The Turning of the Sphere

North Korea launches another ballistic missile

North Korea fired another ballistic missile as part of a series of launches that Pyongyang has undertaken.  These launches have increased tensions with South Korea, Japan, and the United States.  The Pentagon believes that the missile was an intercontinental ballistic missile that fell into the Sea of Japan and within Japan’s exclusive economic zone.

South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff stated that the missile was launched from Pyongsong, a city in South Pyongan Province.  Seoul has conducted a missile firing exercise in response to North Korea’s ballistic missile launch.

The U.S. is due to restore and test the Cold War era statewide nuclear attack sirens in Hawaii on Friday.  This alert system will notify residents if a missile is headed towards the Hawaiian islands.

Robert Mugabe resigns as president of Zimbabwe

Robert Mugabe has resigned as president of Zimbabwe following the initiation of impeachment proceedings against him.  Zimbabwe’s parliament started impeachment proceedings against Mugabe today.  Robert Mugabe, who held the office of presidency for thirty seven years angered many former allies when he sought to name Grace Mugabe as his political successor.

Zanu-PF revokes Robert Mugabe’s status as party leader and issues ultimatum

In another blow to Robert Mugabe’s rule in Zimbabwe, Zanu-PF revoked his status as the party’s leader.  The ruling party also expelled several of its members who are close to Grace Mugabe, including minister of higher education Jonathan Moyo, finance minister Ignatious Chombo, Mugabe’s nephew Patrick Zhuwao, local government minister Saviour Kasukuwere, foreign affairs minister Walter Mzembi, among others. Zanu-PF also issued an ultimatum for Mugabe to resign as head of state within twenty four hours or else face impeachment. The next presidential election is scheduled for 2018.

Robert Mugabe’s rule in Zimbabwe teeters on the brink of its end

The army of Zimbabwe seized power from Robert Mugabe on Wednesday after the president fired Emmerson Mnangagwa, the country’s vice president, to pave the way for his wife, Grace Mugabe, to be made his successor to the presidency.  Following this maneuver, and the house arrest of Robert Mugabe, a growing number of officials from the ruling Zanu-PF have called for the president to step down and increasingly open opposition to his rule has manifest among the public.  Robert Mugabe has ruled Zimbabwe since the country’s independence in 1980.  According to some reports, Zanu-PF will host a meeting on Sunday to dismiss the longstanding President and to reinstate Emmerson Mnangagwa as vice president.  Another possibility making the rounds is that the army will demand that Robert Mugabe agree that Grace Mugabe will exit politics and then serve out the rest of his term, which ends next year.

Japan’s general election outcome

The Japanese general election of 2017 resulted in incumbent Shinzo Abe’s Liberal Democratic Party retaining it supermajority status.  North Korea’s ballistic missile program featured substantially as topic of the campaign.

Iraqi forces take Kirkuk and surrounding area

Iraqi forces entered Kirkuk city and surrounding locations on October 16, after Peshmerga and other Kurdish forces withdrew in the face of a multipronged attack.  Iraqi forces also have taken control of locations in the Sinjar region.  These military operations are part of Baghdad’s response to the independence referendum held by officials of the KRG.

The Austrian legislative election of 2017

Sebastian Kurz and the People’s Party (OVP) came in first place in the Austrian legislative election of 2017.  Kurz, 31 years old, is now positioned to become the youngest head of government in Europe if the OVP forms a governing coalition, which is probable event.  The People’s Party made Sebastian Kurz its head earlier this year which led to a dramatic increase in the party’s polling numbers.  Kurz campaigned with the OVP, but also created his own list for independent, but OVP backed candidates to run on.

The top six vote receiving parties in the election, with partial counting of postal ballots, is as follows:

OVP:  31.5%

SPO:  26.9%

FPO:  26%

NEOS:  5.3%

PILZ:  4.4%

Grune:  3.8%