The World Health Organisation rushed to respond to an outbreak of Ebola in the Democratic Republic of Congo. So far, health workers have done a much better job of containing the virus than they did in west Africa in 2014. The fear, however, is that it may spread to big cities. See article.
Voters in Burundi approved a constitutional change that will allow President Pierre “Supreme Eternal Guide” Nkurunziza, who has been in power since 2005, to run for a further two terms when his current one ends in 2020. The vote took place in a climate of fear.
Two weeks after America withdrew from a nuclear deal with Iran, Mike Pompeo, America’s secretary of state, called for a more sweeping agreement. Mr Pompeo demanded that Iran stop enriching uranium, allow nuclear inspectors “unqualified access” and end its involvement in Syria, Yemen and Lebanon, or else face “the strongest sanctions in history”. Hassan Rouhani, Iran’s president, said this was “unacceptable”.
Human-rights groups reported that Saudi Arabia had detained at least 11 feminists. The kingdom plans to lift a decades-old ban on women driving next month. But as it loosens up in some areas, it is also cracking down on dissent.
Israeli warplanes hit targets in the Gaza Strip after a group of Palestinians, allegedly from Hamas, the militant Islamist group that runs Gaza, crossed the border and set fire to an unmanned Israeli army post.
Syria’s army captured an enclave in Damascus from the jihadists of Islamic State. The victory brings the entire capital area under the control of Bashar al-Assad’s regime for the first time since 2012. See article.
Your country needs you
Italy’s president appointed a non-politician, Giuseppe Conte, as prime minister. Mr Conte faces the ticklish task of trying to run a cabinet including the leaders of the two parties that will make up the new populist government: Luigi Di Maio of the radical Five Star Movement and Matteo Salvini of the right-wing Northern League. The two party bosses agree on little. See article.
The Swedish government began sending leaflets to every household advising Swedes what to do if war breaks out. It included tips on how to cope if food and water are short, or if electricity, phones and computer systems fail. Such literature has not been distributed to the public since 1961, during the cold war.
Ken Livingstone, a former mayor of London, resigned from Britain’s Labour Party. He was suspended in 2016 after a row over allegedly anti-Semitic comments he made. Jeremy Corbyn, Labour’s leader, who has been accused of turning a blind eye to anti-Semitism, said resigning was the “right thing to do”.
Sergei Skripal was discharged from hospital in Britain. The former Russian spy and his daughter were exposed to Novichok, a nerve agent, in an attack in March that was linked to Russia, resulting in tit-for-tat diplomatic expulsions and criticism of Russia from NATO and the UN. Britain will also not send any dignitaries to the football World Cup, which starts in Russia next month. See article.
In Cuba a plane crashed shortly after taking off from Havana airport, killing 111 people on board. The 39-year-old Boeing 737 had been leased from a Mexican company.
Nicolás Maduro, Venezuela’s president, won re-election in a vote that was widely condemned as fraudulent. He took 68% of the vote. The main opposition leaders were banned from running. The government set up tents near polling stations to scan voters’ “fatherland cards”, which entitle them to food rations. Some voters feared being denied food if they did not back Mr Maduro.
Panama’s president, Juan Carlos Varela, said an Israeli intelligence agency had given him evidence that a plane that crashed in the country in 1994 was brought down by a terrorist act. The crash occurred on July 19th, the day after an attack on a Jewish centre in Buenos Aires.
After a brief period in office
The Bharatiya Janata Party, which runs India’s central government, emerged as the biggest party after elections in the state of Karnataka. Its local leader was sworn in as chief minister, only to resign two days later because he could not cobble together a majority in the assembly, paving the way for an opposition coalition. See article.
India’s army declared a truce in its fight against separatists in the Kashmir Valley. The ceasefire, to mark the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan, is the first since 2000.
Authorities in Thailand suppressed protests marking the fourth anniversary of the military coup. The junta running the country has repeatedly delayed new elections. Meanwhile, a series of bombs exploded across southern Thailand, damaging banks. The bombs are thought to be the work of insurgents campaigning for greater rights for the region’s Muslim majority. See article.
China said it had landed long-range bombers at an airport in the South China Sea for the first time. The Centre for Strategic and International Studies, a think-tank, identified the location as Woody Island, in the Paracel archipelago, which is also claimed by Vietnam and Taiwan. China also said it had “expelled” ten foreign fishing-vessels from around the islands.
China launched a satellite that will act as the relay station for a planned landing of a spacecraft on the far side of the Moon later this year.
Her time has come
Democrats in Georgia elected Stacey Abrams as their candidate for governor, making her the first black female nominee from either party to run for governor in America. She will have to fight hard to win in November; the last time Georgia elected a Democratic governor was 1998.
Officials in Texas confirmed that the suspect in a school shooting used his father’s guns to kill ten people. Police arrested the 17-year-old, a student at the school near Houston. See article.
Gina Haspel was sworn in as the new director of the CIA after the Senate voted to confirm her in the job by 54 to 45.
A 30-year-old man was taken to court in New York state by his parents to force him to leave home. The son, who never did housework, had refused to go, but the judge sided with his parents and told him to pack his bags.
This article appeared in the The world this week section of the print edition under the headline “Politics this week”