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Here’s What Happened Around The World In July 2023

Take a look back at some of the biggest stories that happened around the world in July 2023.

Take a look back at some of the biggest stories that you may have missed in June 2023.

1. Thailand’s military government suspended and blocked this young, progressive opposition leader from becoming prime minister

In a dramatic turn of events on July 19, Pita Limjaroenrat, Thailand’s young, progressive opposition leader, was suspended and blocked from seeking the role of prime minister for a second time, likely ending hopes of him assuming the role.

Pita and his progressive Move Forward party had won the most votes during the general election in May, when voters rejected the military government, which had ruled since taking power in a coup in 2014.

However, Pita needed to be approved by the full National Assembly – which includes the military-backed senate – to become prime minister.

Pita had run on a campaign of promoting democracy, removing the military’s influence on politics and revising the lèse-majesté law, which jails people for criticizing the monarchy.

During the vote on Thursday July 13, he failed to garner enough votes from the full National Assembly to become prime minister.

On Wednesday July 19, ahead of a parliamentary re-vote on prime minister, Pita was suspended as a member of parliament by the constitutional court over allegations of violating election laws by holding media shares.

After Pita left the chamber, the parliament then held another vote on whether he could run again, with lawmakers voting against Pita on the grounds that parliament’s rules do not permit a “repeat motion,” according to the New York Times.

Speaking before leaving the chamber, Pita said he would follow the suspension order and urged lawmakers to keep looking after the people.

It remains unclear whether Pita will be able to run again in a parliamentary revote.

2. Italians shared videos of them groping themselves for 10 seconds to support a teen whose sexual harassment case was dismissed

People in Italy started sharing videos of them groping themselves for 10 seconds after a judge dismissed a teen’s sexual assault case because it was “too short”.

In April 2022, a 17-year-old girl called Laura reported her school janitor for groping her.

Laura said had been walking up the stairs at school when she felt a hand going down her pants and touching her underwear and bottom.

She turned around to find that it was the janitor, 66-year-old Antonio Avola.

“Love, you know I was joking,” Avola reportedly said to Laura after the incident.

Avola admitted to all the allegations but said it was a joke.

Laura’s lawyer asked that Avola be sentenced for at least three and a half years for sexual harassment.

However, the judge on the case acquitted Avola on July 6 of sexual assault charges because the groping only lasted only “a handful of seconds”.

In the verdict, the judge added the janitor did not let his hands linger, adding that it had been a “clumsy manoeuvre, lacking lust”.

To share in Laura’s anger and disbelief, people took to social media with videos showing how unbearably long 10 seconds can feel when one is being groped or sexually assaulted.

3. Israel’s far-right government passed a law to weaken the power of its supreme court, leading to unprecedented anti-government protests

4. A group of men in India paraded two women naked and then allegedly gang raped them and people are demanding justice

A viral video showing men in India forcefully parading two women naked before allegedly gang raping them sparked outrage across the country.

The short video clip, which started to go viral on Wednesday July 19, shows a group of men leading two naked women, aged 21 and 42, to an empty field.

The incident had actually happened on May 4th in Manipur, northeast India, where ethnic riots erupted between the Hindu Meitei and Christian Kuki-Zo tribes.

The 21-year-old’s mother said her brother had tried to stop the men from taking his sister but was killed, according to Al Jazeera.

Both women had allegedly been raped, according to a group of Indigenous leaders.

However, the 21-year-old woman told police that only one of them was gang raped, and a third woman was forced to strip naked, although she is not seen in the video.

Police arrested at least four men on July 20, and authorities said a thorough investigation is underway.

5. Ghana abolished the death penalty

In a historic move, Ghana’s parliament voted to abolish the use of capital punishment on Tuesday July 25, joining the growing list of African countries free of the death penalty. 

Ghana has not carried out an execution since 1993, yet the courts have continued to hand down death sentences, including seven last year.

Murder, genocide, piracy and smuggling will now be punishable by life imprisonment instead of the death penalty.

With the new bill, 176 prisoners currently on death row, including six women, are expected to have their sentences commuted to life imprisonment.

High treason remains the only crime that is subject to the death penalty, but the country would need to revise its constitution in order for that to change.

The decision marks a significant step towards human rights progress, making Ghana the 29th African country and the 124th worldwide to abolish the death penalty, according to campaign organization, The Death Penalty Project.

6. Iran reintroduced the “morality” police

Iran has reintroduced the “morality” police after they were largely shut down following the death of Mahsa Amini.

Amini died in September 2022 after she was arrested by the so-called “morality police” for allegedly breaking Iran’s mandatory hijab law.

Her death sparked outrage, leading to huge, anti-government protests that went on for months.

In response, the government was forced to pulled back the “morality” police, who were created in 1979 to enforce the hijab law and other “moral” restrictions on women.

These include banning women from attending mixed-gender gatherings without a male chaperone and drinking alcohol.

However, the protests died down this year due to a brutal crackdown from authorities that left more than 500 killed and nearly 20,000 detained, according to AP.

On July 16, authorities announced that the “morality” police would resume patrols and force women to wear hijabs.

Authorities said officers will first give women warnings, and those who “insist on breaking the norms” may face legal action, according to CNN.

7. And jailed this popular activist rapper for singing about the Mahsa Amini protests

Toomaj Salehi, a popular activist rapper, was jailed for six years and three months for singing about the Mahsa Amini protests.

The 32-year-old was arrested in October 2022 during the mass anti-government protests that broke out after the death of Amini.

Salehi had criticized the Iranian government in his songs and music videos, which went viral.

In his last music video, he appeared to reference Amini and the crackdown on protesters, rapping, “Someone’s crime was dancing with her hair in the wind. Someone’s crime was that he or she was brave and criticized.”

On Monday July 10, after 253 days in solitary confinement, Salehi was found guilty of “corruption on earth”, which could lead to the death sentence.

However, he was given a reduced sentence of six years and three months, according to his lawyer.

8. The Netherlands passed a “only yes means yes” bill clearly defining rape as sex without consent

The Netherlands passed a “only yes means yes” bill that clearly defines rape as sex without consent.

Previously, the law required proof that there was violence, threats or coercion in order for it to count as rape, but the new law expands the definition of rape to sex without consent.

The bill is expected to be voted into law by the upper house of the Senate within the next 9 months.

This would make the Netherlands the 17th country in Europe to adopt a law that recognizes non-consensual sex as rape.

9. Wildfires ravaged across Greece, which is experiencing its longest heatwave

Dry weather and a heatwave in Europe sparked numerous wildfires that have raged across Greece, damaging homes and causing thousands to flee.

The wildfires, which began on July 17, have affected people in and around Greece’s capital Athens.

Additionally, residents of Rhodes, an island known for its beach resorts and tourist attractions, were forced to evacuate as fires approached the center of the island.

10. Afghan women held a rare protest against the Taliban banning beauty salons

Women in Afghanistan held a rare protest against the Taliban banning beauty salons.

On July 4, the Taliban ordered all beauty salons to close in a month because some treatments were “un-Islamic”.

Women in Afghanistan were already banned from classrooms, gyms and parks, and salons had been one of the last public places that women could socialize.

On July 19, about 50 women took to the streets of Kabul to protest against the ban.

The women held up signs reading “Work, food, freedom”, but they were met with water canons and tasers from Taliban guards, who also shot their guns into the air.

Since taking power in August 2021, the Taliban has increasingly restricted women’s rights, including banning girls from going to high school and university.

11. Spain and the Netherlands’ women’s soccer teams mocked New Zealand’s Indigenous haka dance, sparking outrage

The captain of Spain’s women’s football team apologized after the team shared a video of their players mocking New Zealand’s haka, a traditional Indigenous Māori dance.

In the now-deleted video, four players can be seen laughing while yelling, slapping their knees and jumping in the air.

It was shared on the team’s social media account with the caption “We are already acclimatised” shortly after the team arrived in New Zealand on the week of July 10 for the 2023 Women’s World Cup.

The video was later deleted due to backlash.

Haka are a variety of ceremonial dances in the culture of New Zealand’s Indigenous Māori people.

Another video also emerged of the Netherlands’ players appearing to mock the haka.

It shows the Dutch players laughing as they squat, slap their knees and make grunting noises.

The Dutch team has denied they were mocking the haka, saying that the players were doing an exercise on “channelling your inner strength”.

The video, which was shared on the team’s official social media, has since also been deleted.

The 2023 Women’s World Cup is being held in New Zealand and Australia between July 20 and August 20, 2023.

12. This “genderless” Japanese celebrity was found dead at age 27

Ryuchell, a “genderless” Japanese celebrity, has been found dead at age 27.

Ryuchell, whose full name is Ryuji Higa, was found unconscious by their manager at their agency office in Tokyo on Wednesday July 12.

Local media reported that police said the cause of death appeared to be suicide.

A TV personality, model and LGBTQ activist, Ryuchell helped to popularize the “genderless” fashion subculture in Japan.

In the subculture, people style themselves androgynously without trying to pass as another gender or declaring themselves transgender.

Throughout their life, Ryuchell faced constant harassment and bullying for not conforming to gender stereotypes.

Ryuchell is survived by Peco, his ex-wife, who is also an influencer, and their five-year-old son.

13. Niger’s military attempted to seize power in a coup, ousting the democratically elected president

On July 26, Niger’s presidential guard launched a coup and detained Mohamed Bazoum, the democratically elected president and declared a general as the head of a new transitional military government.

However, Bazoum has refused to resign.

The coup leaders said they decided to “put an end to [Bazoum’s] regime” to avoid “the gradual and inevitable demise” of the country, NBC News reported, adding that Bazoum had failed to deal with the Islamist insurgency.

However, research indicates Islamist militant attacks have actually dropped in Niger last year, compared to nearby Mali and Burkina Faso.

If Niger falls, it would be the last country to connect a “coup belt” in Africa, which would destabilize the region and create an opening for Islamic militant extremists to expand their presence, according to the New York Times.

The coup swiftly drew condemnation from the Economic Community of West African States – or ECOWAS – a regional political and economic union in West Africa, which has said it will “take all measures necessary to restore constitutional order” including the use of force.

On August 6, the coup leaders ignored the deadline given by ECOWAS to reinstate Bazoum.

The next day, they closed the country’s airspace indefinitely, citing the thread of military intervention.

ECOWAS has since called for another meeting on Thursday Aug. 10 to discuss its next steps.

14. This Aboriginal lawyer became Australia’s first Indigenous woman supreme court judge

Louise Taylor, an Indigenous Kamilaroi woman, made history as the first Aboriginal woman to become a supreme court judge in Australia.

She was appointed to to the supreme court in the Australian Capital Territory, which includes the capital, Canberra, on Wednesday, July 26.

In 2018, Taylor also made history in the Australian Capital Territory, when she became the first Aboriginal judicial officer.

“This is, of course, a very proud day for my family and I, and I hope a very proud day for First Nations people, in particular First Nations women,” she said.

“At my appointment, I’m conscious of the significance of it and I’m very proud to accept this appointment.”

Taylor will be sworn in in August.

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