The Senate Judiciary Committee began its hearing into Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination to the Supreme Court. Calls by the Democrats for the White House to release more documents relating to Mr Kavanaugh’s work for George W. Bush fell on deaf ears (over 1m pages have already been released, more than for any previous Supreme Court nominee). Democratic senators griped about the vetting process and activists disrupted the hearing, but Mr Kavanaugh is likely to be confirmed. See article.
Rahm Emanuel, a fiscally sober Democrat, said he would not seek a third term as mayor of Chicago next year. He had been expected to run again, but despite an impressive economic record has grown unpopular because of rampant gun crime and the police’s reaction to it. See article.
There was another upset in a Democratic primary, this time in Boston, where Ayanna Pressley defeated Michael Capuano, who has held his seat for 20 years and had the support of the city’s political establishment. Ms Pressley is likely to win at November’s mid-terms, which would make her the first black woman from Massachusetts to sit in the House of Representatives.
Donald Trump threatened that “Canada will be out” of the North American Free Trade Agreement if it does not agree to a “fair deal” for the United States. The president also told Congress not to interfere with his dealmaking. Some Republicans have said they will not countenance a new NAFTA pact that excludes Canada. Talks resumed between the two countries. See article.
Guerrillas aligned to Boko Haram, a jihadist group that opposes secular education, killed dozens of Nigerian soldiers in an attack on a base in Zari, near the border with Niger. Boko Haram has intensified its attacks on the army in the past few months.
Syrian government troops massed near Idlib province, the last major rebel stronghold. They are expected to attack it within days. Massacres are expected, and civilians have no obvious place to flee. See article.
South Africa’s economy fell into recession after contracting for a second consecutive quarter in the three months to June. The weak economy may hinder reform efforts by Cyril Ramaphosa, who took over as president in February, after years of mismanagement and corruption under his predecessor, Jacob Zuma. See article.
Fighting between rival militias in Tripoli, the capital of Libya, left dozens of people dead. The clashes for turf are between armed groups that ostensibly support the UN-backed government.
A huge fire consumed Brazil’s National Museum in Rio de Janeiro. No one was hurt, but the fire destroyed most of the 20m treasures inside, including dinosaur bones and the oldest human fossil found in the Americas. What caused it is unknown, but shoddy maintenance, a minuscule budget and years of neglect have taken their toll. It was the third major blaze at a Brazilian cultural institution in eight years. See article.
Jimmy Morales, Guatemala’s president, revoked the mandate of the UN-sponsored International Commission Against Impunity in Guatemala, known as CICIG. The body has helped Guatemala crack down on drug cartels and investigated high-profile corruption, leading to the prosecution of a former president. Mr Morales is himself under investigation and had tried to oust the commission’s head.
The evidence is in
Theresa May, Britain’s prime minister, accused Russia’s military intelligence service (GRU) of being responsible for the poisoning of a former Russian spy and his daughter in a quiet English cathedral town in March. Describing in detail the police investigation, she named the two would-be assassins, and noted that the operation was “almost certainly also approved outside the GRU at a senior level of the Russian state”. She pledged to bring the two agents before British courts if they are ever caught outside Russia. See article.
A second weekend of anti-migrant demonstrations took place in Chemnitz, in the German state of Saxony, in response to the stabbing of a German man. See article.
Catalonia’s leader, Quim Torra, called on the government in Madrid to allow a referendum on independence, rejecting an offer from Spain’s prime minister for a vote on greater autonomy.
A day to remember
India’s Supreme Court legalised homosexuality, a historic decision that brings an end to fraught and lengthy legal battles that started in the 1990s. The ruling overturns a verdict in 2013 that upheld a law from the days of the British Raj criminalising gay sex. See article.
Xi Jinping announced another $60bn in investment and aid to Africa at the triennial meeting of the Forum on China-Africa Co-operation in Beijing. Delegations from 53 African countries attended. Since the first summit in 2000, China has become Africa’s most important trading partner.
The UN held an emergency meeting to discuss an outbreak of swine fever in China. The highly contagious virus is not dangerous to humans but can wipe out pig populations, which could do great damage to China’s vast pork industry. And the virus could easily spread to other countries. See article.
In Myanmar, two journalists working for Reuters, a news agency, were sentenced to seven years in prison, after reporting on the genocide against Rohingya Muslims. They were convicted of illegal possession of official secrets, though the documents in question were in fact public, and had been given to them by police. Aung San Suu Kyi, Myanmar’s Nobel peace-prize-winning leader, did not condemn the stitch-up. See article.
Japan’s most powerful storm in 25 years, Typhoon Jebi, left a trail of destruction, killing 11 people and shutting Osaka’s international airport. At least 400,000 homes lost power.
The International Olympic Committee dashed the hopes of video-gamers when its president, Thomas Bach, said that electronic sports promote violence and contradict Olympic values. E-sport events were held at the recent Asian Games. But although the noble art of karate is being added to the 2020 Olympic games in Tokyo, which will also include boxing, judo, shooting and wrestling, e-sports have now been given the chop.
This article appeared in the The world this week section of the print edition under the headline “Politics this week”