Politics this week

A report by the UN Human Rights Council concluded that six senior generals in Myanmar should be prosecuted for genocide for leading a pogrom against Rohingya Muslims. The army has tried to deflect condemnation of its actions, but the UN said the crimes were shocking for the “level of denial, normalcy and impunity attached to them”. It also criticised Aung San Suu Kyi, Myanmar’s de facto leader, for failing to prevent the atrocities. See article.

Scott Morrison became Australia’s new prime minister, after Malcolm Turnbull was ousted by MPs in his Liberal Party. It is the fifth change of prime minister in a decade. There might be a sixth if a by-election for Mr Turnbull’s parliamentary seat in Sydney wipes out the government’s one-seat majority. See article.

A visit to North Korea by Mike Pompeo, America’s secretary of state, was called off. Mr Pompeo was to meet negotiators in Pyongyang, but President Donald Trump said the talks on nuclear disarmament were not advancing, for which he blamed China. North Korea warned that if the talks collapse it will resume tests of missiles and nuclear devices.

The unwelcome mat

Italy allowed almost 140 rescued migrants off a coastguard ship after refusing them entry for nearly a week. But the interior minister warned that Italy will withhold EU budget payments unless a system for sharing out arrivals among other EU countries is found. He also said Italy may breach euro-zone deficit limits in its next budget, due to be published soon. See article.

Far-right protesters battled with police in the German city of Chemnitz, in Saxony. They were demonstrating following the fatal stabbing of a German man, reportedly by Middle Eastern migrants. Some of the protesters beat migrants and gave illegal Nazi salutes.

Emmanuel Macron, the French president, suffered a blow when his environment minister resigned during a live broadcast, criticising his government for not doing enough to combat global warming.

Alex Salmond, a former first minister of Scotland and a leading figure in the movement for Scottish independence, resigned from the Scottish National Party amid claims of sexual misconduct. He said he hoped to rejoin once he had cleared his name.

In search of friends

Theresa May visited three African countries, in the first trip by a British prime minister to the continent for five years. Mrs May is trying to strengthen trade, security and diplomatic ties with the region and to avoid losing influence to powers such as France and China, which have also been stepping up their engagement. See article.

Politics this week 1

Emmerson Mnangagwa was sworn in as president of Zimbabwe after the Constitutional Court rejected a call by the opposition to throw out the results of a flawed presidential election that had been held in July. The court ruled that the opposition had failed to prove its allegation that the vote was rigged.

A judicial commission started hearing evidence of corruption in South Africa during the presidency of Jacob Zuma. Testimony at the commission into “state capture” has revealed details of how friends of Mr Zuma allegedly offered positions in his cabinet, including that of minister of finance.

Iran’s parliament voted to censure President Hassan Rouhani after grilling him on television over the country’s economic problems. Two days earlier parliament sacked the finance minister. Iran is suffering from a collapsing currency and surging inflation, in part the result of America reimposing sanctions after pulling out of an agreement to limit Iran’s nuclear programme earlier this year.

The UN released a report accusing the governments of Yemen, the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia of committing war crimes—including rape and torture—during Yemen’s four-year civil war. The report said the Houthi rebels, who are fighting the government and its backers, are to blame for many of the same crimes.

All for naught

A referendum to control corruption in Colombia failed to pass because turnout, at less than a third of the electorate, was too low. All seven measures received the support of over 99% of voters who participated in the referendum. They included a three-term limit for legislators and a requirement that elected officials publish their tax returns.

America said it would re-evaluate its relationship with El Salvador after the Central American country broke diplomatic ties with Taiwan and established them with China. The White House said that El Salvador’s decision would affect “the economic health and security of the entire Americas region”. America also recognises China and does not have formal diplomatic relations with Taiwan.

Chile’s supreme court ordered the family of Augusto Pinochet, a dictator who ruled from 1973 to 1990, to return part of the money he had stashed in the Virgin Islands. The family must give up $1.6m of a fortune worth $13m.

The new power generation

In Florida the party primaries for governor resulted in an interesting matchup for the election. The Republicans chose Ron DeSantis, whose campaign took off when he was endorsed by Mr Trump. The Democrats selected Andrew Gillum, an unabashed progressive who will become the state’s first black governor if he wins in November. See article.

A federal court ruled, once again, that North Carolina’s congressional districts have been gerrymandered along partisan lines to favour Republicans. The Supreme Court had sent the case back to the lower courts for consideration. See article.

Puerto Rico officially raised the death toll from last September’s Hurricane Maria to 2,975. That is up from the previous tally of 64, a figure that had always been disputed. The new toll is based on an independent study. See article.

Politics this week 2

Tributes were paid to John McCain, who died from brain cancer aged 81. Mr McCain had represented Arizona in the Senate since 1987. He was probably the most outspoken Republican critic of Mr Trump. The White House got into a flap when its flag was raised to full-staff less than two days after Mr McCain’s death. It was lowered again to half-staff, where it will stay until his funeral, which Mr Trump will not attend. See article.

This article appeared in the The world this week section of the print edition under the headline “Politics this week”

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