News Timeline: September 2005


September 1 – East Asia: CHINA

China celebrates the fortieth anniversary of its regional government in Tibet. A top Chinese official, Jia Qinglin, leads a delegation to the region, while encouraging patriotism and battling secessionist efforts. Chinese troops entered Tibet in 1950, and formed a regional government there in 1965.

September 1 – South Asia: PAKISTAN

Pakistan announces that it will engage with Israel after the two countries’ foreign ministers meet in their first ever publicly acknowledged talks. Pakistan’s foreign minister, Khurshid Kasuri, says that although Pakistan does not recognize Israel as a state, Israel’s withdrawal from Gaza is extremely significant for their mutual relations. Only a few Muslim countries have full diplomatic ties with Israel.

September 2 – Africa: NAMIBIA

The Namibian government begins the compulsory purchase of white-owned farms as part of land reform. The country has around 4,500 commercial farms, half of which are owned by whites. The government plans to settle over 200,000 landless black people on expropriated farms. The critics say the move is an attempt on the part of the government to cover up its failure to create more jobs and better living conditions for ordinary people.

September 2 – East Asia: VIETNAM

Vietnam grants amnesty to more than 10,000 prisoners to mark the country’s declaration of independence 60 years ago. In 1945, former leader Ho Chi Minh made the declaration on the day Japan surrendered in World War II. In a speech, President Tran Duc Luong highlights the challenges that Vietnam must overcome, including poverty, bureaucracy, and corruption.

September 4 – South Asia: NEPAL

Thousands attend a pro-democracy rally one day after Maoist rebels declare a unilateral three-month ceasefire. Police detain activists and opposition leaders, including former Prime Minister and current leader of the main opposition party, the Nepali Congress, Girija Prasad Koirala.

September 5 – South Asia: INDIA

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh holds the first talks ever with a moderate faction of the Kashmiri separatist alliance, the All Parties Hurriyat Conference (APHC). Singh agrees to scale back troops in Indian-administered Kashmir if militants cease violence and infiltration. The insurgency in Kashmir has lasted fourteen years, while Pakistan and India have fought two wars over the region since 1947.

September 5 – International Organizations/Former Soviet Republics/Europe: CHERNOBYL FORUM/UKRAINE

The Chernobyl Forum reports that the cumulative death toll from the effects of the 1986 explosion at the Chernobyl nuclear plant located in Ukraine is estimated at 4,000. The previous estimates pointed to hundreds of thousands. The report also states that there is no convincing evidence that the accident has caused the rise in cancer. The Chernobyl Forum, which was established by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), the World Health Organization (WHO), UN agencies, and the governments of Belarus, Russia, and Ukraine, traces the impact of the Chernobyl accident.

September 6 – East Asia: PHILIPPINES

Congress in the Philippines votes against an impeachment bid of President Gloria Arroyo pushed by the opposition. Arroyo has been accused of corruption after phoning an election officer during the 2004 presidential election.

September 6 – Middle East/North America: IRAQ/UNITED STATES

U.S. troops transfer military control of Najaf, a Shia holy city and the base of Ayatollah Ali Sistani, to Iraqi soldiers. It is the first of a series of transfers in preparation for an eventual withdrawal of coalition forces from Iraq. The U.S. has not set a deadline for pulling out of the country, waiting instead for evidence that Iraqi forces can maintain security.

September 7 – Latin America: VENEZUELA/CARIBBEAN

Nine Caribbean countries sign onto Venezuela’s discounted oil project, PetroCaribe. The project supplies the countries with oil at a lower cost, and allows them to pay for oil with goods. The nations are trying to keep down the cost of living in economies damaged by record high oil prices. Critics of the oil initiative claim that Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez is using oil to buy influence in the region.

September 8 – Europe: RUSSIA/GERMANY/POLAND

Germany and Russia finalize a pipeline deal to transport gas under the Baltic Sea from the Russian port of Wyborg to the German town of Greifswald. Russia supplies a quarter of Western Europe’s gas needs, and Germany, with limited natural resources, relies on Russia’s oil and gas. Poland criticizes the pipeline deal and fears that it could be used to divert energy away from Poland for political reasons.

September 8 – Latin America: PERU

Peru’s president, Alejandro Toledo, announces that the country’s poorest families will receive monthly subsidies of $30 in an attempt to tackle extreme poverty. The funds will be given to the female heads of families in 70 rural districts, although critics argue that corruption and red tape will prevent funds from reaching isolated Andean areas. Around 50 percent of Peru’s population lives below the poverty line.

September 8 – Former Soviet Republics/Europe: UKRAINE

Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko dismisses his government after only six months in power. The coalition government came to power under the Orange Revolution, but recently fell apart due to in-fighting and allegations of corruption. Economist and regional governor Yuri Yekhanurov replaces Yulia Tymoshenko as prime minister.

September 9 – Africa: EGYPT

President Hosni Mubarak, who has ruled Egypt for twenty-four years, wins the country’s first multiparty presidential election, sparking protests in Cairo. Observers report widespread abuses, but do not believe they would change the outcome of the vote. Turnout for the vote is low as less than a quarter of eligible voters participate. While some call the election a breakthrough for democracy in the Middle East, others see it as a farce.

September 10 – Middle East: JORDAN/IRAQ

Jordanian Prime Minister Adnan Badran travels to Iraq to meet with his Iraqi counterpart, Ibrahim Jaafari, and Iraqi Vice President Adel Abdul Mehdi. Badran is the first Arab leader to visit Iraq since the fall of Saddam Hussein in 2003. The two countries agree to work together on issues of border security. Foreign fighters joining the insurgency in Iraq use the Jordanian border as a point of entry into the country.

September 12 – East Asia: JAPAN

Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi’s coalition government wins lower house elections, giving it a two-thirds majority in the new parliament. Koizumi dissolved the lower house and called elections after the upper house blocked his postal reforms. His new majority in the lower house enables Koizumi to override votes in the upper house and implement reforms.


Israeli troops complete their withdrawal from Gaza and parts of the West Bank in the last stage of Prime Minister Ariel Sharon’s controversial pullout plan. The military will no longer control Gaza, but will continue to patrol the West Bank. Israel previously completed the evacuation of settlers from Gaza and two West Bank settlements in August. The country has occupied the Palestinian territory since 1967.

September 13: SOUTHEAST ASIA

Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, and Thailand initiate joint air patrols of the Malacca Strait. Piracy on the waterway is on the rise, with twenty-seven pirate attacks reported last year. The Malacca Strait carries half of the world’s oil and a quarter of its commerce, making it one of the world’s busiest sea lanes.

September 16 – International Organizations: INTERNATIONAL ORGANIZATION FOR MIGRATION

The International Organization for Migration (IOM) reports that human trafficking in southeastern Europe is increasing. It also identifies new trends in human trade, including new recruiting methods and different strategies for crossing borders. An increasing number of trafficking victims are male, smuggled for work or begging, and a larger number are from farther away locations, such as China and Lebanon. In order to tackle the problem, the IOM calls for greater cooperation between governments.

September 18 – South Asia: AFGHANISTAN

Afghanistan concludes its first parliamentary and local elections in over thirty years. Nearly 6,000 candidates ran for parliamentary and provincial council seats across the country. The elections are the next step in an international plan to restore democracy in Afghanistan after the fall of the Taliban government in 2001.

September 19 – East Asia: NORTH KOREA

In a breakthrough in the fourth round of six-party nuclear talks, North Korea agrees to give up its nuclear activities and rejoin the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). A day later, however, North Korea stipulates that it will not rejoin the NPT until it receives a civilian nuclear reactor, undermining the previous day’s agreement. Parties say they will try to resolve the issue before the next round of talks.

September 20 – Former Soviet Republics: GEORGIA

Mortar shells strike Tskhinvali, the capital of Georgia’s breakaway region of South Ossetia, during celebrations commemorating the fifteenth anniversary of the province’s declaration of independence. The South Ossetian separatist government blames the attack on a nearby Georgian village. The assault comes a day after South Ossetia signs a cooperation treaty with Georgia’s other separatist republic, Abkhazia. Georgia does not recognize the independence of either region.

September 26 – East Asia: CHINA/HONK KONG

Pro-democracy lawmakers from Hong Kong are allowed to participate in a legislative visit to Guangdong, China. A delegation of Hong Kong’s 60 legislators includes 25 pro-democracy advocates. Of those, 11 have been banned from the mainland for 16 years and are permitted entry as an exception. Chinese officials avoid discussions on democracy and the Tiananmen Square protests.

September 27 – North America/Middle East: UNITED STATES/IRAQ

Lynndie England, a private in the U.S. military, is convicted by a military panel of abusing detainees at the Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq. She is the last of nine army reservists charged in the case, all of whom pled guilty or were found guilty. The abuse, which was captured in graphic photographs, sparked international condemnation and outrage.

September 28 – Europe/Africa: SPAIN/MOROCCO

Spain plans to double the height of the fences around Melilla, a Spanish enclave in Morocco, which is a destination point for hundreds of illegal African immigrants attempting to cross into Europe. Just this year, there were 12,000 attempts to enter Melilla. Doctors Without Borders, a medical charity, calls the Spanish and Moroccan security tactics violent, whereas Spain claims the violence stems from assaults by the immigrants.

September 29 – North America: UNITED STATES

John Roberts is sworn in as the new chief justice of the U.S. Supreme Court after the Senate confirms his nomination with a vote of 78 to 22. He replaces William Rehnquist, who died earlier in the month after serving on the court for over 30 years. Roberts is the youngest chief justice on the Court in 200 years.