Politics this week
From The Economist print edition
In one of the biggest upsets in America’s primary-election season, Christine O’Donnell, a Republican running for senator in Delaware and supported by the tea-party movement, beat Mike Castle, the party establishment’s choice and a popular politician in the state. Ms O’Donnell’s victory in the primary could benefit the Democrats in November’s election. In Washington, DC, the sitting mayor, Adrian Fenty, lost to Vincent Gray, chairman of the city council. See article
Barack Obama named Austan Goolsbee as head of his Council of Economic Advisers, after the resignation of Christina Romer. Mr Goolsbee is one of the chief architects of the Obama administration’s economic policy. See article
Jerry Brown, the Democratic candidate for governor of California, apologised for remarks he had made about Bill Clinton. Mr Brown, long a foe of the Clintons, explained his record of not raising taxes in a previous stint as governor by way of an oblique reference to the Monica Lewinsky affair: “I did not have taxes with this state.” Mr Clinton endorsed him nonetheless.
Viviane Reding, the EU justice commissioner, used unusually harsh language to criticise France’s expulsion of Roma migrants and said the European Commission would begin legal action. Pierre Lellouche, France’s Europe minister, said it was inappropriate to say such things to France which he called “the mother of human rights”. See article
Turkey’s government won a referendum on proposed constitutional amendments by an unexpectedly large margin of 58-42%. The changes, which include an overhaul of the judiciary, have been welcomed by the EU and America. See article
Speculation grew that Yuri Luzkhov, the powerful and long-serving mayor of Moscow, had fallen out with Dmitry Medvedev, Russia’s president, and might be forced to quit. Mr Luzkhov faced harsh criticism in an investigative report on the state-owned NTV television channel. See article
Le Monde accused the French presidency of ordering intelligence agents to investigate its reporting of alleged illegal donations to President Nicolas Sarkozy’s 2007 presidential campaign, and said it would sue. Mr Sarkozy’s office denies the accusations.
Goodluck Jonathan, the president of Nigeria, announced on his Facebook page that he would contest the presidential election next January. Mr Jonathan, a southerner, became president in May after succeeding Umaru Yar’Adua, a northerner, who died in office. Normally the presidency would revert to a northerner to see out Mr Yar’Adua’s full two terms, but the bosses of the ruling People’s Democratic Party have apparently been swayed by Mr Jonathan’s merits.
The mineral-rich west African country Guinea postponed the second round of presidential elections, that were due to take place on September 19th, casting doubts on its bid to return to civilian rule.
Direct peace talks between the Israelis and the Palestinians, chaired by the United States, continued in the Egyptian resort of Sharm el-Sheikh and Jerusalem. The Americans and Palestinians want the Israelis to extend a freeze on settlement-building that expires at the end of this month. See article
The Obama administration has announced plans to sell Saudi Arabia arms worth as much as $90 billion over the coming decade, in what would amount to America’s biggest-ever weapons sale. The package includes dozens of fighter jets, which could be used in any future confrontation with a nuclear-armed Iran.
An American hiker was freed by Iran after a year in jail. Sarah Shourd was accused of being a spy when she and two male friends walked over the border from Iraq; the two men remain in custody in Iran.
As Mexico prepared to celebrate the bicentenary of independence, troops arrested Sergio Villareal Barragán, the latest in a string of drug kingpins to be captured or killed. Meanwhile two prison guards helped 85 prisoners to escape from a jail by using a ladder to scale a wall. See article
Cuba’s labour federation announced that more than 1m state employees—one-fifth of Cuba’s workforce—will lose their jobs. They will be expected to become self-employed or join new private enterprises. See article
Néstor Kirchner, the husband and predecessor of Argentina’s president, Cristina Fernández, and possible successor to her in 2011, underwent successful emergency surgery to unblock an artery.
The Khmer Rouge tribunal in Cambodia indicted four senior leaders of the former regime, three years after they were put behind bars. The move ensures that a former head of state, an ex-foreign minister and his wife and the Khmer’s second-in-command will face trial. In July the regime’s top jailer was sentenced to 35 years in prison.
Ichiro Ozawa, a past master of Japanese political intrigue, lost his attempt to usurp Naoto Kan as leader of the governing Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ). Had he won, Mr Ozawa would have become the country’s prime minister, despite corruption scandals and his widespread unpopularity. See article
At least 20 civilians and a policeman were killed in Indian-controlled Kashmir, as a summer of violence intensified since the end of Ramadan. In Delhi Sonia Gandhi, leader of the governing Congress party, made an unusually conciliatory plea on behalf of Kashmiris’ “legitimate aspirations”, and blamed their anger on the brutality of the 20-year conflict. See article
A maritime squabble between Japan and China escalated, even as Japan released 14 members of a Chinese fishing crew that its navy had detained a week earlier. The crew’s captain remains in detention, accused of ramming his boat into two Japanese patrol vessels in waters near a disputed group of islands which both countries claim as sovereign territory. See article
A once-in-a-generation conference of North Korea’s ruling party, at which the succession of power from Kim Jong Il was thought likely to be announced, has been postponed, according to a South Korean minister. Meanwhile South Korea resumed food aid to the North for the first time in six months and the North offered to hold high-level military talks with the South. See article