The world this week--Politics
Finland and Sweden both formally submitted their applications to join NATO.
The two Nordic countries had stayed outside the alliance since its inception in 1949.
But since Vladimir Putin invaded Ukraine, Swedes and Finns have decided they would be safer inside than out.
Rapid acceptance of the two would-be members is expected, although Turkey is raising objections.
NATO’s border with Russia will double in length.
Russian forces pulled back from the area around Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second city.
In Mariupol more than 250 fighters, who had been holed up in the Azovstal steel works, surrendered.
Emmanuel Macron appointed Elisabeth Borne as prime minister of France.
Her first task will be to ensure that the president retains his majority in parliamentary elections due next month.
Germany’s chancellor, Olaf Scholz, suffered a new blow when his party performed poorly in state elections in North Rhine-Westphalia, the country’s most populous state.
The vote for his Social Democrats was down by four percentage points from the previous election, in what was for decades the party’s stronghold.
Northern Ireland’s main unionist party, the DUP, blocked the formation of a new power-sharing executive in the province, after Sinn Féin, an Irish nationalist party, won the most seats in a recent election.
The DUP says it wants the British government to scrap or fundamentally change the Northern Ireland protocol, a post-Brexit agreement which creates a customs border with the rest of the United Kingdom.
Liz Truss, Britain’s foreign secretary, duly announced plans for legislation to do just that.
In Lebanon an alliance led by Hizbullah, a Shia political party-cum-militia, lost its majority in parliament at an election, while independent candidates gained ground.
A new government could take months to emerge.
The old sectarian system is still likely to block wholesale reform.
Ten days after Zimbabwe’s president, Emmerson Mnangagwa, announced a ban on all bank lending, including overdrafts, the country’s central bank lifted it.
The ban had been intended to curb spiralling inflation.
The opposition had described it as “absolute madness”.
Mali’s junta, which has twice seized power in coups since 2020, said it had foiled an attempted putsch.
The military government has also withdrawn Mali from a regional counter-terrorism force, the G5 Sahel, blaming it for failing to make progress against the jihadists who control large parts of the country.
America plans to return about 500 troops to Somalia to fight al-Shabab, a militia affiliated with al-Qaeda.
This reverses Donald Trump’s decision to pull all American troops out of the country.
Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, who was Somalia’s president from 2012 to 2017, was elected to another term.
The election ended a constitutional crisis created by his predecessor, whose term should have ended a year ago.