12m in aid from Britain and sent the armed forces to help fight the blazes. See article.
Ecuador imposed a visa requirement on Venezuelans fleeing the chaos in their country. Migrants now need to carry a passport and show they do not have a criminal record. Chile and Peru have imposed similar restrictions. Thousands of Venezuelans rushed to cross the Ecuadorean border before the rule took effect.
At least 26 people died in a fire at a bar in Coatzacoalcos, a port city on Mexico’s east coast. Armed men shut the exits and set fire to the entrance hall. The country’s president, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, suggested that the authorities may have colluded.
This article appeared in the The world this week section of the print edition under the headline “Politics this week”