News Timeline: June 2015


June 1 – Former Soviet Republics / Europe: GEORGIA / UKRAINE
Former Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili renounces his Georgian citizenship and accepts Ukrainian citizenship as he becomes Governor of Odessa region in Ukraine. Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko appointed him governor of this important strategic region, saying he is the person capable of implementing needed radical reforms and fight deeply-rooted corruption and organized crime. By renouncing his citizenship, Saakashvili also wants to avoid an arrest in his native Georgia where he is wanted for abuse of power during his presidency. Saakashvili denies the charges, saying they are politically motivated.

June 3 – North America: UNITED STATES
The United States Senate votes to replace the Patriot Act that has been in place since the terrorist attacks of 9/11 and increasingly unpopular with the public with the USA Freedom Act. The new Freedom Act ends the bulk collection of American’s personal phone and internet data and requires the National Security Agency (NSA) to request this data through a court order. Also, under the new law, records must be stored by telecommunications companies rather than on government servers.

June 7-8 – International Organizations: G7
Members of G7 organization meet for the 41st Summit in Germany to discuss global economy and other key issues, including militant threats posed by terrorist groups such as Islamic State (IS), Greece’s economic crisis, climate change, and support for continued sanction on Russia. G7 includes Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, United Kingdom, and United States. Presidents of the European Commission and European Council are permanently welcomed participants. Russia has been excluded from what it used to be G8 after it invaded Ukraine and annexed Crimea.

June 7 – Europe/Middle East: TURKEY
Turkey’s governing AK party loses its majority in the parliamentary elections for the first time in 13 years, getting only 41 percent of the vote. At the same time, Turkey’s People’s Democracy Party (HDP) wins 10 percent threshold to enter the parliament. The HDP party is pro-Kurdish, but it also appeals to regular Turks, such as liberals, environmentalists, and even religious voters. AK party will now try to form a coalition government. If it fails, it will rule as a weak minority government and there will be early elections. The AK’s loss of a parliamentary majority also means that a planned referendum to grant President Recep Erdogan more powers will most probably not take place.

June 10 – AFRICA
Twenty-six African countries sign an agreement in Egypt to form the Tripartite Free Trade Area (TFTA). This free trade zone will stretch from Cape Town in South Africa to Cairo in Egypt. The agreement works by uniting three existing trade blocks: the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA), Southern African Development Community (SADC) and East African Community (EAC). The objective of the agreement is to make intra-African easier and to boost it to 30 percent, which currently accounts to only 13 percent. By comparison, 70 percent of Europe’s trade is between European countries. The agreement still has to be ratified by the member states’ national parliaments.

June 17 – North America: UNITED STATES
A 21-year-old supporter of white supremacy and racial segregation, Dylann Roof, attends a Bible study at the historic Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in downtown Charleston, South Carolina and after an hour pulls out his handgun and starts shooting at the attendees. He kills six women and three men, all African Americans, including the church’s pastor and a South Carolina state senator Clementa C. Pinckney. He is later caught and apprehended by the law enforcement. (June 18): New images of Dylann Roof that emerged on the internet show him posing with a gun and Confederate flag. The picture renews debates about a symbolic meaning of the Confederate flag and calls to remove it from statehouse grounds in South Carolina.

June 18 – East Asia: CHINA
Pro-democracy lawmakers in Hong Kong’s parliament reject a controversial election proposal supported by the mainland Chinese government, which sparked massive protests last year. According to this electoral reform, voters in Hong Kong could choose their leader, but only from among candidates approved by a special committee in Beijing. Right now, the territory’s chief executive is appointed by a special 1,200–member committee that includes pro-Beijing supporters.

June 18 – Europe: VATICAN CITY
Pope Francis releases a Papal Encyclical on the Environment and Climate Change, in which he acknowledges global warming, blames human activity and human selfishness on the climate change, and calls for all people to protect the Earth. Environmentalists and many academics welcome Pope’s engagement, saying his input will help their cause. The critics and sceptics of the climate change, however, question Pope’s credibility on the issue.

June 19 – East Asia: NORTH KOREA
North Korea is experiencing a severe drought, the worst one in the last 100 years. Its news agency informed that a third of the country’s rice fields are dry, which has led to basic food shortages. The drought is also leading to water shortages.

June 25 – North America: UNITED STATES
The United States Supreme Court rules that federal subsidies for health insurance premiums for low-income people buying health insurance on exchanges can continue in the 34 states which did not set up their own insurance exchanges. The Affordable Care Act of 2010, known as Obamacare, obligates every American to buy private health insurance policy. Without these subsidies, several millions of eligible people would have dropped their coverage, which would then threaten the entire health care reform. The court’s ruling is a big legislative victory for President Barack Obama, but Republicans vow to continue challenging the law and have it repealed.

June 27 – North America: UNITED STATES
The United States Supreme Court rules that same-sex marriage is a constitutional right and is legal across the United States, ending a decade of legal battles. In recent years, the support for equal guy rights has been growing; however, some conservatives condemn the decision and accuse the Supreme Court of violating states’ rights.

June 27 – Former Soviet Republics: ARMENIA
Armenian government suspends its decision to raise electricity prices after a week of protests. Protesters were also angry about the country’s pervasive corruption, unaccountability of the government, and the influence of big business with links to Russia. Armenia’s electricity network is wholly owned by a Russian company, Inter-RAO.