More than 300 people were slain by jihadists who attacked a mosque attended by Sufi Muslims in Egypt’s Sinai peninsula. Up to 30 terrorists armed with automatic rifles and flying an Islamic State banner mounted the assault in a region that is more used to attacks on Coptic Christian churches. An IS-affiliated group in Sinai has a record of persecuting Sufis, beheading a 100-year-old cleric late last year. Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi, Egypt’s president, ordered his armed forces to use any means necessary to restore order.
Uhuru Kenyatta was sworn in for a second term as Kenya’s president. Two people were killed in opposition protests against his inauguration. Raila Odinga, who lost to Mr Kenyatta in the recent disputed election and does not recognise the result, upped the ante by saying he would take an oath of office on December 12th, Kenya’s independence day.
A jury in Washington, DC, convicted Ahmed Abu Khattala of abetting the attack on the American consulate in Benghazi in 2012, but found him not guilty of four murders, including that of the American ambassador to Libya. Mr Khattala had organised the attack, but did not personally carry out any of the killings.
A spat between allies
Donald Trump tweeted that Theresa May, the British prime minister, should focus on Islamic terrorism in Britain, after her spokesman criticised the president for retweeting inflammatory videos posted by a British far-right activist to stir up hatred against Muslims. Mr Trump is the first modern American president to circulate material from extremists.
Mick Mulvaney started work as the interim director of America’s Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, after President Trump appointed him. A longstanding critic of the watchdog he now runs, he promptly imposed a freeze on any new regulations. There had been some confusion about who was running the agency when the outgoing director tried to appoint a different successor. A judge scotched that idea. See article.
In New York the trial began of a Turkish banker linked to the alleged purchase of Iranian oil and gas in violation of American sanctions in a case that stretches to the upper echelons of the Turkish government. Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the Turkish president, has denounced the trial as an attack on his country, a further blow to relations between Washington and Ankara. One of the original key defendants pleaded guilty and has agreed to spill the beans to prosecutors.
Another poke in the eye
North Korea tested a missile apparently capable of hitting anywhere in America. It claimed that this fulfilled its goal of developing a working nuclear deterrent, and promised to be a responsible nuclear power. See article.
Mount Agung, a volcano on the Indonesian island of Bali, started erupting, forcing the evacuation of more than 100,000 people and the closure of the local airport. Thousands of tourists took the opportunity to leave the island when flights resumed. See article.
Victoria became the first state in Australia to pass an act allowing doctors to help people with terminal illnesses to commit suicide. The law comes into force in 2019. See article.
Nguyen Van Hoa, a Vietnamese blogger, was sentenced to seven years in prison for publicising protests about a chemical spill off the coast of central Vietnam last year.
A court in southern China sentenced a Taiwanese activist, Lee Ming-che, to five years in prison for “subverting state power”. He was accused of helping the families of jailed dissidents in China and circulating critical comments about the Chinese government online. Taiwan’s presidential office issued a statement saying the case had “seriously damaged” relations between the island and China.
A Chinese general, Zhang Yang, killed himself at his home in Beijing while under investigation for corruption. He had served as a director of the army’s political department, a powerful body responsible for ensuring the loyalty of the armed forces to the Communist Party.
The German chancellor, Angela Merkel, was due to meet leaders of the Social Democrats in the hope of opening talks on a new “grand coalition” that could give Germany a new government following elections on September 24th. Her earlier attempts at coalition-making with the Greens and the Free Democrats recently fell apart.
Ireland’s deputy prime minister, Frances Fitzgerald, resigned rather than see her minority government collapse over a scandal involving a police whistleblower.
New figures showed that net migration in Britain dropped to 230,000 in the year to June. That is 106,000 lower than the same period in the previous year. Since the Brexit vote immigration from European Union countries has dropped consistently, while emigration to the EU has increased. Net migration from the EU fell from 189,000 to 107,000.
Slobodan Praljak, a former Bosnian Croat militia commander, died after swallowing what he said was poison in a UN courtroom in The Hague after losing an appeal against his 20-year prison sentence.
Mexico’s president, Enrique Peña Nieto, chose his finance secretary, José Antonio Meade, to be the candidate of the ruling Institutional Revolutionary Party in next year’s presidential election, ending months of speculation. Mr Peña cannot run because Mexican presidents are limited to a single six-year term. See article.
In a controversial ruling, Bolivia’s constitutional court scrapped term limits for presidents, paving the way for Evo Morales, the socialist president, to seek a fourth term in 2019. Only last year 51% of Bolivian voters rejected this idea in a referendum. Thousands of Mr Morales’s supporters marched in favour of the constitutional change; and thousands of people demonstrated against it.
A civil court found El Salvador’s former president, Mauricio Funes, guilty of illicit enrichment and ordered him and his son to return $420,000 to the government. The two fled to Nicaragua when prosecutors started investigating them last year. Daniel Ortega, Nicaragua’s president, granted them asylum.
This article appeared in the The world this week section of the print edition under the headline “Politics this week”