News Timeline: July 2015


July 1 – Africa: EGYPT
The self-proclaimed Islamic State (IS) launches a wave of raids on military checkpoints and a police station in the north part of Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula, killing at least 100 people. (July 2): Egypt responds with air strikes on several IS locations, forcing the militants to withdraw from north Sinai.

July 8 – Europe / Russia / International Organizations:
Russia vetoes a United Nations Security Council draft resolution that described the Srebrenica massacre as genocide. Ten members of the Council voted in favor, with China, Nigeria, Angola and Venezuela abstaining. Republika Srpska, one of the federal states within Bosnia-Herzegovina, and Serbia lobbied for the veto. Russia is considered an ally of Serbia. The Srebrenica massacre took place in July 1995 during the Bosnian War. In Srebrenica and many towns and villages around it, units of the Bosnian Serb Army of Republika Srpska under the command of General Ratko Mladić and a paramilitary unit from Serbia killed more than 8,000 Muslim Bosniaks, mainly men and boys.

July 9 – Middle East / Europe:
According the United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR), the number of Syrian refugees surpassed four million. The largest number of Syrian refugees displaced by the civil war in their country – 1.8 million – fled to Turkey. 2.2 million Syrians refugees are in Egypt, Iraq, Jordan and Lebanon, as well as more than 24,000 are registered in North Africa. In the first half of 2015, about 46,000 Syrian refugees used boats to cross to Europe. There is another seven million Syrians who are displaced within the country’s borders. Antonio Guterres, the head of the UN’s refugee agency, calls it the “worst humanitarian crisis of our generation”.

July 10 – North America: UNITED STATES
After days of fractious debate in the state’s legislature, South Carolina removes the Confederate flag from South Carolina capitol grounds. For many, the flag is a symbol of slavery and racism, and associated with the man who killed nine Blacks in a church in South Carolina last month. Supporters of the flag say it is an important part of the southern history and heritage.

After intense negotiations, Greece and the members of the Eurozone reach an agreement on Greece’s third bailout according to which Greece will receive financing of $94 billion over the next three years. Greece’s left-wing Syriza government that was elected in January on a promise to end austerity measures has not managed to convince the Eurozone to have the Greek debt reduced, nor avoid some tough reforms. Greece’s negotiators agree to implement a string of austerity measures, such as pension reform, raising tax collection, privatization, reform of the banking and the judiciary systems. To conclude the agreement, parliaments in Greece and several other Eurozone countries have to approve it. The deal ends months of speculations that Greece might have to exit the Eurozone. (July 23): After heated debates, the Greek parliament approves the bailout conditions. Thousands of people gather outside the parliament to protest the austerity measures.

July 14 – Middle East / North America / Europe / International Organizations:
After 20 months of negotiations, world powers (the United States, the United Kingdom, France, China, Russia, and Germany) reach a long-term agreement with Iran that limits its nuclear activity in return for lifting economic sanctions by the international community. The deal allows the United Nations (UN) nuclear inspectors monitor and inspect Iranian nuclear sites and puts other checks in place to prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons. In exchange, Iran will regain its frozen assets oversees and will resume selling its oil on international markets. In the U.S the agreement has to be approved by Congress, where it faces strong opposition from the Republican legislatures.

July 16 – Latin America: MEXICO
Joaquín Guzmán, nicknamed ‘El Chapo’, the boss of the Mexican drug-trafficking Sinaloa cartel and one of the most powerful drug-trafficker in the world, escapes from a Mexican maximum-security prison for the second time. The escape route was an elaborately prepared tunnel leading from the shower in Guzmán’s cell to a house recently constructed about a mile away from the prison. The tunnel was equipped with lights, ventilation, and a motorcycle. The sophistication of the tunnel points out that Guzmán must have had help from the prison employees. His second escape is a major embarrassment for the Mexican authorities. Guzmán’s Sinaloa Cartel smuggles tons of cocaine, heroin, methamphetamine, marijuana, and ecstasy (MDMA) to the United States and Europe.

July 20 – Europe / Middle East: TURKEY
A suicide bomber linked to the self-proclaimed Islamic State (IS) kills 32 mostly Kurdish activists at a rally in the Turkish town of Suruc on Syrian border. (July 23): IS militants kill a Turkish border guard. (July 26): Turkey responds to the militant attacks with limited ground and air strikes against IS targets. It also targets the positions of the outlawed Kurdish PKK group. Turkey considers both organizations as terrorist. Turkey also allows the United States to use its basis to strike IS.

July 29 – Europe / Former Soviet Republics / International Organizations:
Russia uses its veto as a member of the Security Council at the United Nations to block a draft resolution that calls for setting up an international tribunal to prosecute those responsible for downing the Malaysian plane MH17 over eastern Ukraine in July 2014. Russia is the only country in the 15-member UN Security Council to do so. It is believed and there is evidence that the plane was hit by a missile fired by pro-Russian rebels in eastern Ukraine. The anti-aircraft missile was produced and supplied by Russia.

July 30 – International Organizations / South Asia / East Asia:
According to the United Nations’ 2015 Revisions to the report “World Population Prospects,” the world population has reached 7.3 billion by mid-2015, an increase of one billion within the last 12 years. Sixty percent of people live in Asia, followed by Africa (16 percent), Europe (10 percent), Latin America (9 percent), and North America with Oceania (5 percent). The two countries with the largest populations are China (1.4 billion) and India (1.3 billion). The report also says that within the next 15 years, the world population is expected to increase by more than one billion people, reaching 8.5 billion in 2030. On the country levels, the population of India is projected to surpass that of China by 2022.