Updated February 21, 2017 | Factmonster Staff
Here are the key news events of the month organized into three categories: World News, U.S. News, and Business, Society, and Science News.
- Former Liberian Dictator Refuses to Appear at Trial (June 4): Charles Taylor, the former president of Liberia, boycotts the first day of his trial at the International Criminal Court. He's facing trial on charges of crimes against humanity for supporting rebel troops in Sierra Leone's brutal civil war that claimed the lives of about 300,000 people in the 1990s.
- Putin Proposes Joint Missile Shield with the U.S. (June 7): Russian president introduces plan during a meeting with President Bush at the G8 meeting in Germany. The proposal calls for using an early warning radar system in Azerbaijan as part of a missile defense system to protect against an attack by Iran.
- World Leaders Reach Agreements at the G8 Conference (June 7): Leaders of the eight industrialized nations meeting in Heiligendamm, Germany, agree to consider ways to halve greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. In a nod to President Bush's recent proposal, the leaders endorse his plan to have the world's top polluter set their own goals for reducing emissions. Bush also agrees to participate in negotiations to establish a new global climate policy by 2009, a potential successor to the Kyoto Protocol. (June 8): G8 meeting participants promise to spend $60 billion to treat AIDS and other diseases in the third world. Critics say the plan is weak because it does not include a definitive timetable and falls short of the actual need.
- Iraqi Parliament Votes to Remove Speaker (June 11): The speaker, Mahmoud Mashhadani, a Sunni, has been criticized for intimidating, often physcially, other members of Parliament.
- Fighting Escalates Among Palestinian Factions (June 12): About three dozen Palestinians die in battles between members of rival parties Hamas and Fatah. The homes and offices of Prime Minister Ismail Haniya and President Mahmoud Abbas are attacked. Both sides accuse each other of coup attempts. (June 13): Hamas succeeds in taking control of much of the Gaza Strip. With Fatah holding sway over the West Bank, many fear a civil war is imminent. (June 14): Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas dissolves the government, fires Prime Minister Ismail Haniya, the leader of Hamas, and declares a state of emergency. The violence continues in the Gaza Strip and West Bank. (June 15): Abbas swears in an emergency government. Salam Fayyad, an economist, takes over as interim prime minister. (June 18): The U.S. and European Union announce they will resume aid to Palestinians. (June 25): At a meeting in Sharm el-Sheikh, an Egyptian resort, Israeli prime minister Ehud Olmert tells Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas that he will free some 250 members of Fatah from Israeli jails and release about $600 million in tax revenues that was withheld when Hamas won legislative elections more than a year ago.
- Sudanese Government Agrees to Peacekeeping Force (June 12): Officials agree to allow a joint peacekeeping force of about 19,000 troops from the African Union and the United Nations be deployed to Darfur, but require that most of the soldiers be African.
- Shiite Shrine Is Attacked in Iraq (June 13): The revered Shiite Askariya mosque at Samarra is bombed for the second time in 16 months. Sunni militants connected to al-Qaeda are suspected in the attack. (June 15 and 16): Shiites blow up two Sunni mosques in retaliation.
- Former Israeli Prime Minister Is Elected Leader of Labor Party (June 13): Former prime minister Ehud Barak returns to politics, defeating Parliament member Ami Ayalon in the race to head the Labor Party. In addition, Shimon Peres, of the Kadima Party, is elected president by Parliament.
- Deaths Mount in Afghanistan (June 17): Thirty-five people, mostly police academy instructors, are killed when a suicide bomber attacks a police bus in Kabul. (June 18): Seven children die during an airstrike by U.S.-led forces in eastern Afghanistan. The attack was targeting what officials say was an al-Qaeda compound. (June 22): At least 25 civilians are killed when NATO forces respond with an airstrike to an attack by the Taliban in Helmand Province. (June 30): Dozens of civilians die in U.S.-led airstrikes in Helmand Province.
- Dozens Die in Attack on a Shiite Mosque (June 19): Nearly 80 people are killed and more than 130 are wounded when a suicide bomber drives an explosive-filled truck in front of the Khalani Mosque in central Baghdad.
- U.S. Diplomat Sees Progress with North Korea (June 22): At a meeting in North Korea, Christopher Hill, assistant secretary of state for East Asian affairs, is told by North Korean officials that the country is prepared to shut down its primary nuclear reactor. The meeting—the first time a high-ranking U.S. official has visited the country in five years—follows the return of $25 million in North Korean funds that had been held in a Macao bank and had been frozen by the U.S. (June 28): International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) inspectors visit the Yongbyon nuclear reactor complex. It's the first such visit since 2002, when North Korean officials expelled the inspectors from the country.
- Three Are Sentenced to Death for Role in Anfal Campaign (June 24): Three Iraqi army officials, including Ali Hassan al-Majid, a cousin of Saddam Hussein who was known as "Chemical Ali," are convicted for carrying out the murder of about 50,000 Kurds in 1988—what was called the Anfal campaign.
- Peacekeepers Are Killed in Lebanon (June 24): Five UN peacekeepers—three from Colombia and two from Spain—die when they are attacked in southern Lebanon. They were stationed at the border with Israel.
- Leadership Transition Begins in Britain (June 24): Gordon Brown takes over as head of the Labor Party, succeeding British prime minister Tony Blair. (June 27): Gordon Brown replaces Tony Blair as the prime minister of Great Britain.
- Several Sunni Sheiks Die in Attack (June 26): The victims were among a group of sheiks from the troubled Anbar Province who had been helping U.S. troops in their fight against al-Qaeda.
- Israeli President Reaches Plea Deal in Rape Case (June 28): Moshe Katsav agrees to resign and plead guilty to committing indecent acts without consent, sexual harassment, and harassing a witness. In exchange, the government drops rape charges against Katsav, who maintains his innocence and says he plead guilty to avoid a long and embarrassing trial. He was accused of raping and sexually assaulting several female coworkers.
- British Police Find Bombs in Two Cars (June 29): Police defuse two bombs found in cars parked in the West End section of London. The attackers, who officials say are linked to al-Qaeda, fail to detonate the bombs using cell phones. (June 30): An SUV carrying bombs bursts into flames after it slams into an entrance to Glasgow Airport. Officials say the attacks are connected.
- Military Judges Dismiss Charges of Two Guantánamo Detainees (June 4): In two separate cases, judges say the terrorism suspects cannot be charged with war crimes because they were designated by military tribunals to be "enemy combatants" rather than "unlawful enemy combatants." The two detainees are Omar Ahmed Khadr, a Canadian, and Salim Ahmed Hamdan, a Yemeni.
- Democratic Congressman Is Indicted (June 4): A grand jury indicts Rep. William Jefferson, of Louisiana, on 16 corruption-related counts, including racketeering, conspiracy, money laundering, and obstruction of justice. He is accused of accepting about $400,000 in bribe money from companies that hoped to do business in Africa. In exchange, Jefferson allegedly promised the companies preferential treatment when such business ventures came before the House Ways and Means Committee, on which Jefferson served.
- Libby Is Sentenced (June 5): Federal judge Reggie Walton sentences Lewis “Scooter” Libby, former chief of staff to Vice President Dick Cheney, to 30 months in jail. In March, Libby was convicted of lying to FBI agents and to a grand jury in the investigation of who leaked to the press the name of a covert CIA agent.
- House Passes Bill on Stem Cell Research (June 7): Votes, 247–176, in favor of legislation that eases restrictions on federal funding of embryonic stem cell research. The Senate approved the bill in April. (June 20): President Bush vetoes the bill.
- Immigration Bill Hits Obstacle in Senate (June 7): After months of negotiation and compromise, an overhaul of the immigration system fails to reach a vote in the Senate as the bill falls short of the required 60 votes to end debate and put it to a vote. The failure of the bill is considered a major blow to President Bush, who has made such legislation a domestic policy priority. (June 28): The bill essentially dies when it falls 14 votes short of the 60 required to limit debate and move it to a vote.
- Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Will Not Be Reappointed (June 8): The Bush administration announces it will not renominate Gen. Peter Pace to a second term as the highest-ranking military officer. Defense Secretary Robert Gates said he wanted to avoid a confrontational Senate hearing on his renomination. "The focus of his confirmation process would have been on the past, rather than the future," Gates said, adding, "there was the very real prospect that the process would be quite contentious."
- Federal Court Rules Against Bush's Enemy Combatant Policy (June 11): Judges rule, 2–1, that President Bush cannot have the military hold a civilian detainee indefinitely who is deemed to be an enemy combatant. Instead, the court says, the detainee must be charged with a crime, used as a material witness, or deported. "To sanction such presidential authority to order the military to seize and indefinitely detain civilians, even if the president calls them 'enemy combatants,' would have disastrous consequences for the Constitution—and the country," wrote Judge Diana Gribbon Motz.
- Republicans Thwart Effort to Call a No-Confidence Vote on Attorney General (June 11): Democrats fall seven votes short of the required 60 votes to end debate and vote on a no-confidence resolution on Alberto Gonzales who has faced intense criticism for the firing of nine U.S. attorneys.
- Former White House Officials Are Subpeonaed in Prosecutor Case (June 13): The Senate and House Judiciary Committees request that Harriet Miers, President Bush's former counsel, and Sara Taylor, the former deputy assistant to the president and White House director of political affairs, turn over documents relating to the firing of nine U.S. prosecutors in 2006 and testify about the dismissals. (June 28): President Bush, citing executive privilege, says the White House will not comply with the subpeonas.
- Senate Votes to Increase Mileage Standards for Cars (June 21): Approves, 65 to 37, a provision in a broad energy bill that requires car makers to increase fuel mileage requirements to 35 miles per gallon for passenger cars and light trucks by 2020, up from the current 25 m.p.g.
- Senate Judiciary Committee Subpeonas Members of Bush Administration (June 27): President Bush, Vice President Dick Cheney, and the Justice Department are asked to produce documents about the National Security Agency's justification for its warrantless wiretapping program.
- Supreme Court Rules Against Considering Race to Integrate Schools (June 28): Bitterly divided court rules, 5‒4, that programs in Seattle and Louisville, Ky., which tried to maintain diversity in schools by considering race when assigning students to schools, are unconstitutional.
- Supreme Court Agrees to Hear Appeals by Guantánamo Bay Detainees (June 29): In a striking reversal of an April decision, the Supreme Court announces it will hear appeals by detainees who have been denied access to federal courts.
- Court Strikes Down FCC Indecency Policy (June 4): A federal appeals court overturns a Federal Communications Commission rule that fines networks that broadcast profanities blurted out on live television, known as "fleeting expletives."
- Several Firefighters Are Killed in Blaze (June 19): Nine firefighters die when a roof collapses during a fire in a furniture warehouse in Charleston, S.C. Aside from the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, the fire was the deadliest for firefighters in 30 years.
- Zoellick Is Elected Head of the World Bank (June 25): Robert Zoellick, who served as President Bush's deputy secretary of state and held high-ranking positions in the Reagan and George H. W. Bush administrations, takes over as the president of the World Bank, succeeding Paul Wolfowitz.