Iraq's Shia Prime Minister Jawad al Maliki
Another Shia, Lebanon's Hayfa Wehbe
May 1 More demonstrations in Istanbul. The election of Abdullah Gul as Turkey's new president is annulled by Turkey's Constitutional Court. In parliament, members of the secular political parties had boycotted the vote for president, and Gul failed to win majority support in parliament.
May 4 In predominately Shia Azerbaijan, two journalists are sentenced for writing that European societies were more successful because they were more inclined toward peace and tolerance than are Islamic societies. Samir Sadagatoglu is given four years and Rafik Tagi three years in prison.
May 7 In China many women are marrying earlier than 20 and men earlier than 22, violating the constitution, producing unwanted population growth. Also, China's one-child policy is threatened by families wanting a son and not reporting the first birth of girls.
May 8 More than half of Iraq's parliament, its Council of Representatives – 144 members – are reported to have signed a legislative petition calling on the United States to set a timetable for withdrawal from their country.
May 13 In the city of Izmir, more than a million Turks crowd together in the streets, and boats join in off shore, to demonstrate support for their country's secularism.
May 17 The highly regarded British think tank, Chatham House, describes the Iraqi government as largely powerless and irrelevant. It says that "military force in the form of surges cannot deliver the critical political accommodation."
May 21 The BBC reports that Haifa Wehbe's new song "Kiss my Wawa" (little wound) is doing well. Wehbe is a Lebanese Shia . She grew up listening to jazz and rhythm and blues. She was outraged by recent assassinations in Lebanon and she blames Israel for the war in 2006.
May 27 In Syria, Bashar al-Assad is approved for a second seven-year term, following an election with no other candidate and an official result of 97.6% of the vote. In the year 2000 he also ran unopposed and won with 97 percent.
May 27 Rachel Carson was born 100 years ago. A move to honor her is blocked in Congress by Oklahoma Senator Tom Coburn. Because of her opposition to the use of DDT. Carson will be accused of responsibility for more than a million deaths by malaria. The use of DDT resumes in a few areas while other areas, Mexico for example, success against malaria will follow from use of mosquito nets and hygienic measures hostile to mosquitos.
May 28 The first high level diplomacy between the US and Iran in 27 years takes place at the home of Prime Minister Maliki in Baghdad's Green Zone. The two sides express interest in a secure and stable Iraq. The Iranians describe the US military in Iraq as an occupation and its effort to train and equip Iraq's security forces as inadequate. They propose a mechanism for coordinating efforts toward Iraqi security.
May 29 In Bolivia, common indigenous people speak of institutions that were closed to them now having open doors, because, they say, of President Morales, whom they describe as "one of us." Some among Bolivia's upper or middle classes are complaining that Morales is drifting toward totalitarianism and is in tune with the anti-Americanism of his friend, President Hugo Chavez of Venezuela.
May 31 US military deaths in Iraq for May number 123, up from 104 in April and the highest monthly total since November 2004. Sorry about not having the figures for Iraqi deaths.
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