June 2014 Current Events: World News
Here are the key events in world news for the month of June 2014.
New Palestinian Unity Government Includes Hamas (June 2): The Palestinian government announces a new "government of national unity." The new unity government, formed by Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah, includes Hamas, considered a terrorist organization by Israel and the United States. The reconciliation agreement ends two separate governments in Gaza and the West Bank. The new government will still be led by moderate Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Hamdallah and is considered a huge step toward ending the seven year battle between the two separate political factions in Palestine. In a televised speech, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas says, "Today we declare the end of the split and regaining the unity of the homeland. This black page in our history has been closed forever." Abbas also vows that the new government is committed to continuing the course of nonviolence.
King Juan Carlos Abdicates (June 2): In Spain, King Juan Carlos announces that he will abdicate after 39 years at the throne. His son, Felipe, 46, will succeed him. Carlos has been praised for guiding Spain during its transition from dictatorship to democracy and for thwarting a military coup in 1981. Recently, however, he has lost the confidence of Spaniards who consider him out of touch because he and his family have lived lavishly, particularly during the recession of 2012, and have been prone to scandal.
Assad Is Re-elected in a Disputed Election (June 3): In Syria's presidential elections, Bashar al-Assad is re-elected to a third seven-year term, taking about 89% of the vote. However, votes are cast only in areas under government control as the opposition boycotts the election. President Obama and many other western leaders denounce the election as illegitimate. After the election, Assad says he will grant amnesty to prisoners involved in the uprising who have been detained for "all crimes other than terrorism." It is not clear when they will be released and if the declaration will apply to members of the opposition, who Assad has referred to as terrorists.
Maria Sharapova and Rafael Nadal Win French Open Again (June 7-8): Maria Sharapova wins her second French Open women's championship in three years. She beat Romania's rising star Simona Halep, 6-4, 6-7, 6-4, in a tough, exciting three-hour match. Spain's Rafael Nadal beat Novak Djokovic, 3-6, 7-5, 6-2, 6-4 to take the men's crown for the ninth time overall and the fifth time in a row, both records. It is Nadal's 14th Grand Slam title, which ties him with Pete Sampras for second most overall, behind Roger Federer who has 17 titles.
Taliban Attacks Pakistan's Largest Airport (June 9): The Pakistani Taliban launches a brazen overnight attack at Karachi's Jinnah International Airport, the largest and busiest airport in Pakistan. Ten militants infiltrate the airport and engage in a gun battle with airport security and police. Twenty-nine people are killed, including all ten gunmen. Taliban spokesman Shahidullah Shahid says the attack is "a response to the recent attacks by the government" and that such assaults will continue. He also says, "The main goal of this attack was to damage the government." The assault likely deals a fatal blow to any hopes of peace negotiations between the government and the Taliban.
Members of ISIS take control of Mosul (June 11): Members of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) take control of Mosul, in northern Iraq, dealing the government an enormous-and unexpected-blow. The militants release Sunni insurgents from prison, loot banks of about $425 million, and occupy an airport, several government and military buildings, and a police station. Government troops abandon the fight and join civilians fleeing the city. As many as 500,000 people flee Mosul. Defection has increased in recent months as the Sunni insurgency has intensified. Reasons for defection include utter exhaustion, the high risk of death and injury, and the belief that the Shiite-led government has fueled the sectarian crisis by ordering the military to target Sunnis. Prime Minister Maliki declares a state of emergency and appeals for help from international allies. Mosul is the second-largest city in Iraq and an important hub in the country's oil industry. The militants press on after seizing Mosul, taking Tikrit and oil facilities in Baiji as they head south toward Baghdad. (June 14): As the militants expand their areas of control and the stability and future of Iraq grows even more dire, Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani, the country's senior Shiite religious leader, calls on all Iraqis to fight the militants, saying it is "the legal and national responsibility of whoever can hold a weapon to hold it to defend the country, the citizens and the holy sites." Thousands of Shiites heed Sistani's call and join the fight. The untrained fighters are met with brutal attacks from ISIS, and hundreds of Shiites are reportedly massacred after taking up arms. ISIS continues to seize more territory in the north and west, putting pressure on the U.S. and other nations to consider a military response. (June 21): President Obama says 300 military advisers will be sent to Iraq but says combat troops will not be deployed. There are calls from both inside Iraq and by foreign leaders for Maliki to step down so a unity government can be formed.
U.S. Catches Suspect in Consulate Attack (June 15): U.S. special operations troops capture Ahmed Abu Khattala in a secret raid in Benghazi. He is believed to be the mastermind of the Sept. 11, 2012 attack on the U.S. consulate that killed four Americans, including U.S. ambassador to Libya Christopher Stevens. (June 28): The U.S. Attorney in the District of Columbia charges Abu Khattala and several others with the felony counts of "killing a person in the course of an attack on a federal facility involving use of a firearm," providing "material support to terrorists resulting in a death," and possessing a firearm during a crime. Abu Khattala pleads not guilty to the charges.
Poroshenko Declares Unilateral Cease-fire in Ukraine (June 20): After the rebels shoot down a military transport jet and kill 49 people, President Petro Poroshenko declares a week-long, unilateral cease-fire in Ukraine. After initially resisting, the rebels agree to observe the temporary cease-fire. However, Poroshenko ends the cease-fire ten days later, claiming the rebels continue to attack government troops.
Hong Kong Holds Unofficial Referendum (June 30): A pro-democracy group in Hong Kong called Occupy Central holds an unofficial referendum on how the island's chief executive will be elected in 2017. About 90% of the 800,000 who voted endorse giving citizens direct say in the election. Weeks of pro-democracy protests follow the referendum.