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Almanac | JUL


The big picture

A man prays by the Yamato-Saidaiji train station in Nara, where former prime minister Shinzo Abe had been shot on 8th July while giving a speech at a campaign event. The 67-year-old died in hospital shortly after the attack, which sent shock waves through a country where gun violence is extremely rare. The suspect, Tetsuya Yamagami, says he targeted Abe due to his alleged links to the Unification Church, also known as the Moonies, and in the weeks after the killing there are numerous revelations of links between Abe’s Liberal Democratic party and the church.

Fri | 1st

US → The FBI adds self-styled ‘cryptoqueen’ Ruja Ignatova to its list of the ten most-wanted fugitives. The Bulgarian, who has been missing since 2017, is accused of defrauding investors of over $4 billion through a cryptocurrency scam. Prosecutors describe OneCoin, which Ignotova marketed as a “Bitcoin killer”, as worthless and accuse her of running one of the largest Ponzi schemes in history.

Sat | 2nd

UK → Cristiano Ronaldo tells Manchester United that he wants to leave the club. The five-time Ballon d’Or winner fails to secure a move before the 1st September transfer deadline, but his contract is terminated by mutual consent in November after he says in an interview that he feels “betrayed” by the club.

Sun | 3rd

CHINA → It’s reported that an anonymous hacker claimed in an online forum to have obtained the personal information of one billion Chinese citizens from a Shanghai police database. As rumours spread on social media the government moves to censor any discussion of the alleged hack, which if true would be one of the largest data breaches in history. Western reporters are able to verify the authenticity of a sample from the database released by the hacker by calling phone numbers and asking for confirmation of personal details.

Tue | 5th

US → Ben & Jerry’s sues parent company Unilever in an effort to block the sale of its Israeli business to a local licensee. Unilever agreed to sell the business in the country to an Israeli company after Ben & Jerry’s owners sparked a row in July 2021 over alleged antisemitism by announcing that selling ice cream in the occupied West Bank was inconsistent with their values. On 22nd August a US federal judge sides with Unilever, ruling that Ben & Jerry’s had “failed to demonstrate” that the sale of products in the West Bank by the Israeli licence-holder would cause their brand “irreparable harm”.

Wed | 6th

Pakistan → The minister for climate change, Sherry Rehman, declares the monsoon flooding a national disaster.
[P014 ‘Moment that mattered’]

Thu | 7th

UK → Boris Johnson announces his resignation after a cabinet revolt in which chancellor Rishi Sunak and health secretary Sajid Javid, along with more than 50 other members of the government, quit due to a lack of confidence in the prime minister. Johnson says he will stay on until a successor is chosen by the Conservative party.

Fri | 8th

JAPAN → Former prime minister Shinzo Abe dies in hospital after being shot at a campaign event.

UK → Sir Keir Starmer and Angela Rayner are cleared of breaking lockdown rules by Durham Police. The Labour leader and his deputy had both vowed to step down if police had charged them for breaking Covid regulations during a visit to north-east England ahead of a Hartlepool by-election in April 2021.

Sun | 10th

SOUTH AFRICA → Sixteen people are killed by gunmen at a bar in Johannesburg’s Soweto township. The motive of the attack at the Orlando East tavern is unknown. An average of 23 people killed by guns every day in the country.

Mon | 11th

INDIA → It’s reported that an elaborate fake cricket league in Gujarat state has been shut down by police.
[P018 ‘Sixes, lies and videotape’]

Wed | 13th

SRI LANKA → President Gotabaya Rajapaksa flees the country on a military jet as protests grow over its severe economic crisis. The departure of the 73-year-old, who had been in hiding since protesters stormed his office four days earlier, appears to draw a line under a family dynasty that had dominated politics on the island for nearly two decades. On 2nd September, Rajapaksa returns to Sri Lanka from his brief exile in Thailand.

Fri | 15th

SAUDI ARABIA → Joe Biden meets Mohammed bin Salman for talks in Jeddah aimed at repairing the relationship between the US and the Kingdom. The president receives criticism for fist-bumping the Saudi crown prince, who is accused by US intelligence of ordering the murder of dissident journalist Jamal Khashoggi in 2018. Biden, who previously refused to meet bin Salman, tells reporters that he raised the issue of the murder with his Saudi counterpart, who told him that he was “not personally responsible”. On 5th October, US-Saudi relations plummet after the Saudi-led Opec+ group announces the cutting of oil production targets in spite of extensive US lobbying for an increase in production. Biden threatens Saudi Arabia with unspecified “consequences”.

UK → The parents of a 12-year-old boy who suffered traumatic brain injuries lose a legal battle at the high court in London to keep him on life support. Lawyers for the Royal London Hospital said Archie Battersbee was “brain stem dead” and that it was in his best interests to end treatment. According to his mother, Hollie Dance, Battersbee was choked while taking part in a social media trend known as the “blackout challenge” on TikTok. He dies on 6th August after his treatment is withdrawn.

Sat | 16th

UK → > Sir Mo Farah reveals that he was trafficked to the UK as a child. The multiple Olympic gold-winning athlete, who previously claimed that he migrated with his parents as refugees from Somalia, tells the BBC that he was brought to the UK illegally from Djibouti aged nine by a woman he had never met before and forced to work as a domestic servant. He says that his real name is Hussein Abdi Kahin and that his real parents have never lived in the UK.

Sun | 17th

UKRAINE → Ivan Bakanov, head of the country’s SBU spy agency, and its prosecutor general Iryna Venediktova are suspended by president Volodymyr Zelensky due to “very serious questions” raised about their leadership. Zelensky says that 60 people across the organisations run by Bakanov and Venediktova are suspected of collaborating with Russia.

Tue | 19th

UK → The country records its highest ever temperature as 40.3C is reported at Coningsby, Lincolnshire. The record heat leads to multiple blazes and London’s fire service has its busiest day since the Second World War, according to the city’s mayor, Sadiq Khan. According to the Met Office, “climate change has already influenced the likelihood of temperature extremes in the UK.”

Wed | 20th

IRAQ → Nine civilians including several children are killed in the shelling of a park in the semi-autonomous Kurdistan region. Turkey denies the Iraqi government’s accusations that it was behind the attack, saying instead that the Kurdistan Workers’ Party, which it has been fighting for four decades, was responsible.

Thu | 21st

ITALY → Mario Draghi resigns as prime minister, triggering the dissolution of parliament. His decision comes a day after the three parties in his unity government refuse to back him in a confidence vote. He remains as caretaker leader until snap elections in September, which are won by a coalition headed by
far right candidate Giorgia Meloni.

Fri | 22nd

TURKEY → Ukraine and Russia sign an agreement brokered by the UN and Turkey to permit the export of millions of tonnes of grain from blockaded Black Sea ports. UN secretary general António Guterres says the deal, signed at a ceremony in Istanbul, will avert a food crisis in the developing world. On 1st August the first shipment of Ukrainian grain since February leaves the port of Odessa after being inspected by the Russian authorities, which fear the deliveries could be used to transport weapons for Ukraine’s army. On 29th October, Vladimir Putin announces Russia is suspending its involvement in the deal although the UN, Ukraine and Turkey vow to press ahead with grain shipments.

Sat | 23rd

SWITZERLAND → The World Health Organization (WHO) declares the monkeypox outbreak a global health emergency. The Geneva-based organisation says the outbreak of the viral infection, which has reached 75 countries and territories and killed at least five people, was predominantly affecting men who have sex with men, but that anyone can catch it.

Mon | 25th

TUNISIA → Voters in a referendum back a new constitution which gives President Kais Saied sweeping new powers. Opponents of the populist leader, who has ruled the country by decree since suspending parliament in July 2021, urged people to boycott the poll; although 94.6 percent of voters support the new constitution, turnout is only 30.5 percent.

Tue | 26th

RUSSIA → The country’s space agency, Roscosmos, says that Russia will withdraw from the International Space Station (ISS) in 2024, ending one of the last remaining areas of cooperation between Moscow and the West. On 15th August, Roscosmos unveils a model of its proposed Russian-built space station, although no dates are given. Nasa previously announced plans for the ISS to be taken out of orbit in January 2031.

Wed | 27th

US → Meta posts its first ever decline in revenue since going public in 2012. The tech giant formerly known as Facebook saw a one percent drop in Q2, with ad revenues at $28.8 billion, compared with $29.1 billion in the same period in 2021.

Thu | 28th

DRC → The Democratic Republic of the Congo puts vast swathes of critical carbon-rich peatlands and rainforests up for auction for oil and gas drilling, including land in Cuvette Central, the world’s largest tropical peatland, and Virunga national park, home to the world’s last remaining mountain gorillas. While the Congolese government defends its right to exploit its natural resources to help its citizens, environmentalists warn that disturbing the fragile ecosystem of peatlands could set off a “carbon bomb”, roughly equivalent to three years’ worth of global fossil fuel emissions. On 5th October, the DRC rejects a request from US climate envoy John Kerry to withdraw the more sensitive gas and oil blocks from the auction.

Fri | 29th

UK → Rebekah Vardy loses her high court libel trial against Colleen Rooney, dubbed ‘Wagatha Christie’ by the press.
[P026 ‘The butterfly effect’]

UK > The government announces that more than 100,000 Ukrainians have come to the UK under its visa schemes.
[P028 ‘The refuge’]

Sat | 30th 

IRAQ → Thousands of supporters of influential Shia cleric Muqtada al-Sadr penetrate the heavily fortified Green Zone to storm the parliament in Baghdad for the second time in a week. Iraq has been in a political deadlock since October 2021, when Sadr’s movement won parliamentary elections but was subsequently unable to secure a majority government. On 29th August the crisis deepens as Sadr withdraws his party’s 73 lawmakers and announces his retirement, prompting clashes involving pro-Sadr protesters, rival groups and Iraqi security forces that leave at least 30 people dead. On 17th October Kurdish politician Abdul Latif Rashid is sworn in as president, paving the way for the formation of a new government.

Sun | 31st

AFGHANISTAN → Al Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri, who plotted the 9/11 terrorist attack with Osama bin Laden, is killed in a CIA drone strike in Kabul. Two days later US president Joe Biden confirms that he approved a precision strike against the 71-year-old Egyptian, who became leader after the killing of Bin Laden in 2011.

UK → England beat Germany to win the Women’s Euro 2022 football tournament.
[P038 Playing the long game’]

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