News Timeline: June 2005


June 1 – South Asia: AFGHANISTAN

A bomb kills at least 20 people in an Afghan city of Kandahar, including Kabul police chief Mohammed Akram, at the funeral of a senior Islamic cleric, Mawlavi Abdullah Fayaz. Fayaz supported Afghan president Hamid Karzai, and recently spoke out against the Taliban. The attack is the worst assault this year.

June 1 – Europe: NETHERLANDS/EU

The Netherlands turns down the European constitution with 62 percent percent of the vote. The center-right government and major opposition parties encouraged people to vote in support of the constitution, saying it would increase the Dutch influence in Europe. The rejection by the French and the Dutch voters poses a question about the future direction of the EU.

June 2 – South Asia: MALDIVES

A unanimous parliamentary vote in favor of a multi-party democracy takes place in the Maldives. Parliament agrees to allow political parties in elections, which have previously been banned. President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom, who has been in power since 1978, the longest term of any Asian leader, supports the plan.


The Latvian parliament overwhelmingly approves the European constitution, which becomes the tenth EU member to ratify the document. Latvian Prime Minister Artis Pabriks says that despite the rejection by France and the Netherlands, all the remaining EU members should hold a vote on the constitution because it is important to know the views of all member states. He also repeated his support for the treaty by saying that it is the best compromise the members could agree to.

June 3 – Europe: RUSSIA

Gazprom, one of Russia’s biggest oil companies, announces it has bought Izvestia, one of Russia’s most internationally well-known newspapers. This announcement comes just after news that the Russian government will soon acquire a controlling share in Gazprom. Some observers fear this is part of a Moscow plan to bring independent media under government control.

June 3 – Africa: ZIMBABWE

Zimbabwe’s police demolish thousands of shantytowns, arresting 22,000 people and leaving tens of thousands homeless during the government’s operation against illegal housing. The critics, however, say that the operation was the government’s revenge against areas that voted for the opposition in the March elections. Amnesty International strongly condemns the demolition.

June 4 – Middle East: IRAQ

The first ever parliament of the Kurdish autonomous region of Iraq holds its first session in the northern city of Irbil. Iraqi President Jalal Talabani attends the meeting and encourages the parliamentarians to work toward a democratic federal system.

June 5 – Europe: SWITZERLAND

The Swiss voters approve a plan to join the Schengen agreement, a European passport-free zone, by 2007, which will also allow the Swiss police to share information with the EU about crimes, such as money-laundering and terrorist organizations. Switzerland is not a European Union member, but it is surrounded by the EU.

June 6 – Africa: BURUNDI

In Burundi’s first national elections since the beginning of the civil war in 1993, the predominantly Hutu Forces for the Defense of Democracy (FDD) wins more than half of the local municipalities, defeating President Domitien Ndayizeye’s Frodebu Party. Next month, the voters will elect a national assembly, which in turn will choose the president in August.

June 7 – East Asia: CHINA/TAIWAN

Taiwan’s National Assembly votes for several constitutional reforms, including its own dissolution. The new laws cut the size of the assembly by half and make constitutional changes subject to referendum. Supporters say this strengthens Taiwan’s democracy, but China is concerned that the question of independence could be put in front of Taiwan’s voters.

June 8 – International Organizations: ORGANIZATION OF AMERICAN STATES

The Organization of American States (OAS) concludes its summit in Florida, during which the organization turns down the U.S. proposal to monitor Latin American democracy. The move is seen as a defeat for U.S. policy in the region, in addition to the recent rejection of the U.S.’s pick for a new OAS leader.

June 9 – Latin America: BOLIVIA

Bolivian President Carlos Mesa resigns to quell protests over the nation’s energy industry and is replaced by Supreme Court head Eduardo Rodriguez. The speakers of both congressional houses declined the post. Demonstrators celebrate the inauguration of Rodriguez and the expectation of early elections, which must be held by the end of the year.

June 10 – Former Soviet Republics: TURKMENISTAN

Turkmenistan discontinues its policy of collecting a $50,000 fee from any foreigner wishing to marry Turkmen citizens. However, before marrying Turkmens, foreigners must reside in Turkmenistan for at least a year and wait through a mandatory three-month engagement period. According to President Niyazov, this law protects women from entering abusive relationships.

June 12 – Middle East: KUWAIT

Kuwait names its first female minister, Massouma al-Mubarak, as planning minister and minister for administrative development. This appointment comes one week after Kuwait names the first females to its municipal council. Women will be eligible to vote and run for election for the first time in 2007 parliamentary elections.

June 13 – East Asia: EAST TIMOR

Australian peacekeepers leave East Timor, ending a six-year peacekeeping mission there. Australia sent about 5,000 troops to the country in 1999, following the violence that ensued when East Timor voted for independence from Indonesia. A small number of Australian troops will remain to train the East Timorese army.

June 13 – Europe: IRELAND/EU

The Irish national language, the Gaeltacht, receives an official recognition as the 21st official language of the European Union. Out of 4 million Irish, 1.4 million claim to have an ability to speak the Gaeltacht. The speakers of this language are mostly concentrated in the western coastal areas of Ireland.

June 16 – Europe: RUSSIA

Nurdi Nukhazhiyev, a member of the Russian-backed administration in Chechnya, says that human rights abuses during the Chechen wars have been unimaginable. He says that since 1999 tens of thousands of civilians have disappeared and more than 50 mass graves have been identified. The Chechen administration set up a database with information on the victims.

June 16 – East Asia: CHINA/HONG KONG

China confirms Donald Tsang as new Chief Executive of Hong Kong. Tsang, who is popular in Hong Kong, has been the territory’s interim leader since China forced the resignation of the unpopular previous executive, Tung Chee-hwa. In Hong Kong, an election committee of 800 local leaders and notables nominate an executive whom Beijing may confirm or reject.

June 17 – Europe: EUROPEAN UNION

The European leaders end a summit in Brussels with a deadlock on the financial plan for the EU’s 2007-13 budget. At the heart of the summit discussions were contentious issues of Britain’s $5.3 billion annual rebate and the EU’s massive farm subsidies program, the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP), which amounts to half of the EU’s entire budget. The EU leaders also decide to postpone the ratification process for the planned European constitution.

June 20 – Middle East: LEBANON

During the final round of voting, Lebanon’s anti-Syrian opposition wins a majority in parliament. This is Lebanon’s first election free of Syrian control in 29 years.


For the first time in over a year, North Korea and South Korea hold ministerial talks. North Korea, facing a food crisis, requests more aid. South Korea wants to regularize dialog with the North to help reduce tensions on the peninsula.

June 22 – North America/East Asia: UNITED STATES/VIETNAM

Vietnam’s Prime Minister Phan Van Khai winds up a three-day official visit to the United States, the first by a Vietnamese communist leader. The Prime Minister met with President George W. Bush and with business leaders. Despite some misgivings over Vietnam’s human rights record, the Bush administration uses this trip to deepen its policy of engagement with Vietnam.

June 22 – Latin America: HAITI

The UN Security Council votes to deploy more peacekeeping troops to Haiti to secure the country for upcoming elections. Violence has plagued the capital of Port-au-Prince since the ousting of former president Jean-Bertrand Aristide in 2004.

June 25 – Middle East: IRAN

Iran’s voters hand the presidency to an Islamist hardliner, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Ahmadinejad appealed mostly to poorer voters who suffer from unemployment and disapprove a large gap between rich and poor. Iranian reformists worry that Ahmadinejad will try to reverse some of the social freedoms.

June 26 – South Asia: AFGHANISTAN

Afghan officials burn 60 tons of illegal narcotics to mark the United Nations International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking in a symbolic presentation for the international community. President Hamid Karzai faces questions and doubts on the progress of Afghanistan’s fight against drug trafficking. The UN fears that Afghanistan might become a narco-state if it fails to curb the drug trade.

June 27 – Europe/Former Soviet Republics: ESTONIA/RUSSIA

Russia withdraws from a border treaty with Estonia signed just last month. According to the Russian Foreign Ministry, Estonia’s parliament put unacceptable references to Soviet occupation in the treaty text. Both Estonia’s and Latvia’s borders with Russia remain disputed.

June 29 – South Asia/North America: INDIA/UNITED STATES

Indian Defense Minister Pranab Mukherjee and U.S. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld sign a 10-year agreement to increase bilateral cooperation on military affairs, such as weapon production and missile defense. Signed during Mukherjee’s first trip to the U.S. as Defense Minister, the accord is a sign of the growing relationship between the two nations.

June 30 – East Asia: CHINA

China’s top lawmaker, Sheng Huaren, warns that the country’s rapid economic growth and lack of adequate laws have contributed to water pollution, leaving more than 300 million people without clean drinking water. In March, a similar warning stated that more than 70 percent of China’s rivers and lakes were polluted.

June 30 – North America: UNITED STATES

President George Bush orders the creation of the National Security Service (NSS), a domestic intelligence unit within the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The NSS will fulfill one of several recommendations made by an independent commission to improve intelligence capabilities after information concerning WMD in Iraq proved incorrect.