Home > Uncategorized > Politics this week: 23rd – 29th September 2006

Politics this week: 23rd – 29th September 2006

Shinzo Abe, who was confirmed as Japan’s prime minister by the country’s parliament, picked a cabinet. He also cut his pay by 30% as a symbolic gesture to help reduce Japan’s huge public debt. See article

Getty Images
Getty Images

The presidents of Afghanistan and Pakistan, Hamid Karzai and Pervez Musharraf, held talks in Washington, DC, with George Bush. Tensions between both countries have increased lately with each blaming the other for the surge in Taliban violence, which was illuminated by a suicide-bomb in Afghanistan’s southern Helmand province that killed 18 people. See article

The leaders of Thailand’s military coup resurrected a dormant corruption commission so it could begin investigating the previous government. A week after tanks rolled onto the streets, the coup retained the support of most Thais. See article

Sri Lanka’s navy said it had engaged Tamil rebels in a sea battle 80km (50 miles) off the strategic port of Trincomalee. The navy claimed to have killed 70 rebels in the encounter; the rebels said three.

George Bush released some parts of a classified report on trends in global terrorism after it was leaked to the press. The document stated that a number of factors were contributing to the spread of jihadist ideology, including the “cause célèbre”—as the authors called it—of the Iraq war. See article

As Congress prepared to adjourn ahead of November’s elections, the White House reached a compromise with Republicans who opposed Mr Bush’s plans for interrogating and trying terrorism suspects. But legislation that sought to settle the legality of Mr Bush’s wiretapping programme was held up by differing versions of the bill.

The Republicans chose Minneapolis-St Paul as the site for their convention in 2008, an indication of how close the party thinks the presidential race in the Midwest will be. The Democrats are still considering whether to hold their jamboree in Denver or New York.

New Orleans held a party to celebrate the city football team’s first game at the Louisiana Superdome since it was used to house evacuees from the flood that followed Hurricane Katrina.

Saddam Hussein’s chaotic trial in Baghdad was adjourned until October 9th. The defence lawyers had walked out after a change of chief judge, and Saddam himself was ejected from court three times in a week.

British forces in Iraq killed Omar al-Farouq, said to be a top lieutenant of Osama bin Laden. Captured in Indonesia in 2002, he escaped from an American military prison in Afghanistan last year.


Israel freed Nasser al-Shaer, the Palestinian deputy prime minister, but about 30 Hamas politicians remain in custody.

An Israeli newspaper reported a secret meeting between a senior Saudi official and Israel’s prime minister, Ehud Olmert. Saudi Arabia has been trying to revive a 2002 Arab initiative calling for recognition of Israel in exchange for a Palestinian state along the 1967 borders.

Russia and Iran signed a deal over Iran’s nuclear reactor at Bushehr, which they say should be fully operational in November 2007.

The latest report of a UN inquiry into the assassination of Rafik Hariri, a former Lebanese prime minister, confirmed that he was killed by a suicide bomber but did not elaborate on who was behind the attack.

Islamist forces captured the Somali seaport of Kismayo, strengthening their hold on the south of the country. See article

The European Commission gave the go-ahead for Bulgaria and Romania to join the European Union next January. But it set tough conditions so as to monitor the two countries’ progress towards EU standards. Most existing members will impose labour-market restrictions on Bulgarians and Romanians. See article

Tension rose between Russia and Georgia after the Georgians arrested four Russian officers in Tbilisi on spying charges. Russia demanded their immediate release.

Bertie Ahern, the Irish prime minister, admitted to receiving several large loans from friends when he was finance minister in the 1990s. Mr Ahern insisted he had broken no ethical, tax or legal codes, and said the lenders refused his offers to repay the money.

Tony Blair gave his final speech as prime minister to the annual Labour Party conference. It was well received, even by his enemies, easing pressure on him to step down sooner than next May’s touted departure date. See article

A top Bosnian Serb leader, Momcilo Krajisnik, was given a 27-year jail sentence for war crimes by the UN tribunal in The Hague. Mr Krajisnik, who was once speaker of the Bosnian Serb parliament, was a close aide to Radovan Karadzic, who is still wanted on war-crimes charges.

A German opera company cancelled a production of Mozart’s “Idomeneo” because it featured a severed head of Muhammad, among other religious leaders. The row over self-censorship for fear of Muslim extremism overshadowed an Islamic conference held by the government. See article

Final opinion polls before Brazil’s presidential election suggested that Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva would win a second term, probably without the need for a run-off ballot. See article

The governor of the state of Oaxaca in southern Mexico, whose capital city has been brought almost to a halt by protests for four months, called for the dispatch of federal police to impose order. The protesters want the governor sacked as they claim he was fraudulently elected. See article


In Guatemala, seven prisoners died when 3,000 troops and police stormed a prison that had been controlled for more than a decade by inmates, some of whom produced drugs and ran businesses inside the jail.

Venezuela lodged a diplomatic protest after its foreign minister was briefly detained while about to catch a flight from Kennedy airport in New York. American officials apologised. They said the minister had bought a ticket with cash just 30 minutes before the flight and had refused extra security checks.

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