Adrian Olivier,

Sunday 25 June – Sunday 2 July:

On Monday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in the the United States warned that within the last two months, locally acquired Malaria (Plasmodium vivax) cases have been identified in the states of Florida and Texas. In Florida, four cases within close geographic proximity have been identified, and active surveillance for additional cases is ongoing. Mosquito surveillance and control measures have been implemented in the affected area. In Texas, one case has been identified, and surveillance for additional cases, as well as mosquito surveillance and control, are ongoing. All patients have received treatment and are improving. Locally acquired mosquito-borne malaria has not occurred in the United States since 2003 when eight cases of locally acquired P. vivax malaria were identified in Palm Beach County, Florida.

On Monday, Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis was sworn in for another term after winning a re-election – the second election in as many months. Mitsotakis’ party, New Democracy party (ND) won 40.5% of the national vote, almost 23 points ahead of second-runner Alexis Tsipras’s Syriza party – securing a majority that they did not in the May election. Under Greek rules for a second election, the biggest party is awarded a bonus of between 20 and 50 seats. With more than 40% of the vote, New Democracy won all 50. There are 300 seats in the Hellenic Parliament. The majority makes New Democracy “the most powerful centre-right party in Europe”, Mitsotakis told delighted supporters in Athens. During his time as Prime Minister, he has been credited with returning the Greek economy’s stability and growth after years of debt crises and bailouts. 

On Tuesday, Yevgeney Prigozhin arrived in Belarus by private jet as he began his exile from Russia after his Private Military Company (PMC) Wagner Group staged a rebellion in which they seized the city of Rostov-on-Don and marched on Moscow. A flight tracking website showed an Embraer Legacy 600 jet, with identification codes matching a plane linked to Prigozhin in US sanctions documents, descending to landing altitude near the Belorussian capital Minsk. It first appeared on the tracking site above Rostov, the southern Russian city Prigozhin’s fighters captured on Saturday.“Yes, he is in Belarus. As I promised him – if you choose to switch sides with us for a while, we’ll help you,” Belorusian President Aleksander Lukashenko – who brokered the truce between Prigozhin and Putin – said on Tuesday. Lukashenko also told his defence minister that Wagner soldiers who joined Prigozhin in exile in Belarus would give the Belorussian military priceless information about warfare – though acting as a staging ground for Russian attacks and missile launches, Belorussian troops have had no combat involvement in the current war. “If their commanders come to us and help us…They will tell us about weapons: which worked well, and which did not. And tactics … how to attack, how to defend … This is what we can get from Wagner,” he said. Lukashenko has reportedly offered Wagner fighters an abandoned military base in the country – new tents have not been constructed, but will be provided if required. 

Polish President Andrzej Duda has raised the alarm about Wagner troops moving to Belarus. “We see what is happening, the relocation of Russian forces in the form of the Wagner group to Belarus, and the head of the Wagner group going there, those are all very negative signals for us which we want to raise strongly with our allies,” he told reporters. On Monday, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said he will call an urgent meeting in the coming days to try to overcome Turkish objections to Sweden joining the military organisation, in a last-ditch effort to have the Nordic country standing alongside the allies at a major summit in the Lithuanian capital of Vilnius beginning July 11. If Prigozhin is forced to leave Belarus, he still has strongholds in Syria and sub-Saharan Africa, where Wagner has a strong presence and lucrative mining and security contracts, say former Wagner fighters – “Africa awaits him, Syria awaits, there’s no one down there to replace him”. Despite the deal with the Kremlin to drop all charges, Vladimir Putin is known to be vindictive when betrayed – also on Tuesday, the Al Hadath television channel in Saudi Arabia claimed that Russian military police raided Wagner’s headquarters in Syria and arrested the commanders there as the Kremlin moves to swallow Wagner. Russia’s national guard – which stayed loyal to Putin in the rebellion (despite the leader Viktor Zolotov fleeing Moscow with his family during the events) – will be equipped with heavy weaponry and tanks to prevent a recurrence. 

The Pentagon announced on Tuesday that it would be providing Ukraine with another military support package worth up to $500 million. This package will include Bradley Infantry Fighting Vehicles, Stryker armoured personnel carriers and rocket munitions. 

Since Tuesday’s police killing of a 17-year old boy of North African immigrant descent in Paris, France has been rocket by days of continuous and violent riots. French police have been plagued by accusations of brutality and excessive use of force for years. In 2005, the death of two immigrant youths by electrocution as they hid in a electrical sub-station sparked three weeks of violent riots in which thousands were detained, hundreds injured and at least 3 killed. Police said that the 17-year old Nahel Merzouk was shot by police after running a red light and endangering pedestrians after being told to stop for his high-speed driving. Video released on social media of the shooting sparked anger across France and its overseas territories which has resulted in over 2,000 people detained, over 500 police officers injured and over 1,000 cars burned. Hundreds of buildings across France have been set alight, with thousands of fires set every day. French President Macron condemned the killing as “inexcusable” in a bid to reduce tensions but after riots spiralled out of control, French authorities responded by mobilising more than 40,000 police officers to crack down on the riots – in Paris alone, 5,000 officers were deployed. Police were given powers to quell the riots and “restore republican order”. The officer, a highly decorated policeman, has been charged with voluntary homicide and placed in preliminary detention, the prosecutor of Nanterre said earlier in the week. On Saturday, Merzouk was buried. That night rioters rammed a burning car into the home of Vincent Jeanbrun, the mayor of L’Haÿ-les-Roses, 15km south of Paris, at about 1.30am while his family were asleep. Jeanbrun was at the town hall at the time, but his wife and one of his two children, aged five and seven, were injured as they fled. Jeanbrun’s wife suffered a broken leg. By Sunday, the riots appeared to be easing as the teenager’s grandmother called for calm: “Stop rioting, stop destroying…I say this to those who are rioting: do not smash windows, attack schools and buses. Stop. It’s mothers who take those buses”. She said that rioters were using her grandson “as an excuse” to go on the rampage. 

On Thursday, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down affirmative action in college admissions, declaring race cannot be a factor. President Joe Biden said he was “strongly, strongly” against the decision, and urged universities to find other means of increasing diversity on campus. Affirmative action was a largely unpopular policy across America – in California, which voted for Joe Biden in 2020 by a margin of nearly 30 points, 57% voted against allowing state and local entities to consider race in public education, employment and contracting decisions. When California – a liberal bastion – is against affirmative action, it isn’t surprising that the rest of the country is too. 

On Saturday, former Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro was banned from political office for 8 years for abuse of power and spreading “immoral” and “appalling lies” during the 2022 election. Bolsonaro will be 75 by the time he is eligible to hold public office. 

On Friday, the U.S. flew nuclear-capable B-52 “Stratofortress” bombers to the Korean Peninsula in the latest show of force against North Korea and the resumption of the Hermit Kingdom’s resumption of missile tests and the expansion of its nuclear arsenal. On Sunday, more than 120,000 North Koreans participated in mass rallies in Pyongyangto mark the 73rd anniversary of the start of the Korean War. During the rallies, officials and residents delivered speeches vowing “merciless revenge” against the United States over the war while accusing the U.S. of plotting an invasion on North Korea.

By Editor

2 thoughts on “The World That Was”
  1. Re the incidence of malaria in the USA: Bill Gates was involved in the introduction of genetically modified mosquitoes to the US. It may be that something has gone wrong – not an unusual situation these days with people tinkering genetically and virally.

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