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July 2009

Jul 1  The BBC reports fireworks, concerts and jubilation in the streets of Iraq. This coincides with the withdrawal of foreign forces from their cities and towns. The government wants credit and declares June 30 as Sovereignty Day. Prime Minister Malaki boasts of tough-talk with the US that led to the withdrawal agreement. A celebrating Shia member of parliament, Haidar al-Obadi says that "people have tasted democracy" and that "nobody can enforce dictatorship again on this country."

Jul 2  In India a 148-year-old law against homosexuality, from the time of British rule, is overturned.

Jul 4  It is Independence Day in the United States, and, in an ongoing campaign against President Obama, media personality Monica Crowley scolds him for not having boasted sufficiently to Europeans about the superiority and exceptional qualities of the United States. Some conservatives older than Crowley remain concerned about character – as conservatives historically do – and they still find ostentation and bragging bad form.

Jul 4  The CIA Factbook lists the US as 50th in life expectancy at birth, at an average of 78.11 years. And it ranks the US as 45th at infant mortality, at 6.26 deaths before the age of one for every 1,000 in population. But creating a top ranking, and having fun, Joey Chestnut eats 68 hot dogs in 10 minutes at an annual 4 July contest at Coney Island, breaking his former world record of 66.

Jul 6  The China Daily reports rioting and "carnage" in the city of Urumqi of the Autonomous Republic of Xinjiang, including 156 deaths, about 1080 injured. According to the lengthy and detailed article the "Rioters vandalized and burned 203 local stores and 14 residential houses, while 260 vehicles, including two police vehicles and 190 buses, were reportedly torched." An article in the New York Times describes Muslim Uighurs chanting "God is great" and previous brawls between Muslims and Han Chinese residents. News clips broadcast in the United States show Han Chinese women bloodied by Uighurs. The New York Times reports Uighur use of the internet in organizing the riots, and it describes Chinese officials blaming Rebiya Kadeer for the rioting. She is now living in Washington D.C. and leading a movement for Uighur separation.

Jul 7  In Xianjing a mob of Han Chinese armed with iron bars and machetes roam about looking to retaliate against Muslim Uighurs (pronounced WEEger) for yesterday's violence. Authorities claim to have restored order and vociferously support ethnic harmony. Some Uighur exiles agitate for separation in the form of political independence – as black nationalists opposed to integration did in the US during the early 1960s. China's Communist Party sees integration as the wave of the future rather than ethnic separation.

Jul 10  A debate exists about the transfer of land from local farmers in Africa to foreign investors. This aside, from the G-8 summit of the world's more wealthy nations comes a promise of more than $12 billion in agricultural investments to help Africa's agriculture. The promise is reported to involve seed and fertilizer, storage bins, farm equipment, and regional trade pacts.

Jul 14  In Frankfurt, twelve companies, among them Siemens and Deutsche Bank, sign an agreement to begin what has been described as the biggest solar energy project of all time. In places in the Sahara, banks of mirrors will send suns rays to a central column that drives a turbine. The project is estimated to start generating electricity in about ten years and to produce 15 percent of Europe's electricity needs by 2050.

Jul 15  California is meeting its obligations to pay taxpayers, vendors and local governments by issuing IOUs that major banks announce they will not honor. Governor Schwarzenegger switches to the anti-tax position of his fellow Republicans. He speaks of business competition, saying that increased taxes with drive businesses and jobs from California. In a recent election, Californians, accustomed to buying "stuff" including generous portions of food, voted down an increase in taxes.

Jul 15  Al-Qaeda promises to target Chinese workers in Algeria. China demands that Turkey's prime minister, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, retract his comment that the Chinese are committing genocide against Oighurs. An editorial in the newspaper China Daily calls his comments "irresponsible and groundless." China accuses the US-based World Uighur Congress of inciting unrest in Xinjiang, and it asks that organizers of Melbourne's International Film Festival not show a documentary celebrating the Uighur Congress leader, Rebiya Kadeer.

Jul 16 Peace talks resume between India and Pakistan, and many are encouraged that the two sides, after decades of conflict, appear committed to peace.

Jul 17 In the United States, despite the rising negativity about the economic recovery from conservatives and others, the Dow jumps up from an 11-week low at 8146 to end the week 700 points higher – the Dow's best weekly performance in recent months. Some of those selling when the Dow was below 8200 had to be anti-Obama pessimists. (a reader complains)

Jul 17  Nepal's government exercises a male point of view by offering a cash incentive to men to marry one of many women widowed by the country's high death rate from AIDs and recent war. Some women complain, believing that such marriages are likely to create more misery.

Jul 19  The President of Rwanda, Paul Kagame, a Tutsi, speaks of reconciliation for the many Hutu guilty of murder during his nation's genocide. He describes it as for the sake of "building the future." This follows the Prime Minister of India, Manmoha Singh, flattering the President of Sri Lanka yesterday in order to encourage generosity toward former rebel fighters in Sri Lanka now being denied a victor's generosity.

Jul 20  The Amalgamated Metal Corporation, based in Britain, is accused of buying minerals from rebels in the Congo who have seized mineral sources.

Jul 20  The International War Crimes Tribunal finds two former Bosnian Serbs of the White Eagles paramilitary force guilty of war crimes. Milan Lukic is described as leader of an assault that herded about 130 women, children and elderly men into two houses – in or near the eastern Bosnian town of Visegrad. The houses were then set afire, and all those who tried to escape were shot.

Jul 21 The city of Malmo, in southern Sweden, has moved freedom forward by legalizing being topless at city swimming pools, but as yet women are not baring their breasts, probably because like other normal people they still want to be able to move in public without being stared at.

Jul 22  Canadians are sending letters to editors of the Toranto Star that include personal stories praising the speed with which healthcare has been available to them. They dislike descriptions of Canadian healthcare they are hearing in the debate on healthcare in the United States.

Jul 24  Swedem's military is attacked near its base in northern Afghanistan. In the hours-long firefight three attackers are killed and two injured. No Swedish soldiers are reported to have been injured. The Swedes has approximately 400 military personnel in Afghanistan.

Jul 24  In Indonesia, President Yudhoyono wins re-election with 60.8 percent of the vote. Yudhoyono is widely reputed for integrity, smart management of the economy and fighting corruption. His reputation for creating stability was shaken by recent terrorist bombings of two luxury hotels.

Jul 26  Back in the Middle East again, after traveling the "front line of terrorism," Tom Friedman of the New York Times reports that "the bad guys are losing." He writes that the "extremist Islamist groups and governments... have failed to persuade people by either their arguments or their performances in power that their puritanical versions of Islam are the answer."

Jul 27  In northern Nigeria a Muslim "preacher," Mohammed Yusuf, according to the BBC has been attacking Western education, and mobs have been attacking people and a police station. Yusuf himself has had a Western education. His group has been called Nigeria's Taliban. More than 50 Muslim leaders are reported to have urged Nigeria's police, local authorities and state security to take action against Yusuf's sect. In recent violence more than 700 have been killed. Most sect members are young and unemployed.

Jul 28  In California, Governor Schwarzenegger uses the line item veto in signing the budget bill and closing the state's budget deficit. This cuts funding to help abused and neglected children and healthcare to children of low-income families. It closes more state parks, cuts AIDS treatment and prevention, and it cuts help for the elderly.

Jul 30   While in the custody of police, Mohammed Yusuf dies. Officials say he was shot while trying to escape. Associated French Press (AFP) reports that state television showed police celebrating around his body.

Jul 30   Democrats on a House committee defeat a Republican effort to eliminate a public insurance option from the health care bill under construction. Republicans complain about a government bueaucracy replacing the current health care system. They say that this is not what the American people want. Reformers, on the other hand, speak of private insurance companies having bureaucracies and executives with big salaries, taking around 20 cents of every dollar of income from their clients. The government run Medicare program, they point out, is more efficient, with only about 3 cents of every dollar as overhead.

to June 2009 | to August 2009

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