A deal was signed in Zimbabwe to provide for a national unity government, with Robert Mugabe staying on as executive president and Morgan Tsvangirai, his bitter opponent, becoming the executive prime minister. It was unclear who would ultimately be in charge or how the deal would work. See article
A court in South Africa ruled that the National Prosecuting Authority had failed to follow correct procedure in its corruption case against Jacob Zuma, who heads the African National Congress and will probably be the next national president, so his trial could not take place. The judge also criticised the country’s embattled president, Thabo Mbeki, for seeking to influence the prosecution of Mr Zuma, his rival. See article
Tzipi Livni, the foreign minister, won a primary contest to replace the prime minister, Ehud Olmert, as leader of Kadima, the party that heads Israel’s coalition government. But she will have to haggle to reshape the coalition in order to become prime minister, a post Mr Olmert will in the meantime continue to hold. See article
The IAEA, the UN’s nuclear guardian, reported that Iran has failed to co-operate fully with inspectors trying to investigate its past alleged nuclear-weapons work and meanwhile continues to enrich uranium, despite UN Security Council instructions to stop.
General David Petraeus took over the United States Central Command that covers the wider Middle East, including Afghanistan, some 21 months after overseeing a military “surge” of troops into Iraq that is credited with helping to reduce violence sharply there.
A jihadist group set off a bomb near the American embassy in Yemen, killing at least 16 people, mainly locals. The country has recently witnessed an increase of violence.
Keeping it in the family
Somchai Wongsawat became prime minister of Thailand, replacing Samak Sundaravej, who was ordered by the courts to stand down because his appearances as a television chef breached the constitution. Protesters have been campaigning for Mr Samak’s resignation for being too close to Thaksin Shinawatra, the prime minister deposed in a coup in 2006. Mr Somchai is Mr Thaksin’s brother-in-law.
It emerged that more than 6,000 infants in China were made sick, and four died, from consuming milk powder tainted with melamine, a chemical used to make plastic. The authorities were accused of acting too slowly after the contamination became known, so that the scandal did not cast a shadow over last month’s Beijing Olympics. See article
A series of bombs exploded in shopping areas of Delhi, killing at least 20 people. As with recent attacks in Jaipur and Bangalore a group calling itself the Indian-Mujahideen claimed responsibility.
The United Nations pulled its staff out of parts of northern Sri Lanka held by the rebel Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, after the government said it could not guarantee their safety.
Anwar Ibrahim, leader of Malaysia’s opposition, claimed that enough ruling-coalition parliamentarians were ready to switch sides to enable him to form a government. But he did not name them and the prime minister, Abdullah Badawi, ridiculed the claim. See article
Russia signed friendship treaties with South Ossetia and Abkhazia that include a promise of military assistance for the breakaway Georgian regions. Earlier, a NATO delegation consisting of representatives from all 26 member countries paid a visit to Georgia. Attempts by Georgia to join the Atlantic alliance have met stiff resistance from Russia. It criticised NATO for displaying a “them and us” mentality.
Ukraine’s ruling coalition officially fell apart. Viktor Yushchenko, the president, is embroiled in a long-running dispute with Yulia Tymoshenko, the prime minister, the latest episode of which was a plan to trim his presidential powers. If parliament fails to form a new government in a month, Mr Yushchenko can call an election. See article
A few junior members of the government staged a mini-revolt and tried to force Britain’s beleaguered prime minister, Gordon Brown, to step down. But the cabinet, including David Miliband, the foreign secretary, a putative leadership contender, remained loyal. See article
Highlands and lowlands
After weeks of deadly clashes between pro- and anti-government demonstrators in Bolivia over proposed constitutional reforms, opposition governors from the rich eastern region agreed to talks with the government in an effort to find a way out the crisis. See article
At least seven people were killed and more than 100 injured when explosions tore through a crowd celebrating Mexico’s independence day in Morelia, capital of Michoacán, a state long plagued by drug-gang violence. The cause of the blasts remains unclear.
Cuba suffered what the government described as the worst damage in the island’s history after being struck by hurricanes Gustav and Ike. It nevertheless turned down an offer of aid from the United States. See article
Hurricane Ike continued its destructive path, forcing an (orderly) evacuation along the Texas coast. George Bush went to the area to view the damage. See article
America’s House of Representatives passed a bill that would expand oil-drilling in areas at least 50 miles (80km) off the Atlantic and Pacific coasts. This marked a change in Democratic attitudes to drilling, though Republicans still argue for expanding it closer to the coasts and in the Gulf of Mexico. A current ban on expansion ends at the end of September. The measure now heads to the Senate.
A commuter train collided with a freight train in a Los Angeles suburb, killing 26 people. It was America’s worst rail disaster in 15 years. Federal authorities said they were investigating claims that the driver of the commuter train was distracted by writing a text message on his phone.
In an unparalleled move, California’s governor, Arnold Schwarzenegger, said he would veto the state budget because it did not include strong provisions for times of fiscal trouble. Legislators had just reached a compromise on the legislation, 78 days into the start of California’s fiscal year.
source: The world this week