The army took control of Zimbabwe, insisting that its coup was not a coup. The generals wanted to stop Robert Mugabe, the country’s 93-year-old dictator, from passing power to his shopaholic wife, Grace. The most likely person to end up in charge is Emmerson Mnangagwa, who was sacked as vice-president earlier this month. See article.
João Lourenço, the president of Angola, fired Isabel dos Santos, the daughter of his predecessor and Africa’s richest woman, as chairman of the state oil company. Since succeeding José Eduardo dos Santos in September, Mr Lourenço, who vowed to fight corruption, has also dismissed the governor of the central bank, the head of the state diamond company and the boards of all three state-owned media companies.
An earthquake in Iran killed at least 530 people and injured thousands more. Hassan Rouhani, the president, blamed some of the damage on the poor construction of state-built homes. He blamed corruption in a housing scheme initiated by his predecessor, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. The quake was also felt in Iraq, killing several people and injuring hundreds. See article.
It emerged that last month rebels in Syria allowed the jihadists of Islamic State to leave Raqqa, which was once their putative capital. After four months of intense fighting, the two sides reached a deal that allowed hundreds of IS fighters to escape with their ammunition, preventing immediate bloodshed, but storing up trouble for the future.
France and Germany edged closer towards their ambition to achieve more integration in European defence, signing a pact with 21 other governments in the EU to fund, develop and deploy armed forces. This follows Britain’s decision to quit the EU. See article.
Russia came under attack for allegedly using social media to interfere with Britain’s vote last year on leaving the EU. It was also accused of meddling with Catalonia’s referendum on independence from Spain. See article.
In Northern Ireland, fears mounted of a return to direct rule as a budget for the devolved Assembly was passed by MPs in Westminster. A deterioration in relations between the Democratic Unionists and Sinn Fein, exasperated by the paring of Irish language programmes and a green-energy funding scandal, resulted in the Assembly’s dissolution in January; the subsequent failure to form a power-sharing executive has led to months of stalemate. Agreement is still far from certain. See article.
The final death toll in the Grenfell tower fire in London was put at 71. It took police five months to identify the dead.
Around 60,000 nationalists marched through Warsaw on Poland’s independence day. Faces covered and chanting slogans to keep Poland white and kick out refugees, the demonstration was described as a “beautiful sight” by the minister for the interior. The annual march draws extremists from across Europe.
Truth and reconciliation
Colombia’s supreme court unanimously approved the establishment of a transitional-justice system to try atrocities committed during the country’s decades-long civil conflict. The court ruled that former guerrillas can run for office as long as they submit to the tribunal.
Women flocked to the streets of Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo to protest against a proposed constitutional amendment to make abortion illegal without exception in Brazil (abortion is allowed in instances of rape, when the mother’s life is in danger and in other limited cases). A congressional committee voted by 18 to one (the lone dissenter was a woman) to approve the amendment, but it is unlikely to muster the three-fifths support needed in both chambers of congress to become law.
America’s State Department abruptly stopped accepting applications for a programme that allows children fleeing violence in Guatemala, Honduras or El Salvador to apply for refugee status in order to join family members living legally in the United States. More than 13,000 people have applied and 1,500 children have been resettled since the programme began in 2014.
Thou shalt not
Prominent Republicans, including Mitch McConnell, the leader of the Senate, called on Roy Moore to step down as the party’s candidate in the race for a Senate seat in Alabama. Several women have accused Mr Moore, a religious zealot and former chief justice of Alabama’s Supreme Court, of sexually harassing them when he was in his 30s and they were under 18. He denies the allegations. See article.
Donald Trump nominated Alex Azar as his new health secretary, following the resignation of Tom Price over an expenses scandal. Mr Azar was the department’s deputy head for 18 months under George W. Bush. He spent five years leading the American division of Eli Lilly, a big drugs firm.
Mr Trump said he had every faith in the leadership of America’s spy agencies,but described the previous leaders as “political hacks”. His comments came after he indicated that he believed Vladimir Putin’s claim that Russia did not interfere in last year’s election—“you can only ask so many times”—despite a raft of reports from the spooks concluding that it did.
A self-published study
The armed forces in Myanmar published a report absolving themselves of any wrongdoing in a campaign ostensibly directed at guerrillas from the Rohingya minority but which has been a cover for ethnic cleansing. On a visit to Myanmar Rex Tillerson, America’s secretary of state, said there had been human-rights abuses and the government should investigate.
A paramilitary police officer was shot dead in the Indonesian part of New Guinea. Armed separatists are in a tense stand-off with the security services in several villages, in an apparent revival of a long-running regional insurgency.
China’s Communist Party expelled the retired chief of China News Service, a state-run news agency, because of alleged corrupt behaviour. It said Liu Beixian had accepted bribes and abused his power.
Australian voters signalled their approval of gay marriage by 62% to 38% in a non-binding postal survey. The government promised to pass a law allowing gay couples to marry by the end of the year. See article.
This article appeared in the The world this week section of the print edition under the headline “Politics this week”