Demonstrators demand end of US separation policy
Thousands of demonstrators marched in cities across the United States on June 30 against President Donald Trump’s hardline immigration policy and to demand the immediate reunification of families separated at the border with Mexico. Directly across from the White House, demonstrators filled Lafayette Square Park in an atmosphere of both indignation and sadness, before marching toward the Capitol. Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, New York and Portland also saw crowds of protesters turn out, with celebrities including Alicia Keys and Lin-Manuel Miranda present in Washington and John Legend in Los Angeles. Starting in early May, in an attempt to staunch the flow of tens of thousands of migrants to the southern US border every month, Trump ordered the arrest of adults crossing the boundary illegally, including those seeking asylum.
Merkel in crisis
German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s ruling coalition risked breaking apart on July 1 as her hardline conservative Bavarian allies pushed a showdown over migrant policy after she was unmoved by her interior minister’s threat to resign. Horst Seehofer insisted on his plan to turn away asylum seekers at the border with Austria registered in other European countries, as he rejected EU deals reached last week by Merkel as inadequate. Seehofer said after talks with his party stretching into the small hours that he would step down as minister and CSU party head rather than acquiesce in the increasingly bitter standoff. The future of Merkel’s governing coalition between the CDU-CSU alliance and the centre-left Social Democratic Party (SPD) appeared to hang by a thread, as media slammed what they called a reckless game of chicken.
Leftist Obrador wins Mexico presidency
Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador won Mexico’s presidency in a landslide victory on July 1, setting the stage for the most left-wing government in the country’s democratic history at a time of tense relations with the Trump administration. The 64-year-old former Mexico City mayor won with the widest margin in a presidential election since the 1980s, according to an official quick count that showed him taking more than half the vote -- some 30 points ahead of his nearest rival. Pledging to eradicate corruption and subdue drug cartels with a less confrontational approach, Lopez Obrador will carry high expectations into office, while his efforts to reduce inequality will be watched closely by nervous investors. His government could usher in greater scrutiny of foreign investment and a less accommodating approach to the United States.
Schoolboys ‘found safe’ after 9 days
Twelve boys and their football coach trapped in a flooded Thai cave for nine days were “found safe” on July 2 in a miracle rescue after days of painstaking searching by divers. There had been no contact with the boys, aged between 11 and 16, since they went missing with their coach -- aged 25 –the previous week. The massive rescue effort had been hampered by heavy rains that flooded the Tham Luang cave in northern Thailand, blocking access to chambers where it was hoped the group would be found alive. Late Monday Chiang Rai provincial governor broke the news of their rescue, delighting a nation which has anxiously followed every twist and turn of the effort to save them.