LO SCENARIO POLITICO MONDIALE IN POCHE RIGHE
Yemen’s president, Ali Abdullah Saleh, at last signed an agreement brokered by the Gulf Co-operation Council, saying that he would stand down and hand power to his vice-president.
South African MPs passed a controversial media secrecy bill, which the government says is needed to protect state secrets and safeguard national security. Critics say it will curb freedom of speech.
Penalty to Brazil
Brazil’s environmental regulator fined Chevron, an American oil company, $28m and suspended its drilling rights over an oil spill from an offshore well earlier this month. Chevron said it had stopped the seepage within four days and had complied with the terms of its licence.
Gunmen apparently hired by ranchers killed a chief from the Kaiowa-Guaraní Indian tribe in the Brazilian state of Mato Grosso do Sul.
Enrique Peña Nieto, who leads opinion polls for Mexico’s presidential election next July, was guaranteed the nomination of the formerly ruling Institutional Revolutionary Party, after his only rival, Senator Manlio Fabio Beltrones, dropped out.
Haiti’s president, Michel Martelly, announced that he would set up a civilian committee to study whether or not to revive his country’s army, which was disbanded in 1995.
What a surprise
The “supercommittee” on America’s budget deficit admitted defeat in Congress. The panel was set up in August to thrash out a bipartisan agreement to reduce the deficit. Its failure to do so triggers automatic spending cuts of $1.2 trillion, to start in 2013. But arguments have already begun about how “automatic” the cuts should be, with some Republicans pressing for the Pentagon to be spared.
The latest Republican presidential candidates’ debate focused on national security. Newt Gingrich, who has vaulted into the lead in some polls as the most recent “anyone-but-Romney” favourite in the party, surprised many by calling for a partial amnesty for illegal immigrants who have lived in America for a long time and paid taxes.
Brought to justice
A special UN-backed court in Cambodia began to try the three most senior living leaders of the Khmer Rouge on genocide charges. The three men, who include Nuon Chea, “Brother Number Two”, are the only members of the regime deemed fit to stand as defendants. At the trial’s opening they justified their reign of terror in the context of the historical threat posed by Vietnam, and denied the charges outright.South Korea’s national assembly ratified a free-trade agreement with the United States, four years after the two countries first signed the deal and a month after it was approved by Congress. Despite a projected boost to the Korean economy and, the prospect of closer ties with America at a time of worsening relations with North Korea, the agreement was strongly resisted by the opposition. One assembly member disrupted the vote by letting off a tear-gas canister.
Pakistan’s ambassador to the United States was forced to resign, amid allegations that he was behind a memo pledging to eject senior soldiers close to the Taliban in Pakistan, in exchange for American help in preventing any potential coup. Aung San Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy party said it would participate in Myanmar’s forthcoming by-elections. Last year the party boycotted Myanmar’s first general election in two decades. Julia Gillard, the prime minister of Australia, scored a political victory when the lower house of parliament passed the controversial Minerals Resource Rent Tax, which will subject mining companies to a higher levy on annual profits. Australia’s upper house is expected to pass the law early next year and the tax should then come into force on July 1st.
Hard work ahead
Spain’s general election was won by the opposition centre-right People’s Party, led by Mariano Rajoy. The ruling Socialists suffered their worst rout at the polls since the return of democracy to Spain in 1975. Mr Rajoy has an absolute majority, but will not take office for a month. Although he promises austerity and reform, nervous markets sent Spanish bond yields higher. In its latest efforts to solve the euro crisis the European Commission set out options for Eurobonds and for more intrusive control of national governments’ budgets. But Angela Merkel yet again rejected the idea of Eurobonds.Hungary turned to the IMF for a precautionary credit line. The government of Viktor Orban had previously ruled out any such course. Elio di Rupo, the politician charged with forming a Belgian government, submitted his resignation after failing to strike a deal on next year’s budget. Belgium has been without a new government since an election in June 2010.
Vladimir Putin, who plans to return as Russia’s president next year, got a surprise when a crowd booed as he entered a mixed martial arts ring to congratulate the winner of a fight. Officials, who tightly control Mr Putin’s crafted public appearances, at first suggested that the boos were aimed at the fighters.