November 11 roundup: The fall of political leaders

Voting at the ballot box

This roundup summarises the most important news stories around the world in the last two weeks (October 29 to November 11, 2019).

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Political leaders were ousted across Latin America, in Iraq, and in Lebanon. Argentinian president Mauricio Macri was defeated at the polls, with a populist party now back in power. Mr. Macri was blamed for a recession as well as high inflation and poverty rates. In Bolivia, amid mass anti-government protests over electoral irregularities which marked the re-election of the president, he tendered his resignation. And in response to protests which drew more than a million people, the Chilean president called for his entire cabinet to resign.

In Iraq, following massive protests over unemployment and corruption which have left hundreds killed, the prime minister agreed to step down if a successor is ready to replace him. In Lebanon, after two weeks of protests, three-time prime minister Saad Hariri resigned. And in Pakistan, opposition leaders and thousands of protestors have called for the prime minister to step down, following the explosion of a cooking stove on a speeding train which killed at least 65 people.

Attacks and mishaps: In Africa: In Burkina Faso, an attack on buses ferrying staff from Canadian mining company Semafo left at least 37 people dead, while in Mali a terrorist attack on the country’s armed forces left at least 53 soldiers and one civilian dead. In Asia: Levels of air pollution in the Indian capital of New Delhi were more than 30 times higher than what was considered safe or healthy, leading to the declaration of a public health emergency, and in Japan a fire at Okinawa’s Shuri Castle, a UNESCO World Heritage site, destroyed a large portion of the compound.

Protracted (geo)political developments in Hong Kong and the United Kingdom (UK): In Hong Kong, 24 weeks of consecutive protests were marked by the death of a student who fell from a height during a rally, which had fuelled anger with the police. Right after, protesters were also shot by the city’s police, prompting further criticisms. And in the UK, the country was granted a flexible extension to Brexit until January 31, 2020, though an earlier exit is possible if a withdrawal deal is passed by parliament. Prime minister Boris Johnson then won backing to hold a general election on December 12.

Finally, some good news: The German capital celebrated the 30th anniversary since the fall of the Berlin Wall. And a raid by United States special forces led to the death of the leader of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.

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