Following a poor result for her party at a state election in Hesse, Angela Merkel announced that she will stand down as leader of her Christian Democratic Union in December, when the post is up for biennial election. She said she was willing to remain as Germany’s chancellor until 2021, when elections are scheduled to be called. But she may well not last until then. Her coalition partners, the Social Democrats, also suffered embarrassing losses in Hesse.
安格拉·默克尔(Angela Merkel)所在政党在黑森州选举中表现不佳，随后她宣布，将于12月辞去基督教民主联盟(Christian Democratic Union)领导人的职务，届时该职位将进行两年一次的选举。她表示，愿意在2021年之前继续担任德国总理职务，2021年德国将举行大选。但在那之前，她很可能撑不下去。她的联盟伙伴社会民主党在黑森州也遭遇了尴尬的失利。
The European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg upheld a decision by an Austrian court to fine a woman who had described Muhammad the Prophet as a paedophile, citing his marriage to a girl said in some accounts to be only six. Blasphemy is still a crime in Austria. Fans of free speech denounced the ruling.
Michael Higgins was re-elected as president of Ireland, a mostly ceremonial role he has held since 2011, with 56% of the vote. On the same day voters also opted to repeal Ireland’s long-standing constitutional ban on blasphemy.
Philip Hammond, Britain’s chancellor of the exchequer, delivered a spend-and-please budget. A surprise windfall from increased tax revenues offered a chance for him to claim an end was in sight to eight years of austerity. Mr Hammond could have paid down more of the country’s debt pile, but instead chose to boost spending in selected government departments (mostly the National Health Service). The generous pledges are contingent on a smooth Brexit in March next year.
Turkey’s government announced a series of tax cuts, prompting more concern that it is not serious about fiscal discipline. The lira swooned.
Stop the war coalition
America’s secretary of state, Mike Pompeo, and secretary of defence, Jim Mattis, urged the warring parties in Yemen to stop fighting. America is losing patience with Saudi Arabia, an important ally, over its reckless and brutal handling of the war in Yemen, which has left millions at risk of starvation.
A Turkish prosecutor said that Jamal Khashoggi, a journalist, was strangled to death moments after he entered Saudi Arabia’s consulate in Istanbul in a planned killing. The allegation, which contradicts claims made by Saudi Arabia that Mr Khashoggi was accidentally killed in a struggle, will add to pressure on Muhammad bin Salman, the kingdom’s crown prince, to explain the events surrounding the murder.
Another Saudi prince, Ahmed bin Abdulaziz, returned to the country from exile in London. Some speculate that he plans to challenge the authority of the crown prince; others that he hopes to reinforce it. As is usual with the cryptic kingdom, no one really has a clue.
另一位流亡英国的沙特亲王艾哈迈德·本·阿卜杜拉阿齐兹(Ahmed bin Abdulaziz)返回沙特。有人猜测，他此番欲挑战王储（萨勒曼）的权威；其他人则猜测他希望巩固王储的权力。正如同这神秘王国一般，没有人掌握真正的内情。
Binyamin Netanyahu made the first state visit by a prime minister of Israel to Oman in 22 years, a clear sign of the Jewish state’s warming relations with Arab countries. The trip raised eyebrows as Oman is close to Iran, Israel’s main rival.