Talks in Germany over forming a new coalition government headed by the Christian Democrats (CDU) collapsed when the Free Democrats walked out. The previous “grand coalition” of the CDU and Social Democrats was punished by voters in September’s election, losing over 14% of the vote. Angela Merkel said she would prefer to hold a fresh election rather than lead a minority government. See article.
Ratko Mladic, the commander of Bosnian-Serb forces during the Bosnian wars of the 1990s, was sentenced to life in prison by a UN tribunal for genocide and other crimes against humanity. His troops slaughtered more than 7,000 male Bosnian Muslims in the town of Srebrenica in 1995. See article.
Gerry Adams, the president of Sinn Fein for 34 years, announced that he would retire next year. A dominant figure among Northern Irish republicans, he always denied being part of the IRA, which carried out terrorist bombing campaigns against the British. Despite his association with the violence of the Troubles (1968-98), Mr Adams joined the peace process and led Sinn Fein to electoral gains in Northern Ireland and the Republic. See article.
A sexual revolution
More allegations of sexual harassment were levelled at powerful men. John Conyers, a Democrat and the longest-serving member of America’s House of Representatives, confirmed that he had reached a settlement in 2015 in a complaint brought by a former employee, but denied any inappropriate behaviour. The Democratic leadership asked the ethics committee to investigate that and other claims made against Mr Conyers. See article.
Attention turned to the Senate in the Republican push for the biggest change to America’s tax code in decades, after the House passed its version of the bill. The Senate Finance Committee has approved its own bill, which will be debated by the full chamber after Thanksgiving. With no Democrats signing up to the legislation, the Republicans can afford few defections. See article.
Around 59,000 Haitians who have been living in the United States since an earthquake in 2010 damaged much of their country face deportation within the next two years. The Haitians were allowed to stay under a programme that grants temporary residency to people fleeing natural disasters. The American government is revoking their status because it believes the situation in Haiti has improved.
Sebastián Piñera, a conservative billionaire, won the first round of Chile’s presidential election with 37% of the vote. Mr Piñera, who was president from 2010 to 2014, faces a run-off election on December 17th against Alejandro Guillier, a left-leaning journalist, who won 23%. Beatriz Sánchez, also a leftist journalist, came third. See article.
A naval submarine with 44 sailors on board disappeared off the coast of southern Argentina. With its oxygen running out, ships and aircraft from at least 11 countries, including Britain, joined the search for the ARA San Juan.
The ousted former attorney-general of Venezuela, Luisa Ortega, turned over more than 1,000 pieces of evidence to the International Criminal Court accusing President Nicolás Maduro of crimes against humanity. She asked the court to try Mr Maduro and other high-ranking officials for more than 8,000 murders, as well as for torture and arbitrary arrest.
You’re on the list
America designated North Korea as a country that sponsors terrorism and penalised 13 North Korean and Chinese firms it accused of helping North Korea evade sanctions imposed in response to its nuclear programme. The move suggests that a diplomatic breakthrough between America and North Korea remains a distant prospect.
Investigators from a counter-corruption agency in Indonesia detained Setya Novanto, the speaker of parliament and leader of the Golkar party, which is part of the governing coalition. The arrest will make life difficult for President Joko Widodo, a political ally. See article.
A court in Cambodia ordered the closure of the Cambodian National Rescue Party, the main opposition force. The government also signalled that it would prosecute people who criticise or mock it on social media.
In South Korea a court approved the detention of two former spy chiefs awaiting trial for bribery. They admit passing bags of money to a former president, Park Geun-hye, who was impeached earlier this year, but say they thought it was for legitimate expenses. See article.
The Chinese authorities arrested Lu Wei, a former internet-regulator, as part of a corruption investigation. The arrest, the first since Xi Jinping was reappointed as China’s leader last month, suggests Mr Xi’s anti-corruption drive will continue in his second term.
Something to smile about
Under the threat of impeachment, Robert Mugabe resigned as the president of Zimbabwe after 37 years in power. He will be replaced by Emmerson Mnangagwa, a former vice-president, whose sacking prompted the army to arrest Mr Mugabe. The fall of the dictator sparked celebrations across the country. See article.
Saad Hariri “temporarily” suspended his resignation as prime minister of Lebanon after returning home for the first time since announcing his intention to quit in a speech made from Saudi Arabia on November 4th. Some Lebanese officials believe that the Saudis forced Mr Hariri to resign and held him against his will in an effort to counter Iranian influence in Lebanon. He denies this. See article.
The president of Syria, Bashar al-Assad, made a rare trip abroad, meeting Vladimir Putin in Russia. The Russian president is trying to broker an end to the war in Syria. Meanwhile, the Syrian army and allied militias recaptured Albu Kamal, the last big town in Syria held by Islamic State.
In Nigeria Boko Haram, a jihadist outfit, bombed a mosque in the state of Adamawa, killing at least 50 people. It was the worst terror attack in Nigeria this year.
Kenya’s supreme court confirmed the result of the recently re-run presidential election. It had annulled the original election, held in August, because of ballot irregularities. Uhuru Kenyatta will be inaugurated for a second term on November 28th.
This article appeared in the The world this week section of the print edition under the headline “Politics this week”