August 2015

Aug 1  President Obama announces full diplomatic ties with Cuba

Aug 2  A woman dies of measles at the University of Washington Medical Center, the first measles death in the United States since 2003.

Aug 5  In a referendum, Greeks vote against austerity and other reforms demanded by their government's creditors. The question whether Greece will be leaving the Euro is in the air. If Greece has its own currency it could address its debt problem by devaluation. Greeks with a lot of cash don't want to leave the Euro. The value of their cash would decline with conversion to Greek currency and devaluation.

Aug 7  Today In the Washington Times Joseph Curl asks whether Repubiican presidential candidate Donald Trump is a Democratic plant? He writes of an unnamed Republican Party official complaining about Trump offending Hispanics. Someone sends the paper a comment: "The American middle class is just looking for ANYONE with the spine it takes to battle the apparent Cultural Marxism of the media, and the NWO [New World Order?] corruption of the Democrats and corporations.

Aug 7  Shares on China's stock exchange have lost a third of their value in less than a month. Trading of more than 90 percent of 2,774 shares listed on the exchange are suspended or halted.

Aug 7  The Philippines ask an international tribunal at The Hague to declare China's claims to virtually all the South China Sea invalid.

Aug 9  China has begun rounding up civil-rights lawyers and their support staff for interrogation.

Aug 9  Thailand sends back to China more than 100 Uighur refugees. The UN refugee agency and human rights groups criticize Thailand over concerns that the refugees face persecution by the Chinese government.

Aug 10  The Confederate battle flag – a symbol of slavery and the Old South that has roiled emotions in South Carolina for decades – was removed from the Statehouse grounds on the 7th in a brief ceremony observed by thousands kept at a distance behind metal barriers. President Obama tweeted that it was "a signal of good will and healing, and a meaningful step towards a better future." The issue is said to have come to a head following the killing of nine black worshipers at the Emanuel AME Church in Charleston on June 17 by a young white supremacist.

Aug 10  Florida's Senator Marco Rubio, a contender for the Republican nomination for president, says that if he wins the presidency he will "absolutely" reverse steps President Obama has taken to normalize relations with Cuba. "In fact, I think they're in violation of the law," he said during his campaign swing through Iowa.

Aug 12  In China it is announced that Xi Xiaoming, vice-president of the Supreme People's Court, has been swept up by the country's anti-graft dragnet.

Aug 14  After months of debate, Iran and a coalition of countries including the United States agree that the UN Security Council's sanctions against Iran will be lifted in exchange for a 98 percent reduction of Iran's stockpile of enriched uranium during the coming fifteen years. President Obama's National Security Advisor, Susan Rice, says that when implemented the agreement will cut off all of Iran's potential pathways to a nuclear weapon in a fully verifiable fashion. She says the deal is not about terrorism or Iran's destabilizing activities in the region, "all of which we remain deeply concerned about."

Aug 16  In Tennessee,A 24-year-old naturalized US citizen with an engineering degree, Youef Absulazeea, who has been described as a normal nice guy, opens fire on two military installations, killing five service members, wounding another and killing a police office before he is shot to death. His act has been described as revenge for the mistreatment of friends.

Aug 16  Japan's lower house of parliament approves legislation that allows a Japan's military to participate in foreign conflicts in a limited capacity. The vote was accompanied by angry demonstrations outside parliament. China's foreign ministry spokesperson says, "We solemnly urge the Japanese side to draw hard lessons from history, stick to the path of peaceful development, respect the major security concerns of its Asian neighbors, and refrain from jeopardizing China's sovereignty and security interests or crippling regional peace and stability."

Aug 19  Today in South Carolina, Klansmen carrying Confederate battle flags gather in Columbia to protest the removal of the flag from the statehouse on the 7th. They shout racial slurs at a Black Unity Rally behind a police barrier.

Aug 20  Ann Coulter describes as just a flip remark Trump saying he doesn't like military men who become war heroes by being taken captive (like John McCain). She describes as "midgets" his rival candidates who are criticizing him for the remark. Coulter describes Trump's main issue as immigration.

Aug 21 John Kasich, Republican governor of Ohio, announces his run for president. He asks for prayers and support and says, "The sun is rising, and the sun is going to rise to the zenith in America again, I promise you."

Aug 21  In Burundi a presidential election is held. President Pierre Nkurunziza is running for a third term despite not being eligible to run again. The opposition is boycotting the election. Nkurunziza wins re-election.

Aug 23  A gunman opens fire at a movie theater in Lafayette, Louisiana, killing two people and injuring nine others before committing suicide.

Aug 24  Turkey moves against so-called Islamic State militants inside Turkey, and its jets strike against IS positions, this following explosions that killed 32 in Suruc, inside Turkey. Turkish jets also struck against Kurds in northern Iraq, for the first time since 2013. The Kurdish PKK is described as having mass support across Kurdish regions in Turkey and Syria. In Turkey the People's Democracy Party, seen as close to the PKK, won 13% of the vote in Turkey general election in June. Turkey's government and the PKK have been holding to a cease-fire since 2013, and the PKK now accuses the government of abandoning the peace process. Today it is reported that Turkish police have arrested 297 in raids against alleged supporters of several militant groups, including IS.

Aug 25  A court in northeast China sentenced five people to prison for spreading the teachings of Quannengshen, a banned religious group that's been linked to a killing of a woman in a McDonald's restaurant last year.

Aug 30  Zimbabwe is requesting the extradition of the Minnesota dentist. James Palmer, who shot and killed Cecil the Lion. Zimbabwe wants to charge him with poaching. Palmer complains that he relied on his local guides to ensure that he was doing everything legally.

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Copyright © 2016 by Frank E. Smitha. All rights reserved.