News Timeline: July 2018


July 1 – Latin America: MEXICO
Voters in Mexico elect a new president and new members for the country’s parliament, as well as governors, and, state and local representatives. Former Mexico city mayor Andrés Manuel López Obrador of the National Regeneration Movement (MORENA), running as the candidate of the Juntos Haremos Historia alliance wins the presidential election. With 53 percent of the vote, he defeats three other candidates and wins an outright majority. The incumbent president Enrique Peña Nieto of the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) was not constitutionally eligible for a second term. During the campaign, López Obrador pledged to tackle corruption and fight Mexico’s record-high violence, which is mostly related to drug cartels. During the elections campaign 130 political candidates and party workers have been killed. Obrador has been highly critical of U.S. President Donald Trump who attacked Mexico over trade and migration. On social policies, he promised to double pensions for the elderly as a first step to reducing Mexico’s disparate income levels. At the same time, he has promised to respect civil liberties, private business, and fiscal responsibility.[1]

July 2 – Latin America / International Organizations:
The United Nations UNESCO organization places Colombia’s Chiribiquete National Park, also called “The Maloca of the Jaguar”, on the UNESCO list of World Heritage sites.[2] Located in the northwestern part of Colombian Amazon, the park is the country’s largest protected area. One of the defining features of the park are sandstone table-top mountains featuring over 75,000 paintings on the walls of the 60 rock shelters that go back more than 20,000 years. The paintings depict hunting scenes, battles, dances and ceremonies. The place is a sacred region for indigenous people.[3]
More about UNESCO World Heritage List

July 8 – Europe / Middle East: TURKEY
Right before the swear-in ceremony of Turkey’s President, Recep Tayyin Erdogan, for another term in office, more than 18,600 public employees are dismissed by decree. This is the latest purge triggered by a failed coup in Turkey in 2016. Among the dismissed are thousands of police officers, military, judiciary, teachers, and academics. Three newspapers, one TV channel and 12 associations are also closed.[4] Since the coup attempt, Turkey has been under an emergency rule and the government has fired more than 125,000 people. Under last year’s controversial constitutional changes, the post of prime minister has been abolished and more powers have been given to the president.
Who has been affected by Turkey’s crackdown since 2016

July 9 – Middle East / International Organizations:
In response to continued arson attacks from the Gaza Strip into the Israeli territory, Israel closes Kerem Shalom, Gaza’s main crossing for movement of goods in and out of the Strip. Only humanitarian aid will now be allowed. The arson attacks began in April this year as a protest by the Palestinians against keeping the Palestinian refugees from returning to their ancestral lands within Israel and against the blockade of the Gaza Strip. The arson attacks have caused hundreds of fires to forests and fields in Israel.
Gisha, an Israeli human rights organization, condemns Israel’s move as a collective punishment on the people in Gaza whose “humanitarian conditions are already deplorable, even dangerous. According to the organization, the harm inflicted on farmers in the south of Israel is both serious and lamentable, but harming Gaza’s residents is not going to fix it.”[5]
Gaza crossings’ operations status: May 2018 from OCHA

Hamas, which controls Gaza, is accused of inciting the violence at the Israeli border fence for months encouraging rockets attacks and flying flaming kites into Israel that target civilians and property. In response, the United States proposed an amendment to the United Nations resolution on Protecting Palestinian Civilians adopted on June 13 that holds Hamas responsible for recent violence. Although the amendment did not pass, 59 countries voted for it (78 against and 26 abstained), recognizing Hamas’s role in the skirmishes.[6]

July 9 – Africa: ETHIOPIA / ERITREA
Ethiopia and Eritrea sign a peace agreement that officially ends the 1998-99 war between the two countries and reestablishes trade and diplomatic relations, as well as cultural ties and transport and telephone links. Even though this step marks huge progress, it is not clear what will happen with the border dispute or when the Ethiopian troops will withdraw from the disputed territory.[7]

July 11 – East Asia / North America:
In response to tariffs imposed by US President Donald Trump on $34 billion worth of Chinese goods, China’s Ministry of Commerce strikes back with tariffs of equal size on some US exports to China. Another $16 billion worth of tariffs is expected to be imposed after the US’s second wave of tariffs goes into effect in a few weeks. China tariffs focus on agricultural products from the U.S., hitting US farmers who will be left with few other options. Products affected by China’s tariffs include soybeans, pork, fish, seafood, orange juice, dairy products, fruits and vegetables, cotton, and whiskey. The sourced article provides a full list of products affected by these tariffs.[8]

July 11-12 – International Organizations: NORTH ATLANTIC TREATY ORGANIZATION (NATO)
The Heads of State and Government of the 29 member-states of the North Atlantic Alliance (NATO) gather in Brussels, Belgium for the 29th formal summit meeting. These summits are an opportunity for NATO members to evaluate and provide strategic direction for Alliance activities. They are often used to introduce new policy, invite new members into the alliance, launch major new initiatives, and build partnerships with non-NATO countries. During the summit, U.S. President Donald Trump clashes with the NATO members over their contributions to the organization’s spending, accusing them of not spending their fair share. Members have committed to reach or maintain defense spending of at least 2 percent of GDP by 2024. So far, a few have reached that threshold: the US, Greece, Estonia, the UK and Latvia.[9]
10 things you need to know about NATO
Defense expenditure of NATO countries (2010-17)
Is the US NATO’s piggy bank? Here’s what America gives and takes

July 19 – Middle East: ISRAEL
Israel’s parliament adopts the controversial Nations-State law (officially called Basic Law: Israel as the Nations-State of the Jewish People) that defines Israel as the nation-state of the Jewish People. It makes Hebrew the state’s language effectively striping Arabic of its designation as an official language alongside Hebrew.[10] The law angers Israel’s Arab minority who says that the law further downgrades their status in the country. Israel’s minority (mostly Arab) constitutes more than 25 percent of its population.[11] The law has been strongly criticized around the world by civil rights groups, but also by some Jewish organizations and diasporas.

July 25 – South Asia: PAKISTAN
Pakistan holds general elections to elect the members of the country’s National Assembly and the Assemblies in Pakistan’s four provinces: Punjab, Sindh, Balochistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. The election is considered a contest between current Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s Muslim League party (PML-N) and a former cricket star Imran Khan’s party, Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI), known as the Justice Party. Nawaz Sharif served as prime minister for three terms, but was forced to resign in 2018 over corruption. Imram Khan’s party wins 115 of the 270 available seats in the Assembly.  As it is short of an outright majority, Khan will be the country’s new prime minister, but will have to form a coalition government with other parties. The ruling Pakistan Muslim League (PML) comes in second with 64 seats. Khan has promised to end the country’s rampant corruption, mismanagement by the ruling elites, and to improve the country’s economy. The election was marred by violent incidents, including a deadly suicide attack.[12]

July 30 – Africa: ZIMBABWE
Voters in Zimbabwe vote in their first general and presidential elections since Robert Mugabe was ousted in November 2017 after 30 years in power. He was replaced with his former ally Emmerson Mnangagwa who represents Mugabe’s ZANU-PF party in this election. On the other side is ZANU-PF’s long-time rival, the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) led by Nelson Chamisa. The parliamentary election results show ZANU-PF winning by a landslide with 122 seats out of 210 available, while the MDC wins 53. But the presidential results are delayed, which causes deadly street riots and people accusing the government of trying to rig the results to benefit the incumbent and the party in power. The government sends out troops to disperse demonstrations.[13]
(August 3): According to released presidential poll results, current President Emmerson Mnangagwa has received 50.8 percent of the vote (winning the election outright), while his opponent Nelson Chamisa – 44.3 percent. The 21 other candidates took up the remainder votes. The turnout was announced to be 80 percent. The opposition says the results are fake and expressed its doubt in such a high turnout.[14]


[1] “Mexico election: López Obrador vows profound change after win.” BBC News. 2 July 2018. Web. Accessed 20 July 2018.
[2] “UN declares Colombia’s Chiribiquete park world heritage site.” BBC News. 2 July 2018. Web. Accessed 19 July 2018.
[3] UNESCO. Colombia. “Chiribiquete National Park – “The Maloca of the Jaguar.” World Heritage Center. July 2018. Web. Accessed 19 July 2018.
[4] “Turkey fires thousands of state employees in anti-terrorism purge.” The Guardian. 8 July 2018. Web. Accessed 23 July 2018 from
[5] Legal Center for Freedom of Movement (GISHA). “Decision to close Kerem Shalom Crossing: Blatant collective punishment.” 12 July 2018. Web. Accessed 19 July 2018 from
[6] United Nations. “General Assembly Adopts Resolution on Protecting Palestinian Civilians Following Rejection of United States Amendment to Condemn Hamas Rocket Fire.” Meetings Coverage and Press Releases. 13 June 2018. Web. Accessed 6 July 2018 from<
and Nikki Haley, David Friedman, Jared Kushner and Jason Greenblatt. “Nikki Haley, Jared Kushner: For Gaza peace, tell the truth about Hamas.” CNN. 23 July 2018. Web. Accessed 6 July 2018 from
[7] “Ethiopia and Eritrea declare end of war.” BBC News. 9 July 2018. Web. Accessed 21 July 2018.
[8] Bob Bryan. “China just slammed massive tariffs on $34 billion worth of US goods — here’s what will get hit.” Business Insider. 11 July 2018. Web. Accessed 20 July 2018.
[9] “Trump Nato: New war of words with Merkel.” BBC News. 11 July 2018. Web. Accessed 25 July 2018.
[10] Paul Goldman, Lawahez Jabari and F. Brinley Bruton. “Israel ‘nation-state’ law prompts criticism around the world, including from U.S. Jewish groups.” NBC. 20 July 2018. Web. Accessed 24 July 2018 from
[11] Central Intelligence Agency. “The World Factbook: Israel.” 12 July 2018. Web. Accessed 24 July 2018.
[12] Sophia Saifi, Adeel Raja and Angela Dewan. “Imran Khan’s party wins Pakistan election but falls short of majority.” CNN. 28 July 2018. Web. Accessed July 31, 2018.
[13] “Zimbabwe election: Army patrols ‘ghost town’ Harare.” BBC News. 2 August 2018. Web. Accessed 2 August 2018.
[14] “Zimbabwe election: Opposition calls poll results a ‘coup’.” BBC News. 3 August 2018. Web. Accessed 3 August 2018.