Apr-May-Jun 2017

Apr 3 ... Chechen newspapers report the arrest of at least 100 men for "nontraditional sexual orientation."

Apr 4 ... The internet company Alibaba is described by the US Securities and Exchange Commission as the world's largest retailer. Its Chinese founder, Jack Ma, is said to be one of the wealthiest persons in the world.

Apr 6 ... President Trump orders an air strike against Syria's Ash Sha'irat airbase in retaliation for the Assad regime's suspected use of chemical weapons on civilian targets in the town of Khan Shaykhun. The attack is said to have killed six soldiers and nine civilians. Trump declares an intent to protect American national security by deterring the use of chemical weaponry.

Apr 11 ... The Trump administration accuses Russia of using disinformation tactics regarding the Khan Shaykhun chemical attack in Syria.

Apr 13 ... Poland welcomes NATO troops deployed in its northeast in response to recent Russian aggressions, including the annexation of Crimea. US troops numbering 900 as well as 150 British and 120 Romanians are to be deployed in Orzysz, about 35 miles south of Russia's Baltic Sea enclave of Kaliningrad.

Apr 19 ... In Venezuela, protests have grown following the arrests of opposition leaders a couple of months ago. Today, protesters demanding elections jammed the streets of cities and government forces beat back crowds with tear gas and rubber bullets. Demonstrators wearing masks to protect themselves from tear gas fought back with firebombs.

Apr 26 ... In the 100 days since President Donald Trump took office, his administration is accused of rolling back programs associated with climate change and undermining international climate commitments. Among the programs under attack are: vehicle fuel efficiency standards, limits on methane leaks, groundwater protections, the Clean Power Plan and much more. Also, critics complain that the Trump administration is proposing unprecedented budget cuts to the Environmental Protection Agency that would eliminate 3,200 jobs and that would end climate change research and international programs.

May 6 ... In Warsaw, thousands are marching against what they see as curbs on democracy imposed by the governing Law and Justice Party. The government has been criticized for tightening its control on public media. Protesters are demanding that their government respect Poland's membership in the European Union and the EU's standards of governance.

May 7 ... In a run-off election in France, Emmanuel Macron, a former investment banker, defeats or Marine Le Pen, 66.1 percent of the vote to Le Pen's 33.9 percent, becoming the youngest French head of state since Napoleon. Macron is 39. He is described as a centrist. He pledges to do all he can to bring France together. Le Pen is a member of the "far-right" Nationalist Front and is said to have given the Nationalist Front a new legitimacy despite her defeat.

May 14 ... A missile from North Korea reaches higher than 1,245 miles, travels 435 miles and lands in the Sea of Japan (the East Sea according to South Koreans).

May 16 ... The Washington Post columnist Katrina vanden Heuvel asks why the US troops are still in Afghanistan. She writes: "Today the Taliban controls more of the country than it has since 2001." She adds:

We're no longer fighting to defeat an enemy; we're engaged in "nation-building." Good luck with that ... Despite US arms, aid and training, [Afghanistan's] divided and demoralized security forces can't stand up to the Taliban ... Trump should fulfill his campaign rhetoric and pull the plug. Praise the troops and bring them home. Use the money and lives saved to rebuild America.

May 19 ... President Trump arrives in Saudi Arabia, his first of three scheduled foreign trips. He signs an arms deal.

May 23 ... In Manchester, England, a suicide bomber, Salman Abedi, age 22, an immigrant from Libya, kills 22 and injures 59 bombing at a crowded pop concert. Within a few days, six will be arrested and the bomber's father and younger brother will be detained in Libya.

May 26 ... Two men are stabbed to death in a train in Portland, Oregon, after they attempt to intervene while a man shouts racial slurs at two teenage girls, one of them wearing a hijab.

May 30 ... US B-1B bombers from Guam flying toward Korea stage a nuclear bomb dropping drill. North Korea calls it a military provocation.

May 31 ... Another suicide bombing in Afghanistan, this one in Kabul, kills over 150 and injures 413, mostly civilians. In response, anti-government protesters complain about a lack of security provided by the government and demand an end of President Ashraf Ghani's shaky government.

Jun 1 ... Chinese Premier Li Keqiang and German Chancellor Angela Merkel vow to expand their partnership in combating global climate change. President Donald Trump confirms that the United States will withdraw from the 2015 Paris Agreement on climate change.

Jun 2 ... The UN Security Council expands its sanctions against North Korea in response to Kim Jong-un's missile launching tests.

Jun 5 ... Saudi Arabia and allies — Bahrain, Egypt, Libya, the Maldives, the United Arab Emirates — cut their land, air and sea connections and their diplomatic ties with Qatar. Qatar is to admit that it has provided assistance to the Muslim Brotherhood, but it will deny aiding militant groups linked to al-Qaeda or the so-called Islamic State. (Qatar shares the world's largest gas field with Iran.)

Jun 8 ... At a UN Oceans summit, delegates from China, Indonesia, the Philippines and Thailand pledge to reduce their oceanic plastic pollution.

Jun 12 ... The Putin regime detains opposition leader Alexei Navalny and hundreds of others attending anti-corruption rallies in Moscow, St Petersburg, and other towns.

Jun 20 ... the European Court of Human Rights (created by the 47-member Council of Europe – not to be confused with the European Union) rules that Russia's law that bans the promotion of homosexual behavior to minors encourages homophobia, reinforces prejudice and violates the right to freedom of speech.

Jun 21 ... King Salman of Saudi Arabia declares his son, Mohammad bin Salman Al Saud (MBS) to be Crown Prince (his successor) in place of the former Crown Prince, his nephew. President Trump calls MBS to congratulate him.

Jun 30 ... The Bundestag (Germany's parliamentary House of Commons) votes to introduce same-sex marriage in Germany. The vote is 393 in favor and 226 opposed. The law is expected to become effective before the end of the year.


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