This Month in Ten Events: June 2014
by Billy Kacyem /
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June 30, 2014
- Clash between Boko Haram and Cameroonian troops. On Sunday June 1st, a conflict occurred between Boko Haram insurgents and Cameroonian military officials. This took place in the region bordering Chad and Nigeria, west of the town of Kousseri. Cameroonian troops killed 40 Boko Haram insurgents as a result. Before the event, Cameroon had sent about 2000 troops to the northernmost part of the country for protection and reinforcement. The conflict is thought to have been spurred by the release of two Italian priests and a Canadian nun, who had previously been kidnapped by militants in Cameroon.
- Jinnah International Airport is attacked. On June 8th, ten militants attacked Pakistan’s largest and busiest airport using automatic rifles, rocket launchers, suicide vests, and grenades. These men were linked to the Taliban insurgency, and their goal for the attack was to hijack a plane and hold its passengers hostage. As a result of the attack, 36 people were killed and at least 18 were wounded. These 36 casualties included the 10 militants, as they were either shot down by security officers or killed by their own suicide vests.
- Rain brings death in Afghanistan. Torrential rainstorms in the north of Afghanistan caused the death of around 60 people in early June. At least six villages—which included 2000 houses, multiple farms, and many local offices—were ravaged by the storms. Reports stated that other bodies could be under the resulting debris, so the estimate of 60 deaths wasn’t final.
- Juan Carlos of Spain abdicates. Announced by the Spanish Prime Minister, Juan Carlos unexpectedly stepped down as King of Spain so that his son, Prince (now King) Felipe, could take the throne. Before this abdication, Juan Carlos had been Spain’s king for 39 years. During this period of time, he experienced Spain’s move towards a democracy after the downfall of the dictator Francisco Franco. Some have ruminated that he could have been pressured to abdicate due to multiple corruption and spending scandals.
- FIFA World Cup 2014 commences. On June 12th, the 2014 FIFA World Cup officially began in Brazil. With the first game pitting Brazil against Croatia, “World Cup fever” started to spread around the world. Have you been infected?
- USA aid to Egypt is unlocked. The USA released $575 million in military assistance to Egypt after Congress approved the aid. This money had been frozen in 2013 after the ousting of President Mohammed Morsi. Secretary of State John Kerry made an unannounced visit to Cairo and talked with the new president, chief Abdul Fattah al-Sisi, and emphasized the importance of keeping and protecting the rights of all Egyptians. Soon after this visit, the money was announced to be released as military aid to Egypt. These funds will primarily be used to pay off defense contracts.
- Obama set to “ease” student loans. President Barack Obama of the USA issued an executive order to ease student loan debt. This included capping repayments at 10 percent of each individual’s monthly income and providing for loan forgiveness to people who have responsibly repaid their loans for 20 years. Some preferential treatment for those employed in public service was noticeable in this plan. Many have been criticizing the plan, claiming that it is not enough to help students in financial troubles.
- Bombing in Nigeria. On Wednesday June 25th, a bomb exploded at a shopping mall located in Abuja, the Nigerian capital, killing at least 21 people. This bomb was placed in the middle of a huddle of vehicles near the entrance of the shopping center, according to eyewitnesses. Prior to the blast, two other bomb attacks had occurred in Abuja and had killed at least 120 people. No insurgency group claimed the responsibility for this attack, but there is heavy suspicion of Boko Haram.
- North Korea test-fires missiles. Reports from Seoul, South Korea stated that two missiles were fired into the sea from the east coast of North Korea. This came right after North Korea released that it successfully fired new missiles—apparently “precision-guided.” It is still under UN sanctions over its weapons and nuclear programs.
- Supreme Court Justices rule in favor of Hobby Lobby. On June 30th, the US Supreme Court ruled on a 5-4 decision that requiring family-owned businesses to provide for contraception insurance coverage under the Affordable Care Act was unconstitutional—the basis was that it violated a federal law (the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993) that protects the religious freedom of citizens. The Court said that the federal government could offer the coverage through other methods. This decision specifically applied to two companies owned by Christian families and it might serve as a gateway for challenges from other businesses to laws seen as violations of religious freedom.