International Headlines

Oct 23: Abe Wins Again

In Japan’s snap election Prime Minister Shinzo Abe 's Liberal Democratic Party-led coalition has won, according to exit polls. He promises to deal “firmly” with threats from North Korea, and to revise Japan's pacifist constitution which was set up after World War 2 and calls for the complete renunciation of war. Mr Abe looks set to become Japan's longest serving PM.

Oct 18: Islamic State Ousted

The so-called Islamic State has been ousted from Raqqa in Syria by an alliance of Syrian fighters, backed by the United States, following a four month offensive. Raqqa has been occupied by Islamic State for three years and regarded as their “capital”. Landmines and jihadist sleeper cells are being sought out and cleared. A US military spokesman later said that about 90% of the city had been cleared.

Oct 16: Bomb Blast

An bomb in the Somali capital Mogadishu has left at least 230 people dead and hundreds more wounded, some seriously. A lorry packed with explosives was set off near the entrance to a hotel in a busy area. Mogadishu is a target for al-Shabab militants; although they have not claimed the bomb – this is the biggest terror attack since they launched their insurgency in 2007.

Oct 13: Quitting Unesco

The United States, and now Israel, are pulling out of the United Nations's cultural organisation Unesco citing Unesco’s "anti-Israel bias". Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said the US decision was "brave and moral” while Unesco head Irina Bokova expressed "profound regret". US President Trump is known for his hostility to multilateral organisations despite America’s role in setting up Unesco in the wake of World War II.

Oct 12: No Smoking!

Beaches in popular tourist destinations in Thailand are now subject to a smoking ban with transgressors facing up to a year in prison or a 100,000 baht ($3,000; £2,280) fine. Thailand’s Department of Marine and Coastal Resources said tens of thousands of cigarette butts are left in the sand and that cigarette butts make up a third of all rubbish collected. Designated smoking areas will be provided.

Oct 11: Language Spat

Hungary is protesting to the European Union over a new law which may limit the teaching of Hungarian in Ukraine schools. The law makes Ukrainian language lessons mandatory in secondary schools but the Transcarpathia region in western Ukraine is home to 150,000 ethnic Hungarians who want to continue their Hungarian language schools, funded by the Hungarian government who say the law violates the EU-Ukraine Association Agreement.

Oct 10: Anthrax Scare

In Namibia more than 100 hippos have died in a suspected anthrax outbreak. They were found dead in the remote northeastern Bwabwata National Park. Namibia's Ministry for the Environment and Tourism have said that outbreaks can occur when river levels are low, as was the case in this outbreak, but are usually minimal and they have “never seen anything like this”. Anthrax is a deadly bacterial disease.

Oct 9: Drugs Haul

International law enforcement has succeeded in seizing nearly four tonnes of cocaine found on a boat in the Atlantic between Portugal's Madeira and Azores islands. The drugs were worth around $260m (£200m); 165 individual packages of cocaine each weighing 23kg were found hidden underneath the vessel's cooking area. The crew, from Turkey and Azerbaijan, were arrested. The destination of the boat containing the drugs is not known.

Oct 7: Nobel Peace Prize

The International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (Ican) is this year’s Nobel Peace Prize winner, winning the award for the group's "groundbreaking efforts to achieve a treaty prohibition" on nuclear weapons. Ican is a coalition of hundreds of non-government organisations (NGOs) based in Geneva, Switzerland. The Peace Prize, which will be presented in December, comes with an award of nine million Swedish kronor ($1.1 million, £846,000).

Oct 6: Landmark Visit

King Salman of Saudi Arabia has visited Russia – the first official visit by a Saudi monarch – with a 1,000-strong delegation, and he has clinched some lucrative deals, including an arms deal worth $3bn (£2.3bn) and a $1bn energy investment fund. The two countries are reported to be collaborating to stabilise oil markets. Also on the agenda was Syria – both countries are involved, but on opposing sides.

Oct 5: Life Sentences

In Turkey, 40 people have been given life sentences for their part in the plot to assassinate President Recep Tayyip Erdogan during the coup attempt in July last year. One, Gokhan Sahin Sonmezates, a former brigadier general, was accused of directing the plot. The failed coup left 249 people dead. Rogue soldiers stormed the hotel in the luxury resort of Mugla where Erdogan and his family were staying.

Oct 4: Administrative Detention

Israel’s policy of administrative detention is coming under heavy criticism. This legal procedure allows Israel to imprison people without charge or trial for an indefinite amount of time – in September there were 449 administrative detainees, nearly all Palestinian. This procedure dates back half a century and is based on “secret evidence” and detentions have risen sharply in recent months amid increased tensions in the West Bank.

Oct 3: Fatal Shooting

A mass shooting in Las Vegas in America has left at least 58 dead and hundreds injured. Stephen Paddock, 64 and a Nevada resident, fired down onto the three-day Route 91 country music festival from the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay Hotel. Police stormed his room in the hotel and found 10 guns. Paddock shot himself. No terrorism link has been found despite a claim by Islamic State.

Oct 2: Right to Statehood

The Spanish region of Catalan has declared the right to statehood after a referendum which had been termed illegal by Spain’s constitutional court. Police used force to try to block voting. The turnout was just over 40%; 90% of those who voted backed independence. Catalan leader Carles Puigdemont said “the citizens of Catalonia have won the right to an independent state in the form a republic".

Sep 28: Women Drivers!

King Salman of Saudi Arabia has issued a decree allowing women to drive for the first time after June next year. Saudi was the only country in the world to continue to ban women from driving and until now they have risked arrest and fines. Campaigners are hailing it as a “great victory”. Women are still required to adhere to strict dress codes and gender segregation.

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