Jan 3 ... Saudi Arabia yesterday executed the Shia cleric Mir al-Nimr, who had been a vocal supporter of protests in the kingdom's Eastern Province. Forty-seven others convicted of terrorism were also executed. In Iran, protesters ransacked the Saudi embassy. There are demonstrations by Shia in Iraq and Lebanon, and Iran announces that Saudi Arabia will pay a "high price" for the execution. Saudi Arabia breaks diplomatic relations with Iran and is joined in this by three other Sunni-led powers: Bahrain, Sudan, and the United Arab Emirates.
Jan 5 ... In response to inaction by Congress, President Obama announces gun control executive orders. These are designed to increase the efficiency of background checks for buyers of guns. Obama's executive actions can't completely close the so-called "gun-show loophole," and the White House is to say that it continues to be the responsibility of Congress to improve on gun control legislation.
Jan 8 ... In Mexico the notorious drug kingpin, Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman, is recaptured after having escaped from a maximum security prison in Mexico back in July.
Jan 16 ... The International Atomic Energy Agency announces that Iran has adequately dismantled its nuclear weapons program, allowing the United Nations to lift all nuclear-related sanctions against Iran. Iran releases five prisoners to return to the US, including a Washington Post reporter. In return, the US offers clemency to seven Iranians (six of them dual US-Iranian citizens) who had been convicted or were pending trial in the United States."
Feb 1 ... The World Health Organization declares spread of the Nika virus a "public health emergency of international concern. (The virus is spread mainly by mosquitos and can cause birth malformations. Since 2013 the disease has spread from Oceania to the north of South America, Central America and the Caribbean.
Feb 6 ... North Korea declares that it has launched an "earth observation satellite" and plans to launch "many more". In the US the launch is described as a step toward a missile capable of striking the United States.
Feb 20 ... Tropical cyclone Winston has been moving easterly through the South Pacific. Wind gusts of 202 miles per hour leave a trail of destruction across Fiji.
Feb 24 ... Managing director of the International Monetary Fund, Christine Lagarde, warns that uncertainty over the outcome of a referendum on Brexit (Britain leaving the European Union) would be bad for the British economy.
Mar 16 ... President Obama nominates Merrick Garland to replace Supreme Court Justice Anthony Scalia. Republican leaders in the Senate announce that they will withhold voting on any potential nominee such as Garland until a new president was elected. Democrats countered that the Constitution obligates the president and Senate to nominate and confirm a new Supreme Court justice in a timely manner.
Mar 16 ... Following their primary contests, three Republicans remain in the race for the presidency: Trump, Cruz, and Kasich.
Mar 18 ... Turkish and European Union leaders attempt to address the flow of asylum-seekers to Europe — the biggest migration crisis since World War II. They agree that migrants arriving in Greece are to be sent back to Turkey if they have not applied for asylum or if their claim has been rejected, and for every Syrian migrant sent back to Turkey, one will be resettled in the EU.
Mar 21 ... President Obama (and Michelle) visit Cuba, the first president to do so since Calvin Coolidge. Anti-Castro Cubans complaining about their experiences with authority and in a shouting match with pro-government Cubans have been cleared from the street.
Mar 22 ... Coordinated suicide bombings at the Brussels airport and central metro station kill 35 people and injure 300 more. The Belgian government declares three days of national mourning.
Mar 24 ... After a 497-day trial, the UN's international court finds Radovan Karadžić guilty of genocide in Srebrenica, war crimes and crimes against humanity. He is sentenced to 40 years in prison.
Apr 25 ... Saudi Arabia moves toward sweeping economic reforms aimed at ending its dependence on the sale of oil, which it foresees as declining.
May 4 ... Four months after he declared a state of emergency in Flint over its toxic water crisis, President Obama visits Flint. On camera he sips some local water to indicate that the city's water is now safe to drink "if it is properly filtered." Michael Moore complains that everything is not yet okay, that the water is "still going through the same corroded lead pipes?"
May 22 ... President Obama arrives in Hanoi for a three-day visit to Vietnam to build stronger economic and defense ties.
May 30 ... The African Court of Justice and Human Rights (founded in 2004 and an agency of the African Union) convicts the former president of Chad (1982-90), Hissène Habré, to life in prison for crimes against humanity: human-rights abuses, including rape, sexual slavery and ordering the killing of 40,000 people.
Jun 12 ... In Orlando, Florida, Omar Mateen, a US citizen, age 29, a security guard, kills 49 and injures 53 at a gay nightclub. He describes himself as an Islamic soldier and as retaliating for an airstrike in Iraq that killed Abu Wahib, an ISIL commander.
Jun 23 ... In Britain a nation referendum asks, "Should the United Kingdom remain a member of the European Union or leave the European Union?" Voter turnout is 72 percent. Voting to leave is 52 percent, to stay is 48 percent. Prime Minister Cameron, who campaigned for staying, announces he will resign.
Jun 28 ... An attack at the Atatürk Airport in Istanbul kills 45 and injures around 230. Turkish officials describe that attackers as having come to Turkey from ISIL-controlled Syria.
Jul 13 ... Prime Minister David Cameron, having opposed Brexit, leaves office and is succeeded by another conservative, Theresa May.
Jul 18–21 ... The Republican National convention is held in Cleveland, Ohio with Donald Trump "humbly and gratefully" accepting the nomination. He says, "We will honor the American people with the truth, and nothing else." He adds that illegal immigrants " are being released by the tens of thousands into our communities with no regard for the impact on public safety or resources."
Jul 24 ... Prime Minister Orbán (Hungary) says of candidate Trump's policies on terrorism and immigration: "As a European, I could not have drawn up better what Europe needs."
Jul 27 ... At a news conference in Florida, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump invites Russia to find Hillary Clinton's missing emails. The Clinton campaign complains that it is "the first time that a major presidential candidate has actively encouraged a foreign power to conduct espionage against his political opponent."
Jul 28 ... The Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia nominates Hillary Clinton for president. She thanks Bernie Sanders for putting "economic and social justice issues front and center, where they belong."
Aug 5–21 ... In the US, viewing the Summer Olympics (Rio de Janeiro) is spotty and annoying in other ways. Commercial-free and otherwise better viewing is available in Britain on the BBC. On the day prior to the opening ceremony, 111 Russian athletes were removed from competing because of doping. A few (not Trump supporters) complain about "jingoistic" chanting: "USA, USA". US athletes win 46 gold medals. Great Britain is second with 27 and China third with 26.
Oct 5 ... Supporting Trump's candidacy, Ann Coulter criticizes anti-Trump conservatives. She describes George Will as a member of the "hyper-preppy elite and an atheist who cares about the opinions of others rather than God's opinion."
Oct 7 ... The Obama administration accuses the government of Russia of hacking the computer network of the Democratic National Committee.
Oct 8 ... The Washington Post releases a 2005 ("Access Hollywood") videotape of Donald Trump making lewd comments about women to Billy Bush. Speaker of the House Paul Ryan will disinvite Trump from a Wisconsin campaign event, but many of Trump's supporters will dismiss broadcast of the videotape as just an attempt to destroy Trump.
Oct 15 ... Trump speaks of the Clintons employing "the corporate media" and says, "Let's be clear on one thing, the corporate media in our country is no longer involved in journalism. They're a political special interest no different than any lobbyist or other financial entity with a total political agenda, and the agenda is not for you, it's for themselves."
Nov 1 ... Campaigning in Florida, Hillary Clinton says, "I guess the bottom line is he [Trump] thinks belittling women makes him a bigger man... He doesn’t see us as full human beings with our own dreams, our own purposes, our own capabilities. And he has shown that clearly throughout this campaign. Well, he is very wrong."
Nov 7 ... In North Carolina, Hillary Clinton's theme is that she wants "to be president for all Americans. Not just some." She speaks of "your kids or grandkids." Candidate Trump's message is more combative. He says, "Our failed political establishment has delivered nothing," that the election "will decide whether we are ruled by a corrupt political class," that Clinton is "being protected by a rigged system."
Nov 8 ... Donald Trump is elected President. Hillary Clinton's has a popular vote lead of nearly 3 million, but Trumps wins a majority via the Electoral College, to be tallied at 304 to Clinton's 227.
Nov 12 ... Hillary Clinton claims that an FBI announcment about her emails two days before Election Day raised "groundless" doubts that blunted her campaign's momentum. A few other Democrats will be expressing their regret that Clinton didn't focus more on the economic interests of the standby-your-man, Joe-the-plumber, coal-digging laboring class.
Nov 15 ... In Egypt, Mujammed Morsi still considers himself President and as illegally detained by the military. Some supporters of President el-Sisi (former Field Marshal) are still demanding Morsi's execution. Egypt's highest appeal court has overturned Morsi's death penalty, but Morsi remains charged with the killing of protesters in December 2012, with spying for Qatar, and a life sentence for spying for Hamas.
Nov 18 ... Donald Trump agrees to pay a $25 million settlement to two class action lawsuits and to a New York state civil lawsuit regarding the now defunct Trump University.
Nov 20 ... More than 300 people are injured, 26 seriously, after police use water cannons, tear gas, rubber bullets, and concussion grenades on a peaceful protest against the proposed construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline on the Standing Rock Indian Reservation.
Nov 28 ... Abdul Razak Ali Artan, age 18, attacks students on the campus of Ohio State University with his car and a butcher knife before being fatally shot by police. Eleven people are hospitalized with injuries. An FBI investigation will describe Artan as having been inspired by ISIS propaganda.
Dec 9 ... The CIA reports to Congress that it has "high confidence" that Russia conducted operations during the 2016 presidential election to assist Donald Trump in winning the presidency. President-elect Trump declares the report "ridiculous."
Dec 14 ... The Federal Reserve cites strong economic growth and rising employment and raises its benchmark interest rate 0.25 percent.
Dec 19 ... For several days, Turks have been protesting Russian support for the Assad regime in Syria. An off-duty police officer assassinates Russia's ambassador to Turkey, shouting "God is the greatest" and "do not forget Aleppo."
Dec 20 ... Canada's Prime Minister Trudeau and President Obama sign an agreement that bans oil and gas drilling in most of the Arctic and Atlantic Ocean.
Dec 22 ... A vaccine against the Ebola virus is judged 70–100 percent effective, making it the first proven vaccine against the disease.
Dec 23 ... A 14–0 vote on UN Security Council passes Resolution 2334. The resolution, introduced by Egypt, states that Israel's settlement activity constitutes a "flagrant violation" of international law and has "no legal validity". It demands that Israel stop such activity and fulfill its obligations as an occupying power under the Fourth Geneva Convention. The US voted "abstain," but Israel accuses the Obama administration of having secretly orchestrated the passage of the resolution.
Dec 28 ... US Secretary of State Kerry describes the US as Israel's best friend and defends the US vote at the UN. ( the speech).
Copyright © 2018 by Frank E. Smitha. All rights reserved.