This roundup summarises the most important news stories around the world in the last month (July 2022).
There were electoral change and political upheavals in Italy, Japan, Sri Lanka, and the United Kingdom (UK). In Italy, the unity government collapsed after a rebellion from an anti-establishment party forced the prime minister to resign. The president refused to accept the resignation the first time, but the prime minister failed to keep his coalition government together and resigned subsequently. New elections are due within 70 days.
In Japan, former prime minister Shinzo Abe was assassinated after being shot twice when he was campaigning for a candidate in Western Japan. Two days later, his Liberal Democratic Party and its coalition allies won a supermajority in the upper house, increasing the likelihood of addressing the country’s constitution. In Sri Lanka, following months of protests culminating in protestors storming the presidential palace, both the president and prime minister resigned. The president later fled the country as a state of emergency was declared. The former six-time prime minister was sworn in as president, a move that is unlikely to appease Sri Lankans.
And in the UK, following multiple scandals, knowledge of sexual misconduct allegations against a fellow conservative party member prior to his appointment to a senior position, and the resignations of more than 50 ministers and senior aides, prime minister Boris Johnson stepped down. Former chief financial minister Rishi Sunak and foreign secretary Liz Truss remain in the running to succeed Mr. Johnson, with the latter favoured to win the votes of about 200,000 dues-paying members of the Conservative Party.
Healthcare and climate emergencies
Monkeypox, now spreading in non-endemic countries, was declared by the World Health Organisation as a global health emergency. And in Ghana, health officials declared an outbreak of the Ebola-like Marburg virus.
Europe was struck by a heat wave and wildfires. Firefighters in France, Greece, Portugal, and Spain have been struggling to contain wildfires which have necessitated evacuations. Many have also died from extreme heat, including over 350 in Spain. Temperatures in the UK hit record levels, resulting in the declaration of a national emergency.
There were other natural and man-made disasters around the world: Australia (floods), China (mountain collapse at mining site), Denmark (gunman killing), DR Congo (deaths resulting from dayslong protest against the United Nations), Greece (cargo plane crash), Haiti (capsize of US-headed boat), India (consumption of toxic alcohol), Indonesia (shooting, ferry sinking), Iran (floods and earthquakes), Italy (state of emergency following worst drought in 70 years), Kashmir (flash floods triggered by a cloudburst), Nigeria (capsized boat), Pakistan (wedding boat collapse), the Philippines (earthquake), Serbia (migrant shootout), South Africa (gunmen shooting), and the United States (mass shooting).
Other geopolitical and political developments
Geopolitically, in Hong Kong, China marked the 25th anniversary of the region’s handover from British colonial rule. Pope Francis travelled around Canada to apologise for the Catholic church’s historical role in the physical abuse of indigenous children. And in Ukraine, Russia declared victory in Ukraine’s eastern Luhansk region and moved its focus to neighbouring Donetsk. Separately, Ukraine and Russia signed a deal to unblock over 20 million tonnes of Ukrainian grain, in a bid to ease the global food crisis.
Russia will quit the International Space Station after its present commitment ends in end-2024 and will develop its own orbital space station.
Politically, four pro-democracy activists were executed by Myanmar’s military regime. Former Mexican leftist president Luis Echeverría Alvarez died at the age of 100. In Tunisia, a newly approved constitution undercut democracy and cemented the one-man rule of the president. And in the UK, London’s Heathrow Airport limited the number of daily passengers to 100,000 through mid-September, but the decision was met with pushback by airlines.
Finally, in the United States, the Federal Reserve raised interest rates for the fourth time in 2022, in an attempt to curb rising inflation. However, the country’s economy also shrank in the second quarter, raising fears of a possible recession (i.e., two consecutive quarters of negative growth in gross domestic product).