Home > Uncategorized > Politics this week: 12th – 18th May 2007

Politics this week: 12th – 18th May 2007

articles from this week’s edition of The Economist
China and US trade | The candidates: Hillary Clinton | The alchemists of finance | Species inflation | Pakistan | Divorce for DaimlerChrysler | A growing rift between the West and Russia | Gordon Brown starts shadow-boxing | Paul Wolfowitz on the brink | Human rights in Colombia | Zimbabwe’s deepening crisis | International accounting standards | Elections in South-East Asia | The poison between Nixon and Kissinger | Alfred Chandler, business historian

Politics this week

May 17th 2007
From The Economist print edition


Pakistan was shaken by its worst violence in years amid the crisis surrounding the sacking of the country’s top judge. Around 40 people were killed during rioting in Karachi, damaging the attempt of the president, General Pervez Musharraf, to run a military government under a veneer of constitutionality. Separately, a suicide-bomber killed at least 25 people in an attack on a hotel frequented by Afghans in Pakistan’s north-western city of Peshawar. See article

Officials in Afghanistan displayed the body of Mullah Dadullah, the Taliban‘s most notorious commander, killed in a battle with American special forces. See article

Jos�� Ramos-Horta, a Nobel peace laureate, won a decisive victory in a presidential election in Timor-Leste over Francisco Guterres, a former guerrilla running under his nom-de-guerre, ���Lu-Olo���. See article

A pair of passenger trains crossed the border between North and South Korea for the first time since 1951, furthering the countries’ engagement effort.

Iranian and American diplomats looked likely to meet openly for the first time in 28 years, perhaps by the end of the month, mainly to discuss ways of making Iraq more stable. It was understood that Iran’s nuclear question would be kept off the agenda. See article

Fighting in the Gaza Strip between supporters of the two main parts of
the Palestinian unity administration left at least 40 dead and threatened to destroy the government. See article

Ban Ki-moon, the United Nations secretary-general, said he would ask the Security Council to ���take the necessary steps��� to set up a proposed tribunal of ���international character��� to try the suspected assassins of Rafik Hariri, five-times prime minister of Lebanon, who was killed two years ago. Lebanon’s parliament had reached a stalemate in trying to ratify the tribunal.

Demonstrating its growing ties with Africa, China launched a Nigerian communications satellite into orbit, the first time a foreign country had bought both a Chinese satellite and its launching service. See article

African Union (AU) peacekeepers in Somalia suffered their biggest loss since they arrived in March when four Ugandans were killed by a roadside bomb in the capital, Mogadishu. America and the AU have warned Ethiopia against withdrawing its troops, who were largely responsible for ending Islamist rule there, until the AU can send thousands more.


More troubles for Colombia’s president, ��lvaro Uribe. He fired the police chief after revelations of illegal phone-tapping of opposition leaders; several of his allies were among 19 politicians and business leaders whose arrests were ordered over ties to right-wing paramilitaries; and a jailed paramilitary leader levelled unsubstantiated allegations that the vice-president and defence minister incited paramilitary action in the 1990s. Both men are known to have met paramilitary leaders, but as part of peace efforts. See article

In Mexico, a senior intelligence official in charge of monitoring drug gangs was shot dead as he drove to his office. The country’s drug gangs are resisting a crackdown by the government.

In an apparent swipe at Venezuela’s president, Hugo Ch��vez, Pope Benedict XVI expressed concern about ���authoritarian forms of government��� in a speech opening a conference of Latin American bishops in Brazil. He also criticised Marxism and capitalism.

In Brazil, a rancher was convicted of ordering the killing of Dorothy Stang, an American nun and Amazon rainforest activist who was murdered on a jungle road in 2005.

The Republican presidential candidates held their second debate, with each jostling to prove his conservative credentials. Outside the official field, Fred Thompson, a television actor and former senator, did his undeclared campaign no harm by addressing the Council for National Policy, an umbrella group of conservatives. See article

Jerry Falwell died at the age of 73. Mr Falwell, a pastor and televangelist, was a co-founder of the Moral Majority, a powerful conservative political force during the 1980s. He once said: ���The idea that religion and politics don’t mix was invented by the devil to keep Christians from running their own country.��� See article

Antonio Villaraigosa became the latest mayor to present an ���action plan��� on climate change, submitting some 50 ideas to help Los Angeles cut its emissions by 35% before 2030. Unlike a similar initiative from New York, Mr Villaraigosa steered clear of proposing a congestion charge.

After five years of opposition to a UN convention on the law of the sea, George Bush urged the Senate to ratify the treaty. It would enhance the mobility of American armed forces, the president said.

Getty Images
Getty Images

Nicolas Sarkozy was inaugurated as France’s new president. He flew to Berlin to meet Chancellor Angela Merkel and declare that the European Union must be lifted out of its current paralysis. His centre-right government is expected to include a socialist, Bernard Kouchner, as foreign minister. See article

The American secretary of state, Co
ndoleezza Rice
, visited Moscow. She and Russia’s president, Vladimir Putin, agreed to tone down their hostile language, but did not resolve underlying differences. Nor did the German foreign minister, Frank-Walter Steinmeier, who flew to Moscow ahead of a summit. See article

Serbia formed a new coalition government four months after an election. The EU enlargement commissioner promised to talk about accession negotiations, but only if the new government hands over Ratko Mladic, a former Bosnian Serb commander, to the war-crimes tribunal in The Hague. See article

Armenia’s parliamentary election was won by pro-government parties. The election was judged by international observers to be much fairer than the previous one in 2003. See article

Gordon Brown secured his position as Britain’s next Labour Party leader and prime minister, once Tony Blair goes in June, after vacuuming up the support of the party’s MPs. A desultory challenge to Mr Brown from left-wingers failed to get off the ground. See article

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