Home > Uncategorized > Politics this week: 19th – 25th August 2006

Politics this week: 19th – 25th August 2006

ran gave its long-awaited reply to an offer of political and economic incentives from America, Russia, China, Britain, France and Germany if it agreed to suspend uranium enrichment in accordance with a resolution from the UN Security Council. It said it was ready for “serious talks”, but would not stop enrichment by the end-of-August deadline. America’s State Department said the reply “fell short”. The Security Council will now have to discuss sanctions. See articleE+

A fragile ceasefire more or less held in Lebanon, despite various infractions, including an Israeli commando attack to stymie what Israel said was a Hizbullah operation to restock its arsenal. European Union countries continued to argue about sending soldiers to beef up the UN peacekeeping force in Lebanon. See articleE+

Meanwhile, Israel’s politics fell into turmoil. Army reservists protested against poor military planning and lack of equipment, there were disputes over how to hold an inquiry into the war, and two ministers and the president, Moshe Katsav, came under criminal investigation. Mr Katsav is accused of sexual assault on an employee, but denies the allegations.

Despite more killings and suicide bombings in Baghdad, a British general and an American one both said that sectarian bloodshed in Iraq had declined in recent weeks.

Gun battles erupted in Congo’s capital, Kinshasa, after results of the first round in the presidential election. Having won 45% of the vote, the incumbent, Joseph Kabila, is set to face one of his vice-presidents, Jean-Pierre Bemba, in a run-off in October. See article

Two African Union peacekeepers from Rwanda were killed when their convoy was attacked by unknown assailants in Sudan’s Darfur region.

The South African government became embroiled in another controversy over its AIDS policies. At the end of an international AIDS conference in Toronto, the UN envoy responsible for tackling the disease in Africa accused the government of supporting theories worthy of a “lunatic fringe” and of being “obtuse, dilatory and negligent” in distributing anti-retroviral drugs. See articleE+

It emerged that the British government is likely to put restrictions on the free entry of workers from Bulgaria and Romania when those countries join the European Union next year. In May 2004 Britain took the moral high ground when it was one of only three member states to let in workers from the eight new central European members. See articleE+

German police arrested a suspected terrorist, a Lebanese man who, along with an accomplice, was said to have placed suitcases containing bombs on German trains in late July. A second suspect was arrested in Lebanon. See articleE+

On her return from holiday, the German chancellor, Angela Merkel, faced demands to turn leftwards and spend more time on social policy. Ms Merkel, whose popularity has fallen sharply in recent weeks, rejected the calls.

A Russian airliner filled with holiday-makers crashed and burst into flames in Ukraine, killing all 170 people aboard. Officials believe it may have been struck by lightning. A spate of accidents has raised fresh concerns about the safety of Russian airlines.

In his first public comments since temporarily taking over the leadership of Cuba, Raúl Castro said he had mobilised the country’s army after the announcement that his brother Fidel was ill. This was to prevent an invasion by the United States, he said.

A block of free-trading countries on South America’s Pacific coast took firmer shape. Chile, which has said it will rejoin the four-country Andean Community, signed a trade agreement with Peru. Venezuela’s Hugo Chávez recently withdrew his country from the group because of other members’ trade deals with the United States. See article

A strike in Chile’s Escondida, the world’s biggest copper mine, continued into a third week, keeping copper prices extremely high. The union rejected two pay offers by the mine’s operators.

In the Republican primary for the governorship of Alaska, the incumbent, Frank Murkowski, who was the state’s senator for 22 years, lost to Sarah Palin, a former mayor. Ms Palin won 51% of the vote and will face the Democrat Tony Knowles in November. See article

Getty Images
Getty Images

John Mark Karr was arrested in Thailand in connection with the killing ten years ago of JonBenet Ramsey, a six-year-old beauty queen. He agreed to be extradited to Colorado to face murder charges. JonBenet’s parents had previously been suspected of involvement in her death. See articleE+

A year after Hurricane Katrina wrecked New Orleans, George Bush gave warning that it would take “a long time” to rebuild the city. Meanwhile, Democratic lawmakers criticised the reconstruction effort, saying that thousands of families were still without emergency housing and that corruption and incompetence were rife. See article

Thai police arrested 159 North Koreans, the largest group of suspected illegal migrants the country has yet seen.

Japan’s foreign minister, Taro Aso, joined the race to succeed Junichiro Koizumi, who stands down next month. The favourite to win, Shinzo Abe, the cabinet secretary, is expected to declare his candidacy soon.


Close to 100 Taliban militants were killed by foreign forces in clashes in Afghanistan’s southern provinces of Helmand and Kandahar, which are experiencing their bloodiest fighting since the Taliban were overthrown in 2001.

Two Indian ministers resigned as their small regional party from the state of Andhra Pradesh left the unwieldy coalition government. They said the government had not made good on earlier promises to create a separate state in Andhra Pradesh’s northern Telangana region.

International peace monitors in Sri Lanka withdrew to the capital, Colombo, because fighting in the north-east is making their work too dangerous. The mission looks set to be crippled anyway by a demand from the rebel Tamil Tigers that all monitors from EU countries leave. The EU has declared the Tigers to be a terrorist outfit, but has said it will comply with the demand.

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