News Timeline: May 2019


May 7 – Africa: NAMIBIA
Namibia’s President Hage Geingob declares a state of emergency in response to a severe drought in the country. This allows the government to release funds and mobilize the agency to buy food, water, transport livestock to and from grazing areas, and provide other necessary assistance. Namibia is rich in mineral resources, but is also drought-prone and has to import 70 percent of its food from neighboring South Africa.[1]
Namibian Farmers Adapt to Changing Climate (video 04:17 min)

May 9 – East Asia: NORTH KOREA
North Korea fires two short-range missiles from the northwestern city of Kusong towards the east. The missiles reach an altitude of 30 miles, travel 260 miles before falling into the sea. A few days earlier, North Korea also fired several short-range missiles. It is believed that it is an expression of North Korea’s frustration at the stalled negotiations with the United States that includes easing sanctions.[2]

May 11 – Latin America: CUBA
Despite the already difficult situation with shortages of food and other essentials, the Cuban government adds more products to its rationing scheme. People will be restricted to prescribed amounts of certain products they can buy in a store, such as chicken or soup, while other products, such as rice, beans, eggs and rice will be only available on the government-issued ration cards.

The government blames the situation on the embargo re-imposed on Cuba by the U.S. President Donald Trump’s Administration for the situation. Another problem for Cuba is political turmoil in Venezuela, Cuba’s ally and its main destination of exports a drop in which leaves Cuba unable to pay for imports, that amount to 70 percent of food.[3]

Background: Cuba has a centrally planned economy where the government controls wages and prices, and enforces quota systems. A universal rationing system began after the revolution in 1959. As of 2011, the Cuban government introduced some economic reforms such as permitting the private ownership, allowing private farmers to sell agricultural goods to other buyers than just the state. It also encourages the creation of small businesses. But the reforms do not go far enough to fix the economic problems.[4]

May 23 – South Asia: INDIA
India announces the results of its general elections to the 17th Lower House of the Parliament called Lok Sabha that were held in seven rounds from April 11 to May 19. About 900 million people were eligible to vote, making it the largest election in the world. At 67 percent, the voter turnout was the highest ever.[5] The current Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) wins a landslide victory gaining several seats to a total of 303, followed by the Indian National Congress party (52 seats).[6] Led by Rahul Gandhi, the grandson of Indira Ghandi, the first female Prime Minister of India and the son of Prime Minister Rajiv Ghandi, the Congress party has received a few more votes that in the previous parliament and remains the second largest party, but it failed to secure 10 percent of the seats (55 seats) to become officially the Opposition party. This means the 17th Lok Sabha will not have Leader of the Opposition and the Congress party will not be involved in appointments for key offices in the government.[7]
Tsunamo wave sinks political families in 2019 elections
India Lok Sabha election: Things to know
India Elections: Everything you need to know in 120 seconds (video 02:03 min)

May 23-26 – Europe: EUROPEAN UNION
Twenty-eight European Union member-countries (with about 517 million people) are voting to elect 751 representatives to the European Parliament.[8] The traditional center-left and center-right parties (the Socialists and Democrats (S&D) and the European People’s Party (EPP)) that dominated the European Parliament from its beginnings suffered significant losses; however, they will still remain the two largest blocs. The parties that gained parliamentary seats are the Greens (environmentalists), pro-EU liberals, nationalist Eurosceptic parties (promoting more power for national parliaments) and the anti-immigration Far Right parties.[9] These results point to an overall anti-establishment trends. With a greater representation, these smaller blocs will have more influence in decision-making. Overall turnout was the highest in 20 years.
European Election 2019: Results in maps and charts


[1] “More than 500,000 at risk in drought-hit Namibia.” BBC News. May 7, 2019. Web. Accessed May 20, 2019.
[2] “North Korea fires two short-range missiles, South says.” BBC News. May 9, 2019. Web. Accessed 28 May 2019.
[3] “Cuba to increase rationing amid shortages.” BBC News. 11 May 2019. Web. Accessed May 20, 2019.
[4] Sandra H. Levinson and Franklin W. Knight. “Cuba.” Encyclopædia Britannica. Encyclopædia Britannica, inc. December 20, 2018. Web. Accessed May 20, 2019 and Central Intelligence Agency. “Cuba.” The World Factbook. May 15, 2019. Web. Accessed May 20, 2019.
[5] “India election results 2019: Narendra Modi secures landslide win.” BBC News. May 23, 2019. Web. Accessed June 5, 2019 and Bharti Jain. “Lok Sabha elections: At 67.1%, 2019 turnout’s a record, Election Commission says.” The Times of India. May 21, 2019. Web. Accessed June 5, 2019 from
[6] Election Commission of India. “General Election to Lok Sabha Trends & Result 2019.” May 24, 2019. Web. Accessed June 5, 2019 from
[7] Prabhash K Dutta. “Narendra Modi government will not have Leader of Opposition in Lok Sabha again.” India Today. May 24, 2019. Web. Accessed June 5, 2019.
[8] Central Intelligence Agency. The World Factbook. “European Union.” May 22, 2019. Web. Accessed May 28, 2019.
[9] “European elections 2019.” BBC News. 2019. Web. Accessed 28 May 2019 from and “European elections 2019: What were the clear trends?” BBC News. 27 May 2019. Web. Accessed 28 May 2019.