June 2009 Current Events: World News
Here are the key events in world news for the month of June 2009.
- Air France Plane Vanishes (June 1): In the worst aviation disaster since 2001, Air France Flight 447 disappears somewhere off the northeast coast of Brazil with 228 people on board, en route from Rio de Janeiro to Paris. No mayday signals were sent before the crash. (June 6): Brazilian crews discover the bodies of two men, plus personal items, in the Atlantic Ocean about 40 miles from where the cockpit last reported its position. This debris appears to be the first evidence of the missing plane.
- China Blocks Tiananmen Square Commemoration (June 4): On the 20th anniversary of the violent military crackdown in Tiananmen Square that left hundreds of democratic activists dead, China tries to deter remembrance of the event. Police officers stand guard around the square, barring foreign journalists from entering. In contrast, tens of thousands of people hold a candlelight vigil in Hong Kong to mark the anniversary of the brutal killings.
- North Korea Sentences U.S. Journalists to 12 Years in Prison (June 8): Two American journalists are found guilty of "illegal entry" and sentenced to 12 years in a labor prison in North Korea. Euna Lee and Laura Ling, who were employed by Current TV, were arrested in March. They were writing a story on North Korean refugees.
- Elections for Parliament in European Union Give More Power to Center-Right Parties (June 7): The European Union holds elections for Parliament, with the center-right parties gaining more control. Voter turnout is a record low 43%.
- Militant Strike on Pakistan Hotel Kills 11 (June 9): Militants open fire on security guards and detonate a car filled with explosives at a luxury hotel in Peshawar, Pakistan, killing 11 and wounding many more. Taliban leaders had issued threats promising violence in major cities just weeks before.
- President Ahmadinejad Wins Reelection by Landslide (June 13): Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad wins his reelection campaign by a landslide victory with almost 63% of the vote, while main challenger Mir Hussein Moussavi receives just under 34% of the vote. Accusations of ballot tampering and fraud leads to wide-scale protests in Tehran. Moussavi's campaign promises, which included plans for improved human rights and a reversal of Ahmadinejad's hard-line policies, were supported by many of the younger and less conservative generations in Iran. Ahmadinejad's victory is announced just two hours after the polls close, an amazingly short period of time since Iran's paper ballots must be hand counted. (June 16): At least seven people are dead in the biggest demonstrations in Iran since the 1979 revolution. In response to national outrage, the government has agreed to recount some of the disputed votes from the election. Meanwhile, the Iranian government has revoked the press credentials of foreign journalists given access before the election. Protesters are relying on social networking sites and text messaging to communicate with others around the world about Moussavi, the election, and the demonstrations. (June 19): Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Iran's Supreme Leader, calls the recent presidential election "fair" and claims there will be no recount. He also demands that protesters stop their demonstrations, calling them an insult to democracy. (June 21): The death toll in the Iranian protests has reached at least 17, according to state media. Police are using truncheons, tear gas, and water cannons to control the crowds, while one bystander is reportedly shot to death by the police. (June 22): The Guardian Council, Iran's oversight group, admits to irregularities in the recent presidential election, revealing that votes counted in about 50 cities exceed the number of eligible voters by 3 million. They claim the mistake does not affect the final election result, however. (June 23): Iran's General Council rejects the public's plea to annul the votes, claiming there is no evidence of fraud in the election, despite recently admitting to widespread irregularities in the final vote count. (June 30): The Guardian Council of Iran announces that the election of President Ahmadinejad is valid. They claim the recount of approximately 10% of the votes from the recent election show no indication of election fraud, solidifying Ahmadinejad's victory. President Ahmadinejad will serve his second four-year term.
- Honduran President Ousted in Coup (June 28): Honduran president Manuel Zelaya is ousted by a military coup. Army soldiers stormed the presidential palace Sunday morning, waking the president, and putting him on a plane to Costa Rica. President Zelaya had faced wide-scale criticism recently for attempting to extend presidential term limits. (June 30): A group of countries, including the United States and Venezuela, sign a resolution condemning the actions of the Honduran military and demanding Zelaya be reinstated as president. Roberto Micheletti, named the interim president by the Honduran Congress, threatens Zelaya with arrest if he returns to the country.
- Brazil Beats U.S. in Confederations Cup Final (June 29): In a surprising trip to the Confederations Cup final, the United States men's soccer team loses 3–2 to five-time World Cup champion Brazil. The U.S. team handed top-ranked Spain a shocking upset the previous week. This was the first trip to a FIFA tournament final for the United States.
- Yemeni Jet Crashes with 153 on Board, One Survivor (June 30): Yemenia Flight 626, on its way to Comoros, crashed into the Indian Ocean in an attempt to land, leaving only one survivor, a 14-year-old girl. Severe weather and turbulence are believed to be the cause of the crash.
- U.S. Hands Over Control to Iraq in Cities (June 30): As a signal of the United States' diminishing role in Iraq, and in compliance with the status of forces agreement between the U.S. and Iraq, U.S. troops completed their withdrawal from Iraqi cities, including Baghdad, and transferred the responsibility of securing the cities to Iraqi troops. Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki names June 30 "National Sovereignty Day" and declares a public holiday.