July 2014 Current Events: World News
Here are the key events in world news for the month of July 2014.
Offensive by Ukrainian Military Results in Gains (July): The Ukrainian military begins an aggressive campaign, using airstrikes to back up ground troops. The military forces rebels from the towns of Sloviansk, their military headquarters, and Kramatorsk; surrounds Donetsk, the largest city in eastern Ukraine; and takes control of some of the border crossings through which Russia had been arming the rebels. The offensive is not without cost: by the end of the month, about 1,130 people are killed, including about 800 civilians.
ISIS Declares Territory in Iraq (July 1): ISIS changes its name to the Islamic State and declares the territory in Iraq under its control-Anbar province (west of Baghdad) and most of Nineveh (north of Baghdad)-a caliphate. Iraqi forces, with the guidance of U.S. military advisers, begin developing a strategy to maintain control of Baghdad and the surrounding area.
Murders of Israeli and Palestinian Teenagers Increases Tension (July 2): The body of a missing Palestinian teenager is found the day after the burial of the three Israeli teenagers who were kidnapped and killed while hiking in the West Back in June. Both incidents increase tension between Israelis and Palestinians, including riots in East Jerusalem and an exchange of rocket fire in Southern Israel and Gaza. Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu asks the police to investigate what he calls "the abominable murder" of the Palestinian teenager in what may have been a revenge killing in reaction to the death of the three Israeli teenagers. Israel's Justice Minister Tzipi Livni says that if it was a revenge killing that it's "an act of terrorism." Netanyahu promises to punish those responsible for the killing of the three teenagers. Hamas leaders praise the kidnapping and killing of the three teenagers, but do not take credit for the incident. (July 7): Several Israeli Jewish suspects are arrested in connection with the killing of the Palestinian teen. (July 9): Hundreds of rockets are launched into Israel by militant groups in Gaza. The rockets reach areas in Israel that previous rocket attacks did not. Israel's Iron Dome intercepts at least one rocket over Tel Aviv, while another reaches the outskirts of Jerusalem. In response, Israel launches an aerial offensive in Gaza, killing dozens of Palestinians, and calls up thousands of reservists for a potential ground operation. (July 16): So far this month, Israel has bombed 60 targets, most of them in northern Gaza, and the Palestinian death toll climbs to more than 200. Hundreds of rockets continue to be fired from Gaza into Israel, many intercepted by Israel's missile-defense system, the Iron Dome. One Israeli has been killed from the rockets. Meanwhile, Egypt proposes a cease-fire which is approved by Israel, but rejected by Hamas. (July 17): Israel launches a ground offensive into Gaza. Israeli officials say that the mission's main focus is on tunnels near Gaza's borders that are used to enter Israel. Within hours of the start of the invasion, one Israeli soldier is killed. At least 20 Palestinians are killed, bringing their death toll to more than 260 by the end of the first day of the offensive. (July 22): Two days after Hamas said they had captured an Israeli soldier, Israel's military announces that one of its soldiers is missing in Gaza. Sergeant Oron Shaul, age 21, has been missing since an Israeli personnel carrier transporting seven soldiers was hit by a missile on July 20. The bodies of the other six soldiers have been recovered and identified. The attack has been one of the worst exchanges so far since the aerial attack first began two weeks ago. (July 24): 16 Palestinians are killed and more than 100 wounded in an attack on a UN elementary school in Gaza. Israel denies launching the attack, saying Hamas militants are responsible, missing their target. The Palestinian death toll is now more than 575, mostly civilians, while at least 27 Israeli soldiers and two Israeli civilians have been killed. Palestinians in the West Bank protest to show unity with Gazans. (July 26): Israel announces a 12-hour cease fire and extends it to 24 hours, but backs out of it amid heavy rocket fire from Gaza. (July 31): The Palestinian death toll rises to more than 1,410, mostly civilians, while 59 Israelis have been killed.
Kvitova and Djokovic Take Wimbledon Titles (July 5-6): The Czech Republic's Petra Kvitova beat first time Wimbledon finalist Eugenie Bouchard of Canada, 6–3, 6–0, to take her second women's singles title. Novak Djokovic defeats Roger Federer in a thrilling five set match, 6–7, 6–4, 7–6, 5–7, 6–4. It is Djokovic's second Wimbledon men's singles championship.
Germany Wins World Cup (July 13): After embarrassing host country Brazil in the semifinal, Germany beats Argentina in extra time by a score of 1–0 to win the 2014 World Cup. Germany's Mario Goetze scores in the 113th minute to give Germany its fourth World Cup title. The final match takes place at the Maracana in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
New Parliament Speaker and President Elected in Iraq (July 15): As Iraq teeters on the brink of civil war, Parliament fails on two occasions to elect a speaker, a crucial step in forming a government. On its third attempt, Salim al-Jubouri, a moderate Sunni Islamist, is elected. Under the Constitution, parliament has two weeks to elect a president, and four weeks after that it must name a prime minister. As part of a power-sharing agreement, the speaker is a Sunni, the president a Kurd, and the prime minister a Shiite. (July 24): Parliament elects Fouad Massoum, a Kurd, president of Iraq. He is sworn in after the vote.
U.S., EU Place New Sanctions on Russia (July 16): President Obama announces new sanctions against Russia due to increased tension between forces in Ukraine and pro-Russian separatists along the Ukrainian border. These latest round of sanctions are the most punitive yet against Russia and target large defense and energy firms and banks. Before now, only Russian individuals and the businesses directly related to the destabilization in Ukraine had been sanctioned. (July 29): The European Union imposes broad sanctions on Russia. The sanctions place an embargo on new weapons sales to Russia, limit the sale of some technology and equipment to the oil industry, and ban Europeans and European companies from doing business with Russian-owned banks. Businesses and several individuals closely connected to Putin are also affected by the sanctions, which are the toughest by the EU against Russia since the Cold War.
Passenger Jet Crashes in Eastern Ukraine (July 17): A Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777 en route from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, crashes in eastern Ukraine near the Russian border killing all 298 passengers and crew members. The crash occurs in territory where pro-Russian separatists have been battling Ukrainian troops. President Poroshenko says the crash is an act of terror. "I would like to note that we are calling this not an incident, not a catastrophe, but a terrorist act," he says. Ukrainian and American officials say the plane is shot down by a Russian-made surface-to-air missile, citing satellite images. Poroshenko accuses the separatists of launching the missile, which they deny. Russian president Putin also denies having any role in the disaster. (July 18): A day after the crash, President Obama says he believes that the rebels shot down the plane. He calls the crash a "global tragedy" and faults Putin for continuing to arm the rebels and for not stopping the fighting. Most analysts say rebels may have thought they were targeting a military transport plane rather than a commercial jet. The rebels are criticized for denying outside access to the bodies of the victims and the crash site. The separatists transport the bodies to refrigerated train cars in Torez, another rebel-controlled city in eastern Ukraine.
Prime Minister of Ukraine Resigns (July 24): Prime Minister Yatsenyuk resigns when two major parties, Svoboda and Udar, bolt from the governing coalition. The move clears the way for early elections, likely the fall. Deputy Prime Minister Volodymyr Groysman was named acting prime minister.
U.S. Accuses Russia of Treaty Violation (July 29): The U.S. accuses Russia of violating the 1987 Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty, an agreement between the two countries banning medium range missiles. The treaty states that the Russian Federation may not possess, produce, or test a ground-launch cruise missile with a range capability of 310 to 3,417 miles, nor produce or possess launchers of such missiles. Senior U.S. State Department officials say that Russia has violated the treaty, citing cruise missile tests by Russia dating back to 2008.
Argentina Defaults Again (July 30): For the third time in 25 years, Argentina defaults on its debt. Standard & Poor's declares that the country is in default on some of its obligations after the government fails on an agreement with a group of bondholders. The creditors demand payment of approximately 1.5 billion for bonds that they purchased after Argentina's $144 billion default in 2001. The default may trigger an even bigger hike in inflation and cause the value of the peso to decrease even more. Before the default, economists had already projected that inflation will hit 40% this year. The peso has fallen by 25% against the dollar during the first half of 2014.