The world this week
The ruling African National Congress won South Africa’s general election with 58% of the vote. The party had never before received less than 60% at a national poll. Many voters were put off by the corruption that flourished under Jacob Zuma, president from 2009 to 2018. The ANC might have done worse but for Cyril Ramaphosa, who replaced Mr Zuma and vowed to clean up his mess. The Democratic Alliance got 21% of the vote.
Violence flared in Sudan as the ruling military council and protest groups tried to reach a political-transition deal. At least six people were killed. It has been more than a month since the army toppled Omar al-Bashir amid large demonstrations against his presidency. Generals and civilians have yet to agree on how power will be shared.
A militia allied with the Nigerian government freed almost 900 children it had used in the war against the jihadists of Boko Haram, according to the United Nations Children’s Fund. Of the 3,500 or so children in total who were recruited by armed groups to fight Boko Haram, more than 1,700 have now been set free.
At least 28 troops in Niger were killed in an ambush near the border with Mali, a region that is a hotbed of jihadist activity.
Tensions rose in the Middle East, as officials in the Gulf said four oil tankers, including two from Saudi Arabia, had been sabotaged off the coast of the United Arab Emirates. Unnamed American sources were quoted as blaming Iran or its proxies, but they presented no evidence. America pulled all “non-emergency employees” from Iraq amid concerns about alleged threats from Iran.
Yemen’s Houthi rebels attacked two oil-pumping stations in Saudi Arabia with armed drones. Saudi Arabia supports the Yemeni government in its war against the Houthis, who are aligned with Iran. The UN held talks in Jordan aimed at consolidating a truce between the parties.
Alabama’s governor signed a law banning abortion in all cases except when the mother’s life is in danger, the most stringent in a number of “heartbeat” bills that have been approved by Republican states. Pro-lifers hope the bills will eventually make their way to the Supreme Court, where they think they have a chance of overturning Roe v Wade.
A federal judge ordered 32 of Florida’s 67 counties to provide election material and ballot papers for Spanish-speakers in time for the presidential primaries next year. Florida has started the process of supplying bilingual forms, but the judge wants that to speed up; he warned officials that complying with the order was “not optional”.
Hundreds of thousands of students and teachers took to the streets of Brazil’s state capitals to demonstrate against a 30% cut in the federal funding allocated to universities. Brazil’s president, Jair Bolsonaro, who was in Dallas meeting Republican leaders, called the protesters “useful idiots”.
Meanwhile, Mr Bolsonaro said he would nominate Sérgio Moro, his justice minister, to Brazil’s supreme court in 2020. Mr Moro faced allegations of bias when he joined Mr Bolsonaro’s government after sentencing Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, Mr Bolsonaro’s one-time political rival, for corruption.