May 2010 Current Events: World News

Updated August 5, 2020 | Infoplease Staff

U.S. News | Business News | Disasters & Science News

Here are the key events in world news for the month of May 2010.

  • Thailand Prime Minister Abhisit Offers to Hold Early Elections (May 3): Prime Minister of Thailand, Vejjajiva Abhisit, offers to hold early elections—one of the key demands of protesters loyal to former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra, called red shirts, who have been rioting since April—if the protesters called off their demonstrations, but they reject the gesture. Abhisit withdraws his offer and orders troops to blockade the protest area. (May 13): What started as a peaceful protest disintegrates into violence; the military fires upon the protesters and hits Khattiya Sawatdiphol, a general who sided with the red shirts. He later dies of his injuries. His death sparks further violence, and the protesters retaliated with grenade attacks. (May 17): The red shirts then offer to negotiate with the government, but are rebuffed. They then engage in large-scale rioting, looting, and the firebombing of several buildings, including Thailand's stock exchange and largest department store. The government cracks down on the movement (May 19): Rioters disperse, and protest leaders surrender. They will face terrorism charges. In the 68 days of the protests, 68 people died. The red shirts bore the brunt of most of the casualties.
  • Picasso Painting Sells for Record-Setting $106.5 Million (May 5): A Picasso painting sells for a record-breaking $106.5 million at a Christie's auction. The painting, "Nude, Green Leaves and Bust," depicts Picasso's mistress and was painted in just one day in 1932. It was being sold by the estate of philanthropist Frances Lasker Brody.
  • Prime Minister Brown Announces Imminent Resignation (May 10): British Prime Minister Gordon Brown announces he will resign as the head of his Labour Party by September. The country's general election produced a hung Parliament—none of the competing parties won enough votes—last week, and Brown announces his commitment to negotiate a new government before he leaves office. (May 11): Brown formally resigns as prime minister after acknowledging that his Labour Party will be unable to form a majority in Parliament. He recommends Conservative Party leader David Cameron as his successor; consequently, Cameron creates a coalition government with the ideologically opposed Liberal Democrats and becomes the prime minister of the United Kingdom. The leader of the Liberal Democrats, Nick Clegg, will become deputy prime minister. This is the first coalition government in the U.K. since World War II.
  • U.S. Forms Agreement with Russia, China, and Others on Sanctions for Iran (May 19): The United States and major world powers Russia, China, and others agree to impose a fourth set of sanctions on Iran's nuclear program, in an attempt to stop the country from enriching uranium. The agreement is revealed shortly after Iran announces its own deal with Turkey and Brazil to relinquish half of the country's stockpile of nuclear fuel for a year. None of the three previous sets of sanctions had any effect on Iran's program to enrich uranium nor its willingness to fully disclose actions to international inspectors.
  • Israeli Attack on Pro-Palestinian Aid Flotilla (May 31): Nine people are dead after an Israeli navy commando attacks a flotilla of cargo ships and passenger boats on their way to Gaza to provide aid and supplies for the area. Israel claims that the passengers on the flotilla, who were pro-Palestinians and mostly Turks, presented themselves as humanitarians but were clearly hostile.
  • Al Qaeda Leader in Afghanistan Killed in American Strike (May 31): The top financial chief and co-founder of Al Qaeda in Afghanistan, Mustafa Abu al-Yazid, is killed in an American drone attack in Pakistan. American intelligence officials say he was the third highest leader in the organization, behind Osama Bin Laden and his deputy, Ayman al-Zawahri.
  2010 Current Events  
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