This roundup summarises the most important news stories around the world in the last month (June 2022).
Given the many negative developments and disasters around the world, June was a month to forget. With continued COVID-19 lockdowns in China, persistent supply chain and oil price issues, and the war attrition between Russia and Ukraine, the World Bank warned that the global economy was vulnerable to stagflation, a combination of slow economic growth and high inflation. Relatedly, the United States (US) Federal Reserve announced its largest interest rate hike, of 0.75 percentage points, in 30 years.
June marked over 100 days since Russia invaded Ukraine, with no resolution in sight. Despite initial missteps and its failure to capture the capital of Kyiv, Russia has made progress with capturing the eastern Donbas region. Geopolitically, Ukraine was granted European Union candidate status, kickstarting a yearlong process of becoming a member. Finland and Sweden were also formally invited to join the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation, after Turkey dropped its objections.
Economically, Russia defaulted on its foreign debt for the first time in over a century.
Rollback of human and political rights
The US supreme court ruled that Americans have the right to carry guns in public. It also overruled Roe v. Wade, eliminating the constitutional right to abortion. In Japan, a court ruling upheld the country’s ban on same-sex marriage. And in Germany, from 1945 to 2020, at least 196 clerics in the German Catholic diocese of Muenster sexually abused minors.
In Cambodia, as part of a broader, persistent crackdown against the political opposition, about 60 members of the country’s now-dissolved opposition party were convicted of treason. And in Myanmar, deposed leader Aung San Suu Kyi was moved from house arrest to a prison cell in the capital.
Political progress and setbacks
In terms of political progress, Colombia voted in its first leftist president, a former rebel and long-time senator. In Kazakhstan, voters voted for reforms to remove the existing “super-presidential” system, seeking to remove the political influence of the country’s former leader. Other changes include a ban on the president’s relatives to hold government positions, a strengthened parliament, and restoration of the constitutional court.
In terms of setbacks, in France, centrist allies of the president failed to win a majority in parliament, likely dealing a blow to his domestic agenda. Less than half of eligible voters cast their ballots. In Israel, coalition lawmakers formally dissolved parliament, paving the way for the country’s fifth election in three years. And in the United Kingdom, prime minister Boris Johnson faced a vote of no-confidence, which he survived. This happened as Queen Elizabeth II commemorated her Platinum Jubilee, marking 70 years of service on the throne. She holds the record for being the longest-reigning monarch.
Separately, a controversial plan between Rwanda and the UK, which involved the latter deporting asylum seekers for resettlement in the former, which would receive over a hundred million dollars over the next five years to finance the programme, was blocked by the European Court of Human Rights.
In other news
In Italy, a former truck driver became the first in the country to die through medically-assisted suicide. Thailand became the first country in South Asia to legalise the growing and selling of marijuana. Only consumption for medical reasons is allowed. And Turkey formally requested for the United Nations to address it by its cultural name, Türkiye.
Other disasters in an unfortunately eventful month include:
- Afghanistan (bus ambush, powerful earthquake, deadliest in over two decades),
- Bangladesh (container depot fire),
- Colombia (spectator stand collapse),
- Ethiopia (ethnic attack by rebel groups),
- India (chemical factory explosion, protests, monsoon floods, monsoon building collapse, landslide),
- Iran (tower block collapse),
- Italy (helicopter crash),
- Nepal (plane crash),
- Nigeria (attack on Catholic Church),
- Norway (gunman attack),
- South Africa (unexplained nightclub deaths), as well as the
- US (more mass shootings, train accident, migrant deaths).