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Economic sanctions on Russia extended by six months

July 31, 2016 - RUSSIA
In June, the European Council extended European Union economic sanctions on Russia until the end of January, then controversially extended them again in December to the end of July. The aim is to keep pressure on the Kremlin to push for peace in eastern Ukraine. The EU leaders linked the duration of the sanctions to…

OPEC Secretary-General term due to end

July 31, 2016 - AUSTRIA
Abdalla Salem El-Badri’s second term as Secretary-General of the Conference of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) will come to an end in Vienna if agreement can be found on his replacement at the group's 169th meeting in Jun 2016. His term was due to expire in Dec 2013. He was asked to…

MINUSCA mandate extended to protect democratic gains

July 31, 2016 - CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC
The United Nations Security Council extended the mandate of the UN Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in the Central African Republic (MINUSCA) until the end of July, despite a sex abuse scandal that has enmeshed both French forces stationed in the country and MINUSCA. The mission will be expected to protect the recent democratic transfer of…

Military leaders push back election date to make way for constitutional referendum

August 1, 2016 - THAILAND
In September the ruling junta shifted the possible date for the legislative election from February to August, another sign that the military doesn’t plan to relinquish power any time soon. The announcement followed the junta’s rejection in Sep 2015 of the first draft of the country’s new constitution. The second or subsequent drafts are likely…

Texas expands firearms law for state’s campuses on sensitive anniversary

August 1, 2016 - UNITED STATES
Controversially, concealed guns will be allowed inside and outside buildings on the campuses of Texas public and private universities from Aug 1, following a bill passed by the Republican-run legislature in 2015. The Aug 1 start date is a significant element of the controversy because it coincides with the 50th anniversary of the first recorded…

First recorded mass shooting in United States happened 50 years ago

August 1, 2016 - UNITED STATES
America recorded its first mass shooting on Aug 1, 1966, and both opponents and supporters of gun control will seize on the anniversary to argue their case. On that day in 1966, 24-year-old student and former Marine sharpshooter Charles Whitman killed his wife and mother then climbed to the observation deck of a University of…

Construction of facilities for controversial inter-ocean canal due to start

August 1, 2016 - NICARAGUA
Work on facilities for the Grand Canal of Nicaragua is due to begin in August. The controversial 172-mile rival for the Panama Canal will link the Atlantic to the Pacific if setbacks don't scuttle the project. They include funding problems and a public outcry. Global Construction Review reported in March that the company selected to…

Municipal election sees ruling ANC vulnerable

August 3, 2016 - SOUTH AFRICA
The country’s municipalities go to the polls in an election that might leave President Jacob Zuma vulnerable if the ruling African National Congress loses more ground to the ascendant Democratic Alliance (DA). The polling battle is shaping up as a proxy for the national election in 2019. The ANC swept into power in 1994 during…

NOTICE: Green National Convention

August 4, 2016 - UNITED STATES
Green National Convention to be held in Houston, Texas. NULL

Brazil hosts first Olympics staged in South America

August 5, 2016 - BRAZIL
Rio de Janeiro hosts the 2016 Summer Olympics, the first Games staged in South America. The stream of news about logistical headaches is slowing, a sign that the city will be fit to welcome some 10,500 athletes from 206 countries and tens of thousands of spectators. The remaining headaches for the organizers are chiefly water…

Parliamentary election due at worrying time for Australians

August 6, 2016 - AUSTRALIA
Australians can expect a parliamentary election any time after the August date, and the decision will depend on whether the Sep 2015 coup in the governing center-right Liberal Party has left it with poll numbers high enough to take on the opposition center-left Labour Party. Tony Abbott’s successor as prime minister after his ouster, Martin…

Thais vote on new post-coup constitution

August 7, 2016 - THAILAND
Thais vote on a new constitution, the country’s 20th. The junta that took power in 2014 has made a new charter a prerequisite for an election, now pushed back to 2017. The first draft, unpopular on all sides, was rejected and the junta appointed a different council to rewrite it. Critics say the new version…

U.S. soldier faces court-martial for desertion from post in Afghanistan

August 8, 2016 - UNITED STATES
Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, America’s lone prisoner of war in the 13-year conflict in Afghanistan, faces a two-week court-martial at the Fort Bragg army base in North Carolina on charges of desertion and misbehaviour before the enemy. Bergdahl, who walked off a base in Afghanistan and was captured and held by the Taliban for five…

Australian census goes digital

August 9, 2016 - AUSTRALIA
The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) is preparing to count close to 10 million dwellings and approximately 24 million people on Census night, and some two-thirds of the population are expected to complete the survey online – a first. The final figures are expected to reveal the scale of the country’s slowdown in population growth,…

500 years after the death of Heironymus Bosch

August 9, 2016 - NETHERLANDS
Hieronymus Bosch - Visions of Genius celebrates 500 years since the death of one of the wildest imaginations in the history of art in ’s-Hertogenbosch, the Netherlands NULL