America reimposed sanctions on Iran, three months after pulling out of an accord brokered in 2015 to roll back its nuclear-weapons programme. A European Union law aims to shield EU-based firms that deal with Iran from the sanctions. But Donald Trump tweeted that anyone doing business with Iran will not be doing business with America. Scores of international companies have said they will comply with the order. Tougher sanctions come into force in November that curb Iranian energy exports. See article.
Saudi Arabia expelled Canada’s ambassador, froze trade with the country and will reportedly dump its Canadian investments. The kingdom’s ire was raised by a series of tweets from Canada’s foreign minister, in which she called for the release of Saudi human-rights activists. See article.
The government in Zimbabwe continued arresting and torturing members of the opposition, two weeks after disputed elections that saw President Emmerson Mnangagwa and his ruling Zanu-PF party hang onto power. The situation is chaotic. According to reports, the chief of the armed forces did not order the crackdown. A former army chief, Constantino Chiwenga, who is now the vice-president, is suspected of calling the shots. See article.
Joseph Kabila said he would not run for a third term as president of the Democratic Republic of Congo. The constitution says he cannot, but that did not previously trouble him. His term should have ended in 2016. An election is scheduled for December. See article.
Nigeria’s vice-president, Yemi Osinbajo, who is acting as president while Muhammadu Buhari is on holiday, fired the country’s spy chief after masked security men barricaded parliament. Dozens of lawmakers recently switched their loyalty from the ruling party to the opposition.
I’d start worrying
The Republicans appeared to have clung on in a special election for a congressional seat in the suburbs of Columbus, Ohio. The Republican candidate’s margin of victory stood at just one percentage point in a district that the party won by 37 points in 2016. In another election that was too close to call, Kris Kobach, who spearheaded (unfounded) allegations of voter fraud at the election in 2016, had a tiny lead in the Republican primary for governor of Kansas. See article.
Chicago endured its bloodiest weekend of the year. At least 74 people were shot between Friday afternoon and early Monday, 12 of them fatally.
In an apparent attempt to assassinate Venezuela’s president, Nicolás Maduro, two drones carrying explosives flew near him as he addressed the paramilitary National Guard. One blew up in mid-air. The other struck a building. The guardsmen panicked and fled. A group calling itself Soldiers in T-shirts claimed responsibility. At least seven people were arrested. Inflation in Venezuela is so high that prices double every 25 days. See article.
The left-wing Workers’ Party in Brazil nominated Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, a former president, as its presidential candidate. He leads in the polls, but is in jail for corruption and will probably be disqualified. The second-most-popular candidate, Jair Bolsonaro, a right-wing former army captain, named a former general, Hamilton Mourão, as his running-mate. Last year Mr Mourão suggested that the army could intervene to solve Brazil’s political problems. See here and here.
Iván Duque was sworn in as Colombia’s president, succeeding Juan Manuel Santos, who negotiated a peace deal ending a long-running war with the FARC guerrilla group. Mr Duque is a critic of the peace agreement. As one of his last acts Mr Santos gave 440,000 refugees from Venezuela the temporary right to stay in Colombia. See article.
Argentina’s senate rejected a bill to allow women to have abortions in the first 14 weeks of pregnancy. Abortion is permitted only in cases of rape or to protect a woman’s health.
The threat of American sanctions in a row over the detention of an American pastor in Turkey sent the Turkish lira reeling. It hit record lows against the dollar, having lost a third of its value since the start of this year. A Turkish minister flew to Washington to try to resolve the dispute. Separately, America imposed new sanctions on Russia for the nerve-agent attack on a former Russian spy in Britain. See article.
Italy’s senate voted to overturn legislation that requires all children to be vaccinated against measles. Some in the ruling coalition believe anti-vaccine conspiracy theories. The measles virus is highly contagious.
On the road
Students in Dhaka, the capital of Bangladesh, ended their protests demanding better road safety. The demonstrations began after a boy and a girl were killed by a speeding bus. The protests unsettled the government. Rubber bullets and tear gas were fired into the crowds and clashes erupted between the students and activists from the ruling party’s youth league. See article.
The government of Australia promised more aid to farmers stricken by drought. The entire state of New South Wales, which produces a quarter of Australia’s agricultural output, was declared to be in drought after recording its driest January to July period since 1965.
An earthquake of magnitude 6.9 struck the Indonesian island of Lombok, killing hundreds of people. With thousands of buildings destroyed, more than 156,000 islanders were displaced.
In China police quashed a protest against collapsed peer-to-peer lending schemes before it could get going. The protesters had planned to converge on locations in Beijing, but the authorities were ready, quickly dispatching would-be demonstrators in buses to destinations unknown. Lending schemes occasionally collapse in heaps of fraud, leaving participants penniless and angry.
China decided not to allow cinemas to show Disney’s new Winnie the Pooh film, “Christopher Robin”. No reason was given. On Chinese social media Xi Jinping has been relentlessly (if gently) mocked for his resemblance to the portly bear. Jokers swap pictures of Pooh and his pals for images of Mr Xi with foreign leaders. Censors insist that it is not funny how a bear likes honey, no matter how much buzz, buzz, buzz it generates.
This article appeared in the The world this week section of the print edition under the headline “Politics this week”