- On October 9th, President Donald Trump blocked US Ambassador to the European Union Gordan Sondland from providing testimony to the House impeachment inquiry investigating his July 25th phone call to Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky. The impeachment inquiry, conducted by committees in the House of Representatives, is looking into whether Trump improperly withheld military aid to Ukraine in exchange for political information on Democratic presidential rival Joe Biden. Later the same day, President Trump tweeted that he would not comply with the impeachment inquiry which has prompted fears of a coming constitutional crisis between Congress and the White House.
- On October 6th President Trump announced the sudden withdrawal of US troops from Syria, in a surprise move which overturns a decade Middle East foreign policy and precedent. The sudden reversal in US foreign policy stunned US allies and prompted rare dissent from Congressional Republican allies. Longtime Trump-ally Senator Lindsey Graham (Republican-S.C.) declared the move “…a big win for Iran and [Syrian President] Assad, a big win for ISIS…” A spokesman for the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) described the move as “stab in the back.” The decision paves the way for a Turkish military invasion into Kurdish territory and has sparked fears of a humanitarian crisis.
- On October 1st, former Dallas Police Officer Amber Guyger was found guilty of murder in the shooting death of Botham Jean in his own apartment. Guyger, who claimed she shot Jean believing him to be an intruder in her apartment, was later found to have gone into the wrong apartment and shot Jean as he sat watching television in his living room. The case was widely seen as a test of the immunity often held by police offices in the wrongful shooting deaths of black men in the US.
- On October 1st, China and the Chinese communist party celebrated its 70th The occasion commemorates the creation of the modern-day People’s Republic of China in 1949 by chairman Mao Zedong. The festivities which included a massive military parade, intricately choreographed plane flyovers, and patterned flower displays, showcase the rapid economic and political rise of China over the past decade under current President Xi Jingping. However, the 70-year anniversary has come amid an unexpectedly turbulent time with pro-democracy protests disrupting Hong Kong and with international ire growing over the detention of ethnic Uighur Muslims in so-called “re-education” internment camps.
- On October 9th, a gunman in the German city of Halle killed two people and wounded two more as after he tried and failed to enter a synagogue during the Jewish holiday Yom Kippur. In a since-deleted live-stream of the attack uploaded to a video-game platform, the shooter descries feminists and immigrants before declaring “the root of all these problems is the Jew.” The shooting in Germany mimics an attack earlier this year in March where a far-right gunman killed fifty-one people at two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand.
- On October 7th, Rwandan technology firm Mara Group launched the first “Made in Africa” smartphones. The Mara X and Mara Z smartphones uses Google’s Android operating software and will cost roughly 176,000 ($190) and 120,000 ($170) Rwandan francs respectively. The development of the smartphones comes as Rwanda seeks to develop its burgeoning reputation as a regional hub for tech.